'The river directly contributes Tk800 crore to the national economy every year'
Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) President Mahbubul Alam has urged the government to declare the Halda a national river of Bangladesh.
“The Halda River is the country’s largest natural breeding ground for carp. A huge number of people, including fry collectors and hatchers, make a living on the spawn produced in the river,” he said in a letter to prime minister’s Principal Secretary Md Nojibur Rahman on Tuesday.
“The river directly contributes Tk800 crore to the national economy every year,” he added.
“However, various studies have recently revealed the sorry state of the river due to the disposal of untreated industrial effluent and household waste, as well as sand extraction and encroachment. The level of dissolved oxygen in the river has dropped making it difficult for the fish and brood fish to survive. The natural resource will no longer exist if the current scenario continues,” said Alam.
“It is commendable that the government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, has implemented many projects to conserve the heritage of the country. It is then of paramount importance to conserve the river. The government should declare the Halda a national river in order to keep the source of protein from being diminished,” added the CCCI president.
Originating in Khagrachari’s Ramgarh upazila, the 107km-long river passes through Hathazari and Raozan upazilas before merging with the Karnaphuli River.
During April and May every year, various species of carp start migrating to the Halda spawning ground from the Karnaphuli, Matamuhuri, and Sangu rivers, among others.