Illegal move to fill up government waterbody

Syndicate sets dredgers, 1.5 km pipe to fill large pond at Mirkadim in Munshiganj
A one and a half kilometre-long pipe runs through public and private-owned areas as a few influential people have taken an intuitive to carry sand from the Dhaleswari river to illegally fill up a large pond at Noidighirpathar under Mirkadim municipality in Munshiganj Sadar upazila.

A syndicate has set up dredgers in the Dhaleswari river and put pipes on public roads, croplands and even house premises for carrying sand to illegally fill up a large pond at Noidighirpathar under Mirkadim municipality in Munshiganj Sadar upazila.

“Following complaints from locals, I visited the spot and issued directives not to fill up the wetland,” local Assistant Commissioner (AC-Land) Happy Das told The Daily Star.

“Half of the pond is owned by those who are preparing to fill it up. The rest is government property, earlier leased to them. Irrespective of the ownership status, none can fill up such a waterbody without permission from the authorities concerned,” she said.

Visiting the area a few days ago, this correspondent saw a pipe stretching over one and a half kilometres, which the syndicate set up for carrying sand extracted with dredgers from the river.

The long pipe hampers movement of pedestrians and vehicles and causes problem for others concerned but the municipal authority did not take any action against the perpetrators, said locals.

Nobody was given permission to set the pipe, municipal officials said.

Locals expressed concern that ecology of the area will be affected and people will face serious problem if the pond is filled up as they use its water for different purposes like bathing, washing clothes and doing household chores.

Khuku Moni, a local resident, said, “A portion of the wetland is also used for dumping wastes from local households. We will face problem if it is filled up.”

Masud Rana, president of Awami League’s ward No 6 unit under Mirkadim municipality, and a resident of Noidighirpar village, said rainwater from nearby areas finds way to the pond and so, its disappearance will cause waterlogging.

“I filed written complaints to the deputy commissioner, upazila nirbahi officer, assistant commissioner (Land), mayor of Mirkadim municipality and others concerned,” he said.

A few local influential persons including Liton, Shahadat and Jamai Haque are involved in the initiative to fill up the pond, alleged several locals.

This correspondent tried to communicate with them over cell phones but those were found switched off.

Meanwhile, Prohlad Dutta, owner of some land adjacent to the pond, said he fears that the syndicate may also fill up and grab his land along with the pond.

Contacted, Mirkadim municipality Mayor Shahidul Islam said, “We have informed the officials concerned in district administration and local office of the environment department of the matter. We hope they will take necessary measures.”

Assistant Commissioner (AC-Land) Happy Das said she had sent a report to the Deputy Commissioner and waiting for his directives to take further steps.


Farhana Mirza

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