Report of National River Conservation Commission of Bangladesh (NRCC): Long List, over 63200 river occupiers across the country
The list of river occupants has become longer in all the districts of the country. Earlier, the list had 57,390 occupants, and this time the it stood 63,249.The The National River Conservation Commission (NRCC) has published this list on 12 January, 2021 at Dhaka. However, the commission said 18,579 occupants had been evicted in the last two years.
The information was released at the annual report-2019 program of the National River Conservation Commission held on Tuesday, January 12. It was said in the program that must not only be sincere in preventing the occupation and pollution of the river, but also enforce the law properly and work hard against the occupiers and polluters.
Dr. Mujibur Rahman Hawlader, Chairman, River Conservation Commission presided over the function and MA Mannan, Planning Minister, was the chief guest.
The chief guest said that the River Conservation Commission is working unweariedly to save the river at the initiative of the Prime Minister. Civil Society has drawn the attention of the River Commission to its work. We are working to save all the rivers including the Brahmaputra.
It needs to be strengthened and we are doing it. I will try to raise the issues of the River Commission with the Prime Minister in the next cabinet meeting so that it becomes more important. ‘
The chairman of the River Commission said, “In the last one year, we have been able to evict about 18,579 occupants and in the last one year, the list of occupants and polluters has grown to 63,249.”
“We have sought Rs 200 crore from the Government’s Finance Ministry to prevent river encroachment and pollution and have submitted proposals for two projects to the Planning Commission.”
Naturally, some of our work has been delayed due to Corona. If the money and projects are approved, we will be able to overcome the work that we have lagged.
Due to the occupation of the river, our navigability has decreased. The water is freezing logging. On one side of the country, there is no water, on the other side floods are frequent.
The Brahmaputra, the Meghna, the Shitalakshya, the Dhaleshwari are occupied by big traders. There have been big plants in many places. Big factories have been built. There were about 6 canals around Dhaka. They are almost all occupied.
There have been some bridges that are being built by occupying the river. It is so small that it cannot be moved. The navigable place is in a very delicate fragile condition. Dredging is supposed to be done every year but very little is being done. I We can’t do even one-sixth.’
The chairman added, ‘Everyone’s awareness about the river is slowly increasing. Although there are many laws, some of them are very complex. As a result, there are many complications in law enforcement.
We are developing the environment with environmental laws. The fines of the law are not enough and should be increased further. Punishment needs to be made more stringent.
We have to work together and if there is any problem while working, we have to evict the occupants with a firm hand. ‘
Economist Hossain Zillur Rahman said, “We must first change our attitude. Not only occupation and pollution must be stopped, but the river must also be nurtured.
We have a promise to the river, but the responsibility towards the river is a big issue. A concerted effort is essential. It is difficult to choose between the environment and development. You have to choose one.’
Sharif Jamil, General Secretary of BAPA, said, “Even after so much movement, it is now clear that both river occupation and pollution have increased.” Besides, it is not being stopped despite the strict verdict of the court. The steps that the government is taking are very weak.
The government has to believe that people want to save the river. No matter how strong the court’s verdict, it will not work unless the government wants it to work. The commission will not be effective either.
Mahfuz Anam, Editor of Daily Star, Sohrab Hasan, Joint Editor of Prothom Alo, Manzil Morshed, President of Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh, Sharif Jamil General Secretary of BAPA, and others spoke on the occasion.