Hope for hills
After so many years, the Department of Environment (DoE) has finally taken an initiative to conduct a specialised survey with an aim to protect Chattogram's hills.
DoE officials claimed the survey will help stop hill cutting and grabbing.
The survey, titled "Contour survey and mapping of hills and hillocks of Chattogram district", has already been sent as a proposal to Natural Resource Management division of the DoE by its district office.
The cost of the survey is estimated at Tk 75 lakh.
Ferdous Anwar, deputy director of DoE Chattogram, said, "There's a survey that's based on documents on the Chattogram hills. As a result, while operating in the field, we encounter numerous issues. We are planning a contour survey because this requires a field-based survey."
The DoE official said the main objective of conducting contour survey is to identify any noticeable difference in elevation of the existing hills.
"There are mainly two methods of locating contours. We will conduct this survey with a direct method," he said. "In this method, the contours to be located are directly traced out in the field by locating and making a number of points. These points are then surveyed and plotted and the contours drawn through those points," he added.
According to Bangladesh Environment Forum data, a total of 120 hills disappeared from Chattogram city in four decades. In 1976, there were 32.37 square km of hills in the port city and it decreased to 14.02 square kilometers in 2008.
The data showed that there were 200 hills in the port city 40 years ago and 60 percent of those have disappeared now. Of them, Chattogram Development Authority (CDA) cut 15 hills due to Bayezid Link Road construction.
Meanwhile, green organisations of Chattogram city welcomed the DoE's survey initiative.
Aliur Rahman, general secretary of Bangladesh Environment Forum, said, "A field-based survey will reveal details about the hill's true shape. And in this way, hill cutting may be avoided."