This aerial photo shows the once mighty Barak has shrunk into smaller than a canal at present, as the unscrupulous land grabbers continue encroaching the river under the nose of authorities. Photo: BP

Habiganj Correspondent
Encroachers have managed to get their hands on Barak River in Nabiganj.
The once mighty high tide river is now drying up and getting encroached thanks to unscrupulous land grabbers, despite protests and human chains by the affected people that seem to have been in vain.
In the monsoon season, important roads of the area become unusable due to lack of drainage. As a result newly constructed roads are easily eroded every year, wasting a huge amount of public money annually.
Locals have alleged that the public authority does little to curtail the issue. Instead of taking stern action against the encroachers, they just put a deaf ear to the demand of the locals.
During a recent spot visit it was seen that encroachers have successfully occupied most parts of the canal that falls into Noapara branch of Barak river after flowing under the bridge-1 of Nabiganj-Sherpur highway and going through Shibpasha Thakurpara.
DC khatian enlisted khas lands worth crores of taka are under threat with no action from the authorities.
As a result, the mighty Barak river is getting reduced to nothing more than a drain.
The area where the canal falls into Noapara tributary of Barak river has been overtaken by brick and sand traders as well as other businesses.
Filling up the canal, the remainder of the area has been made the dumping ground of litter, causing problems for road traffic.
Concerned sources said a carnival of encroachment is ongoing in full swing.
The river that once, only two decades ago, had trawlers carrying rice, bricks and sand, is now a
dead canal.
Dwellers of Nabiganj are gradually turning the canal into a wasteland fulfilling it with wastes and garbage.
Besides the traffic issues, the situation has also resulted in water drainage problems. Eroding and shrinking the roads year after year, flooding has ruined traffic flow on streets of the town; as the river is no more to carry away the rain water. Main roads such as Osmani road are facing tremendous drainage crisis. It is as if the roads turn into canals themselves during floods.
If the traditional Barak river is freed from the illegal encroachment and the canals are cleaned and dug once more, the city can regain its former order.
People from all walks of life have urged the upazila authorities to take appropriate action.