Rivers in Panchagarh get back normal flow for re-excavation
PANCHAGARH, Jan 23: The purpose of river and canal re-excavation in the district has come true.
Life has got brought back to the dredged rivers and canals. The nature and biodiversity have been in a new coherence in the district.
According to official sources, cultivation of local fish, vegetables, fruits and crops has increased. It has been promoted by normal water flow.
The river navigability has got new speed. The canals have been refilled with flowing water.
Water-holding capacities in small rivers and canals have increased. The agriculture production is being facilitated by smooth irrigation.
Rivers and canals are now playing a positive role in the growth of fishery and biodiversity conservation.
For fresh plantation along river banks and water bodies, environmental and socio-economic patterns have changed. According to Water Development Board (WDB), these developments have been made according to Delta Plan-2100.
The dredged rivers and canals included Chawai River (20 km) in Sadar Upazila, Versa River (10 km) in Tentulia, Buritista River (20 km) in Debiganj Upazila, Pathraj River (30 km) in Boda Upazila, and Barasingia Canal (8 km) in Atrai Upazila.
The rivers and canals have been re-excavated at Tk 23 crore. It was under a programme of fish farming, increasing holding capacity, and river-canal bank plantation, according to official sources.
These water channels would dry in the dry season. But these are now overflowing. Fallow lands are now full of fruits and crops.
Versa River is flowing through Bhajanpur in Tentulia Upazila. The river became levelled with plain. Crops are also cultivated on its bed.
Now it is as if a new river after re-excavation of 10 km stretch.
Aquatic life including flora and fauna has got new rhythm in the river. Also the beauty of its banks has increased manifold.
The dredging of rivers and canals has reduced water-logging as well. Along with the improved drainage system, the flooding risk has decreased.
Locals in basin areas of these rivers have been blessed to get multi-dimensional facilities. Aman and Boro farming is getting enough irrigations.
Farmer Azgar Ali in Buraburi Union of Tentulia Upazila, said, "We have witnessed water crisis in cultivating various fruits and crops including paddy. Water had to be irrigated from underground through shallow machines at extra cost. River dredging has benefited us a lot. "
"Now I can produce fruits and crops using river water. Our long hope has seen success. We are very happy," he added.
Abdur Razzak, a resident of the area, said, the Versa River was dead; now the river has been in new term of life; and crop yielding is getting better.
Bashir Uddin in Bhajanpur Bamanpara of Tentulia Upazila said, 'We are cultivating different crops with the water of the river'.
Mahatab Uddin in Barasingya of Atrai Upazila said, 'We have benefited a lot from re-excavating the canal. Earlier, our lands would be submerged in the rainy season. Now the canal has been re-excavated, paving the way for the water to recede'.
'Now I can produce all kinds of crops including paddy, wheat, maize, mustard, potato, onion, chilli', he added.
Dayal Chandra Barman, a farmer in the area, said, farmers on both sides of the river have benefited in many ways. For dredging of the river, rain water recedes easily.
Jewel Mandal in Bhaulaganj of Debiganj Upazila said, the environment is also getting better.
Sharif Hossain in Panchagarh Sadar Upazila said, the initiative of the government is really commendable; all rivers in Panchagarh should be re-excavated; then the environment will be developed, and river-centric tourism industry will be flourished.
Chairman of Kajaldighi Kaliaganj Union Parishad in Boda Upazila Md Alauddin Alal said, no government before Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had taken any initiative to save major rivers in the district.
Prime Minister has undertaken Delta Plan-2100 to save the rivers and the environment, he mentioned.
Vegetables, fruit, Boro and Aman crops are being cultivated in thousands of acres of land, he further said.
Touhidul Bari Babu, chief environmentalist of the Department of Geography and Ecology in Panchagarh Government Women's College, said, river and canal dredging has facilitated the conservation of nature and biodiversity here; if other rivers and canals that have dried up are excavated, the real form of revering Bangladesh will be revealed.
Deputy Director of the Department of Agriculture Extension Md Mizanur Rahman said, thousands of people in five upazilas of the district are benefiting from the excavation of rivers and canals; drainage in monsoon and use of water in dry season has been ensured; production of various crops including vegetables has increased; one cropping land has been converted into two or three cropping land.
Panchagarh District Fisheries Officer Shahnewaz Siraj said, five rivers and one canal have been re-excavated in the district through the WDB. This will create a good prospect for fish farming and fishermen.
Excavation of rivers and canals has increased navigability and increased water-holding capacity, he further said.
'We believe, the production of native species of fish will increase manifold if it is possible to make suitable fish farming activities in rivers and canals', he mentioned.
'We have sent a demand to the department for the release of native species of fish fry in these rivers and canals', he further added.
WDB's Executive Engineer in Panchagar said, 184 km of river re-excavation work will be implemented in the district under the river excavation project of the Delta Plan at Tk 150 crore.
'We are continuing excavation as the priority project of the Prime Minister, he mentioned.