Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) yesterday knocked down three single-storey buildings and the walls and storage tanks of a power plant belonging to a ruling party lawmaker, all of which had encroached on the Buriganga.
The power plant, in Charwashpur near Basila bridge, is owned by Aslamul Haque, lawmaker of Dhaka-14 (Mirpur), and parts of it had encroached on the river, said BIWTA Joint Director AKM Arif Uddin, who led the drive.
The drive that started at 9:00am and continued until 5:00pm also knocked down 10 walls and 10 other structures of the power plant that had been constructed illegally on the river.
Even five years ago the entire area was in the river but the power plant had partially encroached on the river, which violates the Water Body Conservation Act 2000 and Bangladesh Environment Protection Act 1995, said Arif.
The BIWTA joint director said they would also excavate the encroached portions of the river to return it to its former state.
Lawmaker Aslam visited the site during the drive and protested the action.
He told reporters that he did not encroach on the river and that the power plant was built on his own land.
Aslam threatened legal action against the drive and left the site.
Arif said they started their drive against illegal structures last year and yesterday was Day-68 of the drive.
"We have knocked down 7,000 illegal structures and recovered around 150 acres of land from encroachers during the drive," he said.
The drive will resume this morning to demolish other illegal structure in the area, said Arif.
"We are continuing the drive to knock down illegal structures from rivers and will persist until all illegal establishments are removed," said Arif.