Influential bodies fill up 200-yr-old ponds in Cumilla

Published : 17 May 2022 09:00 PM

Lalmai upazila of Comilla is Bagmara Bazar is a famous business center. To the east of the market is the Dhaka-Chittagong railway along the north-south and to the west is the one-way Comilla-Noakhali regional highway. Century-old Bagmara High School is on the west side of the road at the northern boundary of this market. Next to the northern boundary wall of this school is another institution called Bagmara Girls High School. 

Just east of these two schools, between the road and the railway, are two ponds at least two hundred years old. Officially, filling of ponds, ditches or reservoirs is prohibited, however a circle of local political identities has filled the two ponds with truckloads of soil by day and night. Several locals, who did not want to be named, said that the 100th founding anniversary of Bagmara High School, which was established in 1921, has been celebrated. 

After that, at the beginning of Ramadan, local Lalmai Juba League convener Motaleb Hoener led the organization and the members of the local influential clique Zahirul Islam Mohan, Safiqul Islam Kshiar, Sanjay Sharma, Iqbal Hossain, Abdul Awal, Nurul Islam Nuru, Muddar Kamal, Kamrul Islam. Two of the ponds have been filled. It is to be noted that since ancient times the people of this area used to use the water of this pond for bathing, washing clothes and other necessities. Fish was farmed. After independence, after the establishment of Bagmara High School hostel on the north bank of the pond, these two ponds were the only source of water for the resident students. 

A source, who did not want to be named, said that at one time there was a swimming competition in the pool in front of the hostel. Moreover, just as the pond was important for drainage of road and railway water in the rainy season, the water of this pond was also used as one of the sources of water in case of fire. 

Local sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that when the school committee leaders started filling the works ignoring the government instructions. 

They filled the two traditional ponds with written letters to various government departments including Kumilla district administration, environment department, Lalmai upazila executive officer and Lalmai police station. Despite seeking the cooperation of the administration, no concerned department has come forward. And thus the graves of the two two hundred year old ponds were created. 

At present the economic activities of the influential people have started centering on the sight of the filled pond. They are earning lakhs of rupees every day in the form of plots with advance rent or long term settlement. It is to be noted that with the permission of Monir Ahmed, the headmaster of Bagmara High School, the filling group went to the Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal but he did not give any consent.