'Save Karnaphuli from pollution'
Around 150 Sampans (boat) joined a procession on the Karnaphuli River in the port city yesterday demanding the river be saved from pollution.
Starting from Abhoy Mitra Ghat, the procession ended at Bangla Bazar Ghat where more than 300 members from 23 co-operative organisations of boatmen took part.
The event was held as part of a three-day “Sampan Khela O Chatgan Sangskritik Mela” (Sampan festival and Chittagong cultural fair), which began yesterday.
Chittagong Regional Cultural Academy is hosting the programme.
Prof Idris Ali, a researcher on the Karnaphuli River and chemistry teacher at Chittagong Government College, was the key speaker at the inaugural ceremony.
Chowdhury Farid, Chittagong bureau chief of Channel-I, and Aliur Rahman, convener of Chittagong Regional Cultural Academy, were also present on the occasion.
The speakers highlighted the role of the Karnaphuli in the national economy and said that due to pollution, the river's aquatic environment was degrading gradually.
As the river ghats (levee) are being grabbed by lighter ship owners and powerful quarters, the number of Sampans is decreasing day by day, and boatmen are losing their profession, they said.
They raised several demands, including protecting the river from pollution, stopping river grabbing, saving the boatmen by saving Sampan, and letting Abhoy Mitra Ghat not to close.
On the second day of the programme today (Wednesday), a seminar titled “Save Karnaphuli, save the country” will be held on a floating ship. Dr Hossain Zillur Rahman, ex-advisor to a caretaker government, will be present on the occasion as chief guest.
In addition, a Kabial Shommelon (folk singers' conference) will also be held at Charpatharghata CDA ground today.
Tomorrow (Thursday), a Sampan race will be held in the river from Avay Mitra Ghat, which will be inaugurated by Channel-i head of news Shyekh Seraj.
An event of local songs of Chittagong and a local drama “Sampanwala” (boatman) will mark the closing day programme of the festival at Charpatharghata CDA ground.