'We will not obey your instruction, and not stop our work under duress'
An eviction drive now underway for the 19th day with a government mandate to free up river shores from illegal encroachment, faced opposition from a ruling party lawmaker on Wednesday.
However, the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) defied the hindrances and recovered lands in Keraniganj, grabbed allegedly by Awami League’s MP Md Aslamul Haque of Dhaka-14 constituency.
“He (the lawmaker) actually hindered us first, told us to stop our drive. We said – “we will not obey your instruction, and not stop our work under duress,” BIWTA Executive Magistrate Habibur Rahman Hakim told Dhaka Tribune.
However, Aslamul Haque denied obstructing the BIWTA eviction drive. He said “Had I restrained them from doing their work, how could they accomplish their job? I am not opposing their work. I just wanted to see documents.” he said.
BIWTA officials and witnesses said the lawmaker and over 20 of his followers rushed to Char Washpur of Keraniganj upazila around midday on Wednesday where the eviction drive was going on by the river Buriganga and tried to disrupt their work.
BIWTA officials said Aslamul who owns Maisha Power Plant, illegally encroached on five acres of river land and they recovered the land from illegal occupancy. BIWTA also found out on Wednesday that the lawmaker has allegedly encroached on 15 more acres and built various establishments there, including a bungalow.