• Sunday, Nov 28, 2021
  • Last Update : 11:16 am

Boatman recounts journey to Banani by boat

  • Published at 09:35 pm June 8th, 2021
Boatman_River-Talkies
Participants at River Talkies sharing experience during a discussion on an island near Dhaka on Tuesday, June 8, 2021 Courtesy: Waterkeepers Bangladesh

Land grabbers are killing off Dhaka’s rivers by erecting illegal establishments, speakers say at River Talkies

It was not very long ago that people used boats plying the Buriganga channels to travel to Banani from Kamrangirchar, recounts 48-year-old boatman Geddu Majhi. 

“There was a boat ghat near Shyamoli cinema hall. At the time, we used to catch fish in the Kalyanpur area. The Sat Masjid Ghat was there.

“But all the channels and water bodies have disappeared in the past three decades due to unplanned urbanization and the greed of land grabbers. Now only the Buriganga is there, but it is dying slowly,” says the man, who has witnessed the sad transformation of the western part of Dhaka city through land grabbing and construction of illegal structures.

Geddu Majhi was sharing his experience with a group of journalists and campaigners at a talk show entitled “Urbanization of Dhaka along the riverbank” on Tuesday afternoon, held under a banyan tree on an island called Matbor Bhita near Kamrangirchar of the capital and located at the confluence of the Buriganga and Turag rivers. 

Sharif Jamil, coordinator of Waterkeepers Bangladesh, moderated the event, where other speakers raised concerns about the degradation of Dhaka’s rivers, and the impact on the lives of boatmen and fishermen.

Explaining the need for saving the rivers for the city as well as for people inhabiting the riverbanks, Sharif Jamil asked the government to complete the demarcation of Dhaka’s four rivers and evict all illegal grabbers as per High Court directives.


Also Read - River grabbing on the rise


It may be noted that the High Court in mid-March ordered the authorities concerned to evict within three months the illegal establishments in Kamrangirchar and Hazaribagh areas that are hindering the flow of the original channel of the Buriganga River.

Filling up the water bodies and then erecting structures on them to grab the land around the rivers has been a common phenomenon in Dhaka and elsewhere for the last 40 years, say experts and observers. The authorities conduct drives almost every year against the grabbers, but only after the intervention of the courts. 

In 2005, the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) demolished more than 300 illegal structures in Kamrangirchar and Hazaribagh, but the eviction drive was halted for mysterious reasons.

In 2019, the High Court accorded the Turag River the status of “legal person” to save it from encroachment and said that the status would be applicable for all rivers around the country.


Also Read - US, UK fund for reduction of Dhaka’s river pollution


Moreover, to curb pollution of the Buriganga River, the government has already relocated the hazardous tannery industries from Hazaribagh to Hemayetpur. But this industrial park is now polluting the Dhaleshwari River due to unchecked disposal of wastes.

At the River Talkies, Dr Adil Mohammad Khan, general secretary of Bangladesh Institute of Planners, Saraf Anjum Disha, senior research analyst of Innovation for Poverty Action and Manik Hossain, former president of Basila Primary School, spoke among others. They asked the government to take up long-term and sustainable plans for the sake of preserving the rivers.

The discussion was organized as part of an anti-pollution advocacy project, “Promoting Democratic Governance and Collective Advocacy for Environmental Protection in Dhaka city.”

Waterkeepers Bangladesh is implementing the project in collaboration with USAID, FCDO and Counterpart International (CPI). The project aims at collecting information on pollution, and changing the behavior and mindset of citizens as well as policymakers.

56
Facebook 51
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail