Many structures have been built illegally by encroaching both banks of Haor river, once linking Bangladesh and India border as authorities concerned are sleeping at the wheel.
Local influentials constructed different establishments, including huge complexes, ponds and fish enclosures occupying the river banks that stopped the water flow on the river, turning it into a narrow canal and creating huge waterlogging in the country’s biggest Benapole land port area.
Locals alleged that the encroachers brought those lands under their possession showing fake deeds of the lands when opposed, clearing themselves from taking up the river’s land at large.
Flipping the same coin, locals claimed they have been demanding evictions of those structures and establishing Benapole Lake city by reviving the almost-dead river.
During a recent visit to the area, this UNB correspondent found several multistoried buildings constructed on the Haor river bank. A number of fish enclosures have also been made on the riverbank.Once a lively river, the Haor has now turned into a dry sliver due to the encroachment, locals alleged.
Haor river, once popular as agricultural hub thanks to its multi-faceted links with Gangas and Farakka river of India and Kaputakkha, Rupsha, Betna and Kudla rivers, catered to the lives of thousands of people by transporting fishes, crops and other products, creating the horizon of then open market economy.
Alikdar Sagor, former president of Benapole Lion, an anti-drug organization said the present government had undertaken initiatives to evict those illegal structures from Haor river area but later stopped the project due to some an unknown reasons.
Water Transport Minister and local lawmaker visited the spot on several occasions as part of the project ‘Building Lake City’ during the present regime but could not take the process forward later.
Only 200 yards away from the country’s biggest land port, Haor river was flowing through 20 other rivers including Koputakkha, Ichhamati, Bhairab, Nalua and so many canals in southern-Eastern districts, which now turns a dead one due to sporadic encroachments, impairing river route economy and ecological balance in the religion.
Pulak Kumar Mondal, Upazila Nirbahi Officer of Sharsha Upazila, said a list of the encroachers have already been made to evict those establishments.“We will take legal steps against them soon”, he added.