Encroachment on rivers
WHILE the environmentalists are crying hoarse to make the point that the rivers in and around the city have to be saved from encroachment and pollution, there are few listeners. The ground reality remains appalling. Rivers continue to be the targets of land grabbers having enough political clout and money to carry on the illegal business.
The point will be made clear by what is going on in the river Buriganga and the Turag. The grabbers have gone to the extent of using a signboard to mark the area occupied by them in the river Buriganga at Kamrangirchar. Not surprisingly, the encroachers are reported to be two local political leaders with highly dubious track records. Yet, one of them has got the nomination from a major party.
Obviously, the mortally sick Buriganga cannot survive when influential people keep dealing such fatal blows to it. Already, it has been narrowed down to a trickle of smelly water, which cannot be called a river anymore. The environmentalists have alerted us to the grave danger of allowing this river to die due to pollution and the pressure of encroachment from both sides. The decision makers have apparently been convinced by the arguments of the environmentalists, and attempts to evict the encroachers have been made from time to time. But the signboard in the Buriganga greatly offsets, or even mocks, the progress that has so far been made to recover the lost riverbed. The other lesson to be learned from such brazen encroachment is that the so-called political leaders, known for misdeeds of almost every denomination, could not change themselves in the last two years. And finally it is pretty clear that the government has failed to contain the powerful grabbers having no respect for the law and little understanding of our environmental needs.
The Turag case is no different. A photograph printed in this newspaper yesterday shows how the local influential people have filled a part of the river with sands. Their purpose is understandable, though it is not so clear how they could embark on such a mission in blatant violation of the law.
The authorities concerned and the law enforcers have to act quickly and evict the encroachers, regardless of who they are.