The government is considering an integrated effort to free four rivers of the capital from pollution after the completion of ongoing efforts for protecting the river lands from illegal occupiers.
While presiding over Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority’s workshop on the beautification of the four rivers at a hotel in Dhaka on Wednesday, shipping secretary M Abdus Samad said that several ministries and agencies would work together for making the rivers free from pollution following the beautification project.
‘We will have a meeting with the local government and rural development minister, Md Tajul Islam, along with Dhaka WASA, water development board, city corporations and municipalities for making a comprehensive plan to make the rivers free from pollution,’ Samad said.
Praising BIWTA’s recent eviction drive carried out in the Bariganga, Turag, Balu and Shitalakkhya, the secretary informed that total 152 acres of land of the rivers were reclaimed from the grabbers.
State minister for shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury said no grabbers or polluters would be spared.
Terming the rivers as mother, planning minister Abdul Mannan said that the rivers must be saved at any cost.
BIWTA chairman M Mahbub-ul Islam said that the agency was working to implement the ruling party’s election manifesto of increasing the navigation of the rivers of the country to 10,000 km.
BIWTA’s river beautification project director and also a board member Nurul Alam requested the government to approve their revised budget project cost of Tk 2,430 crore from the initial budget of Tk 848.55 crore.
Explaining the reason behind the increase of the project cost, he said that they had to include some new components following the High Court order to restore the rivers.
Following the HC order, Buriganga and Turag would be dredged from Sadarghat to Tongi.
‘We will also make jetties on pillars, 12.5km walkway on pillars, 40km quay walls and other structures so that the development activities would not interrupt the flow of the rivers,’ he said.
He, however, said two international standard tourism points and three eco-parks would be developed on the foreshore of the rivers.
Dhaka district administration in its report sent to the National River Conservation Commission on September 11 identified BIWTA as a river grabber for developing an eco-park on the Buriganga River’s foreshore at Shyampur.
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