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in rajshahi, bangladesh, a water bond initiative has been established to safeguard and preserve the regions ponds and water bodies
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In Rajshahi, Bangladesh, a ‘Water Bond’ initiative has been established to safeguard and preserve the region’s ponds and water bodies

In Rajshahi, Bangladesh, a ‘Water Bond’ initiative has been established to safeguard and preserve the region’s ponds and water bodies

White cloth banners display the names of ponds and dykes in Rajshahi city that have been destroyed. There is also a list of ponds to be occupied. Everything is handwritten, there are also handprints. In addition to banners, placards also demand protection of ponds, ponds, reservoirs. Most of those who are making these demands are young.

On March 28, 2024, young people organized an event at Saheb Bazar Zero Point in Rajshahi to call for the protection of ground-level water reservoirs in the Varendra region to ensure safe water and protect life.

This program has been christened ‘Panibandhan (Water Bond)’. This program is organized by two organizations named Varendra Youth Forum and BARCIK – Bangladesh Resource Center for Indigenous Knowledge.

Under the chairmanship of Varendra Youth Forum President Shaikh Tasneem, আদিবাসী যুব পরিষদ, Indigenous Youth Council-AJP, Rajshahi’s President Upen Rabidas, BARCIK’s Regional Coordinator Shahidul Islam, Youth Action For Social Change – YASC’s President Samiul Alim and General Secretary Atiqur Rahman, Voices of Youth’s President Mahfuzur Rahman, Sector Commanders Forum and General Secretary of MuktiJuddho ’71’s Moniruzzaman Ujjal spoke.

At the end of the program, Shaikh Tasneem read out the eight demands for water in Varendra region. At this time, brave Freedom Fighter Shahjahan Ali gave a speech in solidarity. The youth handed a memorandum with their demands to the Rajshahi’s Divisional Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner at the end of the program.

The youth held signs that read “We demand fair access to water,” “Protect Varendra land by digging canals,” “Stop filling in dry wells,” “People of Varendra, unite,” “What happened to Bilsimla Beel?” and “Protect ‘Ponds that lie in the crop fields, protect ponds lie in Varendra area’, ‘How small will be the ponds?’, ‘Stop encroachment-pollution’, ‘Stop Pond filling,’ etc., in Bengali language.

Shahjahan Ali, the heroic freedom fighter, described the different ponds and lakes of Rajshahi city in human chain. The description of how a pond is filled and what has been done comes out in his speech. He said, since the era of Ershad (Ex-President of Bangladesh who rule over Bangladesh from 1982 to 1990) regime, ponds and ponds have been filled in Rajshahi.

There was a huge pond under RDA Market, the biggest market in Rajshahi Nagar. It has been officially filled. There were 952 ponds filled till now. The number of ponds and ponds that still exist in Rajshahi must be protected. At the same time, the right to water should be ensured by keeping the Padma basin intact.

President of Voice of Youth Mahfuzur Rahman said, ‘What is water tightness, we need to know. We are advocating for issues related to water. Water is one of the basic human rights, which is one of the blessings of the Creator.

It is our responsibility to protect it. Just like planting trees helps balance the environment, conserving water does too.

Samiul Alim, president of Youth Action for Society Change, said, ‘Rajshahi was once called the city of ponds. But now I can see that not only Rajshahi, but the entire Varendra region, the ponds and reservoirs have been filled. By filling the reservoir, the influential are constructing multi-storied buildings.

The ponds of Rajshahi city are being filled in the dark of night. As a result, Rajshahi’s environment is under threat. There is a shortage of water supply in Rajshahi. The ponds in this city must be preserved. Those who have filled the pond day and night should be freed from encroachment. The occupiers should be brought under punishment.

Upen Ravidas, President of Rajshahi District Indigenous Youth Council-AJP, Rajshahi, stated that the biodiversity in Rajshahi is gradually being destroyed. Once many birds used to come to Rajshahi region, now they don’t. There is no biodiversity as the ponds and ponds are encroached upon. Indigenous people in Godagari rezone are facing a water crisis for their agricultural needs.

Natural reservoirs should be opened to all. People should be involved in the development of Rajshahi region and their opinions should be taken. Nature cannot be destroyed by development. Sonadighi in Rajshahi has been narrowed. Many big trees have been destroyed in the name of development.

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