Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (BAPA), Rajshahi district committee, organised a human chain and held a meeting at the Zero point of Shaheb Bazar demanding to implement North Rajshahi Irrigation Project immediately to save Rajshahi region from scarcity of water and to ensure the use of surface water instead of subterranean water.
Speakers at the meeting informed, the agriculture of Rajshahi region is almost fully dependent on underground water. Due to use of underground water the subterranean water reservoir is turning empty. Moreover, there having no water in the river Padma, all the canals and water bodies of the region turned dry soon after the monsoon. To save the region from an imminent desertification, people of Rajshahi region have been demanding to implement North-Rajshahi Irrigation Project for a long time.
In the programme of BAPA, Rajshahi, activists and organisers demanded to the government to implement the NRIP as soon as possible. The programme organised in observance of International Day of Action for Rivers with the slogan ' Save the river Padma, Save Rajshahi' was presided over by Jamat Khan, President of BAPA, Rajshahi, district committee.
Jamat Khan in the meeting said,' According to a government survey, the subterranean water level of the entire Northern region is turning empty. We have been demanding to implement North Rajshahi Irrigation Project to save the region from a disaster and desertification for the last two-decades. But, due to Bureaucratic litigation, the project still remain in limbo. We demand to implement the project immediately. Otherwise, we would start agitation against those bureaucrats who are working against the project'.
Speakers further mentioned that authorities of BMDA under Rajshahi and Rangpur divisions now supply subterranean water through deep tube wells to the farmers. As a result, the subterranean water level is depleting alarmingly. Water Development Board in Rajshahi had prepared a project entitled North-Rajshahi Irrigation Project to save the region from the depleting water level by preserving and using surface water. The implementation of NRIP would ensure irrigation of 74,850 hectares of land using surface water.
They further mentioned, development is not essentially meant to build roads and buildings rather the prerequisite of development is water. But, there was no water in the river Padma. The tenure for Farakka contract ends after four-year and the renewed contract should be signed by ensuring the just share of water. The river Padma should be enlivened, otherwise, the agriculture of the country would be destroyed and we would starve in near future. So, sufficient flow of water must ensured in the river Padma. They demanded to the government to save Rajshahi region by implementing NRIP.
Debashish Pramanik Debu, Advisor of BAPA, Rajshahi, informed, the BAPA has been demanding from 2001 to stop using subterranean water for irrigation purposes to save the northern region from desertification. But, the government was not paying hid to their demands, he added.
Conducted by Zobayed Hossain Jitu, the meeting was addressed, among others, by Freedom Fighters Abul Bashar, Altaf Hossain, Advocate Entajul Haque Babu, Golam Nabi Rony, Selina Hossain, Sufia Begum, Minhaj Uddin Mintu, Zahid Hasan and SM Saju.