From river channel to farmland
The excavation did not bring any result, as the work was not conducted properly. Rather, it has obstructed the natural flow of the river. As a result, the river channel has been filled up again.
The government recently ran an excavation project in Thakurgaon's Suk river. But within 10 months of its completion, the river channel has been filled up again, making the entire effort futile.
In these 10 months, the channel has become a farmland, with farmers cultivating crops and vegetables there.
Locals alleged that the contractor who was assigned to excavate the channel did not do the job properly, while government officials in charge of the project looked away. As the channel wasn't dug properly, it eventually filled up with the silt and sand the water carried from the river.
The Suk river originates in Radhanagar area of Panchagarh's Atwari upazila. Flowing through different villages of Panchagarh and Thakurgaon, the river flows into Tangan river in Thakurgaon Sadar upazila.
Water Development Board (WDB) implemented a project worth Tk 6.90 crore to excavate the 24-kilometre river channel and plant trees on the riverbank.
A joint-venture contractor firm named SR & JH JV was awarded the work, which began in May 2019 and ended in April 2021, according to sources at WDB Thakurgaon office.
However, during a recent visit to Dholarhat and Mohammadpur areas in Thakurgaon Sadar upazila, it was seen that farmers were cultivating crops and vegetables on the newly-filled up river channel.
Meanwhile, in Dholarhat bridge area, a signboard saying "It's a punishable offence to obstruct normal flow of the river, as per directives of the High Court" was seen hanging, although to little effect.
Akhil Barman, a farmer of Dholarhat village, said, "I have planted boro paddy here and hope to get a good yield. My neighbours Hasem and Majid are cultivating sweet potatoes and other vegetables here."
"The excavation did not bring any result, as the work was not conducted properly. Rather, it has obstructed the natural flow of the river. As a result, the river channel has been filled up again," said Nazrul Islam, a resident of the area.
However, Jamal Hossain, an official of SR & JH JV, denied the allegations and said all works were completed as per directives written in the work order.
Contacted, WDB executive engineer (Thakurgaon) Rabiul Islam said he will look into the matter and take necessary measures to revive the channel.