Villagers chase sand lifters
Over a thousand people of Savar and South Keraniganj yesterday drove away sand collectors who were dredging the river Bongshai illegally.
Witnesses said the people from 10 villages later barricaded Savar-Keraniganj road at Itabhara Bridge for over three hours from 1:30pm.
They said their houses and land along the riverbank have been threatened by erosion due to illegal sand lifting from the river.
The villagers equipped with bamboo, sticks and other weapons chased after the sand collectors at about 1:30pm.
Witnesses said employees and hired labourers of the sand collectors tried to attack the villagers who were protesting at illegal sand lifting. As the number of villagers was much higher than the people of sand collectors, the latter beat a retreat.
The villagers later staged angry demonstrations on the road and urged the government to take necessary steps against the illegal activities to save their houses on the riverbank from erosion.
Sources said a number of companies, in connivance with the local administration and some unscrupulous people, have carried out such illegal business in the river Bonshai, presenting a threat to the land and houses along the river.
Some of the villagers of Firingi Kanda, which is one of the places being eroded by the river, alleged that they jointly resisted the criminals to see the reluctance of local police and administration.
When contacted, Savar Police Station Officer-in-Charge Nasir Ullah admitted the protest of the villagers against the sand collectors. "As the villagers are conscious people, they resisted the illegal act and drove away the criminals," he added.
South Keraniganj OC Mohammad Asaduzzaman said no one filed any complaint with them in this connection.