Barrister Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh, mayor of Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC), has warned illegal occupants they will be sentenced by mobile court order if necessary.
Mayor Tapash issued the warning to illegal occupants during an exchange of views with reporters after a site inspection of the Shampur canal cleaning operations on Wednesday afternoon as part of a regular weekly inspection program.
"Illegal occupancy is a big problem for the people of Dhaka. We will be tougher on such occupants in the future. If necessary, we will be forced to imprison them by mobile court order," Taposh said.
Referring to the long-term plan for canal conservation, the mayor said, "Our goal is to preserve canals completely, maintain them to create an aesthetic environment so they do not have to be re-excavated or removed year after year.
"To that end, we have submitted a project proposal and got some feedback from the Planning Commission. We are hopeful that the project, once passed, will lead to a lasting solution.
"The project will demarcate the canals, freeing them from illegal occupants and making those boundaries permanent."
In response to a question about the "permanent parking" business at various places on the road, Mayor Taposh said, "We are conducting operations wherever we are spotting such occupancy. The illegal occupation business has turned into a crisis and we are constantly working against it five days a week.
"The life of the people of Dhaka is becoming a nightmare due to our operations. Even so, we will continue to work hard. Everyone's cooperation is required and the people of Dhaka can play a role by informing us about these issues.
"Why would you have people sit in front of your shop on the street? Or park anywhere along the road? If everyone becomes more aware of these issues and cooperates with us, then, insha'Allah, we will be successful."
Expressing his determination to better benefit the people of Dhaka this time more than last time in resolving waterlogging, the mayor said, "We are moving towards resolving the crises that have accumulated one by one. Last year we were able to deliver some benefits. This time we are optimistic that we can move towards a long term solution."
Taposh said, "Notice the canals are full again as if they have not been cleaned for a long time, despite being cleaned soon after we got jurisdiction over the canals last year.
"A lot of waste and silt accumulated here. This time too we have started the work within the stipulated time. But in the section of Shampur canal where I am standing, you can see parts of the canal have been occupied. We will now take up the task of releasing those parts of the canal from illegal occupancy and will clean the drains again in stages after that."
During today's visit, Taposh also inspected the Regional Offices of Zones 2 and 5 of Dhaka South City Corporation and directed needed renovation and development work.
He inspected the development work to alleviate waterlogging from Sutikhalpar to Kajlar Par in Bibi's Bagicha as well, and possible sites and roads for setting up a playground in the city's Demra.