Chawra canal has been illegally occupied in Talukdar Bazar area of Amtali upazila of Barguna and at least one and a half hundred paved and semi-paved structures have been constructed on both banks. The canal is slowly shrinking. Besides, the families living in these illegal establishments are polluting the canal water by dumping garbage and excrement.
According to the locals, the Chawra canal of the upazila flows through Amtali municipality, Sadar, Chawra and Haldia unions. About 50,000 people of 30 villages of one municipality and three unions are dependent on this canal for transportation of agricultural products, household chores and farming. After the construction of the bridge in the Talukdar Bazar area of this canal in 1990, various business establishments were formed around the area. At this opportunity, the two banks of the canal fell into the hands of Hirik. Local influential people occupied the canal overnight in an area of half a kilometer and built houses and businesses there. To build a house, he buried bamboo and wooden poles along the middle of the canal and filled the canal with pieces of soil and bricks.
It can be seen on the spot that more than one and a half hundred installations have been constructed by occupying the canal. Residents of those establishments are dumping garbage in the canal and excrement through open toilets. Moreover, the flow of the canal is almost closed due to the construction of the installation by filling the two banks. Due to the obstruction of the current, the navigability of the canal is reduced due to siltation and the navigation is being disrupted and it is full of water hyacinth. The locals are worried that if the occupation process continues like this, the shipping will be stopped soon.
A number of people in the area, who did not want to be named, said the talukdar market was one of the southern rice and agricultural markets. He brought paddy, watermelon, almonds and other products produced by the farmers in the area to the market through this canal. Besides, cultivation and irrigation of about 50,000 acres of crop land in at least 30 villages of Amtali Municipality, Sadar, Haldia and Chawra Unions depend on the two banks of the canal. About 50,000 residents of the area use the water of this canal for household purposes.
Amtali Upazila Assistant Commissioner (Land) in charge of the Upazila Executive Officer. Asaduzzaman said on his mobile phone that those who have occupied the canal and built illegal structures will be investigated and legal action will be taken against them.