BIWTA asked not to block river flow

Ershad Kamol  | Published: 01:17, Aug 15,2019


National River Conservation Commission has instructed Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority not to obstruct the flow of rivers on the plea of beautification of Dhaka river banks.

The commission chairman Muzibur Rahman Howlader told New Age on August 7 that they had instructed the water transport authority in July, in presence of representatives of concerned agencies, not to block river flow between foreshores and flood flow zones while constructing embankments, walkways, benches, eco-parks and others for its beautification project along the rives Buriganga, Turag, Balu and Shitalakkhya.

Hydrologists and morphologists were also present at the meeting, he said.

‘It would be unfortunate if they create obstacle to river water by constructing embankments and pathways on banks for protecting those form grabbers which might permanently destroy the river systems,’ Muzibur said.

He said that BIWTA was instructed to modify the plan for constructing pathways on the western bank of the Turag anticipating it would block water flow towards the flood plain area used as agricultural land.

‘If they need to construct pathways in limited scale, they should construct those on pillars so that water flow is not affected,’ he said.

Muzibur said that BIWTA was also asked to stop cementing concrete blocks on the river banks as it had done in some parts of the Buriganga before. ‘Cementing concrete blocks on embankment destroys permeability of the rivers, which is a very important issue for recharging underground water in a city like Dhaka,’ Muzibur said adding that the agency should come up with natural solution.

The commission, he said, also asked BIWTA to immediately cancel permission for private jetties on the rivers and to construct jetties with government fund only after thorough studies. 

Bangladesh Paribesh Andolan, at a press conference on July 26 in Dhaka, had expressed deep concern over government project to make walkways along the riverbanks surrounding capital arguing it might create a scope for giving legality to grabbers of river land.

BIWTA chairman Commodore M Mahbub-ul Islam said that taking the river commission’s directives in consideration, the agency placed a revised project proposal on July 28 to the shipping ministry keeping provisions of building 19 jetties on RCC pillars, walkways on pillars, 40km quay walls and others.

‘The rivers will be embanked using the modern technologies as found in London and Singapore City,’ he said.

The revised project cost stood at Tk 2,400 crore which was Tk 848.50 crore before modification he said.

He said under the project, the rivers would be dredged, three eco-parks would be developed, and permanent pillars would be set up in the areas where there was no dispute.

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