BIWTA has launched an eviction drive to revive the Buriganga and Karnaphuli rivers by demolishing illegal structures. In Dhaka, initially over six hundred illegal structures on the banks of the Buriganga have been identified. In last few days, many illegal structures were demolished. Three people were arrested and many were fined for grabbing river banks and construction of illegal structures. Many illegal structures have also been demolished from the banks of Karnaphuli in Chattogram. More than one kilometer area has been recovered so far.
In the previous tenure of present government, it announced that four rivers - Buriganga, Shitalakkya, Balu and Turag - would be free from all occupations. But the announcement was not implemented. Recently, in a verdict of the High Court, the rivers have been recognized as a ‘living entity’. The court also urged all concerned to play a responsible role in protecting the rivers. After the High Court's verdict, authorities have taken an initiative to free the Buriganga and Karnaphuli rivers. Land Minister Saifuzzaman Chowdhury Javed expressed his stern action about the eviction of illegal structures on both sides of rivers.
The Karnaphuli river is not only a resource of Chattogram but also it is very important for the national economy. On the banks of the Karnaphuli, the Chattrogram port has been established, hence the river is called 'Lifeline' of Bangladesh's economy. About 80 percent of the country's import-export is performed by the port of Chattogram. And the port's activities are largely dependent on the navigability, depth and flow of the river. If we want to save the country's economy, we have to save the Karnaphuli river. Therefore, a drive has been launched to save the Karnaphuli, and we have to see it successful.
Illegal structures have been constructed not only on the banks of the Karnaphuli river but also on the banks of its branches. Karnaphuli is losing its feature due to occupation and pollution. According to the Department of Environment, Karnaphuli’s length is 131 kilometers. Besides, Halda river is 88 kilometers, Ichhamati river 30 kilometers and Sangu 295 kilometers. All those rivers in Chattogram are also facing a threat due to occupation and pollution.
Bangladesh is a riverine country. Many spread like a net in the country. But many rivers have already disappeared from the map or many are going to die due to our irresponsible activities. We must take steps to protect the rivers. We believe that the administration will not give any concession to free the rivers. This is very important for our existence.
Besides, it should be ensured that after the eviction drives, any illegal structure can be constructed again. Generally, it is seen that after the eviction drive, reoccupation continues. The authorities should take pragmatic actions against the reoccupation.
risingbd / Dhaka /Feb 7, 2019 / Ali Nowsher /Mukul