University VC, officials sued for hill cutting
The Department of Environment yesterday filed a case against the vice-chancellor, the registrar and a dean of Chittagong Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (CVASU) for cutting hills in Cox's Bazar to build its new campus.
DoE officials visited Dariarnagar area of Borochora in Cox's Bazar Sadar on July 13 following a complaint by a local, said Inspector Mominul Islam of Cox's Bazar in the case statement.
The officials found evidence of hill cutting and served the CVASU authorities with a notice to stop the activities.
The area is surrounded by a conserved forest and wild animals like elephants, deer, monkeys, hogs, foxes and porcupines visit there.
A wild elephant fell from one of the hills and died on June 19. The hill cutting is destroying the habitat of the wild animals and the environment, said the case statement.
Officials of the DoE in Cox's Bazar also visited the spot on June 10 and found evidence of recent hill cutting. Five to six bigha's of hill have been cut.
CVASU Vice-Chancellor Goutam Buddha Das, Registrar Mirza Faruk Imam and Dean of Faculty of Fisheries Mohammed Nurul Absar Khan were accused in the case filed under Bangladesh Environment Preservation Act 1995 (Amended 2010).
Eight to 10 other unidentified people were also sued in the case filed with a court.
Registrar Imam said, “The Cox's Bazar district administration and the land ministry gave us the five acres of land classified as 'flattened land' in 2015 for our Institute of Coastal Bio Diversity and Marine Fisheries.”
When asked about hill cutting, he said, “As far as I know there is no hill cutting going on in the area.”
He suggested The Daily Star talk to the project director for details.
The project director -- the dean of Faculty of Fisheries -- is in Saudi Arabia for Umrah and he could not be reached for comments.
The VC of the public university said the allegation of hill cutting was false. “The government gave us the land and recently allocated Tk 6 crore for the institute. We are yet to start the work for a dormitory."
About the hill cutting, he said some outsiders might have been cutting hills in the remote area at night.
Bodrul Huda, assistant director of DoE, Chittagong, said, "The department officials in Cox's Bazar went to local police station on Tuesday to file the case. But the police station refused to record it. As a result, the case was filed with the Chittagong environment court.”