An important canal in Mirzapur municipal area of the district has become almost dead due to mindless filling and grabbing.
The three-kilometre-long canal, locally known as Barukhali Khal, links the Louhajang and Bongshai rivers, and flows through Baimhati area in the south and Bawar Kumarjani area in the north of the upazila headquarters.
Different structures, including dwelling houses and shops, were constructed after filling of the canal at different places, which threatens the 25,000 municipality dwellers with water-logging, locals said.
Several elderly citizens in Mirzapur said water used to flow through the canal all through the year, including the dry season.
After the '80s, influential people started grabbing the canal with the help of a section of dishonest officials and employees of the local land office. The grabbers, having political clout, also constructed concrete structures including high-rise buildings on the banks of the canal, locals alleged.
“The canal was 102 feet wide previously but now it is 50 feet to 60 feet due to the mindless encroachment,” said green activist Ershad Alam, also a resident of Post Kamuri area in the municipality.
The death of the canal will bring environmental disaster in the area as it is the most important drainage system of the town, he added.
“As the confluences between the canal and the rivers have been filled up, water flow has already stopped at different places. The water has also become polluted, posing a health hazard for locals,” Ershad said.
Admitting the sorry state of the important canal, Mayor of Mirzapur municipality Shahadat Hossain Sumon said the municipal authorities will save the canal and revive its flow.
“We and the upazila administration will demarcate the area of the canal very soon and take next necessary steps in this regard,” he added.
Assistant Commissioner (Land) in Mirzapur Rumana Yasmin said fresh bid to grab any river or canal will be resisted, adding that steps will be taken to recover the grabbed canal through social movement.