Punarbhaba river dying

The riverbed in Dinajpur becoming farmland


The swinging sheaths of green paddies that can be seen on the riverbed of Punarbhaba could sooth the eyes of the viewers; if only the remembrance of the good old 

days of the river did not haunt his memories. 

Only few decades ago, during the 80s, it was a mighty river flowing full to the brim beside the northern district of Dinajpur. 

Hundreds of huge merchant boats once used to ply on Punarbhaba carrying goods produced in the district to different trade centres across the country.

Many traders used to throng the wholesale markets sprouted on the banks of the river in search of various Rabi crops including 

paddy, jute, potato, brinjal, soya 

and wheat.

Using the water of the river, farmers used to cultivate their 

crops on farmlands on both sides 

of the river. Numerous fishermen built their habitats in villages on

the banks of the river. Fishes were available throughout the year. Fishermen in large and small fishing boats plied from one corner of the river to the other, catching huge amount of fishes.

But those golden days are no more since long as the once mighty Punarbhaba has now turned into a dead canal due to lack of dredging and negligence of authorities concerned. 

The markets and bazars that once thrived with the hectic commercial activities of thousands have now turned into deserted places; the farmlands have turned into 

barren soils and the families of 

fishermen uprooted from the ancestral villages.  

Punarbhaba was one of the most important river in the entire northern region of the country. 

But no dredging initiative has been taken by the authorities concerned for years which ultimately pushed the river towards imminent extinction.  

Due to the negligence of government officials, a vested group of encroachers have filled up the 

river at many places, building 

many commercial structures indiscriminately. 

At places, the river has been filled up with unplanned dumping of wastages. Many have indulged in a game of plundering the river by illegally lifting sands and by selling soils cutting the riverbanks.

Contacted over the allegation of illegal sand lifting, Dinajpur Sadar upazila Nirbahi Officer Md Firozul Islam claimed that since the Pahela Baishakh the malpractice has been stopped. 

District Water Development Board’s executive engineer Md Faizur Rahman said, “We have sent a letter to the government seeking allocation for dredging of Punarbhaba River. Illegal sand extraction from under the Punarbhaba Bridge in the district town have been stopped. If anybody is found involved in illegal sand lifting immediate steps would be taken against him.”