BAPA for national river protection authorities with executive powerStaff Correspondent
The Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon on Friday urged the government to form a strong ‘National River Protection Authority’ endowed with executive power to save the country’s rivers from encroachment and pollution.
The organisation pressed the demand at a press conference while giving its views about the ‘National River Protection Commission Act, 2012’ at the Dhaka Reporter’s Unity in the city.
‘We demand a strong river protection authority with executive power, not a weak river commission that has only one power, which is, to give suggestions,’ BAPA general secretary Mohammad Abdul Matin said.
The Cabinet on January 7 this year approved the National River Protection Commission Act, 2012, aiming at to establish a ‘National River Protection Commission’.
BAPA, which has been doing movement for last eight years demanding a river protection authority, however, welcomed the government’s move to form the river protection commission.
Nonetheless, they expressed serious doubts how strongly the commission will be able to act against grabbing of rivers and pollution.
The BAPA general secretary also said the proposed structure commission did not keep any option to incorporate representatives from the civic bodies and individual campaigners.
He said the act neither has any specific outline on bringing navigability back to rivers though it has scope to excavate the moribund and dead rivers.
BAPA also strongly criticised the absence of the provision in the act to ask opinions of the local people before taking up any river-related project, saying that such consultations with the local inhabitants are mandatory in many other parts of the world.
The organisation suggested that the government should draw up a national river policy to strengthen the work of the commission to be formed under the new act.
It said the national river policy has to be formulated with a river-friendly attitude free of narrow profit motif.
BAPA president ASM Shahjahan, former general secretary Mohidul Haque Khan, joint secretary Mihir Biswas, architect Iqbal Habib and professor Nazrul Islam also spoke.
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