Dredge rivers, oust grabbers

Published : 15 Feb 2024 09:00 PM

We all are morally obligated to save our rivers if we want to save our country. The authorities conducted nationwide eviction drive several times against the grabbers to protect the country’s rivers. Many illegal structures built on the rivers were also demolished during that time.

Four years back, the National River Conservation Commission had identified over 57390 powerful individuals, businesses establishments and institutions as river grabbers across the country. And, the list of river grabbers across the country was also uploaded to the NRCC website for people as per a High Court order.

The NRCC took intensive steps through all the ministries, division, agencies, departments, divisional commissioners, deputy commissioners, upazila nirbahi officers and assistant commissioner (land) to oust the grabbers. But most rivers in the country are still occupied by influential people. 

Many rivers are on the verge of dying as the vested quarters are constructing illegal structures on the banks of rivers as well as filling up them. Unplanned construction of embankments and culverts, unabated encroachment, the absence of dredging, the lack of water flow, urbanisation, siltation, earthquakes, climate changes and construction of barrages and withdrawal of water with the construction of dams in the upstream are contributing to killing the rivers. 

As it is the summer, most rivers including major Padma, Meghna, Jamuna and Brahmaputra have already started experiencing low water flow. Many portions of these rivers have already been dried up.

Different kinds of shoals like big and small have emerged as the water level of the river continued to fall. Besides, Teesta water flow is also coming down while many shoals have already emerged in these rivers.

And low water flow from the upstream and hilly region and lack of adequate rainfall making the country’s all rivers vulnerable. Padma, Meghna, Jamuna and Brahmaputra and their branch rivers crisscrossing throughout the country are the main sources of surface and ground water

Many rivers are on the verge of dying as 

the vested quarters are 

constructing illegal structures 

on the banks of rivers 

Country’s all most all rivers are now experiencing worryingly low water flow during this dry season. Some 308 rivers have lost navigability in the country, State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury told parliament on Tuesday. 

The industries that are constructed beside the rivers usually dump its wastes in the rivers.  All waste of the sewerage lines also goes to the rivers resulting in increasing pollution. It did not happen in the past and even, after 1975, the illegal state power grabbers, who came through violating the constitution with arms, did not pay attention to overall coordinated and planned development of the country. As a result, the environmental issues were neglected and the rivers were also encroached. 

In the name of development schemes, rivers are being filled up around the country. The rivers are the veins of human body. The government is committed to save them.

The fact of the matter is that their commitments always remain unfulfilled due to what the authorities say “serious difficulties and challenges” caused by local influential and hoodlums.  Around 77 rivers have totally disappeared from the map of Bangladesh, with their beds serving as croplands. 

And now 37 other rivers have been badly affected by grabbers and polluters. Country’s agriculture and rural economy are dependent on rivers, canals, haors and other water bodies, contributing to the overall economic development of the country. 

Currently the length of internal river routes of the country is 6,000 kilometres during the monsoon and 4,000 kilometres in the dry season. About 1,620 km of river routes have totally disappeared from the country’s map. The government must do dredging and maintain navigability and oust the grabbers from our rivers immediately.