Nationwide drive to free rivers from encroachers begins

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Dhaka, December 23: A countrywide drive under the supervision of the Water Resources Ministry began on Monday to free river banks from illegal encroachers, aiming to protect the country’s rivers and water-bodies Kabir Bin Anwar, secretary for the Ministry of Water Resources, said the drive will continue until 44,000 illegal structures are evicted in 64 districts of the country.He said this while visiting an eviction drive conducted by Dhaka Zila Water Resources Development and Management Committee on 3.10-km long Ramchandrapur canal at Mohammadpur in the capital to evict 70 illegal structures.

Earlier, the secretary directed all the deputy commissioners to start the eviction drive through videoconferencing when representatives from Cabinet Division, Public Security Division, and Shipping Ministry were also present.

District Water Resources Development and Management Committees made a list of 44,000 illegal structures, Anwar said.

The authorities will plant trees and construct walkways on the lands to be freed during the drive, he added.

On July 1 last, the High Court in its observation said the country will survive, beloved Bangladesh will survive if the rivers are protected.

Before that, in a historic verdict, the HC on January 30 declared the Turag River as a legal/juristic person or a living being to save the river from illegal encroachment.

According to reports reaching the UNB news desk from different districts, over 96 families were evicted from the banks of the Karatoa River in Tulardanga area in Sadar Upazila of Panchagarh.

The drive, led by Sadar Upazila Nirbahi Officer Md GolamRabbani, started in the morning when Upazila Land Officer Aminul Islam was present.

In Natore, Water Development Board spotted 1,500 illegal establishments on the banks of different rivers in the district which will be demolished gradually, said Deputy Commissioner of the district Mohammad Shahriaj.

He said the local administration started an eviction drive to free the banks of the Narod River.

In Chandpur, separate mobile courts demolished 15 illegal structures in Sadar Upazila while 227 in CIP embankment area under Faridganj upazila.

In Jhalakathi, 15 illegal structures were cleared from a 4-km area from Jhaukathi to Bhimruli in Sadar upazila.

In Pabna, the local administration started the eviction drive against285 structures on the banks of Ichhamati River in the district.

In Feni, the district administration evicted over 50 illegal establishments from the banks of Kumaria canal in Sadar upazila.

Deputy Commissioner of Feni Md Wahiduzzaman said WDB spotted over 300 illegal establishments in the district.

In Laxmipur, the local administration demolished 50 establishments in Joksin Uttar Bazar area under Sadar upazila.

In Sunamganj, the eviction drive started by demolishing nine structures on the banks of the Surma River.

The district administration spotted over 696 encroachers in the district.

In Bagerhat, the local administration started a drive on the banks of Chitra River in Chitalmari upazila.

Over 20 illegal structures will be demolished on the banks of the Chitra River, he said.

WDB Executive Engineer (Bagerhat) Md Nahid-uz-Zaman Khan told UNB the illegal structures on the banks of over 30 rivers and canals in the district will be demolished.

In Sylhet, over 100 illegal establishments were evicted in Jakiganj and Jaintiapur upazilas from the banks of the Surma, Sari and Borogang rivers.