Gurudaspur (Natore) Representative.
Monirul Islam, son of Md. Abdul Quddus of Chapila Union of the upazila, has embarked on a mission to sell land by destroying government paved roads, houses, crop lands and environment worth crores of rupees on the pretext of digging Atrai river in Gurudaspur of Natore. Md. Mubarak Hossain, the proprietor of the contractor Messrs. Rahman Traders, got the job of dredging the river at a cost of around Tk. 4 crore, but a local named Monirul Islam got the job of selling soil and sand.
According to the work order documents, Monirul got permission from the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority to extract 20 lakh cubic feet of soil and sand in different areas of Gurudaspur Upazila (BIDBUTA) for only Tk 4 lakh. The term is from March 15, 2022 for the next two years. The excavated soil for the dredging work has been allowed to be removed at its own expense subject to construction of dykes and drainage within a distance of 2,000 feet. In case of damage to crops, houses, road ghats and important installations during the sale of excavated stand excavated soil / sand, it is not being complied with despite the instructions of revoking the permission of the contractor.
According to the local victims, the excavated soil has been ordered to build a road with a dam within 2,000 feet on both sides of the river. The locals are alleging that the contracted land is being sold in different places by truck for filling the ponds, houses and educational institutions of different people in exchange for money. Besides, various unions and municipal councils of the upazila are selling 250 to 300 trucks of soil on an average every day, including road damage of around Tk 100 crore. They are selling soil at Rs. 1,200 to Rs. 1,200 per truck. The victim’s family members, including the conscious community of the area, have complained that the land is being sold for more than two and a half lakh rupees every day.
Accused Monirul Islam said that the land was being carried with the permission of Upazila Chairman Md. Anwar Hossain.
Gurudaspur Upazila Chairman Md Anwar Hossain said, “I have not said anything like that.” It is a complete lie, baseless and fabricated. Instead, I have protested against carrying soil in the interest of the people of the area.
According to administration sources, the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority has approved the excavation of the 8 km long river from Trimohana of Chanchkair Atrai river to bridge No. 10 of Mashinda Union in the fiscal year 2019-20 to make the river run. About 4 crore rupees has been allocated for this. The work was awarded to a contractor named Messrs. Rahman Traders. There are instructions to build strong embankments or roads on both banks with river excavation soil and sand. The contractor started work on March 15, 2022 after getting permission.
A visit to the site on Wednesday morning, April 6, revealed that the contractor was carrying out the excavation work with the help of a local influential chairman and some Awami League leaders. As a result, a powerful syndicate led by local influential people has become desperate to sell sand and soil by capitalizing on the excavation project. Although dredgers have been installed in some places of the river, no rules of river excavation are being followed. Not only the damage to the houses on the banks of the river but also the land is being sold from the river with the help of Russian tractors 4 to 6 km away. As a result, the rate of accidents has also increased as a result of landslides on the recently completed government roads. At the same time, the environment is being destroyed due to dust in a big way. The sand and soil are being extracted by installing mini dredger machines where the river is active without digging the place where the river has stopped flowing. This has created a situation where many houses and cultivable lands have been lost in the river.
The dredger driver was found in Khubjipur Union area. “Our river diggers have given us a slip, that’s why we’re driving a dredger,” he said.
Md. Mubarak Hossain, the proprietor of the contracting company, said that the excavation of the river was done according to the boundaries set by the officials or surveyors of the Upazila Land Office. The river is being excavated as per schedule.
Gurudaspur Upazila Executive Officer. Tamal Hossain said an executive magistrate had been sent earlier to dig the river. Legal action will be taken on the basis of the complaint.