Lec- Md. Magem Ali
During the monsoon season, the country’s largest Chalanbil field-ghat road is submerged in water. All the small and big drains, canals and beels are buzzing with water. The whole challan bill is full of water. All the boats on the outskirts sailed in different parts of the Chalanbil area. However, this time there is no water even in the rainy season. This has affected the livelihood of the people who depend on this bill which flows through the three districts.
According to river and climate experts, even two decades ago, in the month of Ashar, Chalanbil used to have Taitambur in the water. Now the whole bill is waterless. This bill is going to be a victim of the cruelty of climate change. At one time Chalanbil was full of paddy and fish. The villages, like hundreds of islands built along the bill, attracted tourists. Most of the villagers made a living by catching fish. During the monsoons, thousands of traveling people would come from far and wide to catch a glimpse of Chalanbil. They used to enjoy the natural beauty of Chalon-sur-Sa মাধ্যমেne by boat. Basically, tourists used to come from all over the country to enjoy the clear natural weather, swaying in the water, the chirping of various kinds of native and exotic birds, the taste of native fish, entertainment and the boredom of the city. At the same time the local people also earned two paisa income. At present, the biodiversity and fishery resources of the bill are on the verge of extinction due to lack of running water. Agricultural cultivation is being disrupted.
Chalanbil had an area of 1,006 sq km in 6 districts of Rajshahi division. At present, Pabna, Natore and Sirajganj have a larger challan bill with 1,600 villages in 10 upazilas and 72 unions of these three districts. There are 21 rivers, 61 canals and 93 small beels in the bill.
According to the Pabna, Natore and Sirajganj District Fisheries Offices, fish production in Chalanbil was 16,600 metric tons in 1992, 15,421 metric tons in 1997, 12,480 metric tons in 2002 and 12,118 metric tons in 2006. As a result, fish production in Chalon-Bil has decreased by 82.5% in 24 years. Average production decreased by 12.1 percent. Production has decreased by 3 percent every year.
Various areas of Chalanbil have been visited, due to the touch of modernity, small and big bridges, culverts, dive roads, unplanned construction of new settlements, new settlements, etc., even in the rainy season, there is not enough water in Chalanbil.
Talking to the residents of the area, it is said that in the past, Chalanbil used to be full of water during the monsoon season. Crops were planted on high lands, fishing was done in rivers and canals. This large bill is now waterless due to unplanned development. In the current monsoon season, the reservoirs of Chalanbil are running dry. There is not much rain. So the fish are seen. That is why the fishermen of this region are spending their time lazily. Their lives are being cut in half by starvation.
In the dry season, they worked on other people’s land, and in the rainy season, they made a living by fishing and renting boats. But this time they are disappointed that water did not come to the bill in the rainy season. Because by selling fish, they have to provide all the expenses of the family including education of boys and girls.
Fishermen of Bilsha village in Gurudaspur of Natore said, “Our livelihood depends on fishing. So before the onset of monsoon, I have made various equipments for fishing including ferry net, jakai net, dhundi, chai, doar, polo. But due to lack of water in the rainy season, our way of earning is blocked.
Convener of the Chalanbil Raksha Andolan Committee Mohammad Mizanur Rahman said, “Chalanbil is now waterless even in the monsoon season due to Farakar dam, unplanned development and illegal occupation.”