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24 January, 2016 00:00 00 AM
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Greens for army engagement to revive Buriganga

They blame WASA, 2 city corporations for dumping waste into rivers
UNB
Greens for army engagement to revive Buriganga
Buriganga River

Green activists have sought the engagement of army to revive the dying Buriganga River as the lack of strong political will, concerted efforts, enforcement of laws and faulty demarcations stood in the way of its revival, reports UNB.
They said it was not supposed to take too much time to save the Buriganga and other rivers surrounding the capital had the government implemented with a commitment the directives of the High Court gave on June 25, 2009 to revive the rivers.
Under the circumstances, some environmentalists have suggested engaging army after taking a Hatirjheel-like project to remove the piles of garbage and deposits of sand and soil from the Buriganga, plug the sources of pollution and recover its grabbed land and construct walkways along its banks.
Contacted, chief executive of Environmental Lawyers Association (Bela) Syeda Rizwana Hasan told UNB that the main barriers to reviving the rivers surrounding the capital, including the Buriganga, is the lack of the government’s strong goodwill and enforcement of laws.
Being government institutions, she said, Dhaka Wasa and two city corporations dump their wastes into the rivers flouting laws. “When the government agencies are breaking laws how action can be taken against private companies and individuals for polluting the rivers!”
Rizwana, however, said it would not had taken a long time to rive the Buriganga and make it free from pollution and grabbing if the government had sincerely implemented the High Court’s directions in this regard without buying time. Dhaka North City Corporation Mayor Annisul Haque was successful in removing Tejgaon truck terminal, many illegal structures and billboards due to his strong political commitment, and support and enforcement of law. “If such an initiative is taken for the Buriganga, it’ll, of course, be free from grabbing and pollution.”
Chairman of Poribesh Bachao Andolon (Poba) Abu Naser Khan said there are two major challenges -- stopping pollution and encroachment of rivers - to bring life back to the Buriganga and other rivers surrounding the capital.
 “Despite Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s strong directives to save the rivers by recovering grabbed land, no strong drive and initiative in this regard are visible. Land grabbers are very powerful having political clouts, muscle power and nexus with the administration. So, without a strong political will and enforcement of laws, it won’t be possible to contain the rive grabbing and recover its occupied lands,” he said.
About pollution, Naser said most industries -- both formal and informal ones -- do not have effluent treatment plants (ETPs) while those have do not operate them regularly for lack of the enforcement of law and monitoring. Besides, new sources of pollution are increasing every day for unplanned industrialisation and urbanisation.
General secretary of Bangladesh Paribesh Andolan (BAPA) MA Matin said it is a matter of deep regret that the Buriganga is yet to be saved despite the Prime Minister’s repeated directives in this regard and formation of the National River Protection Commission and task force.
He said the High Court in 2009 clearly defined the three parts of rivers -- bed, foreshore and bank - and asked the authorities concerned to determine the exact boundaries of the Buriganga and other Dhaka rivers and install pillars on their banks. It also asked to construct walkways and plant tress along the riverbanks and continue drives against pollution. But, Matin said, the authorities deviating from the HC order wrongly demarcated the rivers and set up pillars in most places in riverbeds, excluding foreshore, creating a scope for grabbers to encroach upon those foreshores and banks.
According to him, it will not be possible to stop the encroachment of Dhaka’s rivers and remove illegal construction on their lands until the demarcation pillars are not installed as per the HC order.
Talking to UNB, Joint Secretary of Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon architect Iqbal Habib said he thinks the lack of accountability and coordination among different government institutions, proper planning and sincere efforts of the government are the main barriers towards archiving success in protecting the Buriganga and other rivers around the capital.

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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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