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Razing hills in Bandarban: A permanent geographical change is evident

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06th-Jul-2018       
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NEWS media reported that hills and hillocks in Bandarban are being ravaged to make way for a housing project, much to the dismay of locals and environmentalists. Each year, landslide kills many people in the hilly areas but the greediness of people denies man-made danger. The project -- Bir Bahadur Nagar, after the name of State Minister for CHT Affairs Ministry, at Kalaghata on the outskirts of the town is being built on 36 acres of hilly terrain where the government ironically is making a connecting road cutting the hills. We fear the mindlessness of the government in destroying the natural topography in the hill tracts would bring more danger in coming days.
For constructing the housing project and connecting roads, around 4-5 hills on about 5 acres of land have already been razed. Earlier, the 36-acre land that belonged to the Bandarban Bhomong royal family was sold to four individuals in 2002 for Tk 36 lakh. They sold the plots to 448 persons of different backgrounds and professions for about Tk 26,000 a plot. But according to the Hill District Council Act 1989 and Chattogram Hill Tracts Regulation 1900, no land, including khas land, shall be leased out, settled with, purchased, sold, or transferred without prior approval of the concerned department. Instead of putting a stop to these illegal activates, Chattogram Hill Tracts Development Board and Bandarban Municipality are each constructing a road through the area by razing the hills.
Even, the housing project does not have clearance from the Department of Environment or approval from the deputy commissioner. Environmentalists said that destruction of the natural topography affects the ecology, biodiversity, and geological formation of the area.
It is surprising that, everybody turned a blind eye to the destruction done by the housing project while Local Administration is directly helping the influential law violators. DoE and other law enforcement agencies are almost helpless. Many hills have been destroyed in the hill town for housing projects over the years. If this continues, the remaining hills would vanish soon, making a permanent geographical change in the area.

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