A horse-drawn carriage crossing through a dried-up river bed in Magura. — FE Photo
MAGURA, Sept 04: Once river Gorai was resounded with the whistle of large steamers. The river water was the irrigation source for crop land of 20 villages in the upazila. But all these have turned into a story only. Now the river is a sandy land.
Water Development Board (WDB) Magura informed, char has emerged covering 25 km of river Gorai through sreepur upazila. Consequenlty the river has lost navagability through 20 villages including Razdharpur, Doranagar Kamlapur, Nakol and Langalbandh.
Locals informed, there are two reasons behind misfortune of the river. They are demanding dredging of the river for years. But their demand is going unheeded. On the other hand district administration has banned sand lifting from the river. In this situation want of dredging and ban in sand lifting have left the river in a deadly condition.
Shukumar Pal of village Doranagar under Sreepur upazila said, "Earlier we used the water of Gorai river for irrigation in our crop land. But as the river remains dried up almost through the year we are deprived of the facility. On the other hand as the river is now filled with silt during rainy season river causes damage of crop land by overflowing water. This year the river water has flooded about one bigha of my Aman land."
Fisherman Shunil Majhi of village Langalbandh under sreepur upazila told, fishermen of 20 villages under the upazila are dependent on fishing in the river. But as the river river has lost navigability, in the meantime many fishermen have left their ancestral profession and the rest are fighting for survival.
Doranagar secondary school teacher Shubash Biswas told the deadly condition of the river is not only causing harm to the economy of the upazila. Such condition of the river is causing threatening to ecology as river keeps a vital role in saving bio-diversity. "We are crying for years to save the river. But our crying is falling on deaf ears."
WDB Magura executive engineer Abdul Latif admitted the deplorable condition of the river. He told in want of fund we are failing to dredge the river. When contacted Additional deputy commissioner magura Azmul Hoque admitted the incident of ban on sand lifting in river Gorai. He told earlier erosion has caused damage in the upazila due to illegal sand lifting in the river .For this we have imposed ban on sand lifting in the river.