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DT

6 NEWS

SUNDAY, MAY 31, 2015

Chhatra canal under the clutches of encroachers n

Our Correspondent, Narail

Chhatra canal in Lohagara has been encroached upon by some locals, who erected many structures on and around it. Once well-known as a rich source of fish, the waterbody has almost dried up as well because of the dam constructed at the connecting point of the Nabaganga River to the southwest of Lohagara Bazar. It is now full of water hyacinths and wastes dumped by locals. Dr Shah Fayez Alam, a physician who lives near the canal, said the waterbody would be deemed a river in the 1960s and was frequently used as a water transport route. “The most aristocratic families of that period began living nearby and the canal soon

became a major trade centre.” Humayun Kabir, a local man who is a teacher by profession, said the canal’s pollution level had risen because of garbage. “Fishes die in the polluted water and surface during the monsoon.” Some people who built structures on the canal and its banks claimed they are not encroachers. They said the structures had been erected on their own lands. “The banks of the canal eroded in the 60s and the lands we owned were destroyed. But those later resurfaced and we built structures on the lands,” one of them said. Mayor of Lohagara municipality, Newaz Ahmed Thakur, said the 2.5km canal is connected with two rivers and four other canals. He said there should be steps to make the

canal pollution-free. Lohagara Upazila Fisheries Officer Hosne Ara Happy said the canal could again be used for fish farming if it could be recovered from the clutches of encroachers and the level of pollution could be reduced. She said she had tabled the proposal several times at the monthly meetings of the upazila development and coordination committee. Md Mokhter Hossain, Lohagara upazila nirbahi officer, said the illegal structures built on and around the canal were being identified and an eviction drive would follow soon. Sub-assistant Engineer of Water Development Board’s Narail office, Al Jahir, said he would inform the higher authorities of the state of the canal and would propose steps for its development. l

Seven fishermen kidnapped in Sundarban n Tribune Report

Pirates kidnapped seven fishermen from Joymonir area in the Prasur river in the Sundarbans under Mongla upazila of the district early yesterday. The victims hail from different villages of Mongla and Rampal upazilas. Lieutenant Commander of Coast Guard (West Zone) said a gang of pirates of notorious ‘Sumon’ Bahini swooped on the fishermen of seven trawlers while they were fishing in Joymonir area of the river early in the morning. They kidnapped seven fishermen and demanded Tk 10,000 as ransom for the release of each fisherman. The pirates threatened to kill them if their demand is not met within seven days. Coast Guard members have started their drives to rescue the kidnapped fishermen in different areas, the commander added. l

AL leader found dead in Magura n Tribune Report

A local leader of Awami League was found dead at Sotayabanpur village in Sadar upazila yesterday he had gone missing. The deceased was identified as Zikrul Mia, 50, general secretary of Baharbagh Union unit of AL. Officer-in-charge of Sadar Police Station Munshi Asaduzzaman said Zikrul remained missing since some unidentified people called him from his house on the night of May 27. l

CCC mobile court fines butchers Tk60,000 n Tribune Report

A mobile court of Chittagong City Corporation (CCC) yesterday fined 13 butchers with Tk60,000 for selling beef and mutton without authorized seal on the product and slaughtering the animals in elsewhere. Executive Magistrate Nazia Shirin led the drive at different meat shops in Chittagong city’s Panchlasih residential area, said the CCC sources. l

Members of the Bangladesh Jobless Nurses Association hold a rally in front of the National Press Club yesterday with a call to recruit nurses according to their merit SYED ZAKIR HOSSAIN

Chandpur railway fails to pay pension for decrease in income n Our Correspondent, Chandpur Chandpur railway is losing revenues after its Chandpur-Chittagong route’s Sagorika express train was privatised while its Meghna express train is not getting enough passengers. Thus the railway authority is failing to pay its pensioners on due time. Many of the senior citizens under their pension scheme are having to return empty handed after waiting long hours. According to authorities of Chandpur main station, the railway used to make Tk3 lakh per month from the Sagorika express. However, after privatisation the railway is not getting the revenues of Sagorika express. On the oth-

er hand, the Meghna express, which used to bring in about Tk20 lakh per month, is seeing a decrease in passengers for the last two months. Monthly revenue from the train has gone down to about Tk15 lakh. Thus, in total the Chandpur main station is now making only about Tk15 lakh in place of Tk22-25 lakh per month. The station master said there are currently 500 pensioners who need to be paid Tk20 lakh in total per month. Until yesterday, only 300 of them were paid for the month of April. A pensioner’s widow Hasina Begum of Shahrasti area said: “I have to collect the pension every month since my husband passed

away. My household depends on this money and I am facing extreme difficulty for not getting the pension money on time for the last two months.” Shahanara Begum, a pensioner from Hajiganj, said her whole day gets wasted when she comes to collect the pension money. “Last month I had to come twice to collect the pension money.” Hosne Ara Begum from Matlab said: “Walking around is very difficult for me. When I do not get the pension money after going all the way to office, it really hurts. The officers are unable to pay us even after giving assurances. We are going through a lot of hassle maintain-

ing our household expenses.” Station Master Mohammad Hossain Majumder of the Chandpur main station told the Dhaka Tribune: “After the Sagorika express was privatised, I sent a letter to the chief commercial manager in Chittagong to resolve the financial crisis. But I did not hear back from him, and so I sent a letter to all the higher officials last month regarding the matter. Now I am waiting for a reply.” Such a financial crisis also arose during the transport blockade at the beginning of this year and during the post-election violence last year, and the pensioners had to bear the brunt. l

31 May, 2015  
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