Police have arrested two people for illegally filling up a pond named "Sarkerbari Pukur" in Chattogram.
Workers Md Akram, 38, and Md Sohag, 32, were arrested after a case was filed in this regard by Department of Environment, Chattogram (Metro) Inspector Md Monir Hossain.
The pond is located behind the Singapore Cooperative Market on the Agrabad Access Road and at least 500 families depend on this water body.
The move comes following a report published by The Business Standard titled "Another pond disappearing in Chattogram city" on Tuesday (16 August, 2022).
Speaking with The Business Standard, Md Monir Hossain, said, "Some 40% of the pond has been filled in the last one month. I was informed that this was done under the instruction of two siblings, Mohammad Jisan and Mohammad Johny, who inherited some parts of the water body.
"Two workers were arrested and handed over to the police. A case has been filed by the Department of Environment."
Halishahar police station SI Saiful Islam said, "Two people were arrested at around 10:30pm yesterday for filling up a pond in Agrabad Access Road. Necessery steps will be taken upon further investigation."
According to the Playground, Open Space, Park and Natural Water Body Protection Act 2000, filling up of any water body including ponds, without serving any national interest, is a recognisable offence.
The same Act terms it a punishable offence to change the class of a natural water body like a pond. As per the law, an accused can be sentenced to either five years of imprisonment or a fine of Tk50,000, or both, if found guilty of grabbing any water body.
24,000 ponds and reservoirs have disappeared in the last four decades in Chattogram.
According to statistics of the Department of Environment in 1981, there were about 25,000 ponds and reservoirs in Chattogram.
But there were only 1,249 waterbodies in the city in 2017, according to a study, "Spatial and Temporal changes in Wetlands of Chattogram Metropolis," by Morshed Hossan Molla, a PhD researcher at Chittagong University.