Second phase eviction drive on Karnaphuli stalled
10 organisations gave 7-day ultimatum to evict illegal structures
CHATTOGRAM, Mar 31: The second phase of the eviction of illegal structures on the banks of the Karnaphuli River is yet to begin.
The local administration had concluded the first phase of a five-day drive on February 9 demolishing the illegal structures.
In the drive, the authorities had demolished a total of 230 illegal structures stretching from Sadarghat to Barik Building area in the first phase. After removal of the structures, a total of ten acres of land have been recovered.
But the total area stretching from Chaktai to Patenga has been divided into three zones to make the eviction drive easier and a total of 2,500 illegal establishments will be bulldozed. The decision to carry out eviction drive was taken at an emergency meeting at the Deputy Commissioner's office on January 31 last. After the decision, the district administration had conducted the eviction in collaboration with different stake holders including Chattogram Development Authority, Chattogram Port Authority, Directorate of Chattogram Environment and Metropolitan Police.
The second phase of eviction was supposed to begin within one week after February 8 drive.
But, strangely, the authorities concerned could not begin the second phase of the eviction as yet.
For this reason, ten organizations of the port city gave a seven-day ultimatum to the authorities on March 30 last. Those organizations protesting the delay of eviction drive, organized a human chain in the city on the day. The protesting organizations threatened to go on a tougher action plan, if the authorities failed to begin the eviction by seven days. They had decided to file a contempt of court case against those authorities.
A large numbers of boatmen had participated in the two-hour long programme from 11:00am to 1:00pm.
Bangladesh Paribesh Forum, Maji Kallyan Samiti Federation, Merchants Welfare Association, Labour Welfare Samiti and other associations of boatmen of the river Karnaphuli organised the protest programme.
On March 2, the LGRD and Cooperative Minister M Tazul Islam said that a Master Plan has been drawn to free Karnaphuli River and other rivers of the country from the hands of land grabbers.
Very soon, the government will take action against the criminals after passing the Master Plan.
The Minister also said the second phase of eviction drive on the river bank would begin very soon.
The administration had started the drive on February 4 to remove 2,500 illegal government and private structures encroaching upon the Karnaphuli river, the 'lifeline of Chattogram', following a court order issued two years ago.
A team led by executive magistrate and assistant commissioner (land) of Patenga Tahmilur Rahman started the drive in Sadarghat area.
On July 18 of 2010, the court, after hearing a writ petition by Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh, ordered to stop the river's encroachment, land filling, and construction of all types of establishments on the river.
It also ordered the local administration to identify the river's actual boundary and file a report. After a survey, the district administration identified more than 2,500 illegal structures on the river banks. On August 16 in 2016, the court ordered the authorities concerned to get rid of the structures within 90 days.
The administration failed to implement a High Court order for conducting the drive because of a lack of fund.
The illegal 2,500 structures including 368 from Patenga, the EPZ, the port area, Kotwali, Baklia, Chandgaon Mouja and 1,744 structures from East Patenga Mouja.