The only canal flowing through the district town has virtually turned into a dumping station for huge garbage disposed of by the townspeople, posing serious health risk for locals.
Dumping of garbage have made the canal stagnant, turning the water body into a mosquito breeding ground, thanks to the authorities’ ignorance of the matter.
Md Bellal Hossain, executive engineer of Manikganj municipality, said the canal is six-kilometre-long. The water body is started from West Bandutia and ended in Sonakandar area, where it meets the Kaliganga river.
Advocate Deepak Kumar Ghosh, a resident of Reserve Tank area in the municipality, and president of the Manikganj district unit of Ghatak Dala Nirmul Committee, said a section of local people, most of them traders, have built houses and business establishments by grabbing lands on both sides of the canal.
They have virtually turned the canal into drain, almost filled with various waste materials, posing serious health hazards for the townspeople, he said.
The canal was once a blessing for traders who used to bring goods on steamers and boats but it now remains a sorrow for them, said Deepak.
Bimal Roy, a member (secretary) of Dhaleswari Nodi Bachao Andolan (Save the River Movement, Dhaleswari), said townspeople have been facing various health problems as the canal has become a breeding ground of mosquitoes.
Gazi Kamrul Huda Selim, mayor of the municipality, said they have undertaken a project to renovate the canal by freeing it from illegal occupants.
He has already sought cooperation from the district administration and police in this regard, said the mayor.