Rahul Roy, Jashore
The much-awaited dredging of Bhairab River in Jashore town site is still uncertain as the encroachers occupying the riverbank and a good portion of the river are still in place.
Due to various complexities, dredging of four-km of the river halted for one year after completion of 70 kilometre of rural portion.
Although around one and a half years ago the district administration and district Water Development Board had jointly prepared a list of 85 illegal occupiers who have built homesteads and business centres encroaching the Bhairab River, they are yet to be evicted.
Dwellers of the town urged the administration to implement the Bhairab excavation project immediately evicting all illegal encroachers.
Bhairab Sangsker Andolon adviser Iqbal kabir Zahid said, “The DC is neglecting the issue. Whenever we urge him he becomes serious saying, ‘it would be done very soon’. But in reality, it doesn’t happen. Even the High Court has ordered for the eviction of encroachers; so, in this regard, the DC’s negligence in maintaining the order is equal to contempt of court.”
Contacted, DC Abdul Awal said, “All the preparations have been completed. Within the next one or two days, the encroachers would be served notices. And the eviction drive would be resumed within this month.”According to district WDB sources, a five-year long Tk 271 crore ‘Resolving water stagnation at Bhairab River basin and sustainable water management project’ was adopted in 2016. Already 30 pc work of the project have been completed, excavating 70 km length of the river out of the scheduled 92 km. but the dredging halted after reaching the city as it was not possible to carry on the work without evicting the illegal encroachers occupying the four-km urban portion of the river.
Sources said around 47 structures have been built on the riverbank, advancing well into the river narrowing it to great extent at many places, from heart of the city Daratana Bridge to Balatola Bridge in the upstream. Numerous book shops, trade centres, photo studios, furniture shops, hotel and restaurants and tea stalls are operating business occupying the places.
More 38 illegal structures stand on the riverbank stretching from Daratana Bridge barandipara in the downstream.
Prabir Kumar Goswami in this regard said 85 encroachers of Bhairab have been detected, but the decision to start the eviction drive depends on the DC. He knows when it would start.