Twelve of Jhenidah's rivers face grave danger
The 12 rivers flowing through Jhenidah are on the verge of disappearing because of reduced navigability and land grabbing by encroachers. The grabbers are cultivating different crops and excavating ponds for which, soil is filling the river beds and erasing their existence.
Jhenidah Water Development Board (WDB) sources said that 13 rivers flow through Jhenidah. The rivers are Nabaganga, Begboti, Fotki, Kabodak, Isamoti, Kodla, Betna, Buri Bhairab, Bang, Chitra, Kumar, Kali and Garai, with the last of the 13 being the only river not facing any kind of peril.
Visiting the spot, this correspondent found that the farmers are cultivating the river beds at random. Some of them have excavated ponds; some have built houses occupying the river land. They have also set up shallow machines in the river bed.
Farmer Jalal Uddin of Bhaturia village sadar upazila said that those who have possessed lands in the area surrounding the river are cultivating paddy and excavating ponds.
Abdul Jalil Joardar of Baroipara village under Shailkupa upazila said that before the Liberation War, they had plenty of fish due to sufficient water in the river but nowadays, it's are a rarity in Jhenidah.
Gopal Dev, an adivasi and fisherman of Adivasipara under Harinakundo upazila said that he and 300 fishermen of this para have lost their main profession due to lack of water in the river. Consequently they had to change their profession and live difficult lives.
President of Human Rights in Jhenidah branch Aminur Rahman Tuku said that the rivers are being grabbed because of lack of water in the rivers. Fish are in great danger here and a variety of them faces the threat of extinction. In his honest opinion, men from the ruling party are responsible for land grabbing.
Environmentalist Ataur Rahman Miton said that if the rivers cease to exist, trees will die, and the environment will face an ecological imbalance.
Jhenidah WDB chief engineer Abdul Latif said that a project named capital dredging has already started and the rivers that are in the list will be dredged one after the other.