Local Government and rural development Minister Tajul Islam has questioned the logic behind leasing out the riverbanks of Karnaphuli – the lifeline of the port city, Chattogram.
The minister was addressing a discussion at the Chattogram Circuit House on Thursday on increasing navigability of the river, implementation of a master plan to stop encroachment and pollution and measures to mitigate waterlogging in the port city.
Pointing to the representatives of different utility service providers in the city, the minister said, "I do not understand why the riverbanks are being leased out for businesses while we are working to retrieve navigability of five rivers in Dhaka and Chattogram's Karnaphuli and to stop pollution of the waterbodies.
The minister said the Chittagong port is the nation's pride and it is God's gift. But, the port's lands are being occupied.
Tajul Islam said they have realised that they will have to be united to work for the country.
Visible development is taking place in Chattogram. Different roads are getting better from sorry states, said the local government and rural development minister.
However, he suggested keeping an eye on infrastructural development so that it does not bring miseries for the city dwellers in the future.
Noting that the government will turn Chattogram into an eye-catching city, Tajul said a feasibility study is going on in this regard. A marine drive will connect the city's Faujdarhat with Cox's Bazar.
"Once the road construction is completed, the port city will witness huge investments and many tourism centres will be set up here. The entire country will benefit from the Chattogram-based tourism," Tajul added.
Mentioning that he will not compromise on Chattogram's development, the local government minister said, if there is no coordination among the port city utility service providers, people's sufferings will go up further.
The minister said woes are not lessening due to year-round road digging of various organizations. For this, the respective organisation carrying out a specific developmental work is being brought under accountability.
State Minister for Water Resources Zahid Faruk, State Minister for Housing and Public Works Sharif Ahmed, Lawmaker Wasika Ayesha Khan, local government Senior Secretary Helal Uddin Ahmed, water resources Senior Secretary Kabir Bin Anwar, shipping Secretary Mohammad Mezbah Uddin Chowdhury, Chattogram port Chairman Rear Admiral SM Abul Kalam Azad, BIWTA Chairman Commodore Golam Sadeq, port Member (Admin and Planning) Md Zafar Alam, Chittagong City Corporation Administrator Mohammad Khorshed Alam Sujon, CDA Chairman Zahirul Alam Dobhas, Chattogram WASA Managing Director AKM Fazlullah and representatives of various organizations were present.
Chattogram Divisional Commissioner ABM Azad moderated the discussion.