A view of the DC Hill premises, a public place in Chittagong city. Locals have started a vehement protest against the opposition of the deputy commissioner and the divisional commissioner to its development as a public space recently. Photo: Star
Eminent personalities and leaders of socio-cultural organisations in Chittagong city yesterday demanded that a full-fledged cultural complex be built on the city's DC Hill premises, keeping its natural scenic beauty unscathed.
They criticised the opposition of the deputy commissioner and the divisional commissioner of Chittagong to building any structure in the area, where the duo's official residences are located.
The locals and cultural activists, who have long been calling for turning the DC Hill premises into a cultural hub, were addressing a views exchange meeting organised by Sammilita Sanskritik Jote, Chittagong, at the city's Theatre Institute.
Eminent social scientist Dr Anupam Sen said all the cultural programmes like book fairs, Swadhinata Mela, Pitha Utsab, and Rabindra and Nazrul Utsab had been held on the premises for around 40 years.
“The city dwellers have the opportunity to enjoy the programmes from the galleries built on its (DC Hill) slopes,” he said. The duo's move has hurt the city dwellers, he added.
Writer Begum Mustari Shafi said the public works minister had directed the Chittagong Development Authority to develop the space but the decision was pending following the two officials' move.
According to the Chittagong city master plan, the DC Hill ground is an open, public space. As part of that, the CDA has decided to invite tenders to build a cultural complex, theatre, walkway, observation tower and food court there.
But the move has been halted following the opposition of the deputy commissioner and the divisional commissioner, said CDA sources.
Poet Arun Dasgupta, Sammilita Sanskritik Jote Member Secretary Ahmed Ikbal Haider, cultural activist Shila Momen, Liberation War researcher Dr Mahfuzur Rahman, and journalist Nasir Uddin Haider Chowdhury, among others, spoke at the programme.
On March 5, Housing and Public Works Minister Mosharraf Hossain directed the CDA to build the structures in the DC Hill area. The next day, the deputy commissioner and the divisional commissioner sent a letter to the CDA asking it not to proceed with any development activity there. On May 8, they also sent a legal notice to it.
On Saturday, the minister told at a discussion at Chittagong Press Club that the "misunderstanding" between his ministry and the Chittagong administration over the proposed development activities would be resolved through discussions soon.