No respite for Atir Khal
While environmentalists cry loud for saving natural canals, a company continues to fill up century old Atir Khal in Waaspur, opposite to Basila, sealing the fate of this fantastic waterway.
Sensing that the project might come to a halt in the face of protests and media attention, the developer has set extra machinery on the site for filling the canal round the clock.
According to villagers, the developer is also planning to build a road below a bridge in Ghatarchar with a view to claiming that part of the canal as private property. If the road is built, the bridge will become redundant and the canal will cease to exist.
The Waaspur Garden City Cooperative Society officials said they have "managed" the deputy commissioner's office in Dhaka and land office in Kalatia for the project and have all necessary documents dating back to the British-era.
The age-old Atir Khal, which is about ten kilometres long, originates from the river Buriganga at Waaspur and winds its way through Looterchar, Ghatarchar, Emargaon, Ati Bazar, Panchdana, Balurchar, Bhangabari, and Nawabchar areas before meeting the river again at Kholamora.
The canal serves tens of thousands of people along its route. Commuters regularly travel between Ati Bazar and Sawarighat on merchandise boats there. The route is about to meet its certain end at Waaspur.
Moreover, farmers of the area use the canal for irrigation and transport of goods to city markets.
Deputy Commissioner of Dhaka Zillar Rahman told The Daily Star that he was not aware of the project and would look into the matter.
Meanwhile, Save the Environment Movement on Wednesday formed a human chain in front of the National Press Club demanding protection of Atir Khal and Haikkar Khal.