Dhaka, Bangladesh
Gorai, Kali rivers in death throes

Encroachment rampant

Gorai, Kali rivers in death throes

KUSHTIA, May 17: Many structures are being built illegally by encroaching the banks of Garai and Kali rivers in the district town as authorities concerned are sleeping at the wheel, reports UNB. Some 25 influential people of the area have been involved in building different establishments, including houses and markets, on the river banks, turning those into narrow canals, said locals. Besides, the grabbers set up temporary embankments for fish farming as well as established gardens and prepared land for building houses after showing those land as government 'khas land'. By developing the river bank as residential plots, the influential people sold those at Tk 50,000 to Tk one lakh, alleged locals. They said a syndicate of 10-25 leaders and activists of some political organisations are involved in occupying the river banks. Some influential people built 'palaces' on the banks of the river, they added. Contacted, Rabiul Islam, a councillor of Kushtia municipality, said, "The lands have not been occupied in personal interest, but for the rehabilitation of landless people. If anyone can prove the allegation, I'll give him double money." During a recent visit to the area, this UNB correspondent found several multistoried buildings constructed on the Kali riverbank. A number of fish enclosures have also been made on the riverbank. Once a lively river, the Kali has now turned into a gutter due to the encroachment, locals further alleged. According to the River Commission Act 2013, no establishment is allowed to be built in and around 159 feet of a river, but the law is hardly enforced. Deputy Commissioner of the district Zahir Raihan said there is no provision of occupying riverbank taking it on lease or put it on auction. "Necessary legal steps will be taken against those who will be found involved in land grabbing," he said.

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