L4C60/Planning/Group 3

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Public Awareness Campaign against River Encroachments in Bangladesh


Bangladesh has about 230 small and large rivers, and a large chunk of the country's 140 million people depend on them for a living and for transportation.

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  1. To sensitise public about river Encroachments
  2. To Provide awareness on the problems caused by encroachemnts
  3. To provide awareness on existing laws that prevent the river encroachment.
  4. To capacitate people to prevent river encorachemnts through social and legal action

Present situation

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The Buriganga Second Bridge in Postogola overlooks a significant part of the river. Anybody standing on the bridge would have a clear view of the river and easily realise how shamelessly and ruthlessly encroachers have squeezed the lifeline of the capital.Encroachment on the Buriganga over the years was so severe that the Shyampur side of the bridge has become just like a bottleneck. A river view project of Bashundhara has filled up a part of the river and its shore on the Keraniganj side. On the other side beside the Navy jetty, a five-storey building is standing in a place, which was part of the Buriganga just five years ago.

A lush green lawn and a well-planned pond increase the beauty of the building, which in fact choked the river here. It all happened in the past and no-one cared. But even now an encroacher is demarcating the river erecting bamboo poles in the waters.

Encroachment on the Buriganga by different vested quarters was so extensive that they even built markets and other structures after filling up the river. The government took some initiatives to remove the illegal structures, but the moves never yielded any tangible result. Not only the Buriganga, industrialists and local influential people are encroaching on the Shitalakhya river indiscriminately. Just under the Kanchpur Bridge, sand traders and stone crushing companies are doing business occupying the river banks, while industries have encroached on the other side.

Back at the Buriganga bridge, vast encroachment was visible just beside the BIWTA jetty in Shyampur which once used to be called the jetty of Army Welfare Trust.

The BIWTA authorities are now dredging the Balu river in an attempt to make only a 100-foot channel navigable as the river has been narrowed down by encroachers. The river here was around 200 metres wide and the main communication channel between the northern and northeastern parts of the country.

The government formed a taskforce on rivers which recommended in 2006 that at least 100 metres of the Balu's width be restored. The authorities, however, are working to restore only one-third of the recommended width.

The authorities of Uttara University put up signboards on the floodplain of Turag river with a plan to set up their campus on the vast wetland

Evil facts of river encroachments

  1. Drying up or are choked because of pollution and encroachment.
  2. Prevents free flow of Water
  3. Sometime it change its direction & even go on the village
  4. Causing flood
  5. People live a insecure & Unhygienic life.
  6. When the water goes down decrease the reproduction of fishes & we’ve got lacking of Protein
  7. Sea Level in Risk is for loosing the youngness of river.

Laws against River Encroachments:

According to the law, it is prohibited to change any natural land in the capital and all municipalities for conservation of all playgrounds, open space, parks and natural reservoirs. If anyone violates the law, they should suffer five years in prison and may also be fined up to Tk 50,000.

A few necessary action should be taken............

  • Proper Distribute of Govt. Lands to the Landless people
  • Media should come forward to make the common people conscious about the matter.
  • Use the Media Properly
  • Government may form a committee who will monitor the river encroachments.
  • The Civil Society should be aware of this river encroachments.
  • Strict to be Implement the Laws
  • There is no efficent Laws in River encroachments so Government can’t take necessary action we should look after that.

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Key points
  • 140 million people of Bangladesh depend on River for a living and for transportation.
  • Losing free flow & drying up river
  • it is prohibited to change any natural land

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  • What
  • Why

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  • Be a part of the movement to control encroachments on River
  • Local & National Level advocacy to Create Law against river encroachments

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River Encroachments in Picture

For Details Click here.....