July 4, 2019
Abir Ranjan Biswas speaks on the threats faced by the River Churni in Bengal due to irresponsible dumping of factory effluents
Sir, the river Churni is a famous river of Bengal and is a tributary of the River Mathabhanga, which in turn is a tributary of the River Padma flowing in Bangladesh. This river flows about 56km into India and empties itself into the River Ganges. Its route covers four administrative blocks populated mostly by SCs and its banks host a very large fishing fraternity belonging to the SC community, living in the villages adjacent to both the banks.
The river has been the chief source of livelihood to these people over the ages but is now under serious threat due to widespread pollution caused by the irresponsible dumping of factory effluents in Bangladesh, which flow into India. This has led to the ravaging of aquatic life in the river, causing serious environmental concerns.
The fishing community has become acutely impoverished due to the loss of their livelihood for a major part of the year, that amounts to nine months. The river remains unfit for human use, like washing, bathing, irrigation, transportation, etc. Furthermore, the pollution in the river makes life in the adjoining villages miserable. The pollution assumes further fatal proportions by making the river the fertile breeding ground for mosquitoes which cause great health hazards by being the cause for fatal outbreaks of malaria, dengue and chikungunya, and claiming numerous lives.
The issue assumes further importance in the face of the stark reality that many parts of our country face, where there is serious contemplation on the use of more surface water as groundwater is becoming unusable due to the ill-effects of mining, arsenic contamination, etc.
When I was an MLA in the West Bengal Legislative Assembly, I had raised this matter, Sir, but could not cut much ice as it involves international interactions. Hence I would request the concerned Honourable Ministers to take up the matter with the Bangladeshi authorities to provide relief to these people.