Staff Reporter : National River Conservation Commission (NRCC) has recommended the removal of Maisha Power Plant and Arisha Economic Zone as these have been set up illegally grabbing about 54 acres of land on the banks of Buriganga and Turag Rivers near Keraniganj area in Dhaka. The NRCC came up with the recommendation following a survey as per direction of the High Court. The establishments are owned by Aslamul Haque, lawmaker from Dhaka-14 constituency. The NRCC has already issued letters directing the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) and the district administration to evict those establishments, said a report prepared upon the survey.Â Aslamul Haque will have to pay the cost of the eviction, said the report. Lawmaker Aslamul Haque established Maisha Power Plant grabbing the Buriganga River near Charwashpur area in Keraniganj. After such allegations, BIWTA went on an eviction drive at the plant in March this year and they demolished half a kilometer boundary wall of the power plant. A huge buzz was created when the BIWTA conducted a drive to evict the establishments in March, claiming it to be set up illegally. The lawmaker obstructed the eviction drive and filed a writ petition with the High Court. Â The High Court on September 2 this year directed authorities to maintain status quo on works for constructing Arisha Economic Zone owned by ruling AL lawmaker Aslamul Haque and on eviction of its structures near Turag River in Savar. It also asked Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority to dispose of in 10 days the application submitted by Arisha Economic Zone for conducting a joint survey to determine whether the company has grabbed river land. Following the High Court's direction the Â Â Â Â district administration and some other government organization, held a joint survey over the disputed land. After the survey the joint survey National River Conservation Commission found that the Maisha Power Plant and Arisha Economic Zone have been set up illegally grabbing about 54 acres of land in the banks of Buriganga and Turag rivers near Keraniganj area in Dhaka. Among the 54 acres of land, 13 acres land is part of main river, said the report. Golam Sadeq, chairman of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA), said they have received the recommendations but yet to discuss about any action. "We will soon take action as per the recommendations. We will serve a notice to him to leave the property of his own. If he fails to do so, BIWTA will conduct drive there. In that case, he has to bear all the expenses of the eviction drive," he added. Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (Bela) Chief Executive Syeda Rizwana Hasan said it is a matter of concern that the law makers are violating the laws. But there is a positive sign that the government body has submitted the report against ruling party MP Aslamul Haque who grabbed land of Buriganga and Turag Rivers. Grabbing river land by influential quarter is nothing new in Bangladesh. It is happening over the years due to criminalization in politics and administration, also said Rizwana Hasan. She said, "A strong political will can only help break the nexus of criminalization. Besides, enforcement of law without any discrimination can evict the illegal grabbers."
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