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Enclosures for illegal fish farming pollute Boral water

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Monday, March 18, 2013

Anwar Ali, Rajshahi



Unscrupulous people make such enclosures with bamboo fence in around a 15-kilometre stretch of area in Boral River for unauthorised fish farming. The photo was taken from Bonkishore village in Charghatupazila of Rajshahi district a couple of days ago. PHOTO: STAR



Some unscrupulous people have illegally put enclosures with bamboo fences in around 15-kilometre area of the Boral River in Charghatupazila under the district for fish farming, much to the inconvenience of the people of a dozen riverside villages that are dependent on the river water. Around 15 people led by Ariful Islam made enclosures with bamboo fences in the river from Mungli to Shimulia village early January this year, said the villagers, adding that dumping of poultry wastes and chemicals for the purpose makes the river water virtually unusable for household works.

The people of the affected villages including Mungli, Anupompur, Bonkishore, Faridpur, Chadnagar, Chalkshimulia, Patiakandi, Jhikra, KhordoGovindapur and Shimulia alleged that the upazila administration has not taken any action against the illegal activities despite submission of complaints several times.

Asked about the matter, Munshi M Moniruzzaman, UNO of Charghat, said, “Putting fence on any portion of river is prohibited by law. Officials concerned have visited the area and asked the illegal occupiers to remove the fences. If the fences are not removed within a day or two, we will remove those and arrange auction for the fish.”

“Now common fishermen are not allowed to fish in the river. Water is polluted as the occupiers are dumping poultry and cattle wastes, salt and chemicals including urea for fish farming there,” said Zahidul Islam, a youth of Bonkishore village. During a visit to Bonkishore village, a group of reporters including this correspondent saw camps set up by the grabbers at different places of the river bank to guard the fishes.

Several children of Bonkishore Primary School who were bathing in the river said they felt itching after coming in contact with the river water. Mohammad Dukhu, 10, of the village had to receive 20 stitches on his back as he hit a hidden bamboo pole in the river when he jumped into the river a week ago, said Parula Begum, a housewife at the village.

“I cannot use the river water for household works as it got stinky due to fish cultivation. I have to wash cloths again with tube-well water after cloths are washed in the river water,” she said. Ramjan Ali, 35, of the village, who earlier lived by fishing in the river, said he recently started working as a day labourer as real fishermen are not allowed to catch fish there following occupation of the river by some inconsiderate people.

“The villagers submitted a complaint to the UNO two weeks ago. In response, the land grabbers started pressurizing the villagers, who signed the complaint, to withdraw it,” said a local youth on condition of anonymity. When contacted, Ariful Islam said, “Some unemployed youths of the area took the initiative of fish farming and they invested over Tk 2 lakh for it. Our only mistake is that we did not take any permission for fish farming in the river.”

“We are not threatening the villagers. We only requested them to understand our problems. We also assured them of not polluting river water,” he added.



Source: thedailystar






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