Fresh survey to thwart Turag encroachment

December 31, 2011

The administrations of four districts in and around the capital have taken up a fresh survey to finalize the boundary lines on the banks of the Turag by January 15 to thwart any encroachment bid.  Setting up of boundary pillars was stopped by the district administrations concerned when the river shrunk after the rainy season. Sources told The Independent that a section of corrupt land officials, in  league with the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA), were involved in reducing the river bed along its foreshore, thereby giving opportunities to the local musclemen to grab the river banks.
“We will remove all boundary pillars, which were set up by mistake along the waterline of the Turag and the Balu rivers in the dry-season, as they excluded foreshores while demarcating the rivers,” said Kamal Uddin Talukder, DC of Gazipur.
Boundary pillars will be erected again as per the Cadestral Survey (CS) of 1913 and the Revised Survey (RS) of 1983 on completion of the survey by January 15, he said. Shipping minister Shajahan Khan had formally launched construction of boundary pillars along the banks of the Turag and the Balu on April 12 from Tongi. It followed a high court order in June, 2009, asking the DCs of Dhaka, Narayanganj, Gazipur and Munshiganj districts to carry out a survey on rivers on the basis of the records of both CS of 1983 and RS of 1983 to ascertain the original positions of the rivers, girding the capital, to demarcate them.
On the other hand, the president of Paribesh Andolan Bangladesh (PABA), Abu Naser Khan, noted that the foreshores are integral to the basic understanding of a river. A foreshore is defined in accordance with the port rules as earth lying between the low  water marks under normal tide during the dry season and high water marks during normal ebb and  tide in rainy season. It is vital for conservation, port operations and navigability of a river.
The well-known green activist further said that the river bed is defined as soil and sub-soil, habitually covered by the water of a navigable waterway and stretching up to the high water mark on both the banks. A river bank is defined as the land that confines water of a river channel and extends above high water mark, he added citing the laws.
The HC, in its judgment, had observed that primarily a river consists of a bed, foreshores, and banks. So, it should be demarcated accordingly.
Secretary of BIWTA Mahabubul Alam said they have already requested the district administrations concerned to make a survey again and set up the boundary pillars immediately to comply with the HC directives. However, certain land-grabbers have continued to encroach on the shores of the Turag, without caring about the rules.
A section of unscrupulous people, with the help of  certain corrupt elements in the BIWTA, are involved in a nexus with the grabbers, gobbling up  banks of the Turag in the name of doing sand, stone chips  and brick trade.
Locals, however, accused the police of only showing up once a week to collect their “toll” in the area from the sand and brick traders.
But they never bother to implement the e-directives from the country’s highest authority, as well as the apex court, to keep the banks of the Turag free to ensure uninterrupted flow of river water.

-With The Independent input

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