River grabbing

We must save our rivers from grabbers

Published : 26 Sep 2023 08:56 PM

While addressing a discussion marking the ‘World Rivers Day’ National River Conservation Commission (NRCC) Chairman Manjur Ahmed Chowdhury said some political leaders are behind grabbing of the rivers in the country. He also said Hyenas have attacked the Meghna River to lift sand. They are ready with hundreds of dredgers again as they have relationship with an influential quarter.

A man stole 668 crore cft of sand from the Meghna River. The sand is worth over Tk 6,000 crore and his theft has been legitimised only by asking him to pay Tk 267 crore, according to media report. Besides, the Karnaphuli River is being sold in the name of leasing. 

The Ministry of Shipping, Chittagong Port Authority, Chattogram City Corporation and District Council are involved in this process. There are 1,008 rivers across the country. 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.

It is not possible to protect 

country’s rivers unless the 

influential grabbers are 

brought to book immediately

Four years back, the NRCC 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.

Later, the city corporations, district administrations and the Bangladesh Inland Transport Authority jointly conducted eviction drives several times against illegal structures built occupying banks rivers initially across the country. As soon as the drive came to a halt due the pandemic, the influential along with their hoodlums again started grabbing the rivers under the nose of the authorities concerned.  

It is very unfortunate to note that like other resources the influential people continued looting country’s rivers and other wetlands. The government has taken several special measures to restore and develop the rivers and natural wetlands. But the rivers and wetlands are disappearing fast from the country’s map due to illegal unabated grabbing.

It is not possible to protect country’s rivers unless the influential grabbers are brought to book immediately. Therefore, the authorities concerned must pay heed to NRCC Chairman’s call in this regard.