Tawfique Ali

12 acres of Meghna leased out illegally

The district administration in Munshiganj violated law by leasing out a 12-acre foreshore and floodplains of the Meghna in Char Betagi, said National River Conservation Commission Chairman Muzibur Rahman Howlader.

Fresh onslaught on Meghna

A river under onslaught. An open defiance of a High Court order. And inept river custodians.

Curious foreign trip

A team of soon-to-retire engineers and an administration official are leaving for the US and the UK on a two-week trip ostensibly to learn about digging canals, protecting river banks, restoring embankments, and dredging rivers, which they had been doing for over three decades.


What was once considered encroachment has become outright murder. But the seriousness of the crime has done little to deter a carnival of corruption plaguing river management.

2009 HC Verdict: What the court directed and what’s been done

The apex court in 2009 directed the government to demarcate the original territory of the four Dhaka rivers -- Buriganga, Turag, Balu Shitalakhya -- restore those rivers to their original state and protect them against grabbing and from pollution.

95pc structures in Rajuk area non-compliant

Over 95 percent of the structures under Rajuk’s jurisdiction were built without building approval, according to survey findings for the ongoing revision of the capital city’s Detailed Area Plan (DAP).

National Building Code: Disregarded all along

Despite tragic loss of lives and properties in repeated building disasters, the country’s national building code has been lying largely unimplemented for 26 years, getting obsolete in the absence of an enforcement authority, said leading professionals.

Authorities’ inaction put rivers in peril

The deplorable conditions of the rivers around Dhaka city and elsewhere in the country due to encroachment and pollution are the result of inaction of the river custodians and their complicity with the grabbers for decades, National River Conservation Commission Chairman Muzibur Rahman Howlader has said.

No let-up in river grabbing

The country’s rivers and canals in sixty districts are in distress with at least 45,148 grabbers identified, according to official lists so far prepared by the respective deputy commissioners and submitted to the National River Conservation Commission.

Holding Rajuk Accountable: Ministry failed to play its part

Repeated tragic deaths and loss of property in fire and building disasters in the capital could have been averted had the housing and public works ministry as the administrative authority held Rajuk duly accountable for its job, said serving and former top officials.

River grabbing a criminal offence

All river grabbing and pollution are criminal offences, the highest court in the country has declared in the full text of a landmark judgment.

City traffic in disorder

The metro rail construction work on 8km of the capital’s key thoroughfares has made the chaotic traffic even worse, largely because steps have not been taken for better use of the narrowed down streets, experts and officials said.

Meghna grabber defies govt order

A private dockyard company has been building two slipways in the Meghna river in Munshiganj’s Gazaria even after the National River Commission asked the firm to stop its work and free the river.

Freeing the Meghna from Grabbers: Act or get sued

The National River Conservation Commission has warned that it would take legal actions against at least a dozen government authorities for their inaction to free the Meghna from grabbers if they do not act within seven days.

Ship-builder eating away Meghna

In an onslaught on the Meghna, a private ship-building company is constructing its shipyard’s slipways into the river at Meghnaghat in Sonargaon, but the river custodians are doing little to stop it.

Puzzle of 5 floors

While the 23-storey FR Tower on Kemal Ataturk Avenue has a foundation for 18 storeys, around a dozen other high rises on the same street are taller than permissible height but Rajuk has been silent about this all along, said government high officials.

All in scary conditions

Building and fire safety conditions in all the 1,818 high rises under Rajuk’s jurisdiction are scary, its chairman Md Abdur Rahman said yesterday.

No plan, no coordination

Although Rajuk officials had no engineering plan to knock down the much-talked about BGMEA building on the capital's Begunbari canal, they went to the site yesterday heavily equipped with demolition machinery.

FR Tower Building Plan: Rajuk violated own rules to approve it

Violating the then building rules, Rajuk in December 1996 approved an 18-storey high-rise in Banani, where the FR Tower stands today.

Planning goes haywire

Rajuk is approving commercial buildings in the residential areas of Gulshan and Banani with virtually no height limits and experts are calling it illegal and a recipe for disaster.

Nothing is right

The Rajuk came to know about 12 years ago that the Faruque-Rupayan Tower was built in violation of the approved plan, but it remained silent for all these years.

Purbachal Project: CONCEPT lost on REVISIONS

Rajuk is set to turn land originally earmarked for education and environment preservation into commercial and business plots in its 6,227-acre Purbachal New Town project in the city's outskirts.

Waste of water, way to disaster

The next world war will be over water. And Bangladesh appears to be most oblivious of all amidst the grim global forecast.

Spending on metro must be justified

The money spent on an expensive project like metro rail must be justified by ensuring it provides quality and optimum service to the public, said the country director of Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Old town sends out an SOS

Old Dhaka will remain vulnerable to disasters like the ones in Nimtoli and Chawkbazar unless it undergoes redevelopment, say urban planners.

Meghna too not spared

Nothing seems to scare away the river grabbers. Amid impassioned calls from the judiciary, environmentalists and the media to save the country's last surviving rivers, a private company is building two slipways in the Meghna river in Munshiganj.

Integration the key

Once the much-hyped metro rail starts operation between Uttara north and Agargaon later this year, it will not bring a significant change in Dhaka city's transport service unless it is integrated with conventional transport modes, experts said.

Bus easier, cheaper

Once built two decades from now, the five metro rail lines costing around $27.6 billion would serve only 11.5 percent of city passengers, said experts citing the capital's transport master plan.

Metro rail system to ease Dhaka's traffic gridlock

With the physical progress of the country's maiden 20km metro rail service already visible across the capital city, implementation of four more proposed metro lines is simultaneously going ahead as a measure for partially relieving the capital city of its perennial traffic congestion.

Unfounded lists spark concern, confusion

Two unsubstantiated lists of tribal refugees and internally-displaced persons have not only caused public outrage in Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT), but also an apprehension about security threat among the security forces.

A three-month wait that didn't end in three decades

Nasima Begum's three-month wait for returning to her homestead did not end in three decades leaving her with an abject life at a temporary cluster housing that best resembles a refugee camp.

When teachers are grabbers!

A local teachers' association is building a multi-storey shopping centre on a Debottor (endowed) property of a century-old Hindu temple in Modhupur defying a court order.

Airport-Gazipur BRT Line: Cost doubles, 20pc progress in 6 years

It's another classic case of delay in project implementation and a whopping rise in the project cost in the process. The project for an extended 20.5km rapid bus service for mass transport between Gazipur and Shahjalal International Airport was taken up in 2012.

3 govt bodies issue desist notices

Three government authorities have asked the managing director of a private business conglomerate Unique Group to halt earth-filling of fertile agricultural lands in the name of a private Sonargaon Economic Zone on the river Meghna in Sonargaon Upazila.

BRT route may now be halved

The rapid bus service, much touted as a way to ease the capital's chronic traffic congestion, may be implemented only in part, and that too not before 2024, as arbitrarily built flyovers block its proposed route, said officials and transport experts.

Dhaka Elevated Expressway: Construction picks up the pace

Finally, after over seven years of toiling exercise of preparatory work, construction of the much-talked about 47-km Dhaka Elevated Expressway commenced formally on April 1, 2018.

A lesson not learnt

Dhaka would not be deluged in 2018. This was the promise the local government minister made last year. But his words did not translate into action.

Tailback for Feni Overpass: Lack of traffic management plan caused it

The massive tailback due to the construction of Fatehpur rail overpass on Dhaka-Chittagong highway in Feni over the past week was expected, said a leading traffic system expert. He noted that the work lacked a traffic management plan.

Sonargaon Economic Zone: Injunction there, so is violation

The woes of 12,000 villagers on the Meghna in Sonargaon are not likely to lessen despite the highest court's ban against damaging their ancestral agricultural land.

Inaction kills Dumni canal

Years of public outcries, pledges of administration and the High Court's order had failed to save the natural canal Dumni Khal in the capital's outskirts.

Elevated Expressway: 7pc progress in 7 years

The government in the last seven years has failed to issue the work order for the 47km Dhaka Elevated Expressway (DEE) even though its construction has been inaugurated twice.

Of a strange eviction

The Victory Day morning of last year started like any other for the 85-year-old widow of a former Ispahani company director. She woke up, did her usual chores and had breakfast.

A canal on deathbed

The natural Dumni canal that nourished local agriculture and ecology for decades on the city's eastern outskirts is now being filled up to make way for real estate development.

Good initiative, messy management

Residents of some parts of Gulshan, Banani and Baridhara in the capital have to bear the misery of dug-up trenches and muddy roads for another half a year thanks to an ongoing road and footpath improvement work.

Plastic bins, this time

No one knows when the trashcans on the pavement in front of the Navy headquarters in the capital were stolen, leaving just the metal frames where the bins used to hang.

Streets Under Flyovers: Occupied by parking, shops

Illegal and haphazard parking and other unauthorised occupation under almost all the flyovers in the capital are depriving people of the benefit of the elevated structures, said transport experts.

Sewage taints rivers, canals

In the absence of modern treatment facilities, a cringe-worthy 80 percent of the capital's sewage goes directly into rivers and water bodies.

Decentralise power

Calbayog -- a city in Samar province of the Philippines -- was recognised as the country's cleanest and second most peaceful city. The man behind this achievement was Mel Senen Sarmiento, the city's mayor from 2001 till 2010.

March 2, 2017
March 2, 2017

Old Dhaka exposed to chemical hazards

Seven years after the deadly chemical fire claiming 124 lives in Nimtoli, parts of densely-populated Old Dhaka still have extremely hazardous stocks of flammable chemicals without any safety measures whatsoever.

February 27, 2017
February 27, 2017

The bridge not taken

It was around 7:30am on a Wednesday. The street towards the Banani intersection from Mohakhali near the capital's Sainik Club was bustling with speedy vehicles. Pedestrians, including office-goers, schoolkids and garment workers, were hurrying along the pavement.

February 19, 2017
February 19, 2017

Over 1,000 city malls at fire risk

Over a thousand shopping malls and markets in the capital were built without mandatory fire-safety clearance and those are now posing a serious threat, said fire department top officials.

January 16, 2017
January 16, 2017

Dumping sand on farmland

It was a foggy winter morning in Kandargaon village of Sonargaon. Elderly farmer Hashem Ali, wrapped in a shawl and a woollen cap on, was frantically wandering around his bed of paddy seedlings in the middle of the vast farmland on the Meghna in Narayanganj.

November 6, 2016
November 6, 2016

Time to declare Turag dead

In the end, nobody would save the Turag river. Left at the mercy of ruthless land grabbers who continue to ravage one of Dhaka's lifelines, the river is only a shadow of its once mighty self.

October 24, 2016
October 24, 2016

Farmland being fed with sand

Life and livelihood of elderly Nazimuddin Mollah of east Kandargaon in Sonargaon of Narayanganj is entirely dependent on his agricultural land.

June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016

In 37 minutes

Construction work of the first metro rail service in the capital begins today with an aim to open half of the 20km metro line by the end

June 5, 2016
June 5, 2016

Change to create more chaos

The extended Moghbazar Flyover ramp near Sonargaon Hotel may make the already crammed street even more congested, according to an expert and project officials. Moreover, a 50-metre carriageway deck of the ramp, already built in front of the Bangladesh Film Development Corporation (popularly known as the FDC) at a cost of around Tk 9.5 crore, would now have to be demolished, said a project official.

May 7, 2016
May 7, 2016

Freeing illegally occupied roads, sites was not easy

Annisul Huq and Sayeed Khokon took oath as mayors respectively of Dhaka North and South City Corporations on May 6 last year. They took over offices with serious pledges and commitments to bring about qualitative changes in delivering civic services.

April 6, 2016
April 6, 2016

Rain eases dust menace

Intermittent showers over the last few days have given the city residents a respite from dust pollution.