BIWTA misplaces 50pc river pillars to facilitate grabbers

Staff Correspondent | Published: 01:11, Jan 02,2021


Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority set 1,423 river demarcation pillars on faulty location facilitating the grabbers to encroach on river foreshores, says a study unveiled by River and Delta Research Centre on Friday.

The non-government organisation surveyed 37 kilometres stretch of the Buriganga and Turag riverbanks in October where BIWTA had set 3,084 pillars on both banks of the rivers flowing by the south and west parts of the capital.

The survey also unveiled that 309 other pillars also were set up on the embankment of the rivers violating the Bangladesh Water Act 2013, the High Court order and Port Rules 1966.

RDRC chairman Mohammad Azaz said that the BIWTA installed most of the pillars compromising with the grabbers on the western side of the Turag. He suspected that there must be an unholy nexus between the BIWTA and the grabbers.

‘Most of the flood flow zones are earth-filled by housing and individuals soon after the pillars were set up,’ he alleged.

BIWTA chairman and its director (land and estate) were asked for their comment over phone, but they refused.

According to the study, 312 disputed pillars were set up on Buriganga and 1,111 on Turag.

Abdul Matin, executive vice-president of Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon, said that the HC ordered to set up pillars maintaining 50 feet distance from rivers, not on the foreshore.

‘Maximum 1.5 per cent pillars are set up following the High Court order,’ he said.

Matin believed that local administration and political leaders acted behind it because of the lack of political will.

The High Court in a directive in 2009 ordered the government to protect the rivers surrounding the capital Dhaka by demarcating them as per the cadastral survey and revised survey records, retaining the eroded areas and shoals.

In an apparent compliance with the order, the Public Works Department, in association with the Inland Water Transport Authority, the Water Development Board and the district administrations concerned, put up pillars to demarcate the boundaries of the rivers in 2010.

BIWTA installed 9,577 river demarcation pillars along the Buriganga, Turag, Shitalakhya, Balu and a part of Dhaleswari rivers in 2010 and 2019.

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