Published on 12:00 AM, September 04, 2018

Lake encroachment using political clout

Govt must act against those responsible

Photo: Ashraful Alam

A recent report by a leading Bangla daily highlighted how, over the course of the last 10 years, a 22-acre lake in Mirpur has been illegally encroached at the behest, reportedly, of some members of the ruling party—at the central, thana and ward levels.

According to experts, the chronic waterlogging problems of the city are largely due to encroachment of its water bodies. The lake in question was included in the plans of Rupnagar area for precisely this: to preserve surface water and to prevent waterlogging. According to locals quoted in the report, since 2009, attempts at illegal occupation have been rampant. Over the years, multiple structures have been built, tacitly trying to take control of the lake. Today, over 2,000 structures have been built over the lake area through filling the land, and the occupiers are estimated to be profiting around Tk 60 lakh per month from them.

The report quotes several of the accused, all of whom have tried to come up with illogical excuses or tried to deny involvement. It is also telling that initially the Housing Authority tried to pass off the responsibility of preserving the lake to Wasa when asked by reporters.

Politically powerful people are making big profits from the encroachment and nonchalance of authorities responsible, undoing the government's laudable projects to recover and preserve Dhaka's water bodies. The authorities must toughen up against these individuals who are using political muscle to commit crimes. This could be made into an example of the government's resolve to recover our water bodies from encroachment and show that no one, irrespective of party affiliation, will be allowed to get away with such acts.