Demolish MP Aslamul’s power plant, economic zone to free Buriganga, Turag: NRCC

  • Staff Correspondent,
    Published: 2020-11-26 03:16:34 BdST


A government agency has recommended immediate demolition of Maisha Power Plant and Arisha Private Economic Zone, owned by MP Aslamul Haque, to free the banks of the rivers Buriganga and Turag in Dhaka from illegal structures.

The Awami League lawmaker from Dhaka-14 seat has built the two entities by encroaching on the river banks and floodplain in Savar’s Shyamlapur, and Keraniganj’s Washpur and Ghatarchar.

The National River Conservation Commission or NRCC in a report said the authorities of the two organisations must immediately remove the illegal structures on the pieces of land, with a total area of over 54 acres, following the Supreme Court verdict and the law.

The commission recommended completion of a drive to demolish the structures and recover the lands by Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority on a priority basis in order to reclaim the river banks and floodplain.

The deputy commissioner of Dhaka will lead a drive jointly with the BIWTA, Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha, NRCC, Land Record and Survey Department and others if the structures are not removed within a given period, the report said. MP Aslamul must pay for the cost of the drive in that case, the commission said.

The NRCC will present the report in the High Court on Thursday or next Sunday following a joint survey on Sept 17 and 18, said Manzill Murshid, the lawyer for the commission.

Arisha EZ authorities applied for permission at the Economic Zones Authority under the Prime Minister’s Office to construct the structures on a 51-acre land on the bank of the Turag in Savar in 2016.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the construction of the private economic zone on Apr 3, 2019 after the approval.

The BIWTA, however, gave Arisha authorities a notice on Aug 23 last year to remove the structures within seven days. It also asked Arisha to remove the soil used for filling the river and restore the place as before.

The BIWTA also said it would conduct a demolition drive and Arisha would have to foot the bill if the company failed to follow the orders.

BIWTA workers demolishing on Tuesday an oil depot, owned by ruling Awami League MP Aslamul Haque and constructed illegally by encroaching on the banks of the Buriganga river in Dhaka.

The Arisha authorities responded to the notice after three days, proposing a joint survey on the disputed land. As the BIWTA declined, Aslamul took the matter to the High Court.

After hearing his writ petition, the High Court ordered a 10-day halt on both the construction of the economic zone and the demolition drive on Sept 2 this year.

It also ordered a joint survey by the deputy commissioner, Water Development Board, Land Record and Survey Department, Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority, and the Space Research and Remote Sensing Organization.

The survey found a number of illegal commercial structures, including Maisha Power Plant and Arisha Economic Zone, on the banks of the two rivers.

The survey report said the disputed lands are situated on the foreshores of the rivers, on which it is illegal to build any structure.

The structures were also built in violation of a number of laws, including some related to river transport, according to the report.

These were categorised as “Red” by the Department of Environment, which means they required a number of clearances, the report noted.

The construction of the structures greatly affected the environment of the areas and the adverse effects will grow in the future, it added.

The construction work is clearly a violation of the environmental laws and rules, and should be considered as a criminal offence, the report said.