Siltation, pollution and illegal occupation killing the Surma River

Siltation, pollution and illegal occupation killing the Surma River

April 17, 2022, 10:00 a.m.

Last modification: April 17, 2022, 10:45 a.m.

On December 23, 2019, an eviction campaign was carried out to evict illegal settlements in several upazilas, including the city of Sylhet. However, the campaign was halted after a month. Many illegal settlements were rebuilt along the river afterward.

Muhammad Shahiduzzaman Sarkar, Executive Engineer of Water Development Board, Sylhet, said there is no doubt that the number of actual occupants is higher than the list created by our officials.

He said: “The eviction campaign has not stopped as it is an ongoing process. We have noticed that some places have been reoccupied. They will be expelled again at any time.

Abdul Karim Kim, a member of the International Alliance for the Protection of Rivers, said: “The Surma is now a dying river due to continuous occupation and pollution. Such a situation has arisen due to a lack effective measures to prevent pollution and encroachment of the river.

Photo: TBS

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Photo: TBS

Photo: TBS

No digging effort

The people of Sylhet have been calling for the excavation of Surma for years. However, no initiative has been taken to dig the river so far despite carrying out a survey several years ago.

According to those concerned, some 35 arctic char appeared in the 32 km zone at the source of the river. However, the country’s authorities were unable to make a decision on excavation in this area as the river crosses two countries.

According to Sylhet Water Development Board sources, a proposal was sent to the ministry in 2012 for the excavation of Surma. Although an investigation was subsequently carried out, no initiative was taken to dig the river.

In 2017, another survey was conducted for the excavation of the Surmariver again. However, the investigation report has not yet been prepared.

Muhammad Shahiduzzaman Sarkar said initiatives would soon be taken to dig the Surma River.

However, he mentioned the need to dig in the source area of ​​the river first.

“About 5% to 10% of the water from the Barak River in India enters Surma during the monsoon. But no water enters the river during other seasons as almost all the water flows into the Kushiara River. As a result, Surma remains almost without water for about eight months of the year,” he said.

Michael A. Bynum