The government on Wednesday directed the authorities concerned to reclaim at least five canals in the capital from grabbers, who include political leaders, by October, 2010 to save the city from water-logging.
The Water Supply and Sewerage Authority and the district administration of Dhaka have been asked to remove all the structures that have encroached on the Katasur canal, Kalyanpur Ka and Ga canals, Hazaribagh canal and Ramchandrapur canal.
The deadline for the canal reclamation was set at a meeting of the national task force working to save the rivers from being encroached on. The shipping minister, Shajahan Khan, presided over the meeting.
The land minister, Rezaul Karim Hira, water resources minister Ramesh Chandra Sen and lawmakers for the Dhaka city constituencies, among others, attended the meeting at the secretariat.
‘The deputy commissioner’s office has already demarcated the areas of the canals for a drive to reclaim at least five canals in the city by October,’ Shajahan said after the ninth meeting of the task force.
He said WASA and the Dhaka City Corporation had been asked to reclaim the canals and construct walkways on both sides of the canals so that they could not be encroached on again.
The minister said the officers-in charge of the police stations concerned would be held responsible for failure to protect the canals after their reclamation.
The state minister for LGRD, Jahangir Kabir Nanak, also a lawmaker for a Dhaka city constituency, asked illegal occupants to take away their establishment set up on the canals on their own.
‘We will reclaim the canals at any cost from grabbers, irrespective of their political affiliations. The lawmakers in the capital are cooperating with the authorities in this regard,’ he said.
The shipping minister said the authorities were also asked to stop pollution of rivers surrounding the capital through sewers at 138 points.
He said the government had decided to institute a national river protection commission in keeping with the High Court directives.
The task force also directed measures for reconstructing 13 bridges over the rivers in and around the capital keeping at least 25 feet height from the water level for river route traffic.
The government earlier identified at least 26 canals and launched several drives against encroachment but failed to reclaim them from grabbers.