POST TIME: 22 March, 2019 12:21:56 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 22 March, 2019 12:09:50 PM
2,711 structures razed in 21 days

2,711 structures razed in 21 days

As part of its endeavour to free the city rivers from encroachment, the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) has pulled down 2,711 illegal structures on the banks of the Buriganga and Turag rivers, during its 21-day eviction drive from January 29. Besides, it reclaimed 58 acres of land. The BIWTA began the eviction drive with the help of the local administration on January 29, and completed the second phase by removing 173 illegal structures yesterday (Thursday) .

According to sources, 341 residential buildings, 403 semi-pucca buildings, 136 boundary walls and 1,801 other establishments, including bamboo-made makeshift structures, have been pulled down during the drive.

“We have also realised Tk. 37.95 lakh in fine and through auction,” AKM Arif Uddin, joint director of the BIWTA (in-charge Dhaka river port), told The Independent yesterday.

The eviction drive is a continuous process and will go on until the riverbanks are freed from encroachment, he added.

“We completed the second phase operations today (Thursday). The third phase will begin on March 25. We’ve pulled down 675 illegal structures in the last three days,” said Arif. The BIWTA will conduct its next phase drive from March 25 in Mirpur Beribandh, including Zahurabad, Palpara and Shinnirtek areas, he said in reply to a query.

The areas where the drive was conducted beginning on January 29 are Keraniganj, Sadarghat and in the city’s Kamrangirchar, Kholamora, Nababchar, Jhauchar, Bosila,

Gabtali, Aminbazar, Mirpur Borobazar, Shinnirtek, Kaundia and Zahurabad Palpara areas, he said.

Many illegal houses, developed by grabbing river lands, were evicted during the drive.

Arif said the housing companies which were evicted are Dhaka Uddyan, Afsana Housing, Amin Momin Housing, Madhu Haji Housing, Silicon Housing, Akash Nila Western City Housing Ltd, Chandrima Uddyan Housing, Bosila Housing, Anirban Housing, Turag Housing and others.

A house owner, Iqbal Hossain of Jahanbad, alleged that the BIWTA demolished his house which had been bought after the War of Liberation.

“We have valid documents and the house is outside the river demarcation pillar installed by the department concerned. Who will compensate the damage and how will live in the open,” he asked in a choked voice.

However, BIWTA officials claimed that they didn’t demolish any legal house. They only pulled down illegal structures as per the decision of the authorities concerned, they said.