Master plan soon to save rivers: Minister

Staff Correspondent

14th February, 2019 10:55:47 printer

Master plan soon to save rivers: Minister

The Teesta river is in death throes as shoals have emerged in the river, badly affecting environment, agriculture and fishery. The photo was taken at Dalia point of the river in Nilphamari district on Thursday. —MONIRUL ISLAM MARUF

Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives Minister Tajul Islam on Thursday said the government is developing a 10-year master plan to rid the rivers of encroachment.

“The government is mulling over the mega scheme to free the rivers from the clutch of encroachments.”

Tajul added that all illegal establishments will be removed from the banks of Buriganga, Turag, Shitalakshya and Karnaphuli while their navigability restored. The plan will be implemented through short, mid-and long-term plan, he said.

The minister came up with the information after a meeting of a committee on the Master Plan at the Secretariat of local government division.

For a long period of time, the rivers have lost their navigability due to lack of governance.

“We want to restore the navigability of the rivers. At the same time, we want to remove all sprawling illegal establishments from their banks.”

In the meeting, the minister, however, did not say the amount of budget required to do the task, but said the master plan will be finalised in the next meeting and implemented in different phases.

Asked about any solution to the water logging problem in the city, he said it is not possible to solve the problem instantly.  “We are taking initiatives and will do everything we can to keep the situation under control.”

Initiatives will be taken up soon to clean the clogged drains of Dhaka City Corporations and Chattogram City Corporation, he hinted.

On the other hand, State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury on Thursday told the parliament that no influential quarter could stop the ongoing eviction drive to save the rivers across the country.

“None can be more powerful than the government. The drive for maintaining the navigability of rivers, checking pollution and saving the banks will continue,” Khalid Mahmud told the House while responding to a supplementary question from Sunamganj-4 lawmaker Peer Fazlur Rahman.

“Moreover, we are going to kick off the eviction drive across the country to save the rivers.”

He said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina formed a taskforce to save the rivers around Dhaka and Chattogram during a meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council in 2016.