Water stretching five kilometres of Tulsi Ganga river in Joypurhat district has turned completely dark thanks to the industrial pollution from the Joypurhat Sugar Mill, the largest state-owned sugar factory in the country.
The polluted water with foul smell kills fishes and hampers irrigation along the banks of the river.
Local residents said the water has become unusable for last 15 days. They alleged that the contaminated water from the sugar mills has polluted the water of the river.
When asked about the matter, Anowar Hossain Akand, managing director of the Joypurhat Sugar Mill, denied the allegation saying the sugar mill should not be held responsible without verifying the matter.
He said, “We first dump the waste in a pond inside the factory. Then water flows through a channel to the Tulsi Ganga river.”
Sources said the factory has no Effluent Treatment Plant (ETP).
Anowar Hossain also said the ministry concerned has finalised the process of establishing ETP at the factory.
While visiting recently, Prothom Alo correspondent found that the water of Tulsi Ganga river turned dark in the southern part of Sonamokhi bridge in Akkelpur municipality. Through the Sree canal, the polluted water from the sugar factory falls in the river. The water of the river turned dark for about five kilometres from the southern part of Sonamukhi bridge to Halhalia rail bridge.
However, the water is fresh in the northern part of Sonaimokhi bridge.
Residents on the banks of the river alleged the contaminated water from the sugar mill has polluted the river. They said they cannot use the water of the river for last 15 days. The water stinks and the fishes in the river are dying.
“We earlier used the water for irrigation. Now we can’t use it as it turns dark,” said Abdus Sattar, a farmer of Chakbizli village.
Akkelpur upazila agriculture officer Shahidul Islam said a few days back, the water was good for use. He also said a large number of farmers on the banks of the river are dependent on the river for irrigation. Shahidul Islam said that the farmers have been asked not to use the water as it has become polluted due to the contaminated water from the Joypurhat Sugar Mill.
Akkelpur upazila fisheries officer Mohidul Islam said the water quality of the Tulsi Ganga river has been very bad. Not only fishes, no living creatures can survive in such polluted water, he added.
The official said he talked to the factory authorities, but they denied the allegation.