June 19, 2021, 3:48 pm

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We have to protect the biodiversity of Tanguar Haor

Fazlul Karim Saeed: Named “Six Twenty Cries, Nine Twenty Bills” Tanguar Haor is located at the foot of Meghalaya hills in Dharmapasha and Tahirpur upazilas of Sunamganj district. More than 30 springs from the Meghalaya hills flow into this haor. In 1999, Tanguar Haor was declared an ‘Environmentally Critical Area’, ending a long 60-year lease. On January 20, 2000, Tanguar Haor was declared a ‘Ramsar site’. ICUN is responsible for protecting the biodiversity of this haor. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Governments of Bangladesh and Switzerland on 12 February 2001 to change the socio-economic status of the people of the Haor area, conserve resources and ensure sustainable management. The district administration took control of the haor from November 9, 2003.

When the water dries up in winter, the banks of about 24 beels (kanda) wake up and only the original beel is in the inner part of the kanda, and in the dried part the local farmers cultivate rabi crops and boro paddy. At this time the area was also used as pasture. In the rainy season, the migratory birds take shelter in the high creeks of the haor submerged in the water.

But today, the appearance of this beautiful haor tanguar is losing its youth due to lack of proper maintenance. The resourceful haor is being looted by the maintainers. Unscrupulous police and Ansars are involved in this looting. NGOs are spending crores of rupees in the name of protecting biodiversity in Tanguar Haor but nothing is being done. How fish, birds and trees are stolen from the haor in the dark of night despite having 24 Ansar, 10 policemen and a magistrate. Then it must be understood that there are ghosts in the grain. And the responsibility for this theft is being laid on the simple people of Tanguar Haor. State Minister MA Mannan, public leader Nazir Hossain and Tahirpur Upazila Chairman Kamruzzaman Kamrul protested in strong language at the meeting room of Tanguar management on 30 October 2018 in the conference room of Sunamganj district administration. “Stomach fishing cannot be called theft,” they said. It is their right.

The environment of Tanguar Haor is being destroyed in the name of development of tourism industry. The main theme of the Ramsar Area declaration was to increase fish production in Tanguar Haor as a result of fear and migration of animals, birds and fish. But the free movement of tourists is hampering the production of animals, birds and fish. The environment is being ruined as a result of thousands of tourists roaming freely in Haor. In particular, the engine-driven boats made loud noises that hindered the free movement of fish. Tourists are entering the haor with plastic products especially polythene and plastic bottles and throwing them in the haor after use. People on the banks of the haor are also heard saying that the tourists who go to the haor at night have banned glass bottles with them. The monstrous sound of musical instruments is instilling fear in the minds of animals. As a result, birds are on the verge of extinction from the haor area today.

So the haor area has to be allowed to live on its own. Tourism free haor area has to be declared. Tangua must be freed from the clutches of the administration and NGOs and left in the hands of the people on the banks of the Haor. A haor protection committee will have to be formed with the chairman of Tahirpur and Dharmapasha Upazila Parishads and the chairman members of the four Union Parishads on the banks of the Haor with a certain amount of fishermen in that village. It is also possible to arrange the salaries of these fishermen through proper maintenance and planning. It is possible to arrange fishing for the fishermen on the banks of the haor by demarcating the boundaries of the haor. Above all, with proper maintenance and management, it is possible to turn Tanguar Haor into a national asset.

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