The Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) has reclaimed 4.5 acres of government land allegedly grabbed by Dhaka 7 Member of Parliament Haji Mohammad Salim.
In the eviction drives over the last two days, BIWTA's team demolished 320 illegal installations on the banks of the River Buriganga, in the capital, to recover the land from land grabbers.
The eviction drive led by Executive Magistrate Mahbub Jamil, BIWTA, on Monday, demolished around 150 illegal structures in the area stretching from Babubazar Bridge to Soarighat and recovered 1.5 acres of land.
Among them, there were: 15 two-storey establishments, 20 single-storey installations, 25 semi-pucca structures, 86 tin-shed installations, and boundaries of five buildings.
Alongside this, BIWTA also freed the road stretching from Babubazar to Soarighat Chan Sardar Cold Storage area to ensure easier movement of public transportation.
On Sunday, BIWTA demolished 170 establishments and recovered three acres of land, stretching from Waiz Ghat and Badamtali area, from Haji Salim's possession. Among them, there were 120 fruit warehouses and 50 tin-shed structures.
BIWTA officials said all the illegal structures on the river bank would be demolished accordingly from the areas adjacent to the Babubazar Bridge to Soarighat.
Visiting the embankment-cum-road from Babubazar Bridge to Soarighat, this correspondent saw excavators demolishing illegal structures on the north bank of the river.
At the beginning of the operation, other occupants were seen voluntarily removing their valuables from their installations.
During BIWTA's drive, traffic was stopped in the area as at least one thousand curious people, including members of law enforcement, gathered at the scene.
BIWTA Executive Magistrate Mahbub Jamil told The Business Standard that the eviction drive was carried out between Waizghat and Badamtali area. Haji Selim's relatives set up illegal structures in Badamtali area, occupying the land of the river.
Local fruit vendors, who lost their shops, claimed that they had been paying Tk30,000-40,000 per month to the relatives of the lawmaker to run the businesses illegally on the banks of the Buriganga.
Dhaka River Port Control Officer Gulzar Ali, Assistant Director Rezaul Karim and other officials also joined the operation.