Md Karim was dismantling his home yesterday morning at Patenga's Laldiarchar area in the port city. He built the house 30 years ago with his savings, but in the face of Chattogram Port Authority's (CPA) eviction drive, Karim had no alternative but to pull it down.
"I am breaking my home apart. Nothing could be more painful than this," Karim, who lives at Block-C of Laldiarchar, told The Daily Star, sitting next to the debris of his home.
Karim said he relocated to Laldiarchar in 1974, as the government acquired their then homestead to expand Zahurul Haque Air Force base in Chattogram. Since then, he had been living at Laldiarchar with his family.
People living beside a two-kilometre stretch of the road that connects Chattogram airport to the port city, were seen knocking down their tin-roofed and makeshift homes, and packing their belongings to put them on vans and trucks.
CPA engaged six magistrates along with hundreds of law enforcers for the eviction drive. But just a few days before the drive, people started relocating on their own.
Nurul Islam, another resident of Block-C, told this newspaper that CPA disconnected power and gas lines ten days ago, putting the people in huge misery.
CPA Chairperson Rear Admiral M Shahjahan briefed reporters ahead of launching the eviction drive.
He said that by the time they launch their operation, 90 percent of the residents will be gone from the area.
"As they are withdrawing from Laldiarchar, we do not have to go for eviction. Now, we will fence up 52 acres of area at Laldiarchar," he said.
He said it is the biggest peaceful eviction operation.
In December last year, the High Court issued an order to CPA to evict illegal occupants of Karnaphuli River and submit a compliance report before it by March 9.
As per the HC order, authorities told the people to remove their belongings by the end of February.
Md Zafar Alam, member (admin) of CPA, told The Daily Star earlier that they want to construct a terminal at Laldiarchar.