This daily had reported yesterday that some influential people have been destroying the small and medium sized hills in three upazilas of Tangail to fill up some low-lying areas and wetlands, without any consideration for the environment or the ecosystem of the area. And not only in Tangail, illegal hill cutting has been going on in all the hilly districts of the country including Chattogram, Sylhet and Bandarbans, as this daily had reported earlier.
Hills are being razed in the name of development—for building housing projects or other commercial purposes—which is prohibited by the law. For example, Bangladesh Environment Preservation Act 1995 (amended in 2000) prohibits cutting of hills without an approval from the authorities concerned. Also, the Building Construction Act, 1952 puts restriction on hill cutting without permission. But as these laws are hardly enforced, hill cutting has been going on unabated.
In this particular case, people who are behind destroying the hills are saying that these hills are on private land and so there is no barrier to raze them. But the fact is that cutting hillocks on private land is also a punishable offence. Therefore, the government must ensure that laws are strictly enforced against such illegal acts. Also, the local administration as well as the DoE must come forward to stop such crimes. Indiscriminate hill cutting, which has a negative impact on a particular area's ecosystem and poses a great risk of landslide, must stop once and for all.