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Sunday, June 9, 2019

River-land grabbing must come to an end

NATIONAL River Conservation Commission has prepared a list of 29,459 grabbers of river-land based on the data sent by the Deputy Commissioners of 41 districts. Savar Uapzila Nirbahi Officer sent a list of 65 river grabbers but DC of Dhaka has not yet sent anyone's name. It's seen that land on and along all the major rivers in the country including the Padma, Meghna, Jamuna, Brahmaputra, Surma, Pashur and Karnaphuli, have been encroached on by the influential people. As per the list, the highest numbers of river grabbers are in Cumilla, followed by Noakhali.
Obviously, the number of total grabbers would go up after the DCs of big cities and towns like Dhaka, Sylhet, Barishal, Rangpur, Mymensingh, Narayanganj and Gazipur would send their lists. NRCC Chief said the names of the grabbers will be made public soon after verification. On February 4, the NRCC Chairman requested the DCs to send the lists of encroachers of rivers, canals and water bodies in their respective districts by the end of the month after a High Court Division passed a verdict in this regard on February 3. The HC in its verdict also disqualified the grabbers from contesting the elections and from borrowing money from the banks.
It's not surprising to us when the DC's of big cities like Dhaka and Narayanganj haven't send list of river-land encroachers. The land grabbers usually fulfill their desire keeping close relation with District and Upazila Administrations. It's impossible to grab a single piece of government land without satisfying officials of relevant departments. The NRCC, which has long been operating just as a recommending body, now moves to act as an enforcing authority. But it is facing severe obstacles from the land grabbing syndicates. Not only that, political clouts often come into play and manage re-establishing the knocked down structures.
We must say, the authorities concerned should take much tougher action against the river-land grabbers. But first of all, the list of encroachers should be made public so that there is a public outcry against their illegal activities.