Sahidul Islam Nirab:
I am very happy to know that three more new upazilas are going to be approved in the country. The upazilas are Dasar in Madaripur, Idgaon in Cox’s Bazar and Madhyanagar in Sunamganj.
But at the same time I am very sorry that the proposed ‘Mansurnagar’ upazila was not approved, it’s approval was very necessary for the neglected people of remote Jamunachar in Kazipur upazila under Sirajganj district , which is divided into two parts by devastating Jamuna, has not been approved. The upazila that was most needed to be approved, wasn’t given.
It is urgent to create a new upazila to change the destiny of the people of the backward and neglected char areas of Kazipur, which is forever divided by the mighty Jamuna, and it’s needed to eradicate inequality between Kazipur town and char.
Kazipur upazila consists of 12 unions. Its total area is about 393 square kilometers. Of which 6 unions are on the east bank of Jamuna and 6 on the west bank. The area of 6 on the east is 213 sq km and the area on the west including river is 160 sq km. The eastern part is connected to the mainland of Sarishabari upazila of Jamalpur district which is forever detached from the west coast. The western part is connected with Sirajganj. The catastrophic Jamuna flows through the middle of Kazipur. As all the administrative activities of Kazipur Upazila are on the west bank of the Jamuna, the people on the east bank have to go to the west bank regularly for administrative work with the risk of their lives. Wherever people go to west part to do their necessary work by taking their life in the palm of hand. It takes almost the same amount of time to go to Dhaka.
On the other hand hundreds of people have drowned in storms in the past. Those who will have to appear before the court for any case, have to go to there by boat the previous morning . If not, there is no way to catch the court the next day. If the people of these chars are killed in any dispute in the morning, the administration comes at night due to not having communication without boat.
But people from all these areas take only a few minutes to reach to Sarishabari Upazila in Jamalpur . Yet the people of this char region have to go to the west part of Kazipur for decades after decades taking the risk of their lives.
For politics, human life has been suffering for decades . Though people of all these chars are fans of boat Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib, fans of Sheikh Hasina, fans of Mohammad Nasim, fans of Shahid M Mansur Ali, even fans of Tanvir Shakil Joy, they are deprived of their necessary rights. The people of these chars give 99.9 percent votes to the boat symbol. After independence of Bangladesh , Kazipur never lost a boat symbol in polls. But in exchange for votes, oppression and discrimination are inflicted on the people of this char areas . These people are victims of political inequality, economic inequality, development inequality, inequality in education and all kinds of inequalities.
Comparing the severity of inequality among the people of this river-broken char region, some said that the east bank of the river is East Pakistan and the west bank is West Pakistan. The people on the east bank of the Jamuna in Kazipur are being subjected to more exploitation than the rule of West Pakistan before 1971.
Although I have learned that the former successful Home and Health Minister, the late leader Mohammad Nasim, had proposed a new upazila called ‘Mansurnagar Upazila’ in various departments to change the fate of the backward people on the east bank of the Jamuna, but it did not get approved, it is a matter of rethinking.
I am presenting a statistic to explain the difference between char and bir. If you look at the following statistics, it will be clear how much discrimination the people of the char region are suffering.
There are only 14 general colleges in Kazipur. However, only two for the six unions on the east bank. And the other 12 are for the people of the west. There are 16 technical colleges in Kazipur, all on the west bank of the Jamuna. There is no technical college on the east bank. The total number of secondary schools in Kazipur is 57, but 42 of which are on the west bank of the Jamuna and 14 on the east bank . A total of ten bank branches have been approved in Kazipur upazila, nine of them are on the west bank of the Jamuna. And one of them is on the east side. There are 4 government hospitals in this upazila, all of which are on the west bank. There are a total of 6 veterinary facilities in Kazipur, of which 6 are on the west bank of the Jamuna, only one is on the east bank. Four godowns for storing food grains, all on the west bank of the Jamuna. There are two land registry offices in Kazipur, none of which is on the east bank, both on the west bank. There is a municipality which is also on the west bank of the Jamuna.
Besides, government high schools and colleges are on the west bank, Hapatal and Thana are all on the west bank of Jamuna, no government college and high school is on the east part of Jamuna.
Thousands of crores money are allocated every year for the construction of dams in the name of protecting the western bank of Kazipur. And no allocation has ever been made to protect the eastern bank of the Jamuna. Although the amount of arable land on the east bank of the Jamuna is almost double, the allotment of godowns is on the west bank, while cattle rearing is more on the east bank of the Jamuna, but veterinary is on all the west banks.
The almost share of the money allocated in the name of Kazipur Upazila is spent to change the destiny of the people on the west bank of the Jamuna.
The map of Kazipur is much earlier. If mapped now, the land area on the east bank of the Jamuna would be about three more larger than on the west bank. The proportion of people on both sides is almost the same. Although many embankments were built at a cost of thousands of crore money in the name of protecting the western bank of the Jamuna, the western bank could not be protected. The west bank has broken down and become smaller. But now the exact information is not known as the map is very old.
The people of the Char on the east bank of the Jamuna are also victims of extreme discrimination politically. Because most of the political parties are led by the people on the west bank of the Jamuna.
Now the question is why the people on the east bank of this Jamuna will cross the Jamuna with high risk of lives. Why don’t the people of this char get security of their life? Why would they be deprived of political and economic rights? Why will they be discriminated from their right to education?
On the other hand, if the people on the east bank of the Jamuna do not want to go to Kazipur by river, if they want to go to Kazipur by land, they must first come to Jamalpur’s Sarishabari, then Tangail’s Bhuapur, then they have to cross the Jamuna Bridge to Sirajganj district, then from there, they have to go to Kazipur. It takes huge times to reach there.
Hon’ble Prime Minister, you have given new upazilas with two or three unions in the public interest. But why don’t the neglected and deprived people of this char region get an upazila with six unions?
The people of the neglected, deprived and backward Char areas sought the goodwill of Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for the speedy implementation of the proposed ‘Mansur Nagar’ Upazila named after Bangabandhu’s devoted colleague National Leader Shahid M Mansur Ali.
By Sahidul Islam Nirab, editor & publisher of The Daily New Sun
Sahidul Islam Nirab: