Monday, June 17, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

Authorities to resume dredging on Sowai River

  • Encroachers have grabbed much of the river bed and its banks
  • After years of protests, the authorities recently start dredging operations
  • The dredging operation ended close to an abandoned brick kiln 
  • Locals protest the suspension of the excavation
Update : 18 May 2024, 10:18 PM

The Sowai River, which used to flow through parts of Mymensingh and Netrokona, is a branch of the Brahmaputra River. But the navigability of the river has been in decline for decades due to lack of initiatives for dredging. To solve the problem, the government undertook various measures, including excavation of the river.

However, over the years, encroachers have also grabbed much of the river bed and its banks.

After years of protests, the authorities recently started dredging operations on the river, creating great enthusiasm among the locals.

But, on April 20, the dredging on 46km-stretch of the river was suspended on Kashiganj Bazar to Satpai village section of the river. The dredging operation ended close to an abandoned brick kiln near Shyamgonj Bazar. Authorities said that the dredging was suspended to give time for a land survey and to settle objections raised by Tilak Kumar Roy Tulu and several other businessmen.

The image shows dredging work at the Sowai River in Mymensingh. Photo: Dhaka Tribune

Protesting the suspension of the excavation, local people have staged protests along Mymensingh-Netrokona Highway and also burned the effigies of the land grabbers.

Contacted, Netrokona Water Development Board Executive Engineer Md Sarwar Jahan said that a person has claimed ownership of a large portion of land within the excavation area. Therefore, they had to survey to verify the ownership of the land. 

“However, the excavation will be done according to the map,” he hoped.

Additional Deputy Commissioner of Mymensingh Mahfuz Masum said: “The government is determined to protect the river. Everyone is working sincerely to protect the navigability of all rivers and canals in the district.”

While inspecting the spot recently, this reporter came across information that some local people, including Tilak Kumar Roy, Sheikh Salauddin alias Chan Mia, Khokon Mia and Salam Mia are claiming that the establishments on the river, including the brick kiln, are legal. 

Locals say it is absurd that some people would claim ownership of land in the river. Many people built houses and business establishments on the river and have been occupying the land for decades as the river lost navigability.

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