Greed to cost the lone sweet water source | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 12, 2011 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, June 12, 2011

Greed to cost the lone sweet water source


A vested quarter has continued constructing a market at Rayenda Bazar of Sharankhola upazila headquarters under Bagerhat district, earth-filling a part of the pond that serves as the only source of sweet water since tidal surges accompanied by cyclones Sidr and Aila in 2007 and 2009 turned saline most of the drinking water sources in the area. Photo: STAR

A group of ruling Awami League men are building a shopping complex after filling up part of the lone sweet water pond at Sharankhola upazila headquarters in Bagerhat district allegedly in collusion with a section of corrupt officials of Bagerhat Zila Parishad.
The pond adjacent to Rayenda Pilot School and owned by Bagerhat Zila Parishad provided sweet water to over 10,000 people of about 2,000 families after cyclonic storms Sidr and Aila that ravaged the area on November 15 in 2007 and May 25 in 2009 respectively turned most of the sweet water sources saline and undrinkable.
Beneficiaries of the sweet water pond include two thousand students of Rayenda Pilot School and Model Government Primary School.
Besides, the army took initiative to supply safe drinking water from this pond with the help of a water purification machine after the onslaught of Sidr.
But in November 2010, some influential men belonging to the ruling party hit upon a plan to build a shopping complex filling the pond with earth while a section of corrupt officials of Bagerhat Zila Parishad played a vital role in this regard from behind the screen, sources said.
When asked, Joint Secretary of Sharankhola upazila unit of Awami League and former chairman of Rayenda union parishad Abdur Rashid Akand said that a group of vested interest quarter with the connivance of a section of corrupt officials of Bagerhat Zila Parishad are involved in illegal occupation of the pond for constructing a shopping complex there.
"We will launch a movement programme including indefinite strike if the construction work on the sweet water pond is not stopped immediately," he said.
Sharankhola UNO Khandaker Zahirul Islam said, "Construction of shopping complex by earth-filling a pond is illegal. Besides, this pond is very important as it remained as the lone source of sweet water in Sharankhola upazila headquarters after Sidr and Aila hit the area."
Asked about the matter, Chief Executive Officer of Bagerhat Zila Parishad Gokul Chandra Das said, "The shopping complex is being constructed on the bank of the pond, not by filling it with earth. We are doing it for welfare of the people."
Contacted, Director of Khulna divisional office of the Department of Environment Dr Tarun Kanti Shikder said construction of any installation by filling any pond with earth is prohibited under Environment Conservation Act-1995.

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