Despite its natural beauty Balu Char still lacks basic facilities and necessary safety arrangements for its visitors. -AA
'Balu Char', popularly known as mini-Cox's Bazar for its sandy nature and scenic beauty', could be turned into an attractive tourist spot by developing it with modern facilities. This char (shoal) has emerged barely six years back on the western bank of the Meghna River near the district town, and it has great potentials, said boatmen at Railway River Ghat, reports UNB.
While visiting 'Balu Char' recently, this correspondent found it as a big sandy char land having a riverbank of half kilometre. The char area is nearly 5-kilometre long while its width is about one kilometre. The sandy char is becoming bigger and bigger day by day as another new char (shoal) is emerging just beside it.
It takes only 10 minutes for one to go to the char by engine-driven trawlers from Chandpur Boro Railway Station Ghat. Every day especially during holidays picnickers, hundreds of men, women and children of Chandpur town, and also from far-off places like Hajiganj, Shahrasti, Cumilla, Roypur, Ramganj, Faridganj and Matlab throng this sandy char to enjoy its sea beach-like beauty.
This has turned out to be very popular among children and jubilant youths as they can make fun with waters and waves of the mighty river. Despite its natural beauty, the char still lacks basic facilities and necessary safety arrangements for tourists. Visitors face problems here for the absence of good sitting arrangements and refreshment facilities.
Though a few chairs with umbrellas are found there under private arrangements on payment basis (Tk 50 per chair for an hour), those are not enough to fulfill the demand of visitors. Mehdi Hasan, 24, a resident of Tongi, Gazipur, told to this correspondent that he came here after hearing about its beauty. "It's really nice, there's no doubt. But, I'm sorry to say the facilities are too inadequate to attract visitors," he said. Many other visitors like Mahfuzur Rahman of Sonaimuri, Noakhali echoed the same sentiment.
They alleged that their journeys to and from the tourist spot get riskier when trawler drivers overload their trawlers as there is no one to monitor. They even charge fares whimsically, they further alleged. Contacted, Addi-tional Deputy Commi-ssioner (General) Md Shawkat Osman said Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni has already directed the Public Health Engineering Department to set up 'Wash Block', install tube-wells there.
He said the authorities concerned have also been directed to raise the Balu Char by dumping sands so that it can be turned into an attractive tourist spot in near future. Some local residents, however, said if the char gets bigger it may shrink the rivers and obstruct the natural flow of waters at the confluence of the three rivers - Meghna, Padma and Dakatia.
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