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River Grabbing: BIWTA files case against PRAN-RFL

  • Staff Correspondent
  • 24th October, 2021 07:27:18 PM
  • Print news

Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) has filed a case against PRAN-RFL Group for grabbing the Balu River at Khilkhet in the capital.

Rezaul Karim, assistant director of BIWTA’s Tongi office, filed the case with Khilkhet Police Station on Sunday night against four named and 8-10 unnamed people, said Munshi Sabbir Ahmed, officer-in-charge of the police station.

The case was filed on charges of grabbing 12,500 square feet of the riverbank and a portion of the river, he said.

The four named accused are Faisal Mahmud and Sarwar Jahan, managers (admin) of PRAN-RFL Group, Jahed Ali, owner of MV Tithi Dredger, and Mohammad Muktar, owner of Soha M/S Modinar Pathe, a dredger.

After the filing of the case, Rezaul told reporters that they were trying their best to protect the rivers in compliance with a High Court order.

As part of their steps in this regard, BIWTA often patrols the rivers, he said.

On Sunday morning, Rezaul along with in-charge of Razakhali River Police Outpost Inspector Ahsan Habib Khan, Sub-inspector Rashidul Islam, BIWTA Deputy Assistant Engineer Azizur Rahman and its Technical Assistant Kamal Hossain patrolled the Balu River.

“We found that a portion of the riverbank and the river itself was filled with sand at Patira point in Khilkhet. And the river was being filled with sand. We chased those who were on the spot but they managed to flee the scene,” he said.

“After talking to locals, we came to know that PRAN-RFL Group illegally occupied the riverbank and even the river land. They also set up establishments within 150 feet of the river boundary pillar without taking permission from BIWTA,” he said.

“We lodged a case against two officers of the company, two owners of two dredgers and 8-10 unnamed people,” the BIWTA assistant director said.

As per the case statement, PRAN-RFL Group filled the river land inside boundary pillars 28, 29 and 30, which is 250 feet in length and 50 feet in width.

In total, the company filled a 12,500-sqf portion of the river, including its bank.

By filling the riverbank and the river with sand, the accused have shrunk the waterway, endangered the environment, created risk of naval accidents, obstructed installation of boundary pillars and damaged the existing boundary pillars.

They also illegally gathered their accomplices there with an ill-motive.

The case was filed under sections 143, 186, 283, 431, 434, 506 and 34 of the Penal Code.