Sand quarrying in Bhairab river going on unabated, farmland in jeopardy

Published : 15 Feb 2022 01:07 AM | Updated : 15 Feb 2022 02:40 PM

Bhairab River is being re-excavated in Jibannagar upazila of Chuadanga. The cost of digging this 6 km long river is about 6 crore 4 lakh Tk. Despite allocating huge amount of money, sand is being extracted from the river with the help of excavators in the name of excavation and it is being sold illegally. Nasir Uddin Mollah, a river excavation contractor, is selling sand at a price of Tk 1,000 per vehicle in the name of development of various mosques, madrasas and educational institutions in the excavation area. 

According to the office of the Executive Engineer of Jashore Water Development Board, the Prime Minister's promise to remove the waterlogging of the Kapotaksha River (Phase II) under the country's dead small rivers, canals and reservoirs re-excavation project for the 8 km long Bhairab river flowing in Jibannagar Upazila last year. The cost of which has been estimated at 6 crore 4 lakh Tk. Contractor Nasir Uddin Mollah got the job of digging 8 km of Bhairab river from Muktarpur village. According to the terms of the tender, the river has to be dug 6 feet deep. During excavation, river banks should be constructed with excavated sand and soil. The contractor will not be able to sell any soil or sand during the excavation work. River excavation work has been going on for the last one month. According to the locals, the contractor is selling the sand excavated with the help of 7 excavators and the sand extracted with dredger machine at the rate of one thousand rupees per truck. Bakul Hossain and Akul Hossain of Kultala village complained that some unscrupulous people including the contractor were extracting sand from the river and selling it. It is getting more than 50 to 60 feet deep in the middle of the river and the river bank is breaking. As a result, crop lands along the river are under threat.

Abdul Khaleq, son of Siddique Ali of Purandapur village, a truck driver who bought river sand from Kultala village, said, "I bought sand from UP member Darud Hossain at Tk 1,000 per car." In one week I bought 9 cars of sand. Denying the allegation, contractor Nasir Uddin Mollah said that the river was being dug with excavators as per rules. He did not sell sand to anyone. Some locals are extracting sand from the river and selling it.

Jibannagar Upazila Executive Officer (UNO) Ariful Islam said that there is no opportunity to sell the sand or soil of Bhairab river excavation in any way. The excavated sand or soil of 6 km section should be used for embankment of river banks. We have conducted a mobile operation in Kultala village on the basis of several complaints. And instructions have been given that no one should take sand from the river. Under no circumstances can anyone illegally remove sand from the river and sell it. Legal action will be taken against anyone who commits such acts.

Meanwhile, several crop lands in the area are under threat due to dredging of sand and soil in the name of river dredging. Locals claim that if sand extraction is not stopped in the name of river dredging, ordinary people will be in dire straits.

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