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10 October, 2019 12:46:50 AM

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Major illegal structures left out of BIWTA eviction drive

ANISUR RAHMAN KHAN, Dhaka
Major illegal structures left out of BIWTA eviction drive

The Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) has received over 100 allegations and corruption and irregularities involving the recent eviction drive conducted by the Dhaka River Port Authority. It is alleged that at least 20 major illegal structures alongside the city's riverbanks were not removed during the drive due to underhand dealings.

The allegations were made against Dhaka River Port’s Joint Director AKM Arif Uddin and several other officials.

The BIWTA has formed a seven-member committee, headed by Rafiqul Islam, additional director (Port), to identify the illegal structures that were not removed.

The Independent has obtained a list of some illegal structures and documents that were submitted to the BIWTA. Sabina Yasmin of Kamrangirchar, Abdul Hye Majumder of Par Gendaria, Md Manik of Faridabad and Sirajul Islam, among others, made the allegations against the Dhaka River Port Authority.

According to multiple sources in the BIWTA, it is alleged that the eviction team, led by AKM Arif Uddin, did not take action against the owners of some illegal structures alongside the Turag riverbanks in exchange for crores of takas.

Although the eviction drive was welcomed by different quarters, the illegal practice has put a question mark on the BIWTA’s recent drives against encroachment, sources in the BIWTA said.  

When contacted, Arif Uddin told The Independent on October 1 that the allegations against him were baseless, motivated and fabricated.

“We have conducted the drives on the apex court's order. So, there is no question of taking bribe to protect any illegal structure during the drives,” Arif Uddin said in reply to a query.

The eviction drives were conducted around the city’s rivers as per directives of the country’s apex court, but some 100 religious infrastructures, including mosque, madrasa and temple, are yet to be evicted considering religious sentiments, Commodore Mahbub-ul Islam, chairman of BIWTA, told this correspondent.

Eviction of such religious structures will be carried out after discussion with the higher authorities of the government, he added.

When asked about irregularities during the eviction drives, the chairman said: “We heard about some irregularities during the drives, and action was taken instantly. Some people have submitted applications and we are carrying out re-surveying on the basis of the complaints.”

There will be no compromise with corruption, Islam said. “Legal action will be taken if anybody is found involved in irregularities during the eviction drives. We will enquire about the matter,” he added. He said a seven-member committee has been formed to probe into the allegations and identify whether there were any loopholes, or some structures were left out during the drives.

The committee will identify the causes and why some structures were not removed during the drives, Rafiqul Islam, the committee chief, told this correspondent.

Asked when the committee would begin work, he said: “Soon. We will fix the date to start our work.”

The BIWTA formed the seven-member committee on September 22.

The BIWTA conducted the eviction drives between January 29 and August 31.

MK

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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