People of Rajshahi, Natore, Pabna and Sirajganj districts will join a 220-kilometre-long human chain along the Boral River from Charghat in Rajshahi to Baghabari in Sirajganj district today demanding steps to save the river that serves as lifeblood of the country’s largest water body Chalan Beel.
Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (BAPA), Movement to Save Boral, Movement to Save Chalan Beel, Association for Land Reform Development, and The Riverine People jointly organised the programme, marking the International Day of Action for Rivers being observed across the world.
Boral River, originated from the Padma at Charghat, flows into the Jamuna at Baghabari through the four districts and connects with 30 rivers in Chalan Beel area.
“Chalan Beel has gradually turned into several detached stagnant water bodies due to the authorities’ unwise acts. In the name of fishing projects, the then government in 1985 divided the Boral River with several cross dams and regulators and later three concrete roads were constructed across it,” said Dr Abdul Matin, secretary of BAPA.
Besides, due to continuous encroachment for over two decades, the once profusely flowing wide river has narrowed down to 150 to 200 feet at places, showing hardly any characteristics of a river, he said.
Over three lakh people are likely to join the human chain, the largest of its kind in the country, demanding steps to save the river for one hour from 11:00am, said SM Mizanur Rahman, secretary of Movement to Save Boral.
“Our demands include removal of all the cross dams and sluice gates from the Boral River, demarcation of its area according to the CS record and eviction of encroachers, ensuring its navigability by capital dredging to connect Padma, Jamuna and other rivers of the region, remove unplanned fishing projects in the river, and construction of a bridge on it,” he said.