Livelihood threatened due to navigability crisis and illegal grabbing
The once lively and vibrant Titas River, has undergone a sea of change in reality over the years, and turned into a narrow canal creating navigability crisis due to ongoing illegal grabbing.
Whoever has seen the book cover of “Titas Ekti Nadir Naam”, and read the first three or four lines of the novel could imagine its once rhythmic flow, and lively presence of fishermen on the Titas River.
However, chars in the Titas River have now turned into grazing land in some places, which may hurt the readers of the novel, but is a cruel truth for Titas, also known as the daughter of the Meghna River in Brahmanbaria.
With an intention of bringing back its lost youth, the authorities concerned said they were dredging the river, and will soon carry out an eviction drive against all illegal structures.
While visiting Ananda Bazar, Medda, Shimrail Kandi, and Uzanisha area, the UNB correspondent found that local influential people had illegally built many structures on the river banks, including several high-rise buildings.
Locals said, once upon a time they would rise to the hue and cry of fishermen at dawn. Now the river-based livelihood, business, and agriculture are under threat, they added.
Fisherman Robi Das of the area said, “Titas is not a river anymore like it was in the past. As the river had dried up, we get very few fish to survive with families on a daily basis.”
Another fisherman, Kazol Das said, “I used to get fish whenever I had cast my net, now we rarely get fish from Titas.”
Md Siraj Mia, a launch driver said, “I’ve been plying launch for the last 40 years in this river. Now it is hard to ply a launch as it has turned into a thin canal.”
Movement of launch, boat, and other river vessels may come to a stop any time due to extreme navigability crisis, he added.
Local river commuters said, now it takes more time to move from one place to another.
The people living on the river bank demanded immediate steps to prevent ongoing illegal grabbing, adding that many illegal structures have already narrowed down the Titas River.
Brahmanbaria Water Development Board Executive Engineer Gouripada Sutradhar said, “The river dredging process is going on to free the river course.”
Expecting socio-economic development of the area, he added that the Titas River will get its navigability back once the dredging project is completely implemented.
Deputy Commissioner Hayat-Ud-Dowllah Khan said that people living on Titas River’s banks have occupied the land by building houses in different places.
“We’ve already made a list of 623 grabbers, and sent it to the ministry concerned. An eviction drive will start soon,” the DC added.
Khan said sediment and sand have filled up the river over a stretch of 103km out of 110km that flows in Brahmanbaria.