Speakers at a rally in Moulvibazar yesterday urged the government to take steps in saving the Manu river from encroachers.
They also placed emphasis on increasing the river's navigability through dredging and conducting repair works on its embankments.
The rally was organised by Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon's (Bapa) Moulvibazar unit on the bank of the river in Chadnighat area of Moulvibazar town. People from all walks of life as well as 50 non-government development and rights organisations took part in the programme.
Unabated encroachment, illegal sand lifting and construction of various structures on the river by influential people has forced the river to die. As a result, lives and livelihoods of thousands, including farmers and fishermen, have been affected, the speakers said.
The speakers also said they would announce a tougher programme unless the government takes necessary steps to save the river soon.
Ranendra Shankar Chakrabarty, executive engineer of Water Development Board in Moulvibazar, said, excavation and construction of embankments in district will start soon. A project worth Tk 1 crore 60 lakh has already been undertaken to build 127 metres of floodwall on river banks.
Bapa Moulvibazar unit Coordinator Saleh Sohel convened the programme. Among others, Moulvibazar Municipality Mayor Fozlur Rahman, Moulvibazar Chambers former president Dr Abdul Ahad, Moulvibazar Press Club President Abdul Hamid Mahbub, Moulvibazar Press Club Secretary Saleh Elahi Kuti, Moulvibazar Business Forum President Nurul Islam Kamran, Sommilito Samajik Unnayan Parishad President Khaled Chowdhury also spoke.