River split up for brick kiln! | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 25, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:32 AM, February 25, 2021

River split up for brick kiln!

A road has been built right through the Ubdakhali river, in Netrakona's Kalmakanda upazila, by the owners of a brick kiln.

They made the road between Basaura and Shaljaan points of the river for transporting bricks to and from the brick kiln named SRS Bricks, located in Bahadurkanda area.

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The Ubdakhali river nearly dries up during the dry season, but it is the primary source of water for irrigation for crop fields in the area through the rest of the year, said locals. 

The road constructed across the river will essentially act as a dam that will create obstruction to the river's flow later on, resulting in a shortage in irrigation water for croplands.

Besides, during monsoon, the river plays an important role as a waterway between Durgapur upazila in Netrakona and Dharmapasha upazila in Sunamganj, they also said.

A local seeking anonymity said that at a time when the river needed urgent dredging for improvement of its navigability, some influential people have worsened the situation by building a road on it.

When this correspondent contacted two owners of SRS Bricks, the version of explanation given by one of them differed from the other.  

Idris Ali, one of them, claimed that while constructing the road, they ensured that the river's water flow will not be obstructed by it.

The other owner, Satya Ranjan Saha, claimed that they built the road in the river for the time being, as currently there is no water in it. But, when water starts to flow during the monsoon, they would remove the obstruction from the river.

When attention of Mohan Lal Shaikat, executive engineer of Water Development Board in Netrakona, was drawn over the issue, he said the structure or the dam would obstruct the river's water flow and cause ecological destruction. "We will take necessary action in this regard after investigation," he assured.

Sabikunnahar, assistant director of Department of Environment in Netrakona, said SRS Bricks has been running illegally even after its environmental clearance certificate was cancelled on grounds of various rules violations.

"The brick kiln is located near a government primary school. That's why we had asked its owners to relocate it. But since it's still running, we will conduct a drive with a mobile court shortly," the official added.

Contacted, Kalmakanda Upazila Nirbahi Officer Sohel Rana said he came to learn about the matter only recently and he would take necessary action after making a visit to the site. 

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