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Dead rivers need to be identified, recovered from grabbers, says NRCC chairman

Published : Thursday, 14 January, 2021 at 12:00 AM  Count : 58

The National River Conservation Commission (NRCC) has identified 776 rivers in the country, of them most were killed by over 63,000 land grabbers, said Mujibur Rahman Hawlader, chairman of the Commission.
NRCC Chairman has disclosed this while launching the Commission's Annual Report 2019 at Naya Paltan on Tuesday.
Mentioning that in the last one year the government has evicted 18,579 grabbers, Mujibur Rahman said, "State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury for the first time published the list of 49,162 river grabbers in February of 2019. Fresh names of 1,487 occupants have been included in this report," he added.  
"Eviction of more than 18,000 grabbers with limited resources is a big achievement," he noted and said, "Even all those rivers that are dead now need to be identified and recovered from the grabbers."
Stressing on the implementation of environmental law Mujibur said, "Though there are many environmental laws, the government needs to implement them and ensure punishment of the grabbers and polluters."
He also mentioned only monetary fine is not enough to stop river grabbing and said, "No river grabber or polluter lands in jail though the punishment of prison term is there in the laws. If we only penalize them, they will not stop their misdeeds as they have money and power."
Planning Minister MA Mannan joining the programme virtually as chief guest said, "The government is committed to saving the rivers and will take necessary steps to that end. He also made a promise to talk to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina about further efforts to save the rivers."
Sharif Jamil, General Secretary of the Bangladesh Environ-mental Movement (BAPA) said, "We cannot prepare an exact list of river grabbers because of failing to identify the actual river boundaries.
The NRCC report said the lowest number of river occupants is 2,044 in Sylhet division and at least 576 illegal establishments have been evicted in 2019.
The number of river occupants in Dhaka division is 8,890 and some 5,935 establishments of 1,452 people were evicted.
The report mentions a total of 11 rivers and 201 canals in Dhaka district including Buriganga, Turag, Shitalakshya, Ichhamati, Balu, Banshi, Gazikhali, Kaliganga.
The number of river occupants in Dhaka district is 6,758 and 5,799 people have been evicted.
Narayanganj has nine rivers and 218 canals. There are 785 occupants of rivers and canals.
There are 16 rivers and 117 canals in Manikganj district. The number of occupants is 1,399.
Faridpur district has 13 rivers and 15 canals. The number of occupants is 1,834.The number of river occupants in Tangail district is 1,788.
The report said that the district administration could not carry out the expected eviction campaign as planned due to lack of adequate funding and capacity. Evacuation operations were also hampered last year due to the coronavirus epidemic, the report added.  

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