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24 April, 2019 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 24 April, 2019 01:47:03 AM
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Steps needed to stop river grabbing

State Minister for Shipping Ministry Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury while inaugurating Sheikh Hasina Bridge at Shibchar in Madaripur recently said none would be allowed to grab river in future and all rivers would be freed from illegal grabbers in phases. The minister’s utterance sounds good but what is happening is alarming to say the least. In the past also many high-ups had issued stern warnings against encroachment of water bodies including rivers but those failed to come out of the confines of rhetoric. And so the river grabbers had their heydays.          

Scores of big and small rivers once crisscrossed the country, but many of them have died out, thanks to the unplanned construction of embankments and culverts, encroachments, absence of dredging, poor or a lack of water flow, unplanned urbanisation, siltation and climate change. Grabbing of wetlands by a section of influential people is contributing to the shrinkage of the wetlands.     

It is worrying to note that at least 117 rivers of Bangladesh have disappeared because of disruptions in their water flows in the upstream and unplanned construction of culverts, bridges and embankments in the country. Many rivers are gasping for their existence.   No noteworthy measures have been taken to protect the rivers in the country. Unplanned and uncoordinated urbanisation has taken its toll on the rivers, other water bodies and fish resources in the country. This is a blow to the country’s economy. River pollution is another menace that is wreaking havoc. Industrial waste, household garbage and the refuse of ships are being dumped directly into rivers, which are accelerating their deaths.

The rivers like Padma, Teesta, Brahmaputra, Jamuna, Dhaleswari, Sandhya and Bangalee have already dried up due to the people’s irresponsibility and successive governments’ negligence towards the maintenance of the rivers. Many species of fish have disappeared from these rivers. Besides, some of the rivers have been affected, as Indian dams and embankments have been constructed in the upstream.

It is time for the government to take legal action against the land grabbers to protect the country’s rivers and water bodies in the national interest. The authorities concerned should ensure that the rivers are fully dredged, illegal encroachments ended and the laws strictly enforced to prevent abuse of waterways.    

 

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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