All eyes on capability of committee to protect rivers
Shohel Mamun

The government has undertaken several initiatives to protect the rivers surrounding Dhaka and Chittagong from pollution, with most plans going in vain in the past.

As a result, the rivers including Buriganga, Turag, Balu, Shitalakkhya, Dhaleshwari, Bangshi and Karnaphuli are facing pollution every day.

Despite such failure, the government is now going to begin its efforts afresh to make the rivers pollution-free.

Hence, the government, in this regard, has formed a high-power committee with Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives Minister Khandker Mosharraf Hossain as its chairman.

Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan and Water Resources Minister Anisul Islam Mahmud are his deputies in the committee comprising the navy chief, Dhaka north and south city corporation mayors, secretaries of home, fishing, housing, local government, environment and forest, and shipping ministries, divisional commissioners of Dhaka and Chittagong, BIWTA chairman, deputy commissioners of Dhaka, Gazipur and Narayangonj also member of the committee.

It will also adopt a master plan within a short time to execute the initiatives properly, sources said.

But, the effectiveness of the committee remains in question whether it will succeed in doing such a tough job.

To get clearer idea on the matter, one will have to wait until February 2 when the committee holds its maiden meeting. 

“We love our rivers. So, we will sincerely prepare a master plan to protect those,” said Shajahan.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) Chairman Commodore Mohammad Mozammel Haque expressed his hope over the committee, saying that it will do something better for the rivers.

“Hopefully, some of important directives will come in the meeting,” said Mozammel, also a member of the committee.

In September 2016, the shipping ministry took some initiatives including the formulation of a task-force to protect the rivers.

Such measures were taken by the government earlier as well, but most of which did not see a proper end.

Water resources expert  Mostafa Ali said maximum plans failed due to improper execution.

“We must stop the source of pollution first, then clean up the rivers and make them free from encroachment. The pollution will continue, otherwise.”

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