CHATTOGRAM: The much-awaited eviction drive to free the Chaktai Khal, one of the main canals of the city, from encroachers began in the port city on Monday.
Chattogram Development Authority (CDA) started the drive in cooperation with the Bangladesh Army.The drive led by CDA Special Magistrate Saiful Alam Chowdhury was carried out on some three kilometre (Km) stretch of the canal from Bahoddarhat point on Monday.
The eviction drive was started under the mega project titled ‘Canal Re-excavation, Expansion, Renovation and Development for Addressing the Waterlogging in Chattogram City’.
Sources in the CDA said there are around 132 illegal structures including multi-storied building and tin-roofed ones on the both banks of the 5.881 kilometre-long Chaktai Khal. A total of 8.137 acres of land of the canal were grabbed at different points by the encroachers, they said.
CDA Assistant Engineer Hamidul Hoque said some 65 structures were evicted from three kilometre stretch of the canal on the first day. “The evicted structures include three and five-storey buildings and tin-roofed houses,” he said. Project Director and CDA Executive Engineer Ahmed Moinuddin said encroachers will be removed from banks of 13 canals within next month.
Later, project works will be carried out according to plan to address the long-drawn waterlogging crisis, he said.
Mentionable, some 1,576 illegal structures including shanties, tin-roofed houses and buildings were identified on banks of the 13 canals out of total 57 in the city.Earlier, eviction was carried out at Rajakhali Khal and Noakhal under the project.
Mentionable, the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) approved the mega project involving Tk 5,616 crore on August 9 in 2017.
CDA and the Army signed a memorandum of understanding for carrying out works under the project on April 9 last year.
The Army started works of the project formally with removing soil and garbage from the Chashma Khal (canal) in the city’s Sholoshahar Gate No-2 area on April 28 of the same year. According to the DPP, some 528,214 cubic-metre soil and 420,000 cubic-metre mud will be dredged from 36 canals under the project.
Besides, three water-bodies will be dug, 10.77 kilometre side drains, 176,000 metre retaining wall, 85 km road and 48 PC girder bridges will be constructed to address the waterlogging.