Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) on Thursday claimed that a tripartite syndicate is responsible for wetlands filling across Dhaka violating the Detailed Area Plan (DAP).
TIB Executive Director Dr Iftekharuzzaman said a syndicate of businessmen, corrupt law enforcement members and political influence is responsible for such lawlessness.
“Illegality has taken an institutional shape,” he said about the illegal wetlands filling.
He was speaking at a press conference in Dhaka jointly arranged by TIB, Association for Land Reform and Development (ALRD) and Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (Bela) about wetland filling in the capital and its surroundings violating DAP.
Professor Dr Adil Mohammad Khan, general secretary of Bangladesh Institute of Planners (BIP), presented a research paper highlighting different aspects of illegal wetland filling in Dhaka city and surrounding districts.
According to BIP research, every year around 42,000 acres of agricultural land and wetland are filled up. From 1999 to 2010, every year 5,757 acres of wetland was lost in Dhaka.
“From the planning viewpoint, there should be at least 10-15 percent wetlands in a metropolitan area. Study shows that 22 percent wetland under DAP has been filled up so far,” he said.
The report also shows that wetlands in surrounding areas have increasingly been filled up measuring 15 percent in Savar, 17 percent in Gazipur, 41 percent in Rooppur and 21 percent in Keraniganj.
Dr Adil recommended publishing annual reports by relevant organisations, increasing economical evaluation of wetlands, bringing government offices under accountability, implementing Land Ceiling Act and more to stop the practice.
Center for Environmental and Geographic Information Service (CEGIS) Research Associate Feroze Ahmed Kanak gave a presentation on wetlands filling in Savar.
Bela Chief Executive Syeda Rizwana Hasan, former Institute of Architect Bangladesh (IAB) chief Mubasshar Hussain, Buet urban planning Prof Dr Ishrat Islam, ALRD Executive Director Shamsul Huda, Nijera Kori Coordinator Khushi Kabir and Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon Joint Secretary Architect Iqbal Habib also spoke at the event.