Illegal establishments risk survival of rivers in Khulna

Publish: 9:42 PM, January 15, 2022 | Update: 9:42:PM, January 15, 2022

Titas Chakrobarty, Khulna Correspondent
The rescue operation has started on the banks of Bhairab river and Rupsha river in Khulna. The first eviction will be carried out in 10 out of 25 mouzas. The Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) has started issuing letters to 1,274 illegal occupants of these 10 mouzas. Khulna Deputy Director AH Razzak confirmed the information.

According to sources, the Bhairab river has been occupied by influential people for many years in some parts of Khulna city and district and in some areas of the adjoining Abhaynagar upazila. There are permanent and temporary constructions in these areas.

However, the river boundary is getting smaller due to the illegal occupation along the Khan Jahan Ali Bridge from Khalishpur of Khulna city of Bhairab river to Jelkhana Ghat and Custom Ghat area of Rupsha river.

The length of Bhairab river is 142 km and the average width is 60 meters but in the south-west (Khulna) the width of Bhairab river is 8 meters. At present the width of the south-west has come down to half.

According to AH Razzak, Deputy Director, Khulna Shipping and Port Authority, one of the reasons for this is illegal settlement on both sides of the river for a long time.

Influential quarters occupy both sides of Bhairab in Khalishpar and Daulatpur areas of Khulna city especially known as industrial hinterland. From the east side of the Khulna office of the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) to the Customs Ghats, various classes of traders are occupying. At low tide in the Barabazar area, the mighty Bhairab will feel like a canal. Due to the reduced navigability of this river, at one time large ships anchored at port 4, but now they are anchored at the mouth of Bhairab and Rupsa.

A meeting was held at the Khulna Deputy Commissioner’s Office on December 22 with the concerned officials of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) and concerned officials of Khulna City Corporation to evict the illegal occupants. At that time, according to the list of illegal occupants on both sides of Bhairab river and Rupsha river, it had been decided to give letters to 1274 people.

According to the decision, out of the total 25 mouzas, illegal occupants have been evicted in 10 mouzas so far. The mouzas include Baniakhamar, Helatala, Putimari, Labanchara.

Goalpara, Pabla, Daulatpur, Mahesh-Rapasha, Mirerdanga and Shyamganj. Illegal establishments include government-private and business entities.
In the Khulna part of the Bhairab river, especially from the Sadar Hospital Ghat area to the Customs Ghat area, brick-and-sand traders have occupied it.

Ashraf Hossain, president of the Brick-Sand Traders Association, said they were doing business on lease from the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA). However, the lease money was not taken from them for two years.

They will spread business as soon as they get a letter from the government in the interest of development. AH Razzak, deputy director of the Khulna Shipping and Port Authority, said letters had been issued to illegal occupants. The eviction drive will begin soon.