Around 33 illegal sand traders have frantically cleared piles of sand and stones from the river Shitalakkhya over the last few days as their ringleader went into hiding after the gruesome seven murder in Narayanganj.
“Nur Hossain would always deal with the local administration to back the entire illegal trade here, but this time we had to comply with the BIWTA directive to clear the river area as he went into hiding,” said Md Firoz Alam, an employee at one of the sand traders' seats (godi).
As part of an ongoing eviction drive, Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) on Sunday directed the illegal sand traders near the Kanchpur bridge in Ati and Shimrail mouzas to remove sand and stones from river foreshores.
A local Awami League leader, Nur Hossain is the prime accused in the abduction and murder of seven men, including Narayanganj city councillor Nazrul Islam and senior lawyer Chandan Sarkar. The seven were abducted on April 27 from Narayanganj and killed later. Firoz said Nur Hossain and his nephew Shahjalal Badal owned about six sand trading seats.
An employee at Badal's sand trading seat, Nazrul Islam said no one dared bid in any BIWTA auction for illegally piled sand and stones as Nur Hossain would foil it.
Earlier, the BIWTA and Narayanganj district administration jointly carried out six eviction drives at the same site, but each time the sand traders made a prompt comeback, almost halving the flow in the Shitalakkhya.
On Friday, the joint authorities once again embarked on a six-day drive to remove 12-lakh cubic feet earth filling from the north of the Kanchpur landing station, 50 makeshift illegal jetties built by sand traders to the south of the Kanchpur bridge and 25 semi-concrete structures raised by Nur Hossain and other traders to the north of the landing station.
“This time we have undertaken a decisive drive to remove the encroachment. Our higher authorities have agreed to dredge the Shitalakkhya at this site,” said BIWTA Deputy Director Alamgir Kabir.
Within a week, the BIWTA will file cases with the Judicial Magistrate's Court against 33 illegal sand traders, including Nur Hossain, his brothers Nuruzzaman Joj and Nurul Islam and nephew Shahjalal Badal on charge of filling up the river and foreshores, added Alamgir.