POST TIME: 26 January, 2020 00:00 00 AM
Reclaimed riverbanks to house parks, walkways

Reclaimed riverbanks to house parks, walkways

The government has decided to develop the recently-reclaimed riverbanks around Dhaka city by planting trees under a social forestry scheme. Besides, the drive to remove more illegal occupations alongside the five riverbanks around the capital city is underway.

While talking to The Independent, Shipping Secretary Abdus Samad said riverbanks across the country will be completely freed from encroachment in phases.

Not even an inch of space will remain under illegal occupation, he said, adding that the government was positive in this regard and there’s support from the people to remove these illegal structures.

“We have planned to turn rivers into attractive recreation centres for people. The entire riverbank will be covered in greenery through plantation of trees,” he said.

Walkways, parking spaces, bicycle paths, amphitheatres, attractive parks, and other beautiful structures will be constructed alongside the riverbanks, the shipping secretary said, adding that the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) would also plant trees on the riverbanks.

Meanwhile, the government has already approved a project amounting to Tk. 900 crore to beautify the riverbanks.

“We are working on a partnership basis between the government and the private entrepreneurs. It’s not a matter of a specific person or organisation and it is the government's commitment,” he said. Flowers, fruits and medicinal plants will be planted alongside the riverbanks, he said, adding that other important trees such as neem, grapefruit, blackberry, coconut, betel nut and date palm will also be planted. “These trees will protect the riverbanks.”

In 1976, people living beside Buriganga used to drink water from this river, he said.

The water of Buriganga River will be cleaned again by clearing the dirt from the river, he noted, adding that the BIWTA will procure a grab dredger to clean the river.

He said that it would take at least 18 months to clean up the garbage and now they are thinking to start the cleaning work by renting a grab dredger. He also urged people to come forward to plant trees alongside the riverbanks to make Dhaka a better city.

About 100 interested people and organisations have committed their voluntary labour to plant trees by engaging themselves in green forestry and social movement programmes in and around Dhaka city, informed the shipping secretary. He said that the rivers should be kept free from wastes while polythene must be banned forever.

Owners of industrial factories must compulsorily manage their wastes and other stakeholders, too, should manage such garbage at their own end, he added.

The BIWTA has been conducting eviction drives along the banks of Buriganga, Turag, Balu, Meghna and Shitlakhya Rivers on a regular basis to free them from the clutches of encroachment.

Thousands of illegal structures have already been removed with hundreds of acres of riverbank getting reclaimed from illegal occupation during the drives.