When CCC is the problem
We issued a notice to the city corporation to demolish the building in 2016. However, the CCC is a government agency, so the CDA has a problem evicting the building. We have asked the agency concerned, including the DC office to demolish this building.
In 2000, Chattogram City Corporation constructed a four-storey building in the middle of Chaktai canal, one of the key drainage channels of the port city, without clearance from Chattogram Development Authority (CDA).
For the last two decades, the building has been clogging the drainage system and causing thousands of residents to suffer during the monsoon.
On March 16 this year, the High Court directed the government to evict all the structures built illegally on Chaktai canal within 90 days and ordered to take necessary action against the grabbers.
The HC bench delivered the verdict following a petition filed by Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh in 2016.
Chattogram's deputy commissioner has submitted a report to the HC in this regard. This correspondent was able to obtain a copy of the report, according to which, there are 48 illegal structures, including the city corporation establishment, residential flats, tin sheds, business establishments and warehouses, have been built on around 20,000 square feet of the canal, chocking the waterway.
The CCC building spans 793 square feet and is used as the revenue office of circle-2.
The 6.9km long Chaktai, starting from the Bahaddarhat point of the city and spanning to the Karnaphuli river, has shrivelled up noticeably due to the rampant encroachment over the years. According to the RS survey, the width of the canal used to be about 65 feet, while the BS survey mentioned it to be 61 feet.
However, according to the DC office report, only 10 to 30 feet can be seen now.
During a recent visit to Bahaddarhat, this correspondent found the drainage system in shambles with the canal narrowing every day.
"The canal used to be huge back in the 90s. Boats loaded with goods could ply it," said Md Alauddin, who has been running a grocery business in the area for 42 years.
CCC, on the other hand, claimed it had spent Tk 6.7 crore for dredging the canal in the last three years.
However, the canal -- flowing through Bahaddarhat, Shulokbahar, Chawkbazar, and Bakalia -- overflows and inundates the adjoining localities during the monsoon and high tide. These areas remain waterlogged almost all the time.
Shahinul Islam, chief town planner of CDA, said CCC constructed the building without any clearance. "We issued a notice to the city corporation to demolish the building in 2016. However, the CCC is a government agency, so the CDA has a problem evicting the building. We have asked the agency concerned, including the DC office to demolish this building," said the chief town planner.
Contacted, CCC chief engineer Rafiqul Islam said they are working to increase the canal's depth. "We don't know anything about the CCC establishment on the canal. Also, we have not received any notice. If any such CCC establishment is found to have occupied the canal, it will also be demolished," he said.
Delwar Mazumder, convener of the Planned Chattogram Forum (PCM), said "It was CCC's responsibility to protect the canal but they occupied it instead."
"We are working on the HC order. Illegal structures from Chaktai canal will be evicted very soon," said Chattogram DC Md Mominur Rahman.