The district administration started a much-awaited eviction drive along the Ichamati river in Pabna to free it from the structures illegally built on the river land.
Lawmaker of Pabna-5 constituency, Golam Faruk Khandaker Prince, inaugurated the drive this morning at Housepara (Natun bridge) point of Pabna municipality, our local correspondent reports.
The drive began amid a protest by locals whose houses were constructed along the river. However, the houses will not be demolished at the moment due to the Covid-19 situation, said Kabir Mahmud, deputy commissioner of Pabna.
Dredging has begun, to revive the river's water flow, the administration confirmed. Construction of pavement along the river has also started.
The drive began based on the cadastral survey (CS) records, completed in the British era, and the administration has already identified illegal structures on the river land according to the records, DC Kabir said.
"At present, the Covid-19 situation is alarming, and we don't want the locals with houses on river bank to become homeless. We will not demolish the houses if the residents stay in their homes. We will give them time," the official added.
Meanwhile, since Monday, the illegal occupants are on a hunger strike for an indefinite period demanding a stop to the eviction drive.
They are also claiming compensation, according to Masudur Rahman Mintu, organiser of the protest.
When asked, the Pabna deputy commissioner said they have nothing to do beyond the legal procedure.