At least 5,574 illegal riverbank structures were demolished, recovering about 593 acres of occupied land in the first phase of government’s countrywide drive to free small rivers and canals from illicit encroachment, reports BSS.
Official data shows a total of 1,022 illegal structures were demolished in Rajshahi division during the drive, recovering about 88 acres of land from occupation. Of those, around 700 illegal structures were evicted only in Sirajganj district. In Khulna division, 1,038 illegal structures were removed from the banks of different rivers, recovering about 40 acres of land. Maximum 250 structures were demolished in Magura district.
A total of 657 illegal structures were evicted in Rangpur division during the drive, recovering about 46 acres of land from river grabbing. Of those, around 465 illegal structures were evicted only in Dinajpur district. In Barishal division, 201 illegal structures were demolished from riverbanks, recovering about 16 acres land during the eviction drive carried out by the Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB).
A total of 768 structures were demolished in Dhaka division during the drive, recovering about 59 acres of land from rivers, while 863 illegal structures were evicted in Mymensingh division and recovered 58 acres of land. About 550 structures were evicted from the banks of Old Brahmaputra River in Mymensingh district.
In Sylhet Division, 225 illegal structures were demolished from riverbanks, while a total of 800 establishments were removed from rivers in Chattogram, recovering 275 acres of land from occupation, according to the official data. The second phase of the eviction drive began on February 23 last, public relations officer of the Water Resources Ministry Asif Ahmed told BSS.
On December 23, 2019, the BWDB under the Ministry of Water Resources started countrywide eviction drive aiming to free small rivers, canals from encroachment. All district administrations and local offices of the BWDB carried out the drives to demolish structures encroaching small rivers, canals and water bodies.
The BWDB has set a target to evict 92,294 illegal structures from the rivers and other water bodies across the country during the drive which began in all 64 districts at the same time. In Dhaka, the authorities started a drive on the bank of the Ramchandrapur canal in Mohammadpur. Water Resources secretary Kabir Bin Anwar inaugurated the drive.
The Ministry of Water Resources is supervising the drive under the first phase of the re-excavation project of small rivers, canals and water bodies in 64 districts of the country. Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Kabir said after a year-long effort, all the district administrators have made the list of illegal structures as per the Bangladesh Water Act 2013. He said “To stop re-encroachment, we have a plan to plant trees and build walkways along the canal”.