The Appellate Division on Thursday said that no structure could be allowed to exist inside the Ecologically Critical Area of the World Longest’ natural sea beach at Cox’s Bazar.
A four-judge bench chaired by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain made the observation while hearing a review petition of lease holders against a decision it had given in 2015 upholding a High Court Division verdict.
The HC had rejected 38 writ petitions of lease holders challenging the legality of the land ministry cancelling their long term leases at the hotel, motel zone of the resort city.
The court said there was no reason to exempt the structures from demolition even if they were constructed before the beach’s Ecologically Critical Area was declared in 1999.
The court said that it was not fair to cancel some of the leases and leave some other leases in the Ecologically Critical Area as they were.
Asked to comment why some of the leases in the ECA were cancelled, attorney general Mahbubey Alam submitted, that the government did not cancel the leases of companies that had already constructed their structures in the Ecologically Critical Area of
Cox’s Bazar sea beach.
The court said that it was the nation’s demand to declare the Cox’s Bazar beach as an Ecologically Critical Area.
The court wanted to know from the lease holders whether or not they wanted the protection of the Ecologically Critical Area of the Cox’s Bazar sea beach.
The court said that the Department of Environment declared on April 19, 1999, that no structure that could pollute air, water or soil of the Ecologically Critical Area of the Cox’s Bazaar sea beach could be constructed there.
The hearing was adjourned until Monday.
In 2011, the land department identified 164 illegal structures in the ECA of the beach.
In 2015, the Appellate Division dismissed lease holders appeal on the ground that they were granted the leases flouting the Ecologically Critical Area stipulations.
The High Court had also directed the DoE director general to appoint a director with his office at Cox’s Bazar to protect the Ecologically Critical Area of the beach.
The director has been asked to demarcate the ECA and set up demarcation pillars within six months.
The court had asked the DoE DG to display signboards depicting the area which has been declared as ECA to take appropriate step to maintain the basic environment of the area.
The deputy commissioner of Cox’bazar has been asked to appoint a commission consisting of not less than two civil engineers to ascertain the land to have been allocated to the writ petitioners along with the construction cost which had been made in the ECA.
The court asked the land ministry secretary to return the construction cost to the petitioners if they demand.
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