Once turbulent 'Chalk river' flowing through Shibganj upazila of Chapainwabganj district is now completely dead and a part of history only. Nowadays, various crops like rice, maize and sesame grow on the dried river around the year.
This hundreds years of old, 30 kilometres long and nearly a half-kilometre-wide river traversed through Monakosha, Binodepur and Durlavpur unions.
Some aged people living in villages beside the river informed that this river is several hundred years old. Centering this river, many establishments including BOP of Chowka under Binodepur union, Monakosha hat( weekly market) under Monakosha union, Humayun Reza High High School, Monakosha crematory, Adina Government College, Monakosha BOP, Dadonchalk hat, Dadonchalk PTI, the Nilkuthi factory, the largest crematory of the district Tortipur Great Crematory, Tortipur Mela( fair) and Tortipur Ghat were built.
Recollecting the memorabilia of their fathers and forefathers, some elderly aged people at Khariar and Parchowka villages beside the river informed, the British government had built a huge Nilkuthi ( Structure for processing of Indigo plant to make indigo sticks and dust) at the village and forced thousands of local farmers to cultivate Indigo plants in their field without paying any wages. Whoever expressed their inability and discontent to cultivate indigo in their fields, was severely tortured by the British police and the British owners of the Nilkuthi.
Through this river many traders visited various riverside business establishments with huge boats carrying nearly 500 maunds of goods. Even the Indigo that was cultivated and processed at the Nilkuthi by the British occupiers was also carried to Britain through those huge boats. Beside the Chalk river, there is the pilgrimage of the Hindu people and the Tortipur ghat where thousands of Hindu people thronged for Bathing in the river Ganges ( Gongasnan) every year and a large annual fair is also held there. Orignating from India, this river entered Bangladesh at Chowka BOP area and fell in the river Mohananda after traversing 30 kilometres. There are still six bridges over the river. Land pirates have now occupied the dried river beds behind these bridges and cultivating various crops there. Octogenarian fisherman Abul nearby village informed, while the river was full of water, thousands of fishermen earned their livelihood by catching fish in the river. Now, these sound like only fiction.
Jubayer Hossain, Assistant Commissioner( land) in this connection said, the work for freeing Khas land and river-land from the illegal occupiers is continuing and already some Khas land have been recovered. The operation would continue further and all the Khas land and the river-land will be freed from the grip of the illegal occupiers and will be brought under government control to use those for the welfare of the people.