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DHAKA Sunday 08 April 2012 25 Chaitra 1418 BS 15 Jamadi-ul-awwal 1433 HIJRI
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Constructions threaten Cox’s Bazar ecology700 illegal bldgs to be demolished→ Abdul Monayem Khan
 Cox’s Bazar: Various quarters have constructed more than 20,000 buildings in 15-square-kilometre area of this beach town, mostly defying safety rules and utility requirements, according to regulatory authorities here.

The mushrooming of illegal structures here and there is likely to hamper livability affecting ecology, safety and natural beauty of the tourist spot blessed with the world’s longest sandy beach.

However, the Deputy Commission has identified as illegal 700 structures that have been built along the sea beach area. Such buildings also created barrier to the government’s plan to develop Cox’s Bazar as major tourist attraction.

“Many high rise buildings are constructed in the hotel-motel zone without proper approval of the authorities concerned,” Mohammad Monirul Alam, an executive engineer of Public Works Division (PWD), told daily sun.

Officials concerned said an eviction drive against them is expected to be conducted later this month.

An official source said a section of land grabbers and influential people constructed over 1,000 illegal infrastructures along the sea beach and adjacent areas of the town about three years ago.

Tourists are said to have been seriously disturbed by these unplanned infrastructures which have created barriers to the movement along the beach and sight of the sea.

PWD approved only 235 plots in the hotel motel zone area of the town, said Monirul Alam, also the member secretary of Cox’s Bazar Development Authority (CBDA).

The government has undertaken a Master Plan to turn Cox’s Bazar into a well-planned modern tourist city and formed the CBDA, said Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Joynul Bari.

CBDA, which is yet to start functioning, is designed for development of Cox’s Bazar in the model of Rajdhani Unnyan Kartripakkhya (city development authority or Rajuk).

In line with the Master Plan, about 90-kilometer area from Moheshkhali island to Teknaf upazila will be developed as environment-friendly tourist spot.

But it is widely alleged that land grabbers with blessings from the local ruling party leaders continued to construct buildings.

The Awami League government cancelled the allotment of 59 plots in hotel-motel zone to the people endorsed during the rule of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party-led alliance government. Some 220 plots were reportedly allotted at that time.

Sources in PWD said many unplanned buildings in the town have no drainage facilities while they are also vulnerable to earthquake. Required standards have not been met in most cases, the sources added.

When contacted, Additional Deputy Commissioner (Revenue) Mohammad Jasim Uddin said the district administration has prepared a list of illegal infrastructures in the beach areas. “An eviction drive will start soon,” he said.

So far, five cases were filed against developers of high-rise buildings including two hotels and two developer companies near Cox’s Bazar sea beach area allegedly for defying environment law.

M Ibrahim Khalil Mamun, general secretary of a local organization named Cox’s Bazar Forest and Environment Conservation Council, filed the cases with Chittagong Environment Court.

Civil society leaders demanded preparation of a new and detailed Master Plan following consultation with all stakeholders to make Cox’s Bazar a world-class tourist spot.

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