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Stone lifting from Teesta threatens irrigation, dyke projects

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Published: Friday, May 31, 2013

S Dilip Roy, Lalmonirhat




Illegal stone lifting with dredgers from the Teesta River at Char Khoribari village of Sanyazan union in Hatibandha upazila under Lalmonirhat district poses threat to Teesta Barrage in Hatibandha upazila under the district and an under construction dyke on Bangladesh-India border in Dimla upazila under Nilphamari district. PHOTO: STAR


Illegal stone lifting from the Teesta in the upstream of the Teesta Barrage threatens the country’s largest irrigation project at Daliya village in Hatibandha upazila of Lalmonirhat district and an under construction dyke on Bangladesh-India border at Char Tepa Khoribari village in Dimla upazila of Nilphamari district.

A group of locals in collusion with a section of Water Development Board (WDB) officials have continued the callous act for a month, locals said.

At least 50 dredgers are engaged to do the work round the clock but there is no action from the WDB authorities, police or upazila administrations of Hatibandha and Dimla upazilas, they said.
On May 23, a team of Border Guard Bangladesh led by Rangpur Sector Commander Col Niyamul Islam Fatemi seized six dredger machines beside the under construction dyke at Char Tepa Khoribari village of Dimla upazila.

“An organised gang illegally lift stones with dredgers from the river. The machines create sound pollution in the area. But the local people can’t protest it as the gang has connections with the ruling party leaders and government officials,” said Azizul Islam, 42, a schoolteacher at Daliya village.

“Illegal stone lifting beside the under construction dyke on Bangladesh-India border in Dimla upazila also affects my union [Saniyazan] and two other unions of Hatibandha upazila,” said Mohammad Enayetullah, chairman of Saniyazan union parishad (UP).

“If the illegal stone lifting continues, the under construction dyke is likely to collapse during the rainy season and it will bring untold sufferings to several thousand families in these unions. Locals complained to the authorities of Water Development Board at Daliya but no action has been taken yet,” he added.

Jamal Uddin Bulu, chairman of Goddimari UP of Hatibandha upazila, said, “The WDB authority at Daliya can take legal action with the help of the upazila administration and the police anytime but it is not being done due to unknown reasons. Illegal stone lifting poses serious threat to Teesta Barrage and the under construction dyke and leaves several thousand people in my union vulnerable to erosion and flooding by the Teesta River.”

Contacted, Mahbubur Rahman, executive engineer of WDB at Daliya, said they have already stopped illegal stone lifting from the Teesta River beside the under construction dyke.

“A group of people backed by the ruling party leaders are lifting stone from different places near the Teesta Barrage. WDB officials cannot fully stop illegal stone lifting from the river without the help of local administration and the police,” he added.


Source : thedailystar


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