Dhaka, Bangladesh
Money being grabbed in name of river revival

Money being grabbed in name of river revival

It seems very puzzling to understand why the relevant authorities including the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) fail to realise the importance of restoring naturalness of water of the rivers of Dhaka such as Buriganga, Turag, Shitalakhya and Balu. The environmentalists, media as well as all conscious sections of society time and again urged the government to take effective steps to make these rivers—regarded as the lifeline of Dhaka city— clean and pollution-free. Even the High Court several times in the past intervened and issued rule for restoring the rivers, but nothing substantial has been achieved so far in this direction. It is not true that the government did not take any step for the purpose. In fact, in the last 15 years a total of Tk 2.05 billion was spent at different times but the conditions of these rivers remain still the same. Thus, this huge sum obviously has gone down the drain. The piecemeal works without any coordination and a coherent plan for restoring the rivers has become rather a source of corruption than what it was intended to be. There are layers of garbage on these rivers specially in the Buriganga but these could not be removed yet. Constructing walkways and planting trees along the banks is a very good idea to protect the rivers from encroachment, but nothing has been achieved in this regard so far. On the other hand, stinking and slimy black water of the rivers could not be turned into places of aquatic existence including fish. Far from it, poisonous industrial wastes continue to make the waters of these rivers still thicker. On the one hand it was not possible to force industries which discharge their liquid chemical wastes into these rivers to have their own effluent treatment plants (ETPs) and on the other the government’s plan to build a central ETP also remains in words only. It is really a pity the government has been failing to address the problems of the rivers in a comprehensive and effective manner. Residents of Dhaka are overwhelmingly in favour of government playing its part to bring back life to these rivers at the soonest.

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