Massive drive to free rivers kicks off in districts | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 24, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:46 PM, December 24, 2019

Massive drive to free rivers kicks off in districts

Scores of illegal concrete structures knocked down in Pabna, Cumilla, Pirojpur, Patuakhali, Moulvibazar; the operation to continue

The authorities yesterday launched a massive eviction drive against illegal occupiers of river lands in different districts across the country.

Pabna district administration in cooperation with the Water Development Board (WDB) has started the long awaited eviction drive in ‘Puraton Bridge’ area of the district town, reports our correspondent.

“All the illegal structures beside the Ichamati river in Pabna town has already been marked with the red signs and the drive is meant for freeing river from illegal occupiers,” said Md Shahidul Islam, superintending engineer of the WDB.

According to Water Development Board’s feasibility study based on the CS record map of the river, several thousand illegal structures including over 400 concrete buildings have been identified on the river land areas in Pabna town, he said, adding that the drive will continue to free all the illegal structures.

Originated in the Padma in Pabna’s Shibrampur, the Ichamati runs an 84 kilometre  course across the district before meeting the Jamuna in Bera upazila.

According to the government’s Cadastral Survey (CS) records, published in 1922, the nine-km section of the river that flows through Pabna municipality had 88.58 acres of riverbed. But the area dropped to only 54.53 acres as shown in the most recent Bangladesh Survey (BS) record map in 2013 according to the district settlement office.

During yesterday’s drive, several occupiers of the river land claimed that they have legal documents of the lands.

“The government has taken a mega project to save the Ichamati river and the eviction drive is a part of the project. There is no scope to consider the claim of the illegal occupiers,” said Pabna Deputy Commissioner Kabir Mahamud.

People are delighted that at last the government has taken initiative to free the Ichamati river, said SM Mahabub Alam, convener of ‘Save Ichamati’ movement. “Ichamati is the life of Pabna. Saving the river is to save Pabna town,” he added.

Our Cumilla Correspondent reports: The authorities demolished 139 illegal structures on both sides of the Gumti river yesterday.

Officials of the district administration and WDB with the cooperation of the police conducted the drive in Poschim Majhigacha, Poschim Bisnopur, Ariora, Dakkhin Rasulpur and Utter Sreepur mouzas of Cumilla Sadar upazila.

Earlier notices were served to the owners of illegal structures to remove those, following a list prepared by WDB authorities.

Water Development Board yesterday demolished 109 illegal structures in a 8.5-kilometre canal area of Panachpara Bharani Khal in Sikder Mollik and Kadamtala unions under Pirojpur Sadar upazila, reports our correspondent.

Dipak Ranjan Das, executive engineer of WDB in Pirojpur, and Pijush Kuman Chowdhury, assistant commissioner and executive magistrate in Pirojpur, led the drive.

“The drive will continue to free all the government lands under WDB in Pirojpur,” said Dipak Ranjan Das.

WDB with the help of district administration and law enforcers demolished 28 illegal structures at Hetalia Badghat Bazar on Patuakhali-Kuakata road in Patuakhali Sadar upazila yesterday, reports our correspondent.

The drive will continue to remove illegal establishments in the area, said Md Hasanuzzaman, executive engineer of WDB.

“We are preparing list of all illegal occupiers who built structures after grabbing government lands and those will be demolished by turns,” said Md Shahjahan, sub assistant land officer of Patuakhali Sadar upazila.

Our Moulvibazar Correspondent adds: The authorities yesterday removed nine illegal establishments at Barapara in Sadar upazila of ​​Sunamganj, as part of a drive to remove illegal establishments along the rivers, canals, streams, haors and other waterbodies in the district.

 As many as 248 illegal establishments near rivers and canals, including 26 in Sunamganj Sadar upazila, 40 in Dakkhin Sunamganj, 13 in Chhatak, 25 in Jamalganj, 30 in Dharmapasha, 60 in Jagannathpur and 64 in Tahirpur upazila will be removed, said officials of Sunamganj district administration.

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