Dhaka – National Committee to Protect Shipping, Roads & Railways (NCPSRR) on Sunday urged the concerned authority to take necessary steps to stop plying of vessels through the Shela River in Sundarbans to keep it and its bio-diversity unhurt.
NCPSRR, a green and civil rights body, campaigning long time for an environmen and people-friendly transport system, also demanded to open alternative Channel Mongla-Ghashiakhali for day-night 24 hours for plying all kinds of commercial ships.
In a joint statement, following repetition of navigational accidents at Shela River, National Committee adviser & senior politician Manzurul Ahsan Khan and its general secretary journalist Ashis Kumar Dey made the call to the Shipping Ministry and the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA).
They also demanded taking of initiatives to prevent such accident.
The statement said, unplanned installation of sluice gate by the Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB) coupled with several hundred illegal dams in canals and hundreds of shrimp farms have been the main obstacles to protection of the rivers.
Despite having an inter-ministerial decision to remove the sluice gate, statement said, BWDB is yet to act to implement it. Besides, local administration shows negligence to evict illegal dams and environmentally harmful shrimp farms.
BIWTA has reopened part of the channel to vessel operation after a massive dredging that cost around Tk 300 crore. But, maintaining navigability appears a major challenge as many spots in the channel are being quickly silted due to the sluice gate, dams and shrimp farms that obstruct water flow, they added.]
The environmentalists said vessels are plying the Shela River may bring environmental havoc any time. If such a situation continues, the Sundarbans will be destroyed with manmade disasters in the days to come, they observed. – News Desk