Encroachment, pollution leading Narsunda River to death

Published : 10 Dec 2022 08:19 PM

Narsunda River, flowing through the chest of Kishoreganj is dying due to encroachment and pollution. The river, which is about 50 km long, flows over different areas of Kishoreganj district. The river is no longer a river as of now. This river is currently dying due to various reasons including pollution and filling of the river by throwing garbage, not cleaning the litter, occupying the place of the river and building structures. 

It was not possible to return the navigable river even with various government initiatives. Conscious circles are blaming the indifference of the concerned for this.

It is known that in 2014, the Awami League government took the initiative to beautify the city of Kishoreganj by constructing walkways, parks, scenic bridges connecting the two banks and planting forests, fruits and medicinal plants in the empty areas of the river. Plantation is said to provide shade for pedestrians. 

The overall cost of this project was increased from Tk 64 crore to Tk 110 crore later. Among the three government projects, Hatirjheel and Gopalganj projects were done under the supervision of the army, but the Narsunda beautification project of Kishoreganj was not done under the supervision of the army for some unknown reason. The river has not regained navigability despite spending huge sums of money by raising project funds.

The Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) and Kishoreganj Municipality jointly carried out the work under the supervision of the district administration. 

The project was completed in 2016. There are also allegations of looting of project money.

It was informed from Kishoreganj LGED office, due to irregularities, the contractor's security was confiscated and renovations were made several times with that money. Even cases have been filed against the contractors. After completing the project, the project was explained to the municipality. However, Kishoreganj Municipality Mayor Md Parvez Mia of said that Narsunda project was not explained to the municipality.

It is known that for the implementation of Narsunda river excavation and beautification project, illegal areas of the river worth millions of Tk have been recovered, but within a few years, they have been occupied in innovative ways. 

Influential circles have dumped soil or waste in different parts of the river, built illegal structures in some places, built offices in the name of organizations, and occupied it by creating gardens in some places. Even though 32.94 kilometers of river has been dug, the river has been turned into a waste by dumping garbage. Now the river has become a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

On the surface, it can be seen that the public life has become miserable due to the stench of garbage and slaughtered animal waste on the walkway (walking path) of about one and a half kilometers from Barabazar to Kacharibazar Bridge in the city built on the banks of Narsunda river. Every day, all kinds of garbage from the market is dumped here. Every day, thousands of people walk on the walkways, sniffing at the strong smell of garbage. The people here also said that if someone comes through here once, they want to come a second time. Even though the municipality has put up a signboard with instructions not to throw garbage, garbage is kept piled up under the signboard.

On the other hand, the Wake Way on the banks of the Narsunda River is devoid of most of the street lights, so it is dark here after evening. There are frequent robberies due to lack of light. The place has already become known as a drug arena. People do not travel through this walkway for fear of evening.

Victims and several local residents said that while they were walking along the walkway in the evening, some mischievous boys took away their money and mobile phones. Apart from this, mobile phones, money and watches have also been taken away from many people. The townspeople are now worried about these.

Narsunda Nad Bachao Movement active activist Syed Yachin said, "It is said that protecting freedom is more difficult than achieving it." This project costing hundreds of crores of rupees is already questionable. Now, due to lack of maintenance and public awareness, everything has been destroyed. Our beloved Narsunda has gradually turned from a river to a lake, and from a lake to a lake now.'

Zila Poribash Rakkha Andolon President Principal Rabindranath Chowdhury said that the water flow has been stopped at once. In fact, the excavation of Narsunda river was not done. Only the edge has been obstructed. Influential people are filling the river with garbage to occupy the place of the river. Many have also built buildings with boundaries on the river. I have human chain many times with these. Actually people should be aware.

Kishoreganj Municipality Mayor Parvez Mia said, 'There is a plan to beautify the Narsunda river. We will implement it if the money is allocated.

Local Government Engineering Department Executive Engineer Md. Amirul Islam said, 'I was not working here at that time. However, Narsunda river beautification project was explained to the municipality six years ago.