National River Conservation Commission has instructed district administrations of Munshiganj and Narayanganj to send time-bound action plans for evicting grabbers from the Meghna, Sitalakhya and Dhaleswari and ensure close monitoring of their drives.
The initiative was taken to ensure transparency in conducting eviction drives on major rivers that were under illegal occupation of the government agencies and influential businesses in many areas, commission chairman Md Muzibur Rahman Hawlader told New Age on June 11.
He said that letters addressed to the deputy commissioners of Munshiganj and Narayanganj were sent last month asking them to send action plans to the commission soon.
‘A four-member committee led by the commission member will monitor the eviction drives and will also help the district administrations by sharing experiences of visiting the rivers,’ he said.
Following visits in the Meghna and Sitalakhya, the commission prepared reports on grabbers and polluters of the rivers, which included names of many government agencies and hundreds of private business enterprises and individuals.
The commission’s report on the Meghna reads that Meghna Group is developing a dockyard after grabbing lands on the Meghna at Parataper Char under Sonargaon upazila in Narayanganj, while City Group encroached on a portion of land of the river for an economic zone at Hosendi in the district.
As per the rule a company requires to make a channel on its purchased land for operating the dockyard, commission deputy director Ashok Kumar Biswas said.
The report also reads that a huge portion of the river at its different points in Narayanganj and Munshiganj has been grabbed by big companies, including Meghna Group, Fresh Cement, Orion Group, Bashundhara, Summit Group, Desh Group, Ananda Shipyard, City Sugar Industries Ltd, Heidelberg Cement Bangladesh Ltd, CEMEX Cement Bangladesh Ltd, Holcim Cement (Bangladesh) Limited and Shah Cement.
The commission’s encroachment report on the Sitalakhya shows that the food department made a warehouse encroaching on land of the river at Bandar, Narayanganj. BIWTC developed a dockyard on the river in the same place, it reads.
The report also says that at Khanpur and Hajiganj of Narayanganj different government agencies such as Bangladesh water development board, BIWTC, and BIWTA dumped hundreds of unused dredgers, trawlers and cargo careers, which were interrupting the flow of the river.
To make things worse, Haripur barge-mounted power plant and Adamjee Export are dumping untreated effluent into the river.
Referring to the commission report, Ashok Kumar Biswas said Akij Group, Scan Cement Factory, Bengal Glass, Star Particle Board Mills Ltd,
Rupayan Housing, Shamsur Alamin Cotton Mills, Karnaphuli Texport Ltd, Shikdar Salt, ACI Salt Industries Ltd and Partex Group developed factories, cold storages, textile mills, housing projects and other ventures after encroaching on the land of the river in Narayanganj and Munshiganj.
The river conservation commission officials said that the Dhaleswari had been grabbed by big businesses as well.
Narayanganj DC Rabbi Miah claimed that the district administration had already evicted grabbers from the Meghna and officially informed the shipping ministry about it.
‘We are also keeping in touch with the river conservation commission,’ he said.
Munshiganj DC Shayla Farzana said that concerned assistant commissioners were asked to send list of the grabbers on June 3.
‘After getting the lists we will send the action plan for eviction drives to the commission,’ she said.
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