Permanent River Commission Soon
Sunday, 19 September 2010

Shipping minister Shajahan Khan has said that the government will make new law for river protection and also form a permanent commission.

"The grabbed rivers have become narrowed. The public representatives and powerful persons are responsible for this. Even the government has not been taking any effective measures to prevent it," the minister said addressing a seminar on Buriganga's condition organised by Paribesh Bachao Andolan (save environment movement) at the National Press Club on Saturday.

He alleged that two former MPs of the then BNP-led coalition government were involved in land and river grabbing.

As a result of the rivers becoming narrower, their navigability is decreasing as wastage keeps gathering on the riverbed. People of the adjacent areas will become sick if the rivers are not protected from being more polluted.

He said that certain quarters encroached upon rivers and lakes exploiting religion. "Many build mosques to fulfil their intention of grabbing the land illegally. However, no mosque can be built without deed of endowment. We will soon conduct awareness programme with the help of eminent religious personalities."

He further added that the government has taken initiatives to install pillars to demarcate river areas. "We are also thinking of social forestation along river banks."

About lifting waste from the riverbed of Buriganga, the minister said that the government had already started the work. "The government will also work further to protect four rivers of Dhaka including lifting waste from Buriganga's riverbed."

President of Paribesh Bachao Andolon, professor Muzaffer Ahmad, said that the government should fine the river and lake polluters exemplarily to free rivers and lakes from encroachment. "The 42 lakes of Dhaka, which are going to become extinct, should be saved to protect Dhaka."

Professor Abu Sayed said human and industrial waste was mostly responsible for polluting river Buriganga. However, the industry owners were not setting up effluent treatment plants (ETP), which are useful to remove the harmful chemicals from water.

Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) vice-chancellor professor Mujibur Rahman read out the keynote paper.


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