Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (BAPA) and Save the Sari River Movement (Sari Nodi Bacho Andolon) have demanded for exclusion of the Kapna river from the list of waterbodies and pleaded not to lease the river to save the environment and biodiversity of the Ratargul Swamp Forest.
Leaders of the two platforms raised the demand in a letter submitted to the Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Sylhet recently.
The environment activists mentioned, the Ecology and the Biodiversity of the Ratargul will directly be threatened since the river has been enlisted as a waterbody in an ulterior motive to lease it.
According to sources, the zigzag, serpentine Kapna river of Sylhet emerged from Kushigang of Borohaor and flowing westward through hills and swamps along the Haripur Bazaar, it crossed Sylhet-Tamabil road. It then confluenced with the Korich river and flowing further west, it entered into Ratargul Swamp Forest. The river then falls into Sari and Chengerkhal river. As a result, the existence of Ratargul swamp forest is inseparably involved with the Kapna river.
The letter signed by Sharif Jamil, Central General Secretary of Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon and Abdul Hye Al Hadi, President of Sari Nodi Bachao Andolon was handed over to the Deputy Commissioner of Sylhet recently.
The letter mentioned a notice for leasing the water body was published in the Daily Jugantor on March-1 ,2021 from Jaintapur Land Office where the name of Kapna river has been included as a water body covering 20-acres of areas. Tenders have been invited to lease out 7.70 acres of waterbody of Umanpur Haor under Kapna river. They mentioned, they were astonished to notice that the river has been included as a water body as an attempt to lease it out.
They further said, the only sweet-water swamp-forest and sanctuary of wildlife in the country is Ratargul swamp forest. This special sanctuary enriched with varied bio-diversity is situated beside the river. Kapna river and Koiyar Khal are inseparable parts of ecology of Ratargul. Loss of any sort of natural characteristics of the river Kapna will directly affect the biodiversity of Ratargul. For these reasons, the environmentalists demanded to cancel the lease of Kapna river by withdrawing it from the list as a water-body soon so that the lives, environment and the biodiversity of Ratargul is saved and retained.
The letter said, instead of actual fishermen, some vested, influential quarters have been using the water bodies for fish-cultivation years after year in collusion with the concerned government officials. Local people do not dare to talk about their activities. As a result, the real fishermen are being deprived. These influential quarters were blocking the natural flow of water and thus drying up the river and losing the natural instinct of the river.
It is learnt, 27 kilometre long and 78 metre width in average, serpentine Kapna is listed as a river under Bangladesh Water Development Board. There are BPDB signs of the river on both sides of the river at Haripur Bazaar. Such a recognised river should never be declared as a water-body and be leased out, informed sources mentioned.