Tuesday, November 24, 2020 | ePaper

Commentary

HC directive was necessary to save ponds as water reservoir

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The government has been asked to include the privately-owned ponds in urban areas across the country under the definition of a natural reservoir. A High Court Bench asked the government to take proper initiatives to reserve ponds and water bodies in City Corporations, Divisional Cities, District Towns, and Municipal Areas across the country considering the interest of the future generation. The HC verdict has come up following a writ petition lodged with HC challenging the legality of encroachment and earth filling of a pond under Barishal City Corporation. If implemented, the HC directive will ensure the preservation of water bodies, urban ecology, and living environment.
In Chattogram, over 14,000 ponds, and other water bodies disappeared from the map of Chattogram city in the last 20 years
for unplanned urbanization and lax monitoring by the authorities. Filling up of the water bodies, including ponds and tanks, poses a serious threat to the environment and compounds the water crisis in the Port City. Once Dhaka was adorned with several hundred ponds, but now the ponds are live only the memory of elder citizens. Like canals, only a handful of ponds now exist in the capital. But they are also in death throes due to the negligence of the authorities concerned. Although filling up any water body including pond is illegal, it's going on without interference from the authorities.
 Open spaces in the city, including ponds, are being increasingly covered with a concrete structure. As a result, places for leisure and refreshment are also fast disappearing. These ponds, which were once living places for fish and other aquatic animals, have been filled, and ecological balance has been lost. But no steps are taken either by the authorities concerned or private bodies to stop water bodies from being further grabbed for the construction of buildings.
It seems the only authority available to take care of public well being is the Supreme Court. But how far or how much the court can do that is the question.

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