The country’s first research center to study rivers

The Halda River Research Laboratory journey began on August 20, 2017 in two deserted rooms at the Department of Zoology at Chittagong University (CU).

Supported by the Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) and the Integrated Development Foundation (IDF), the Halda River Research Laboratory is the first research center of its kind to pursue research on rivers in the country.

For the latest news, follow The Daily Star’s Google News Channel.

Since its establishment, the center has conducted research on Halda and created public awareness for the protection of the river’s environment.

The 1,000-square-foot research center has three campuses. The specialized laboratory branch contains equipment for water quality testing and biological analysis of the river.

Documents, published articles and project papers of all kinds of scientific research conducted at Halda so far are kept in the River Museum and Archives Branch. The third branch is a digital conference center where scientific discussions, presentations and video documentaries are held.

Muhammad Manzoor Pride, professor and chair of the Department of Zoology at the University of Colorado, was behind the creation of the research center.

Asked about the importance of the Halda River, Professor Kipria said, Halda is the only river in the world from which the eggs of native carp are directly collected. It is the only natural gene bank of indigenous carp in the country.

“It is one of the main sources of drinking water supply for the coastal city. Through two projects in Mohra and Madonaghat districts, Chattogram Wasa collects 18 crores of water from the river per day. Therefore, the river is called the lifeline of the city,” he said.

He added that it is an important habitat for the endangered Ganges dolphin (Platanista Gangetica).

Professor Kipria said this lab runs ongoing activities, including – the Halda dolphin survey; Assessing Halda’s water quality, creating awareness and coordination among stakeholders.

Fifty undergraduate students have completed their academic research on various topics within this lab.

In 2022, the complete genome sequences of four major carp fish – roy, catla, mriggle and callipus, and halda dolphins were revealed under this laboratory. In the same year, the Halda River Management Plan for the management of the river was drafted. The laboratory, in collaboration with the University of Jahangirnagar, has completed encoding the DNA of the Katla Brood fish in Halda River. According to Professor Kipriya, this is a breakthrough in the history of river research.

“Our previous generation did some work on Halda but it is outdated. We will have to leave one day. Does this mean that the search for Halda will stop? The next generation should be urged to continue with this thought. The research center was created from this thought,” Professor Kipriya said.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: