The magroves that we had sown earlier are not alive anymore. The local administration created an artifical soil embankment using the same soil from the coastline and removing the mangroves in the process.
A few days back, the effects of removing mangroves have been felt by the local people, see a media report here.
In the interest of a few people comprising the local elite, the coastline of small and medium sized rivers of sundorbon are being captured everyday. By building an embankment on the river and removing the mangroves from the rivers’ coastlines, they are being captured for construction and business activities.
For example, in দত্তনদী (dôttonodī), near সাধুপুর (sādʰupur), in লাহিড়ীপুর (lahirīpur) গ্রামপঞ্চায়েত (grām pôñcāẏēt), under the sundorbon coastal police station, efforts are on to clear mangroves, create an artifical coastline, and capture it.
This, despite the state government’s announcement to plant two crore mangroves annually.
The rivers are losing the direction of their natural flow and their ability to hold excess water. A few peoples’ economic ambitions are harming the entire population of the sundorbon, but most aggressively, the marginalised communities of the islands. PSWA’s ‘নদী বাঁচাও কমিটি’ (Save the River Committee) has called for ‘সুন্দরবন বাঁচাও’ (Save the Sundorbon), and have started a campaign against brazen, illegal capture of the rivers’ coastlines.
The following are our demands:
- The broken river embankments be rebuilt with concrete.
- The capture of riverine coastlines be stopped.
- The destruction of magroves in the name of rebuilding embankments be stopped.
- In the interest of the longevity of the embankments and the employment of the local residents, re-embankment work be carried out with spades instead of JCB machines.
- Employment be provided to forest-dependent people of the islands.
- To prevent the local residents from becoming migrant labours, local work and employment opportunities be created.
- The unrestricted and illegal alcohol business be stopped.
- Enough number of teachers be employed in the schools and infrastructural support be provided to them for a sustainable environment of education.
- The general infrastructural facilities be improved in the hospitals, including but not limited to creating surgical facilities and pharmacies offering basic medicines at reasonable prices.
- A college and an engineering college be opened in gōsābā immediately.
On the 22nd of June, we sumitted a protest letter to the Block Development Officer (BDO) of the Gosaba Block, South 24 Parganas, West Bengal.