A fact-finding team has put forward 10 recommendations, including special budgetary allocation for maintenance of hills and complete ban on hill cutting, to check landslide in Chittagong and Chittagong hill tracts.
Led by Road Transport and Highways Division, the fact-finding team suggested adoption of a masterplan and stopping unplanned crop cultivation as well as forestation for saving hundreds of hills.
Additional secretary Mostafizur Rahman of the Cabinet Division said that the RTHD submitted the proposals to the cabinet committee on economic affairs last week.
On August 7, 2017, the cabinet committee on economic affairs directed the RTHD to form the committee when the division sought Tk 14.45 crore as emergency fund for repairing roads damaged by landslides in July in the hill tracts, he said.
About 150 people died in Chittagong, Rangamati and Bandarban during the worst-ever landslide in the country’s history.
According to statistics, landslides killed 19 people in Cox’s Bazar in June 2015, 94 in Chittagong, Cox’s Bazar, Bandarban and Sylhet in June 2012, 17 at Batali Hill in Chittagong in July 2011, 12 at Matijharna in Chittagong in August 2008 and 127 in June 2007.
Mostafizur said that the cabinet committee on economic affairs had already reviewed the recommendations and gave directives for further measures in this regard.
The fact-finding team also wanted eviction of homesteads and human settlements from slopes and key drainage points.
According to district administration, more than 50,000 people of low-income group in Chittagong alone live on the slopes of 30 hills in Chittagong and about 1 lakh people live on hill tops and slopes in Cox’s Bazar town, mostly exposed to landslides.
Local people alleged that politically influential individuals built the slums on the hill slopes to rent them out to low-income people.
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