Demarcation of four major Dhaka rivers demanded
River rights activists have demanded specific demarcation pillars in four other rivers of Dhaka city to prevent river grabbing permanently.
The rivers are Turag, Balu, Shitalakkhya and Dhaleswari.The data is not available about the current number of rivers but green activists and journalists working on rivers said about 450 rivers in Bangladesh are now in dire situation. They also said after the court verdict the government must amend the National River Protection Commission (NRPC) Act-2013 with provisions for punishment and fine for river grabbing.
Their demand has come at a time when the government's current drive against the river grabbers is going on.
However, some river rights activists think that this High Court's drive will go in vain like previous drives if strong political will is not shown. They think the grabbers include powerful individuals, businessmen and government officials. That is why such drive will be meaningless.
Talking to the Daily Observer, Sharif Jamil, and Buriganga River keeper said the court's directives are very impressive and comprehensive but the problem is always with the implementation of the court's order. Expressing apprehension over the verdict to be implemented or not, he also noted that this will be another example of disobeying honorable High Court order on rivers.
"Unless the stakeholders understand and change their mindset and believe in the underling essence and importance of the protection of Bangladesh rivers, proper implementation of this verdict will be difficult," said Sharif, an internationally recognized leader and activist in the global environment movement.
"This drive will legalize some grabbers and destroy the river's eco system permanently," he said. So apparently this demolishing activities and courts verdict may inspire good hopes but I am personally disheartened to see how the proper demarcation area of the river is still ignored, he added. Md Abu Nesar Khan, Poribesh Banchao Andolan (POBA) President, said the high court verdict represents people's demand but now a strong political will is needed to implement the order.
Asked what steps should be taken he noted that saving the rivers from the encroachers is the direct order of the Prime Minister.
He also said the list should be available now that includes all the names of the polluters and encroachers across the country and in this regard the DC can play a strong role in identifying the river grabbers.
Under the HC verdict it has declared NRPC as the legal guardian of all rivers and act like their 'parents'.
Terming Supreme Court verdict historic NRPC Chairman Muzibur Rahman Howlader said they had completed 500 pages of report by travelling about 58 districts across the country, conducting outreach investigation for last one year.
"We will put some recommendation to government through this report," he added.
On November 7, 2016, Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh filed a writ petition, focusing the encroachment of Turag River.
The HC a few days ago delivered the judgment in response to this petition and observed that rivers are a 'living entity' saying that all structures on the rivers should be removed within 30 days.