Bengali river excavation, bank protection work in progress

Published : 22 Apr 2022 10:36 PM | Updated : 23 Apr 2022 02:37 PM

The Bengali river of Bogura in the rainy season, overflows and erodes on both banks, but in the summer it seems like a dead canal. Due to lack of water, cultivation is taking place in different places along the river. Boat traffic has almost stopped, and farmers are deprived of irrigation facilities due to lack of water and fishermen are not able to procure native fish from the river. 

Excavation and shore protection work has started to restore the navigability of that river. When the work of this project is completed, the depth of the river will increase, there will be water all the year round and the farmers will get irrigation facility. Indigenous fish will be saved from extinction. Life will return to the river again.

It has been seen that this once turbulent river was one of the means of communication in East Bogura. The Bengali river in Bogura dries up at the beginning of summer, despite the heavy rain seemingly like a dead canal in a little water. Crops are being cultivated in the river. Although there is a small flow of water, it can be crossed on foot from side to side. In some areas, water hyacinth has somehow survived. 

Meanwhile, the government is implementing a project to restore the navigability and depth of various rivers in the northern region including Bogura. Bengali-Karatoya-Fuljor-Hurasagar river system dredging re-excavation and bank conservation work has started.

Excavation and shore defense work is in full swing to restore navigability in the Bengali River by removing excess sand through 99 km dredging in the Bogura section. The Bangladesh Army is working on the dredging part of the project. The Water Development Board is working to protect the shores, control the floods and prevent river erosion. 

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina approved the project at the ECNEC meeting in November 2018. Although the work of the project started in November 2019, the excavation work in Bogura region started at the beginning of 2020 and is currently continuing. Excavation work of the entire river, including the Sonatala part of the 'Bangali' river in Bogura, the only river in Bangladesh in the name of Bengali nation, is going on. 

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This is the first excavation of the river since its inception. Once the busiest communication area for sailing boats and the lively presence of Majhimalla, the Bengali river filled up and lost its youth and turned into a dilapidated canal. At present, the work of river dredging and bank conservation project at a cost of Tk 2,335cr is in full swing. Two hundred and seventeen kilometers of rivers of Sirajganj, Bogura and Gaibandha districts are included in the excavation area of Bengali river. Of these, 99 km is from Sherpur upazila to Sonatala upazila of Bogura border. 

The government will have to spend around Tk 750. More than one and a half hundred dredging machines are carrying out excavation work in those three districts day and night under the supervision of Bangladesh Army.

 The sand raised from the bottom of the river is being kept on the river bank. At the end of the excavation, a beautiful CC block will be set up on both sides of the river. CC blocks are being constructed at different points for this purpose. Excavation of this long spiral river in Bogura district will provide year round irrigation facilities to the farmers along the Bengali river. 

As a result, fish production including agriculture will increase. The Bengali river will regain its lost youth due to excavation, the ancient tradition will return, the door of modern river communication system will be opened. Once the excavation work is completed, there will always be water in the river. Sariakandi Upazila Nirbahi Officer Mohammad Rezaul Karim said that if navigability was restored, farmers would be able to irrigate directly from the river, which would reduce the pressure on groundwater, reduce the cost of irrigation and facilitate communication.

Regarding the progress of river dredging and river governance, Abdur Rahman Taykia, sub-divisional engineer of Sariakandi, Bogura of the Water Development Board, said, "35 per cent of the river dredging work has already been completed.

Md Mahbubur Rahman, Executive Engineer, Water Development Board, Bogura, said that river excavation and bank conservation work is in progress to restore the navigability of the river. It will cost Tk 750 crore to complete the excavation of 99 km of river and protection of 19 and a half km of banks on the Bengali river from Sonatala in Bogura to Sherpur. Increasing the depth of the river after dredging will prevent erosion on both sides during the rainy season. He expects the work to be completed by June 2023.

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