NOT only encroachment of rivers but it appears also that the exercise to clear the rivers of encroachers is becoming increasingly lucrative. Encroachment of public property by unscrupulous people is not a new phenomenon, but what is deplorable is that even rivers, canals and waterways, that happen to be the lifeline of a town or a city, are being literally killed by being filled up, out of sheer commercial motive. And this, unfortunately, happens with the connivance and acquiescence of government agencies.
We are thus not surprised that the eviction efforts in the last three years to clear a part of the Shitalakkhya near Shimrail of the illegal encroachers have been unsuccessful. In fact it has become an expensive farce that has cost the state taka 18 lakh. No sooner does an eviction drive end than the sand traders are back in full force under the very nose of those agencies that are supposed to not only prevent illegal occupation of government property but also to prosecute those that do so, according to reports carried in this paper yesterday.
The very fact that such a vast tract of the Shitalakkhya has been filled up, and it is not an isolated case, it being a common phenomenon with many other rivers in our country, speaks lot about dereliction of the BRTA primarily. This should not have been allowed to happen. And the government must act against those whose job it was to see that our rivers were kept free of illegal occupation.