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karnafuli river is dying because of the irresponsibility of port authority and district administration

Karnafuli River is dying because of the Irresponsibility of Port Authority and District Administration

Karnafuli River is dying because of the Irresponsibility of Port Authority and District Administration


Five organizations, including the Chattogram River and Canal Protection Movement, staged a sit-in on the banks of the Karnafuli River at the mouth of the Chaktai Canal on April 24 (2022), demanding eviction of more than 1,600 illegal establishments along the Karnafuli River, including fish markets.

Speakers at the human chain said that Karnafuli is dying because of the secret game of the port and district administration. Illegal fish markets and ice mills have sprung up, occupying about 250 meters of the Karnafuli River.

Despite the dredging of the port, the ongoing Karnafuli depth measurement survey of the Chattogram River and Canal Protection Movement found that a vast char about 300 km south of the fish market, i.e., about three kilometers along the middle of the Karnafuli river, had risen.

That is why the river’s current in this place is only 300 to 350 meters. However, in the Strategic Master Plan for the protection of Karnafuli conducted by the Asia Development Bank and Port Authority in 2014, the river’s width was about 935 meters.

The speakers further said that a port agreement was signed with the Navy in May 2018 at the cost of 20580 million to excavate Karnafuli from Firingibazar Ferry Ghat to the mouth of Shikalbaha Canal above Shah Amanat Bridge.

The domestic company Saif Powertech is working on the Sister Concern E-engineering project through the Navy. In 2021, the cost of this project had increased from 20580 million to 30210 million. The project expires in May this year.

The port authorities are talking about ending the dredging; on the other hand, the port has occupied a part of the river, filled it, and built a fish market.

In a recent order of the High Court, the Chattogram Divisional Commissioner had mentioned to the High Court that the port had abused its power and allowed the establishment of a middle-market by occupying Karnafuli.

The speakers further said that the fishers were fishing in the middle of the Shah Amanat Bridge, where a char had formed during low tide.

The Karnafuli river is half full as fish markets establish at Chaktai and Rajakhali canals. The survey shows that the water depth in the middle of the river is two to two and a half meters.

Professor Dr. Idrich Ali, an expert in a human chain, said, “We have been seeing the port playing hide-and-seek in the name of mining for a long time.

All the doing n the name of capital dredging is spending millions from national revenue. Port authorities claim that Capital dredging is complete, port authorities say. However, in reality, we see dogs eating dead fish and crabs in the middle of the river Karnafuli. This situation cannot be allowed to continue at all.”

Journalist Chowdhury Farid, president of the Chattogram River and Canal Protection Movement, said that

“Despite the high court’s order, the district administration has been evicting only 300 out of 2181 establishments. We want Karnafuli to be excavated from Shah Amanat Bridge to Firingi Bazar in a planned manner by evicting all the illegal structures that have been created by occupying the river Karnafuli. Otherwise, we will build a more significant movement with the people of Chattogram.”

Aliur Rahman, General Secretary of the canal protection movement, said,

“In December 2020, the then district administration Ilyas Hussain issued notices to evict 47 illegal establishments, including the fish market at the mouth of Chaktai canal. After one and a half years passed, Notices were issued, and illegal establishments at the banks of the Karnafuli have not yet been evicted. In the writ petition filed by Advocate Manzil Morshed in 2010, the district administration remained silent despite the specific directions of the Hon’ble High Court.”

“The process of bringing charges against the Chattogram port and district administration for disobeying the High Court order was almost final. If the illegal establishment gets not evicted within 15 days after Eid, the court will file a contempt complaint and seek a specific remedy in the Hon’ble High Court,” he added.

Noman Ahmed Siddiqui, Professor (Part-time) at the Marine Fisheries Academy, said,

“The port and the Karnafuli River in Chattogram are the country’s economic hub. To protect Karnafuli, the port and the District Administration, Environment Department, and Water Development Board have to work together to benefit the country. Although the activities of the Water Development Board observe in other parts of the country, this institution is a silent spectator regarding Karnafuli.”

(Orginal: Rasel Choudhury, Green Page Bengali Publication)

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