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Banks of Karnaphuli fall to grabbers’ grips again

Published : Tuesday, 21 September, 2021 at 12:00 AM  Count : 685
Nurul Amin

CHATTOGRAM, Sept 20: The illegal structures on the banks of the River Karnaphuli  have started to reappear.
The National River Protection Commssion notified the four organisations of Chattogram to take an effective step to vacate the banks of the Karnaphuli.
THe Commission asked the Chattogram Port Authority (CPA), Deputy Commissioner, Chattogram Mayor and the Water Development Board to evict the illegal structures by the first week of September.
But the authorities could do nothing in this regard.
It is learnt that fish markets and mariners park have been constructed on the bank of the river Karnaphuli at Chaktai and Shah Amanat Bridge areas.
In February 2019, over 230 structures had been evicted in a five- day drive and recovered around 10 acres of land from the illegal occupants. The district administration and the CPA management had conducted the drive along 10- km long banks of the river from Barik Building to Mohra.
Moreover, the illegal occupants have been staying illegally in over 30 acres of land at the estuary of Chaktai canal, on the bank of Karnaphuli. There are hundreds of illegal structures in the said area.
The administration had taken an eviction programme in February 4 in 2019 last. They had issued notice to the owners of a total of 2112 illegal structures to remove their installations.
A total of 2,112 illegal structures have been erected on both banks and chars of the river. Illegal structures are going up every day on the hundreds of acres of land of Haldar Char, Nazir Char, Gurar Char, Hamid Char and Bakalia Char. A large number of giant installations like cement industries, fertilizer industries, Ship building industries have been set up on the banks of the river.  Most of the installations have occupied the banks of the river. Ferry and trawler pilots say their boats cannot anchor at the ghats as easily as they could just two or three decades ago.
Once the mighty River Karnaphuli is now dying gradually because of pollution, silt and encroachment by a group of land grabbers. It has now turned into a weak one due to negligence of the people as well as the authorities concerned.
In the 2019 drive, the authorities demolished a total of 230 illegal structures stretching from Sadarghat to Barik Building area in the first phase. After removal of the structures, a total of ten acres of land was recovered.
But the total area stretching from Chaktai to Patenga has been divided into three zones to make the eviction drive easier and a total of 2112 illegal establishments will be bulldozed. But strangely, the second phase of eviction programme has not yet started.
Karnaphuli is one of the most important rivers of Bangladesh. The country's busiest port is also located on the bank of the river.

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