Thirty canals and a river have died due to illegal occupation and pollution in Barishal
By Zeba Tarannum
Thirty canals and a river have died due to illegal occupation and pollution in Barishal’s Gournadi Upazila. Due to the lack of water, it is not possible to cultivate the agricultural land, and due to the canal and river pollution, biodiversity is also being severely affected. The canals have been wiped out due to heaps of polythene and rubbish.
According to the locals, 30 canals flow through different areas of the Upazila, and the irrigation demand of the surrounding croplands is met by using the water of the Palardi river.
But due to occupation and pollution of canals and rivers, the water flow has decreased, and many canals have died. Due to which the farmers of the Upazila are not getting water for the production of various crops. As a result, they are in trouble as they cannot do agricultural work. Besides, 7,000 acres of agricultural land of the Upazila has been reduced in the nine years due to the construction of unplanned infrastructure.
According to the Upazila Land Office, a list of 30 small and big canals and 273 illegal occupants around the Palardi River was made. The list was later sent to the River Commission through higher authorities, but the illegal occupants have not yet been evicted. So far, it was not observed to receive any instruction from the higher authorities in this regard.
Meanwhile, Israt Jahan, Gournadi Upazila Nirbahi Officer, said by informing that no concession will be given to the river and canal occupants, ‘measures are already being taken against illegal occupants of the canal and projects have been passed to re-excavate three canals.’
Monir Hossain Sardar, IRRI Block Manager of North Bijoypur village of the Upazila, said, Paddy was cultivated in 22 nearby IRRI blocks with the water of Gaurnadi’s Gaynaghata canal.
After the Gaynaghata canal died, the IRRI blocks were kept running by giving water to the dead canal through double lifting, placing a five cusec irrigation pump to the big canal. But due to the high cost, farmers have lost interest in cultivating IRRI.
Regarding this, Mamunur Rahman, an officer at Gournadi Upazila Agriculture office, said, water is the root of agriculture. If the water flow of the canals remains normal, there will be a huge development of agriculture in the area. In 2011, the cultivable land in Gournadi Upazila was 34,112 acres. In 2020, agriculture has been done in on 27,034 acres of land. In 9 years, agriculture has decreased in 7,078 acres of land.
From the locals, it is learned that the illegal establishments have been constructed by occupying the Gaynaghata canal, Kasba canal, Saudher canal, and Barthi canal of the Upazila. Similarly, the occupiers have set up 20 illegal establishments from the Palardi River connected canal Gournadi port to the canal up to Bilbagram market through Upazila Parishad.
Besides, the banks of canals in different areas of the Upazila, including Chandshi, Mahilara, Ashokathi, Batajor, Sarikal, Khanjapur have been occupied long ago. Torki is one of the largest ports in the south. The estuary of Palardi River and six small and big canals were connected with Torki port. The canals have been filled due to illegal occupation and pollution. Almost all the canals have been wiped out due to this.