HC clears way to free Karnaphuli River banks from encroachers
The court dismissed a writ against an HC order that asked eviction of 2,181 illegal structures along the river
The High Court has cleared the way to evict illegal structures, including the fish unloading centre, to free the Karnaphuli River and adjacent Chaktai and Rajakhali canals in Chattogram from encroachers.
The bench of Justice Farah Mahbub and Justice Ahmed Sohail on Tuesday dismissed a writ filed against an HC order to evict 2,181 illegal structures from the river banks.
The Sonali Mechanised Fishery Cooperative Society filed the counter-writ petition in 2021 to stay the HC order.
Advocate Manzil Morshed, president of Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh (HRPB), told The Business Standard that as the court dismissed the writ and ordered the eviction of 2,181 illegal structures, there was no obstacle in the eviction of illegal structures, including the fish market, along the banks of the river and canals.
In 2010, the HRPB filed a writ petition in the High Court to stop the encroachment filling and construction of any kind of structure in the Karnaphuli River banks to keep its flow normal.
Later, as per the HC instructions, the Chattogram District Administration conducted a survey in 2014 and identified 2,181 encroachers of the Karnaphuli River and its banks.
But the Chattogram Port Authority leased 147.10 acres of land to Jatiya Matsyajebi Samabay Samity (National Fishermen Cooperative Society) between the Chaktai and Rajakhali canals in 2015 when the writ was under trial.
Sonali Mechanised Fishery Cooperative Society constructs a fish unloading centre on sub-lease from the cooperative society.
In 2016, the High Court directed the government to remove 2,181 illegal structures from the Karnaphuli River banks, hearing the writ petition filed by the HRPB.
In the same year, the then Chattogram Deputy Commissioner identified 147.10 acres of land as part of the river and ordered the association to stop the construction work.
But the association continues to operate the illegal fish unloading centre despite the HC order. In 2018, they also built a cold storage and an ice plant next to the fish unloading centre.