Ctg admin, lawyers face off over ‘Parir Pahar’
There is a face-off between the Chattogram district administration and lawyers of Chattogram court building over the constructions of two establishments at Parir Pahar (Fairy Hills), popularly known as Court building hill, in the port city.
It all began when the Chattogram District Bar Association (CDBA) issued a tender to construct two 12-storied buildings named "Bangabandhu Ainjibi Bhaban" and "Ekushey Ainjibi Bhaban" on the hill.
The district administration declared that the two new buildings are "Illegal and risky", while the leaders of CDBA claimed that they are constructing the buildings following "proper rules".
Parir Pahar is known as the court building or DC office to city dwellers, housing the district administration office, divisional commissioner office, 71 metro and district courts, and several buildings for lawyers.
The district administration published a notice in local newspapers in the first week of September stating that the risky structures would be unwanted additions to the historical area.
"From the British period, Parir Pahar has been the heart of Chattogram's administration and judicial activities, and also a historical and archaeologically valuable area," read the notice.
"Without any planning, there are illegal and risky structures, car parking on the road, stationery shops, hotels, temporary kitchens, dry-fish markets, and street hawkers on the hill which tarnish the beauty and glory of the historical place," it added.
Citing reports from the fire service and environment departments, the notice stated that a humanitarian crisis would be created due to the illegal and risky establishments in case of a fire, earthquake or landslide.
Additionally, no approval was taken from the land ministry, collector's office, Chattogram Development Authority (CDA) and DoE before setting up the establishments, it said.
The notice also warned that those who are trying to set up the establishments on khas land denying existing rules would face legal actions.
Once the notice was circulated, CDBA leaders took to social media to vent their anger. They announced that they would hold a press conference today over the issue.
CDBA general secretary AHM Zia Uddin told this newspaper, "The two new buildings will be constructed on land belonging to the lawyers' association. We have the approval from the CDA. If the buildings are illegal, then why did CDA approve the plan?"
"The DC is trying to destroy the historical area by taking initiatives to construct parking and garden. Is this legal?"
Deputy Commissioner Mohammed Mominur Rahman said, "The prime minister has given directives to the Law and Justice Division, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, and Ministry of Land to ensure that no new structure is established at Parir Pahar. A letter in this regard has already been sent to concerned ministries from the cabinet division on September 13."
This correspondent obtained a copy of the report.
The DC added that the CDA will prepare a list of illegal structures in the area and take initiatives to evict them.
"We have to follow the law, which is equal for all, and also save the historical and archeological area, which is a duty of the state," he said. "We are trying to declare the building as a heritage site and shift offices from here to another location to preserve the area."
Currently, there are five buildings for the practicing lawyers of CDBA at Parir Pahar. However, there is no parking space in those buildings.
Around 3,500 lawyers' chambers are situated in those buildings. The CDBA has taken the initiative to build two buildings to accommodate more lawyers who are members of the association.