In a welcome case of prompt action, the Barishal district administration yesterday demolished illegal structures put up by encroachers on the west bank of Kirtankhola river around 24 hours after being alerted.
Around 2:30pm on Saturday, The Daily Star’s Barishal correspondent sought comments from district officials regarding the encroachment on the river by an influential local.
Mehedy Hasan, assistant commissioner, later told the correspondent that he had visited the spot and found evidence of encroachment and that he would soon submit a report to Barishal’s deputy commissioner soon.
DC SM Ajiar Rahman instructed the administration to conduct an immediate eviction drive. On Sunday afternoon, the district administration called our correspondent around 4:30pm.
“We are sending our people to the spot for eviction. We will appreciate if you send your men [photographer] there,” Hasan said over the phone.
This was a break from what is generally seen in a country where illegal grabbers often escape eviction drives.
Earlier on Saturday, the correspondent found piling work of about 200 feet done in the river near Dhangobeshona Road in Barishal city.
The reporter also found workers constructing a wall using concrete blocks.
Locals said the river grabbing attempt started around two weeks ago by Raisul Kabir Swapon, a petrol pump owner in Rupatali bus stand area.
Swapon claimed his grandfather bought 60 decimals of land in 1954 and most of the land had been consumed by the river.
He said that he was protecting the remaining land from river erosion.
“It was not grabbing but rather an attempt to save our own property from river erosion.”
Swapan, however, was not around when the eviction drive was conducted, Hasan said.