Massive eviction drive starts on port city hill
Chattogram District Administration started a massive eviction drive on the hill that surrounds port city's Bayezid Bostami Link Road yesterday.
A total of six executive magistrates from the administration, in association with Department of Environment, Chattogram Metropolitan Police and Fire Service and Civil Defence, conducted the drive to evict illegal structures constructed on the risky hill slope.
The drive was initiated as per the decision of Chattogram Divisional Hill Management Committee, said sources.
During the drive, the team identified a total of 370 illegal structures on the hill slope, said Rashedul Islam, one of the six executive magistrates, who led the drive, adding that all those structures would be evicted step by step.
On the first day, many structures were demolished, he said, without mentioning the number.
However, eyewitnesses said around 50 structures were demolished.
Those living on the hill slope alleged that they were not given any notice about the drive, and so, they could not take out their valuables.
Many others claimed that they did not build the structures, rather rented them from some people, giving advance payment.
Asked, Rashedul said residents there were given notice several times to leave their houses, and were given time to take out valuables before demolition.
He said it was a part of regular drives by the district administration to evict people living on risky hill slopes.
Replying to journalists, Sharif Ullah, another executive magistrate and assistant commissioner (land) of Hathazari circle, said they were making a list of people who illegally occupied the hill to make structures, and later rented them out to poor people.
He said the administration conduct drives on hills during monsoon every year.
Asked then how come new illegal structures can be seen every year, he explained that illegal occupiers construct them at the dead of the night to dodge the administration.