February 7, 2017 - 3:13pm
Dhaka South City Corporation leads a drive demolishing markets and shops built on Trimohini canal at Sabujbagh in the capital on Monday.
Two markets of Dhaka Zila Parishad and at least 200 other structures, built on the Trimohini Khal at Nandipara, were pulled down on the first day of the joint drives that began on Monday.
Dhaka South City Corporation led the drives as part of their plan to reclaim 11 canals from grabbers.
The city mayor, Mohammad Sayeed Khokon, declared opening of the eviction drive at Nandipara Bridge of the capital reiterating his commitment to reclaiming other canals gradually at any cost.
‘This is the beginning of city canals reclamation. The drive will continue until all canals under the city corporation are freed from the grabbers,’ said the mayor, asking the city people not to pollute the water bodies dumping garbage.
Government agencies including Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority, Bangladesh Water Development Board, Dhaka district administration, the police and the Rapid Action Battalion jointly run the drive to address water stagnation in the city, said officials.
The mayor said prime minister Sheikh Hasina ordered him to reclaim the canals and he would make the drive successful at any cost.
‘We will evict all irrespective of their political identities and muscle power and open it for people,’ he vowed.
The mayor on January 22, after a meeting with different government agencies, had announced that he would run eviction drive from February 6 to reclaim the canals.
On the first day, the joint force finally demolished, after around 30 years, two markets of Dhaka Zila Parishad, which is supposed to maintain public property, including the canals.
The district council had built 52 shops under two of its single-storey markets, locally known as Ershad Market, as it was built during the regime of military dictator Hussain Muhammad Ershad.
The shop owners alleged that they had bought the possession from the council at government rate for shop allotment.
‘We want compensation and punishment of the people who had built the market illegally,’ said Khairul Islam, owner of Sayma Enterprise, one of the markets.
Chief executive officer of Dhaka Zila Parishad said building any structure on any water body was illegal and he expressed his ignorance about how the market was built.
Locals said zila parishad not only had built the markets, they also leased out more than 50 shops built on the canal.
One of the lease holders, Md Ansar Ali said he had taken a piece of land in 2012 from zila parishad paying the government rate.
Showing his contract paper, he claimed compensation from the zila parishad.
The Trimohini Khal was under the threat of disappearance like many others.
The canals under threat of disappearance are Segunbagicha Khal, Hazaribagh Khal, Dholai Khal, Khilgaon-Basabo Khal, Gop-dakkhin Khal, DND Bandh Bannya Niyantran Khal, Dakkhingaon Khal, Dholai Khal-2, Paribagh Khal and Shuvodda Khal.