The Mainamati-Lalmai hillocks on the campus premises of Comilla Universityare at risk.
Some parts of the hillocks, as vast as a standard-size swimming pool, were unlawfully cut in the last month without even informing the Department of Environment (DoE).
According to Bangladesh Environment Conservation Act 1995 (amended in 2000), cutting hills without having approval from the environment authorities is prohibited.
Multiple students at the university, seeking anonymity, alleged that the university authorities started cutting the hillocks around a month ago to establish a students’ dormitory and manage space for the institution’s first ever convocation.
Around a hundred tractors were seen carrying soils of the hillocks out of the campus, they said, adding that they fear landslides on the campus for this action.
Contacted, Dr Emran Kabir Chowdhury, vice-chancellor of Comilla University, refuted the allegations.
He said construction of the dormitory was postponed and the extension of the playground was halted.
“I have stopped all the works connected to hill cutting right after knowing about it. I will take action,” he said.
Asked how someone could cut hillocks on his campus premises avoiding his glance, he kept mum.
Meanwhile, Shaukat Ara Koli, assistant director of DoE in Cumilla, confirmed the Daily Star that they received no letter or notification regarding the hill cutting on the university campus.
On top of that, he said, “We have served a notice to the university authorities for cutting hills without any having permission.”
The DoE in Cumilla did not take any unlawful decision going against the environment act, he added.
A responsible official of the university, seeking anonymity, said two local contractors named Azad and Zakir took the projects of extending the central playground to organise the convocation and establishing a dormitory building respectively.
Besides, visiting the campus on Friday, this correspondent found people working on the construction site of the dormitory. A drain was also found near the playground which was recently made.
Talking to The Daily Star, some of the students alleged that hillocks were dredged with excavators on the campus premises to level the ground.
“It [dredging and hillocks cutting] will create imbalance among the particles of environment,” said Sajib Banik, student of Department of Anthropology.
Seeking anonymity, a teacher of the institution said the university authorities must obey the laws of the country.
The authorities must proceed for such projects with proper planning, he added.