Sunday, 1 October, 2023

Water bodies in Rajshahi turn into place of attraction

RAJSHAHI: Re-excavated and renovated water bodies, including ponds, lakes and canals, have been benefiting the city dwellers enormously as those were transformed into amusement spots.

Rajshahi City Corporation (RCC) has conserved the ponds and canals through necessary re-excavation and renovation at different parts of the city aimed at protecting ecological balance, reports BSS.

In addition to the lake and pond preservation, beautification works were done thereby the improved areas are being familiarised as amusement sports to the city dwellers.

RCC sources said Parijat Lake at Padma residential area, Mathpukur at Sapura and Kalipukur at Seroil area were conserved and beautified. Various infrastructural developments work, including protection wall, walkway and seating arrangement, were implemented.

At present, many people are seen visiting the spots every day, particularly in the morning and afternoon, to get a taste of the natural environment making their life easy and healthy.

Similarly, various other need-based works, including protective boundary wall, seating arrangement, beautification and walkway, in Guljarbag Lake, Tikapara Graveyard waterbody, TB Hospital Pond, Hazi Muhammad Muhsin Government School Pond and Bulanpur Lake are also being progressed.

The RCC has been implementing the development works as part of its Taka 2,993-crore project titled ‘Integrated Urban Infrastructure Development in Rajshahi City’.

Reelected Mayor of RCC AHM Khairuzzaman Liton said that many of the works were completed, while more others are progressing fast aimed at protecting environmental balance.

Apart from this, they have taken another initiative to conserve and renovate 22 natural ponds in the city aiming to retain its surface water resources to protect the environment from further degradation.

The city corporation has adopted a Tk 752-crore development project titled ‘Natural Water Bodies Conservation and Development in Rajshahi City’ to protect the ponds.

Liton said 22 ponds will be conserved and necessary land will be acquired for the purpose. “None would be allowed to fill up the ponds.”

Under the project, embankments of the ponds will be built with concrete walls and ponds will be excavated. Concrete stairs will be constructed in all the developed ponds to make those attractive among city dwellers and facilitate them to use those suitably.

He said there were 729 ponds and canals in the metropolis in 2002, but the number declined to 393 now due to indiscriminate dumping of waste and unplanned urbanisation.

Due to the usual decline of surface water, he said, dependence on groundwater has been increasing day by day for ensuring smooth water supply to the city dwellers causing rapid decline of groundwater level in the last couple of years.

The situation deteriorates during every dry season leaving most of the hand-driven tube well inoperative.

“We’ve no way but to conserve surface water resources to remain the groundwater table intact,” he said.

Once the project is implemented, Liton said, the endangered fish species could be protected from extinction apart from increasing fish production.

He also said they are pledged-bound to make the metropolis green through massive plantations with an ultimate goal of safeguarding the city environment and biodiversity.

Varieties of decorative and ornamental flowers on islands have turned the streets eye-catching in the city making the public in general and other onlookers happy.

Colourful street lights also enhanced the beautification process to a greater extent as they installed a large number of lights on islands of different streets and road-crossings to meet the civic demands.

There are large numbers of orchid trees (Raktakanchan) on both sides of the roads with full-blooms drawing the attention of passersby. Numerous sunflowers are now seen smiling on the road islands from Kasiadanga to bypass road and from Court to the historic madrasha ground.

Mind-blowing flowers are also seen on huge other sunflower plants on many other islands of the city streets.

Prof Mijanur Rahman of the Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences at Rajshahi University said the Rajshahi city has been expanding rapidly amid influx of people from the surrounding and adjacent areas. At this moment, conservation of the existing water bodies along with afforestation has become an urgent need.

Taking the issue into special consideration the city corporation has been renovating the water bodies which is undoubtedly laudable.

Prof Rahman also said massive changes have been brought to the city’s overall situation during the last five years. Particularly, expanded and widened roads and works of greenery and beautification have been drawing his attention.

He added that the Rajshahi city has got a new look amid massive infrastructural development works during the last five years.

Broaden streets, cleaned atmosphere, road dividers with green trees and plants and crafts, improved civic amenities and eye-catching street lighting at night have made the city attractive enormously.