A large section of an entire width of a canal has been filled up by Sadarpur Upazila Parishad -- a body entrusted with development in the area and wellbeing of inhabitants of the upazila.
Locals said the upazila parishad has been filling up the canal for the past one month to set up a stand for battery-operated three-wheelers, widely known as ‘easy-bikes’.
The nine-kilometre-long canal, locally known as Sadarpur Bazar Khal, is crucial for local agriculture as it is the primary source of water for irrigation and retting of jute, they also said.
Connecting the Bhubaneshwar and Kumar rivers, the canal flows from Bhashanchar Union Parishad area of the upazila through Bhanga upazila in the south.
During a visit to the area recently, this correspondent came across a 500-metre-long stretch of the canal where its entire width has been filled with sand dredged from the Bhubaneshwar river.
The sand filling was done in multiple layers with polythene sheets in between.
Sabbir Hossain, a resident of Shyampur village, said, “The canal is the lone source of water for farmers in our area. The local farmers will suffer immensely if the canal stops flowing.”
Contacted, Kazi Shafiqur Rahman, chairman of the upazila parishad, claimed that they have stopped filling up the canal.
They needed a piece of land to use as a stand for ‘easy bikes’ in order to solve traffic congestion in the upazila headquarters. After finding no such land, they were filling up a portion of the canal. But now, they are planning on removing the sand from the canal and build some sort of a platform over the canal to ensure its flow, he also said.
Robi Goldar, upazila nirbahi officer of Sadarpur upazila, said he found out about the encroachment on the canal after the sand-filling started there.
The work has been stopped and a process was underway to remove the sand from the canal, he said, adding that a design wold be worked out to install a platform over the canal, while keeping its flow.
Executive Engineer Sultan Mahmud of Water Development Board, the custodian of waterbodies, said, “I had no knowledge of the matter. We will take [necessary] measures after investigation.”