Kobadak River

Kobadak River the pre-Dravidian term 'Kabadak' was transformed into 'Kapotaksha' [Kapotaksa] (meaning the 'pigeon-eyed') in Sanskrit. The river ichamati branched into two streams at Darshana in Kushtia district. One flowing southeast is known as the bhairab. At the south of Kotchandpur, an offshoot branches out from the Bhairab and flowing south meets with the shibsa near Paikgachha in Khulna district. This offshoot of the Bhairab is the Kobadak. Once upon a time, the water of this river was clear and transparent like the eyes of a bird. 'Kapot' means pigeon and 'Aksha' means eye.

The Kobadak originated from the Mathabhanga river with a great meander. A canal was dug to run the river along a shortened course avoiding the meander and the Kobadak got disconnected from the Mathabhanga. The Mathabhanga splits into four main channels-the Churni, chitra, nabaganga and kumar-within Kushtia district. The Churni joins the Bhairab, to become an important source of its Khulna-Ichamati branch. The Chitra flows south-southeast to Uzirhat, where it splits into two streams, the Khulna-Atari and the Chitra, the former joining the Bhairab north of Khulna town, while the latter joins it in the south. The Nabaganga is another decayed channel, navigable in the rainy season up to Magura. The lower Nabaganga channel takes much of the Gorai's flow into the pasur. The Kumar, also called the Pangasi, branches from the Mathabhanga, 16 km from Alamdanga town, and flows southeast to a point 8 km north of Magura town, where it splits into two channels. One of the channels falls into the gorai, and the other joins the Nabaganga through the Muchikhali.

Later on, the Kobadak maintained its principal discharge from the Bhairab. Disconnection of the Mathabhanga from the ganges and again disconnection of the Mathabhanga and the Kobadak resulted in a very narrow flow. From the monsoon the river receives only the local rainwater and percolated water and loses its navigability at most places. In summer, the river almost dries up near Jhikargachha. The high levee near Tala upazila indicates that once upon a time the river might have had a width of 750m, but it is now only about 170m; but at Chandkhali the figure is about 300m. The river was about to die, but the bangladesh water development board maintains a flow from the Ganges by pumping, providing irrigation to its buffer area in the ganges-kobadak irrigation project (G-K Project).

The water of the Kobadak is being used for irrigation also in some places of Jessore district through pumping. The Kobadak along with its branches and sub-branches drains about 3,315 sq km of Kushtia, Jessore and Khulna districts. The river is navigable in Khulna district and there is a launch service plying on the river. The total length of the river is about 260 km.

The Kobadak is under tidal influence but not above Jhikargachha. To protect it from saline water a long salination protection embankment has been constructed along its bank. Irrigation is not suitable in parts of Khulna district due to salination. Saline water is however very suitable for shrimp culture.

The Kobadak flows through some important places like Chaugachha, Jhikargachha, Chakla, Trimohani, Jibannagar, Kotchandpur, Sagardanri, Tala, Baruli, Chandkhali, Baradal, Amadi and Bedkashi. The birthplace of the eminent epic poet michael madhusudan dutt is on the bank of the Kobadak in Jessore district. [Tahmina Ahmed]

See map in ganges-padma river system.