Illegal structures continue to occupy areas of Kalaiya canal in Baufal upazila under Patuakhali district, shrinking the famous 20-kilometre-long canal connecting Tentulia and Lohali rivers.Photo: STAR
Kalaiya canal in Baufal upazila under the district is getting narrowed fast as local influential people are constructing buildings and tin-shed structures on the canal land on its both banks.
At least 150 illegal establishments have already been built in about half a kilometre stretch from Kalaiya launch terminal to the 'paddy market' area.
Originated from Tentulia River, the 20-km-long Kalaiya canal connects the Lohali River via Baufal upazila town and Boga union. The canal is 80 to 150 feet wide.
A pavement has been constructed on the canal bank in Kalaiya launch terminal area and many locals are building houses on the canal bank.
During a visit to the area a couple of days ago, a few journalists met Abdur Razzak Howlader, who is constructing a building in the launch terminal area with pillars on the canal bank.
Asked by the newsmen, he said, "I am constructing building on the land that I had earlier bought. The land was eroded by the canal. Many others are also constructing buildings beside the canal. Why are you asking me alone over the matter?"
Shawkat Haider, former president of Baufal upazila unit of Swechchhasebok League, and a few members of his family built at least 12 business establishments cum houses on the canal bank in Kalaiya Bazar area.
"We constructed establishments on our own land that had been devoured by the canal," said Shawkat Haider.
The canal is becoming narrower due to setting up of establishments on its bank but the local administration is overlooking the matter, said Kalam Mia of Kalaiya Bazar.
Mohammad Ali Mia, another local resident said, "Once steamers plied the canal but now small sized trawlers cannot run smoothly here as the water body has become narrow due to encroachment on both sides."
ABM Sadikur Rahman, who joined as upazila nirbahi officer of Baufal recently, said, "No land on the canal can be recorded as private property and nobody can claim ownership of newly emerged land as it is under the government's possession. Illegal establishments on the canal will be removed."