CHATTOGRAM: Chattogram district administration on Wednesday started relocating people from the risky hill slopes to avert death from recurrence of landslide following incessant rainfall in the district.
Meantime, they relocated over 350 members of 105 families and demolished 20 structures from the risky hill slopes and pockets during their drives.
They relocated the families from the Batali Hill, Matijharna, Akbar Shah and Bayezid Link Road areas, said sources.
The people were taken to four shelter centres opened at Al Hera Madrasha, Raufabad Rashidia Madrasha, Feroj Shah Primary School and Lalkhan Bazar Primary School in the areas. The people were also provided with food at the centres.
The district administration is also announcing to caution the people against continuous heavy downpour that started two days ago. The rainfall has been intensified in the last two days.
Staff Officer and Executive Magistrate Omar Faruk said they will provide food to the people until the weather conditions become normal.
Met Office in the city’s Patenga area recorded 94.6mm rainfall in 24 hours ended at 3:00pm on Wednesday.
The rainfall also may cause landslide over the hilly region, added the bulletin.
The Met Office advised to hoist local cautionary signal no 3 for the Chattogram maritime port.
It is mentionable that although the authorities concerned demolish structures from vulnerable hill slopes every year, the number of people living there is increasing gradually due to lack of permanent solution to the long-drawn crisis.
People, mainly from the lower-income group, live at the risky places after failing to avail any cheaper accommodation in the commercial city. But, a vested quarter in collusion with politically influential people makes brisk business erecting illegal structures on the government hilly land and renting them out to the helpless people.
Though criminal cases were filed and many were imprisoned for such criminal activities earlier, the practice couldn’t be stopped till now.
The district administration takes different temporary measures including eviction and disconnection of illegal utility services to discourage the residents to stay there at the beginning of the rainy season every year.
But, the efforts go in vain as the encroachers return to the risky spots immediate after the drives.
Mentionable, torrential rains triggered a series of massive landslides in the hill tracts, burying many dwellings, when the dwellers were sleeping on June 13 in 2017.
A total of 164 persons were killed in the landslides in five districts including Chattogram, Rangamati, Khagrachhari, Bandarban, and Cox’s Bazar then.
The Chattogram district administration identified some 835 families living most vulnerably at risky foothills and pockets of 17 hills in the city and its suburbs in 2019.
Of the hills, 10 are privately owned while the rest seven are owned by Chattogram City Corporation, Railway, Chattogram WASA, Public Works Department and National Housing Authority, said sources.
Some of the families were also evicted in different occasions. But, the actual number of the people living in the risky areas will be much higher than the number identified by the district administration, they said.
The district administration carried out a drive against the risky settlements on north side of the Bayezid Link Road on June 14 this year.