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Home / News / Nation / 200 families affected for dredging of Mongla-Ghasiakhali channel Bisnu Proshad Chakrabortty, UNB Bagerhat Correspondent
200 families affected for dredging of Mongla-Ghasiakhali channel Bisnu Proshad Chakrabortty, UNB Bagerhat Correspondent

200 families affected for dredging of Mongla-Ghasiakhali channel Bisnu Proshad Chakrabortty, UNB Bagerhat Correspondent

Around 200 families of Hurka union in Rampal upazila have been suffering since long as their houses, ponds and shrimp enclosures have been covered with silt after the government initiated dredging work of the Mongla-Ghasiakhali channel for restoring its navigability.The report on field visit says that the sand and soil from dredging
entered some houses, ponds and fish enclosures of a portion of two wards in Hurka union after the water mixed soils were kept on the government land beside the Kumarkhali River around up to one kilometre.Locals said the ponds and fish enclosures became plain after the dredging silts fell into the ponds as well as some houses. Some people have been forced to shift to other places leaving their houses.Local people have been forced to build bamboo bridges in many places for going from one place to another as the digging soils have created
clay and filled the water body.People have been suffering for foods as their only source of income, shrimp enclosures, have remained closed due to the problems.Niva Mandal of Madhayapara village said he has two bighas of land and he had been meeting economic demand of his family since long cultivating crabs and shrimps there but he is now passing days amid tension how he will meet the family demand as silt from dredging in Mongla-Ghasiakhali channel has covered his ponds and shrimp enclosure. Jhumpa Bishwas of the same village said his cowshed like ponds and shrimp enclosure was covered with the water mixed soil even some trees were trapped with the clay. Village police Kalipad Mandal said their dwelling houses are unsuitable for living due to the earth.They have passed seven days taking dry foods as they could not cook food.There is no possibility to cultivate fish and grow paddy in the next several years as his land went high with soils of dredging, Kalipad Mandal said.Many people like Anil, Shipu, Amol, Anata, and Nirmul go to another village leaving their own houses due to the problems, Kalipad added.Expressing anger, many people in the two villages said they had been living in the village generation to generation but houses are not fit for dwelling due to the dredging layer of the river.There are no sources of drinking water here as water bodies are mixed with silt water; even toilets are unsuitable for use.They also demanded compensation from the government.Hurka Union Parishad chairman Topon Kumar Goldar said the dredging ground has filled up the private-owned land in a part of ward no 4 and 5 in his union, which affected around 200 families in Modhayapara and Uttarpara villages, even displacing some other families.He said most of the people are dependent on cultivation of crab and shrimp in the area but it is not possible to cultivate those as the
ponds have been filled after entry of sand-mixed water.The chairman said the digging soil of the channel should keep in a definite place in well-planned not ruining private ownership lands.Admitting that dredged soils of the channel fell on private lands out of the government land, AHM Farhad Uzzaman, an engineer of Bangladesh
Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA), said the BIWTA was dredging the Mongla-Ghasiakhali channel usually but later the dredging work was taken after an oil tanker capsized in the Shela River on December 9 last year.Some people are being affected as water- mixed soils entered the private lands, he said.AHM Farhad Uzzaman said they will be rehabilitated after the local administration has completed the list of the affected people.Bagerhat Deputy Commissioner (DC) M Jahangir Alam said a meeting was held at the Shipping Ministry on June 1 on the progress of the Mongla-Ghasiakhali channel‘s digging work where several decisions were taken finally for digging the channel fairly and reserving the removed silt.A follow-up meeting was supposed to be held at the Mongla port on June
8, where the decision will be taken to remove the temporary problem of the people in the area, he expected.The deputy commissioner said they are trying to dump the dredged silt by protecting government land and some lower lands.The BIWTA will pay the money to the affected people from the project, the DC added.The Bangladesh-India shipping-protocol listed Mongla-Ghasiakhali channel was supposed to reopen completely for vessel movement by June.Meanwhile, the BIWTA allowed the authorities to ply 8-feet draft ships during high tide on the artificial 31-km-long route from May 6, sources at BIWTA said.The 31-kilometre artificial route between Mongla and Ghosiakhali is a short river channel that provides access to the Mongla Port. The Mongla-Ghasiakhali river route has been defunct since 2010.Movement of vessels was stopped because of a high degree of siltation,which has made the river non-navigable.The dredging work of the channel is still going on along a 22 kilometre area.UNB, Bagerhat