SYLHET: Speakers at a discussion meeting in Sylhet demanded immediate recovery of the illegally grabbed streams, canals and ponds in the city and taking steps for protecting all the water bodies.
They also urged the Sylhet City Corporation (SCC) mayor to take legal actions against the illegal occupants and for making a list of grabbed ponds.
Bangladesh Environment Lawyers Association (BELA) organised the meeting on 'Measures for protecting waterbodies in Sylhet City area' at a hotel on Wednesday while SCC mayor Ariful Haque Chowdhury attended it as the chief guest.
Sujon Sylhet chapter president Faruque Mahmud Chowdhury chaired the event while BELA's Divisional Coordiantor Shah Shaheda Akhtar presented the key paper. The meeting was told that about a hundred ponds are there on a total of 1356 acres in the city. But, many of those had already been occupied by organised groups or influential people and business groups during the last few decades. Some housing companies are also there.
Director, Environment Md. Emran Hossain, Deputy Director of Fire Service Kobad Hossain Sarker, Senior Palnner of the Urban Development Directorate Shaheen Ahmed, AC Land Sharmin Sultana, Poribesh O Haor Unnayan Sangstha president Kashmir Reza, Bapa Sylhet chapter General Secretary Abdul Karim, TIB Conscious Citizens' Committee chief Shomik Shahid Jahan, ex-president of Sylhet District Bar Association EU Shahidul Islam repeat EU Shahidul Islam, Women Lawyers Association President Syeda Shirin Akhtar and Sylhet Press Club President Iqbal Siddiquee also addressed, among others.
The city mayor said out of the 11 natural streams in the city some were reclaimed from the illegal occupants and protection walls had been constructed. Besides, the SCC fined many occupants while some were facing lawsuits. We would continue drives on the illegal occupants, he said adding we already established some walkways for tourists on many spots in the city.