A success story of community movement
Rivers are the backbone of human civilization. They provide us fresh water which is helpful for various purposes such as irrigation, transportation, drinking, cleaning, washing, etc. Without rivers, life will come to a halt. Therefore, we need to take initiative allowing the rivers flowing without any interruption. We humans exist because of rivers. Importance of Rivers cannot be stated in just few words. Unfortunately, most of time people often don’t realize the impact that rivers have on the living world.
The Mogra is an important river in country’s north-eastern district Netrakona in Bangladesh. It has been formed from Brahmaputra River and flows about 148 kilometers of Netrakona district to empty into a beel (a vast low lying land inundated in monsoon) in Tarakanda upazila in Mymensingh district. As because of water facilities-human settlement, many fisher-folks communities, local markets, small industries, educational institutions had been established on its both banks. Unfortunately, Mogra had lost its flow due to encroaching, river grabbing, pollution and many other illegal human interventions.
BARCIK has been facilitating the local community those who were interested keenly to change the miserable situation and bring back its flow as it was before. As a part of campaign, BARCIK arranged a three day long program in collaboration with local community titled ‘protect river, save lives’ at the bank of the Mogra River on 27th September, 2014. Not only the fisher folk communities, people from all walks of lives including journalists, nature lover, elective personnel from local government bodies and activists from foreign countries participated in the program. In the program, people had one point to demand to honorable upazila chairman just to re-excavate the river for free flowing. The elected representatives made the commitment of river re-excavation that has been implemented five years later in 2019, seven km of river so far, has been re-excavated. Now, about 18000 farmers from 11 villages are able to irrigate their cropland, 12 types of local fish varieties are available in Mogra river due to the re-excavation work. Apart from this, it has been widened many more opportunities for the communities like duck rearing, cattle bathing, open water fish resources, transportation etc. People living adjacent to the river are happy now.
In Bangladesh, we have the closest relationship with river from time immemorial. Rivers are not only important for human beings here but also serve a great purpose to the animals and trees as well. As because of effective campaign and continuous facilitation, the community have been able to fulfill their long cherished dream.
Translated by ABM Touhidul Alam