Saving Buriganga from the encroachers

The river Buriganga was once a very important positive part of the environment of Dhaka city. It was a clean flowing river that added an aesthetic appeal to the residents of the city. The famous nawabs of Dhaka had built up their magnificent living quarters on its banks. One of them, the Ahsan Manjil, still stands and now serves as a museum to remind people of the glorious days of the past of the city. But the Buriganga at present is in a threatened state of existence.
The river has been progressively dying from polluting factors and from encroachments. All kinds of excreta are now thrown in huge quantities in it regularly. The same have turned its waters largely unusable in sections in and around the city. The rivers is also suffering very seriously from encroachment. Its natural flows have been impeded by landfilling ofits beds and setting up of all kinds of unauthorised structures on such encroached lands. The encroachments have meant narrowing of the river and its canal like appearances in many places as it flows past the city. The way the encroachments have grown, allowing this process for some more time would very likely mean blocking off its flow completely some years from now.
Clearly, there is a point in saving the Buriganga from the encroachers. One encouraging aspect has been that the present government took some major initiatives to reverse this process of encroachments in the river. But such drives, unfortunately, have not been sustained all the way with the result that encroachers have had a chance to make a comeback. Thus, only on and off eviction moves will not serve any purpose if it is not followed up by concrete plans to prevent reoccupation by the encroachers.
Probably a well paved circular road all the way along the banks, plus planting of trees and creation of river sides natural parks can be attempted by the government to consolidate the encroachment-free conditions after an eviction drive. More significant would be completing all legal arrangements and the setting up of all sorts of checks and physical barriers so that the encroachers find no opportunity for reoccupying these places after this government leaves office. In sum, the evicted conditions should be made a permanent feature for their salubrious effect on the environment of the city.


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