Taking tough action against land grabbers

Dhaka,  Mon,  25 September 2017
Published : 13 Jul 2017, 19:47:18

Taking tough action against land grabbers

The Chittagong district administration has taken a tough stand on hill grabbing at Jungle Salimpur by a section of people. Taking serious reservation of the Sitakunda upazila nirbahi officer's (UNO's) inaction in this regard, the deputy commissioner of Chittagong has directed the subordinate officer to submit a report on the grabbers of government land there. In fact hills and hillocks have been indiscriminately ravaged unnoticed in many places in hill districts. Some cut hills for soil, others level those for construction of houses. Even the government agencies do the same for setting up offices or living quarters for government officers or employees. Such activities do not come to the administration's notice until the media focus on those or some disasters in the shape of landslide take place. 

Jungle Salimpur is no exception. Now that a series of landslides has occurred in Rangamati, Bandarban and Chittagong, probing eyes are looking for disasters in the making in the hills. The potential for tragedies is high where hillsides have been encroached upon to build shanties or even unplanned buildings either for living or renting. Jungle Salimpur is one such place where such structures have been put up. Taking advantage of no easy access to the place, allegedly, questionable characters have assembled there to turn the area into a haven of crimes. Reportedly, the crimes are mostly drug-related. If this is the case, there is definitely a drug lord who controls the business there. Maybe, the crime extends up to the nearby Dhaka-Chittagong highway segment which has by now earned quite an infamy for highway robbery and looting of covered van and similar other crimes. 

Pillaging of forests on hills goes unabated all across the hill districts. The ultimate form of the pillage is illegal occupation of hilly lands for setting up structures. So far as land grabbing is concerned, in the hilly region it involves removal of earth to make space for houses or shops. In case of land grabbing in plain regions, usually water bodies or unused vacant lands are targeted. Most of the time it requires land filling and this easily comes to the notice. The content of such acts however is same. Land grabbers are a notorious breed who can go to any extent to get their job done. They encourage others to be a party to their criminal acts. Thus crime breeds crime. No wonder, land administration is the most complex of all public affairs. 

It so happened a few months back that some illegally built shops on government land near the T&T colony in Motijheel of the capital itself was razed to the ground with a bulldozer. But within weeks new structures came up overnight. Action was taken once again but to no avail. Those shops are reportedly running well now. This is how the land grabbers and the local administration often play hide and seek but ultimately things come back to square one. It is time the administration of Chittagong lived up to its tough stance and freed the hill and adjoining areas from the illegal land grabbers. The same should be the line of action wherever land is illegally captured.      

Editor : A.H.M Moazzem Hossain
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