A river getting lost to siltation | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 16, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, March 16, 2018

A river getting lost to siltation

The Pagla river that flows through two upazilas of Chapainawabganj sees a gradual decrease in water flow and is heading towards virtual death due to huge deposition of silt in absence of regular dredging.

As a result, the mighty river is drying up day by day, causing a serious treat to agriculture and fisheries in the region.

A major portion of the 41 kilometre-long river is facing an imminent death due to a drastic fall in its flow.

A number of people, living along the riverside, said the situation is very alarming and if necessary steps are not taken immediately the entire riverbed will completely dry up.

The river Pagla enters the country from to Malda district of West Bengal in India through Milik-Sultanpur area in Shibganj upazila of Chapainawabganj and then falls into the Mahananda river in Mohonpur area of Sadar upazila. 

With its changing features, the river in highly restive and this is probably why the river was named Pagla, meaning crazy one in Bengali.

Once, the river played a vital role in public movement and transportation of goods, locals said, adding that many market places have developed on the river banks at several points.

Various species of fishes were found aplenty in the river only a few years ago, said Nurtaj Ali, 70, of Bahalabari village in Shibganj upazila.

Earlier, farmers living along the riverside used to irrigate their croplands with the river water, but they cannot do that now due to siltation.

The situation was very hard to swallow for Babul Reza, a boatman of Kalinagar village in Sadar upazila, as he had to switch to another profession due to dying of the river.

Kamal Hossain of Nawabjaigir village in Sadar upazila said he left plying boats about fifteen years ago and is now working as farm labourer.

Although at least 80 boats used to ply from Kalinagar Ghat, there is no boat there now, he said.

Irrigation is being badly hampered in the river basin areas as the river is heading towards death due to continuous deposition of silt for the last 20 years, Sundarpur Union Parishad Chairman Habibur Rahman said.

People used to transport agricultural products and various goods using the waterway only two decades ago, said Sefayetullah of Mohodipur village in Shibganj upazila.

The river, which is almost dead now, reflects the health of the entire river basin areas as well, said Foysal Mahmud, coordinator of environmental organisation Save the Nature, Chapainawabganj unit.

Executive Engineer Shahidul Islam of Chapainawabganj Water Development Board (WDB) said they have prepared a project proposal, at an estimated cost of Tk 50 crore, for dredging 21 kilometres of the river.

They will send the project proposal to the water resources ministry soon, he added.

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