Massive campaign underway to save country’s rivers: Khalid

DHAKA State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury today said the government is spearheading a massive campaign to save the country's rivers evicting encroachers and preventing pollution.

This is a tough task . . . (but) unless the rivers could be saved, many of our success stories will run dry he told a media briefing emerging from the second meeting of a task force on navigability and flow of rivers at the ministry.

Khalid said measures were taken with due emphasis to protect the Buriganga River from encroachments and pollutants in line with the High Court directives.

The shipping ministry in a press release, meanwhile, said the meeting was informed that the task force by now identified 120 points in the Buriganga River through which pollutants were contaminating the river.

It said liquid wastes of Dhaka WASA were polluting the Buriganga at 53 points while industrial and other wastes generated by different establishments were contaminating the streams in 67 other points.

The press release said the Shitalakhya River in Narayanganj was also being polluted at 105 points.

The meeting was informed that Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority's (BIWTA) eviction campaign was underway to free the rivers particularly around the capital from encroachments.

Until July 24 this year BIWTA demolished 18,025 illegal establishments, recovered 738 acres of land, fined Taka (TK) 68, 58,000 and auctioned goods worth Tk 14 crore in Dhaka and Narayanganj river port areas.

It said in several points along the river banks around Dhaka and Narayanganj were encroached again. But in special drives from December 18 to 22, BIWTA recovered around 16 acres of land and fined Tk 9 lakh 22,000 and auctioned goods worth Tk 2.38 crore.

According to the press release construction of 207 pillars to demarcate riverbeds in Dhaka and works to construct 2,006 pillars would start next week to demarcate the areas of the Tongi River on the outskirts of the capital.

Representatives of various ministries, offices and organizations, including Md Abdus Samad, Secretary of the Ministry of Shipping, attended the meeting.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)