Protect rivers around Dhaka, citizens' meeting urges

Protect rivers around Dhaka, citizens’ meeting urges


Speakers at a views-exchange meeting here on Tuesday stressed the need for taking effective steps to protect the four rivers surrounding Dhaka city -– Buriganga, Shitalakhya, Turag and Balu — as per the High Court order issued earlier in this connection.
They also demanded the authorities take visible steps to control air pollution, and cancel the leases of lands on the river banks.
River, Road and Waterways Protection Committee organised the views-exchange meeting at Mukti Bhaban in city’s Purana Paltan.  Committee convener Ashish Kumar Dey moderated the meeting.
Speaking on the occasion, Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB) adviser Manzurul Ahsan Khan said the rivers have got endangered for three reasons –- illegal grabbing, pollution and leasing out of river areas by the authorities concerned.
He accused the administration of having failed to evict the illegal encroachers and control the pollution.
The CPB leader told the meeting that environmental degradation has emerged as the number one problem in the world and Bangladesh’s existence will be at stake if the rivers cannot be protected.
He demanded punitive measures against those involved in land grabbing, river pollution and the officials involved in leasing out lands on river banks.
Chairman of Water and Environment Institute Engineer M Enamul Haque called upon the patriotic forces to stand against the land grabbers.
He alleged that Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA), Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB), Environment Department, the city corporation and the district administration are not performing their respective duties to protect the four rivers.
Pro-vice chancellor of Bangabandhu Shiekh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) Prof Dr Shahidullah Sikder said the city’s sources of fresh water has been depleting day by day due to the decrease in navigability of the surrounding rivers.
He called upon all the conscious citizens to come forward to protect the city’s natural resources, including the rivers.
Secretary general of Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists (BFUJ) Abdul Jalil Bhuiyan said the future generation will not be able to live a healthy life if the rivers are not protected.
He underscored the need for a political commitment to save the environment.
General secretary of Ganotantri Party Nurur Rahman Selim, Chairman of Bangladesh Peace Movement Prof Kamal Ataur Rahman, member secretary of Unnyan Dhara Aminur Rasul Babul, former vice president of Rajshahi University Central Students Union (Rucsu) Ragib Ahsan Munna and Advocate Tasnim Rana also spoke at the meeting. – UNB


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