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Wednesday, March 6, 2019 10:55:01 PM
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Honest role against river grabbers deserves thanks

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PATUAKHALI deputy commissioner alone sent river grabbers' list to the National River Conservation Commission. None of the 63 other DCs complied with the NRCC's request to send the list of grabbers of rivers in the districts by February 28. In Patuakhali 602 persons grabbed 25 rivers including Agunmukha, Payra, Lohalia and Tetulia.
On February 4, the NRCC chairman requested the deputy commissioners to send the list of grabbers of rivers, canals and water bodies in their districts. The NRCC chairman also asked the DCs to display the grabbers' lists on notice boards in their offices and post them on their official websites as directed by the High Court Division in its verdict dated February 3.
The NRCC chairman also asked the DCs to send time-bound action plans for dismantling all illegal structures from the banks of rivers, canals and water bodies. The High Court Division in the verdict also disqualified the grabbers from contesting elections or borrowing from banks. The NRCC chairman said that he would inform the Cabinet Division about the non-compliant DCs.
It is inconceivable that the DCs of almost all of Bangladesh didn't comply with a direct request of the NRCC. It is of paramount importance that the list of river grabbers be proclaimed publicly so that they can be named and shamed, failing which the administration can take legal action against them. So it is quite conspicuous that only one DC has complied with the request of the NRCC.
The rivers are the life and blood of our nation. Encroachment of these rivers is tantamount to destroying our national heritage as these rivers are essential for navigation and irrigation. But influential locals often conspire with local administration officials to encroach and grab the rivers to build anything from hospitals to jetties for boats, which they later lease out for hefty profits.
How can they get away with it? By colluding with the local administration officials they fell that they have the power to do anything as the national regulatory bodies seem very far away and thus they feel they are untouchable. But they must be taught otherwise or else they will wreak havoc on our riverine ecosystems. Might must be superseded by right.

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