Once flowing Bhairab river and several canals in Kachua upazila of Bagerhat are heading towards virtual death, thanks to illegal occupation and garbage dumping for years.
“Influential people have built illegal establishments occupying lands on both sides of the Bhairab river, the lifeline of Kachua. Besides, mindless dumping of rubbish is gradually filling up the river and causing dangerous pollution to the water,” said Afzal Hussain, a retired teacher.
Several canals of Sangdia, Afra, Kolmibuniya, Bakulatala, Kachua Sadar and Bhadhal Bazar areas are in awful conditions.
“Cultivation is hampered as water for irrigation is not that available. Shortage of water and pollution in rivers and canals also affect fish stocks,” said Anath Kumar Das of Sangdia village.
Farmers are facing serious problem to bring their agricultural products to Kachua Sadar Bazar as movement of boats has become difficult, said Kabir Sheikh, a local.
Along with navigability problem, locals are facing problem as they cannot use the polluted water of the Bhairab and several canals for household purposes, said Kondokar Niaz Iqbal, president of Kachua Press Club.
“We demand immediate steps to free the natural water bodies from the grabbers and excavate those on an urgent basis,” he said.
Md Nahid Uzzaman, executive engineer of Water Development Board in Bagerhat, said, “We are excavating rivers and canals in different upazilas. With the help of administration, we are taking action against illegal occupiers of rivers and canals.”