In this Star file photo, a digger at Kanchpur bridge on the Shitalakkhya river is seen evicting sand traders who occupied the river way beyond the walkway, marked in red, built on the bank.
The Supreme Court today cleared the way for removing all structures, excluding those set up by the government to serve public interest, from four rivers encircling Dhaka.
The rivers are Shitalakkhya, Balu, Turag and Buriganga.
After rejecting five review petitions, the Appellate Division of the SC today upheld its earlier verdict that had asked the government to remove all structures from the four rivers.
Five commercial companies, which established jetties in the Shitalakkhya, filed the petitions with the SC on different date in 2010 to review its order so that their jetties are not removed.
The companies are City Sugar Industries Ltd, Heidelberg Cement Bangladesh Ltd, Kamal Vegetable Oil Ltd, Molla Salt Industries Ltd and Cimex Cement BD limited.
With the dismissal of the review petitions, the apex court today has affirmed its 2010 judgement.
In May 2010, the SC division upheld the High Court judgment directing the government to remove all structure from the four rivers excluding those set up by the government for the public interest.
In June 2009, the HC had delivered a land mark verdict to save the four rivers around Dhaka.
It directed the government to demarcate the areas of the rivers and to remove all structures from the areas, excluding those established by the government to serve the public interest.
The HC came up with the verdict following a writ petition moved by Manzil Murshid on behalf the Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh.
Seven commercial companies, including the above mentioned five companies, had filed separate appeals with SC against the HC verdict so that their jetties were not removed from Shitalakkhya.
On May 3, 2010, the SC rejected the appeals and upheld the HC verdict.
In 2010, five companies submitted the review petitions against the apex court verdict.
Talking to The Daily Star today, Manzil Murshid said the government has to remove all illegal structures from the rivers following the today’s verdict.