The rights of the Kohelia River are closely linked to human rights, says ex-chairman.
Environmentalists have alleged the construction of a road through the Kohelia River in Maheshkhali.
The natural flow of the river alongside causes harm to the local fishermen and salt-producing farms.
A press conference titled Rights of Kohelia River was held at Sagar-Runi Auditorium of Dhaka Reporters.
Waterkeepers Bangladesh and Jatiya Nodi Jote jointly organized the event.
The conference was chaired by Sharmin Murshid, convener of Jatiya Nodi Joe.
And Sharif Jamil, the coordinator of Waterkeepers Bangladesh, delivered the keynote address.
We are deeply saddened and sorry after visiting the Kohelia River twice.
Everyone should work together to save this river as soon as possible,” Sharmin Murshid said.
Former chairman of the National River Protection Commission Dr. Mujibur Rahman Hawlader said.
The parliament has made different policies and laws at different times but its proper implementation.
He said the rights of the Kohelia River are closely linked to human rights.
There is no alternative to protecting the Kohelia River for sustainable development.
The High Court and the Supreme Court have made it clear that this river belongs to the people.
Divisional commissioners, deputy commissioners, and people’s representatives should come forward.
He said before adding that in order to keep the development unhindered, the road was built on it.
Sharif Jamil said that, in order to sustain the laudable steps of ongoing economic growth in the country.
It is imperative to identify the real inconsistencies with the living entity of the river and its legal.
He further mentioned that more than 2,000 poor families living in the four unions.
Kalarmarchhara, Dhalghata, Matarbari, and Hwanak of Maheshkhali Upazila have been making a living.
Sharif said that protests against the flooding of the river had taken place in Maheshkhali.
As the construction of the road had started to have a serious negative impact on the families.
The Maheshkhali and Matarbari areas are very important for the salt industry of the country.
Heavy industrialization and river flooding in the area has also left a negative impact on salt farmers.
And related small and medium traders, he said.
Sharif further mentioned that the Appellate Division of the Bangladesh Supreme Court has upheld.
The High Court’s 2019 decision recognizing rivers as “legal entities” and “living entities” for the purpose.
He also noted that the right to river flow has been upheld through Bangladesh Water Act-2013.
Therefore, if the river rights are violated in the case of the Kohelia River.
It will have a negative impact on the rivers of the whole country, he said.
Abu Bakkar Siddique, general secretary of Maheshkhali Branch of Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (Bapa).
Said that shrimps and salt are produced on both sides of the 20km-long Kohelia River in the north-south.
The destruction of the Kohelia River threatens the shrimp and the salt industries.
Which will result in government loss of thousands of acres of salt production, he said.