The decision was taken at the 37th meeting of a taskforce aimed at preserving the navigability of important rivers including the Buriganga, the Shitalakhya, the Balu and the Turag on Sunday.
The industrial zone authorities in Dhaka and seven other divisional cities have been asked not to allow new factories to be set up there, said the minister, who heads the taskforce.
Citing how tanneries were relocated to the leather industrial park in Savar from Dhaka, Khan said: “The factories currently running inside Dhaka and other metropolitan cities will be relocated to the 110 special economic zones.”
Khan did not mention any deadline for the relocation.
The relocation of tanneries started after a legal fight spanning over five decades ended last year.
As per data updated until November, 35 percent of the tanneries were transferred to Savar.
The Department of Environment or DoE has been asked to take action against factories that do not operate effluent treatment plants, the minister said.
The ministry has re-installed 762 pillars on complaints over 1,154 pillars set up in rivers surrounding Dhaka.
“Deputy Commissioners will be ordered to not let anyone erect anything by riversides until the survey is done.”
Anyone found polluting or encroaching rivers will be penalised through mobile courts, Khan said.
Officials from Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authorities or BIWTA will be assigned for clearing riversides off illegal establishments, he added.
“River police works for providing safety on river routes. BIWTA will form a separate team.”
The ministry is already proceeding with an operation to save 13 canals in Dhaka, said the shipping minister adding that some unscrupulous individuals were still filling up the canals.
“We will visit the spots with taskforce officials. The team will contain a magistrate and mobile court will pass orders to save the canals.”
Land Minister Shamsur Rahman Sherif, Environment and Forests Minister Anisul Islam Mahmud and State Minister for Power Nasrul Hamid Bipu were present at the meeting.