Thursday, 9 December 2010

Vested quarters grab Buriganga

Mohammad Ali

A vested quarters is encroaching the Buruganga River at Washpur in Keraniganj through filling earth in the riverbed in the name of making a 'private power generation project', sources said.

Deputy Director of BIWTA Afzal Hossain said that the water flow of the river might be changed for illegally filling earth on its forth-shore area at Washpur mouza in the capital Dhaka.

"It is against the Port Act of 1908, Port Rules of 1966 and Bangladesh Environment Protection Act 1995," he said.

The local people alleged that the vested quarters are compelling them to sell their lands in the area even at lowest price in the name of the 'proposed' 100 MW power generation project.

An aggrieved situation among the local people has been intensified in this regard, according to sources.
The local people also alleged of having involvement of some influential persons, including two local ruling party lawmakers-- Aslamul Haque (Dhaka-14) and State Minister for Local Government Jahangir Kabir Nanok MP (Dhaka-13)-- in the illegal river encroachment.

Aslamul Haque, MP told reporters that he was filling earth on his purchased lands and has already erected a building on a land.

The victims are fearing to move to protect their rights and to protest the illegal actions for involvement of the influential persons here.

A local land owner and member of Washpur Garden City Bahumukhi Samobay Samity Hajji Lat Miah told The New Nation, "Some lands were bought in the name 'West Power Limited'."

"A Brick Field named 'MBM' of mine was demolished for materializing the power generation project, facing me huge financial lost," he said, adding that he was under pressure to sell his lands at lowest price.
Managing Director of a Real Estate, Ali Nahar, who is also a land owner, said even after being relative of a minister, he could not protect his lands.

However, the High Court yesterday (December 8) directed the government to stop encroachment, construction work and earth filling in Haikkar Khal (canal), adjacent to the Buriganga River at Mohammadpur, within seven days.

The Deputy Commissioner (DC), the Dhaka Metropolitan Police Commissioner and the Officer-in-Charge (OC) of Mohammadpur Police Station are responsible to comply with the order of the High Court (HC), lawyers said.

The court directed the Director General of Land Record and Survey Department, the Dhaka Deputy Commissioner and the Managing Director of Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (WASA) to conduct a survey, demarcating boundary of the Khal and submit a report on the matter before this court within two months.

A bench of the High Court comprising Justice AHM Shamsuddin Chowdhuey and Justice Sheikh Md Zakir Hossain came up with the order following a public interest litigation (PIL).

The court also issued a rule upon the government to explain within three weeks why a direction to protect and preserve the Khal and to return it to its original condition should not be given.

The rule is returnable within three weeks.

Secretary to the Local Government Ministry, DCC Mayor, Director General of Land Record and Survey Department, Dhaka Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Dhaka Deputy Commissioner, Managing Director of WASA, OC of Mohammadpur Police Station are the respondents in the rule.

Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh (HRPB) filed the PIL petition on December 6 following a news item published in The Daily Star on grabbing the Haikkar Khal on December 6.

Advocate Manzill Murshid appeared for the petitioner in the court while Deputy Attorney General SM Altaf Hossain stood for the government.View it in the main newspaper

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