The draft National River Protection Commission Act 2020 has been formulated for the purpose of amending the National River Protection Commission Act 2013.
In this new law, the river Commission may declare an area as an ecologically endangered area if it is deemed to be endangered or endangered by the illegal occupation of rivers, pollution, loss of navigability, water, environment, biodiversity.
Power of arrest without warrant
An officer or representative of the commission or the naval police may arrest a person or head of a instituation without an arrest warrant on suspicion of being involved in a river related offense punishable by one month or more.
Violation of the law by any person or organization is punishable by imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or a fine not exceeding one million rupees or both. In addition, there is a provision of punishment in accordance with the provisions of various criminal laws.
The offense of illegal occupation of river land is punishable by one year imprisonment without parole and a fine of one lakh taka or both.
5 years rigorous imprisonment and 10 years imprisonment if lease or sub-lease is given in violation of river flood land law, river survey, the pamphlet is given in the name of person or organization, attempt to convert submerged char to char, direct or indirect damage to water flow etc. Millions of taka will be fined.
The same punishment will be meted out if religious bridges or culverts are built on river lands using religious misinterpretations or sentiments or by damaging the river.
Measures to protect rivers and reservoirs
Plans will be drawn up to protect all types of rivers, reservoirs, water sources in Bangladesh, release of illegal occupants, stop construction of illegal structures on river banks, excavation of extinct or dying rivers
River protection court in the divisional town
Each division will have one or more courts called ‘River Protection Courts’. This court will try all matters related to rivers and reservoirs.
It will also conduct mobile courts as required. The mobile court will be able to give immediate punishment in case of river occupation, pollution etc.
In addition to the commission, any aggrieved person or citizen can file a case in the court against illegal eviction, recovery and prevention of pollution in order to protect the river.