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PM orders restoration of rivers, canals in capital, adjoining areas

Dhaka, Dec 04: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday directed the authorities concerned to take measures to restore all canals in the capital city Dhaka and its adjoining areas as well as Buriganga, Shitalakshya, Turag and Balu rivers as soon as possible.

The Premier issued this directive at a meeting on the presentation of the survey report and the policy decision for the adoption of the related project in light of the master plan designed to prevent pollution and protect the navigability of the rivers around Dhaka at the cabinet room of her office (PMO).

Prime Minister’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim briefed the reporters after the meeting.

Seven hotspots have been identified for restoration of rivers and canals in and around Dhaka. The places are: Gazipur, Garanchatbari, Savar, Purbachal, Kalyanpur, Narayanganj and Kamrangirchar.

The Prime Minister directed to take up integrated projects on a priority basis in these seven identified hotspots and asked to implement this hotspot strategy across the country gradually.

Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister M Tofazzel Hossain Miah presented the report at the meeting.

In the opening speech at the meeting, Sheikh Hasina directed to stop river pollution, saying the rivers will have to be saved in order to protect the country.

“We have to save our rivers if we want to save Bangladesh,” she said, adding that the river in Bangladesh is similar to the body’s veins for blood circulation.

She continued that “Survival of our Bangladesh also depends on this river.”

Highlighting the various steps taken by her government to stop river pollution, encroachment and restore navigability in the past years, the Prime Minister said, after coming to power, they always tried to protect the rivers and restore their navigability.

Stating that the unplanned lower-height bridges have created obstacles to navigation, she said that these bridges became beneficial for the people, but during the time of construction, the issue of water vessel’s movement was not taken into cognizance and that is why the problem of navigation has arisen, and these bridges have become hindrance.

At the meeting, a decision was taken to form National Council headed by the Prime Minister. In addition, another decision was taken to form a technical and coordination committee headed by the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister as well as an implementation committee based on the respective ministries.

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