Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has asked Dhaka’s deputy commissioner (DC) and Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (Wasa) to report to the commission about the status of the capital’s canals.
In two separate letters signed by ACC Director General Sayeed Mahbub Khan, the anti-graft watchdog yesterday asked for a response within 15 working days.
“It was seen in published reports by the media and researchers that most of the government canals under the watch of Dhaka’s deputy commissioner and Wasa have been occupied by influential land grabbers,” read the letters.
Besides, many canals have been filled due to lack of proper renovation and excavation, or due to dumping rubbish, they said.
The letters read, “Due to the environmental imbalance, natural disasters and waterlogging are becoming acute day by day.”
Against this backdrop, it is necessary to recover grabbed canals and bring them under government control to protect the environment and solve waterlogging.
ACC asked both the authorities to inform on how many canals are under their jurisdiction and of these how many are grabbed.
The authorities were also asked to report on steps they have taken to recover these canals from grabbers.
In December 2017, the High Court directed the government to prepare an action plan and create a list of land grabbers for recovering 50 canals in Dhaka city corporation zones by July 2018.
The government, however, took more time from the HC to formulate the action plan, sources said.
The list of land grabbers would be included in the plan for removing encroachments, regulating pollution and ensuring proper maintenance of canals.
The court also ordered the authorities concerned to demarcate areas of these canals so that they would return to their original shape.
The bench of Justice Moyeenul Islam Chowdhury and Justice JBM Hassan came up with the order following a writ petition filed as a public interest litigation by Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association, seeking necessary directives to protect the canals.