Local influential grabs disused Red Cross Cyclone Shelter Centre in Hatiya
NOAKHALI, Sept 19: A local influential person has started living with his family in the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society (BDRCS) 'cyclone shelter and training and support centre' built on around one and half acres of land in Hatiya Upazila here, it was learnt.
As the society doesn't have any activity in the area for years, the influential, Abul Kashem, has taken possession of the abandoned building and land recently and started living there claiming that he has taken the premises on lease for three years from the Red Crescent Society paying around Tk 40,000.
It's learnt that Kashem has been using the building for his personal use, but not caring for the up keep of the offices, furniture and other equipment and assets duly. Rather, the furniture and other equipment including computers are getting damaged due to keeping those idle and lack of necessary maintenance.
But, Kashem has been using the garden and pond on the land protected by high boundary walls.
When contacted, Abul Kashem told this correspondent that he has taken lease of the land from the Red Crescent Society headquarters for three years on payment of Tk40,000.
"Now, I have no problem to use it. Once the lease period is over, I will leave the place," he added.
It's learnt that the Red Crescent Society has built the cyclone shelter and training centre on 1.5 acres of land in 1985 to provide support to around 8 lakh people of Hatiya. The district administration allocated the land acquiring those from the local people for the work. The society constructed a single-story building on the land for use as a cyclone shelter and office building for the training and support centre.
But, suddenly all activities of the Red Crescent Society stopped in the area recently and the building remained abandoned round the year. Taking the advantage, Kashem occupied the building and properties for his personal use. He has been staying there along with his family members and growing crops and vegetables on the fields and rearing fish in the pond.
Biplob, a shopkeeper in front of Red Crescent building, told this correspondent that the building was abandoned for years.
There was no activity of the Red Crescent in the building. "Recently, we found that Kashem occupied the building and properties claiming that he has taken lease of the centre from the society."
Mohammad Noman, team leader of Cyclone Preparedness Programme (CPP) local unit 22 of Hatiya's Charking Union, said though the CPP volunteers were seen active during the recent cyclones like SIDR, AILA, Amphan, Nargis and Mocha to save the people of the disaster-prone area, there was no activity of the Red Crescent during the periods.