• Tuesday, Jul 23, 2019
  • Last Update : 12:30 am

Time to get tough on river encroachment

  • Published at 12:00 am February 3rd, 2019
river
Photo: SYED ZAKIR HOSSAIN

River encroachment continues unabated, and no long-term positive change is seen

So far, we have not done a very good job of protecting our rivers from encroachment and illegal grabbing.

Back in 2009, the National River Protection Commission (NRPC) was formed in the light of a High Court verdict, but while the commission was empowered to dispense petitions to protect rivers, it lacked the authority to take action against illegal river grabbers.

It is a step in the right direction that the HC has asked the authorities to stop the current practice of grabbers being restrained only for a short period of time after a court order, then going back to business as usual.

As a result, river encroachment continues unabated, and no long-term positive change is seen. 

But rivers are the lifeblood of this nation, and enough is enough -- it is time to get tough on grabbers and encroachers, particularly repeat offenders who are emboldened by the lack of action on part of the authorities.

It is terribly tragic that so much encroachment has happened in the past few years themselves, many of our rivers appear beyond saving, and this takes a major toll on our environment, on aquatic life, and on various industries.

Our blatant disregard for the laws in place, and bodies like NRPC lacking teeth, is what has caused the situation to reach such a sorry state.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina herself has emphasized the importance of protecting our water resources; so let us, for once and for all, stop the encroachment, grabbing, and abuse of our rivers, which truly make life possible.