It is high time that the glory of the life-giving rivers of Bangladesh was revived. The drive to free the river banks around Dhaka from land grabbers and encroachers are going on. It raises hope in us that if such drives can be successfully undertaken in the capital and its suburbs against politically and financially powerful people, then it can also be done all over the country.
Building walkways, eco parks, jetties and similar useful and recreational facilities along the riverbanks is a useful way to ensure the future security of the rivers. But it is not feasible in a riverine country like Bangladesh having hundreds of rivers all over the country needing protection. So, alongside the drive to free the rivers from grabbers, encroachers and pollution, laws must be enacted and strictly implemented without fear or favour. Only by punishing lawbreakers can the authorities ensure that nobody will dare to greedily grab lands of water bodies ever again in the future.Educating the young generation about the importance of preserving the flow of the rivers is also essential. Greed as well as lack of education and foresight leads land-mongers to grab riverside lands which results in the death of the vital lifelines. It is our responsibility to incorporate in school curriculum the importance of taking care of nature; otherwise such river-devourers will crop up again in our midst.
Nothing should be left to chance and goodwill; rivers, water bodies, forests and greeneries must be protected by laws without showing any mercy to those who transgress. We feel that empowering the National River Protection Commission to function as an autonomous body free from the ministries of water transport and water resources might go a long way towards protecting the health and well-being of the rivers.
The cleaning operation of riversides and river beds is an ongoing process for which routine schedules must be maintained to ensure pristine quality of all our natural bounties including the rivers and water bodies.
We appreciate the courage of the present administration in undertaking such an unprecedented and massive clearance operation of encroachers from along the vital life-giving rivers of Dhaka. We look forward to the days when we can take pleasurable boat rides on these rivers without the stinking smell coming from their pristine waters.