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6,558 families at risk in Chattogram hills

Special Correspondent: Approximately 6,558 families are living in precarious conditions across 26 hills in Chattogram. Of these hills, 16 are owned by various government agencies, and 10 are privately owned. Illegal electricity and water connections have been established in these areas, contributing to annual fatalities during the rainy season, yet authorities remain largely inactive.
The district administration estimates that around 30,000 people reside in these hazardous locations. Seven hills are owned by Chattogram Railways (Eastern Region). The following is a breakdown of families living at risk in specific areas:
“ Near Polytechnic Halt Station: 12 families
“ Near Fauji Flower Mill, Cantonment: 5 families
“ Near Sholoshahar Station: 74 families
“ Foy’s Lake area: 4,476 families
“ Motijharna and Batali Hill: 431 families
“ Adjacent to the Directorate: 46 families
“ Bijoy Nagar hills near Lake City: 288 families
Public Works Division-III owns hills in Batali Hill and Motijharna area where 88 families live. Additionally, 49 families reside at the foothills of Feroz Shah Housing Estate and 146 families at Kaibalyadham Housing Estate. Other risk areas include hills near Garden View Society, Akbar Shah Beltali hill, Polytechnic College, and Lalkhanbazar Jamiatul Uloom Madrasah.
Private hills also house numerous families:
“ Harun Khan Saheb hills: 144 families
“ Nachiaghona area hills: 12 families
“ Hills behind the zoo: 28 families
“ Madhushah hills: 29 families
“ Jalalabad-adjacent hills: 5 families
“ Nagin hills: 25 families
“ Mir Mohammad Hasan hills: 38 families
“ MR Siddiqui hills: 42 families
“ Vehra Fakir Hills (Raufabad, Oxygen): 11 families
Historical data indicates a grim toll: 127 people perished in a landslide on June 11, 2007, with subsequent annual fatalities.
Illegal electrical poles and water connections have exacerbated the issue. Despite promises from service organizations to cut these connections, implementation is lacking, allowing illegal settlers to establish strongholds. Post-tragedy, the Hill Management Committee becomes active, calling meetings and evicting residents, but the cycle repeats as people return when the rains cease.
After the 2007 disaster, the Hill Management Committee was tasked with implementing 36 recommendations, including halting hill cutting and evacuating vulnerable settlements. However, their activity is seasonal, coinciding with the monsoon. Consequently, illegal settlements reappear, often facilitated by corrupt officials from Chittagong WASA, Chattogram Power Development Board, and Karnaphuli Gas Distribution Corporation, who provide services in exchange for bribes. Local dominants further complicate eviction efforts.
Chattogram Divisional Commissioner and Hill Management Committee President Tofail Islam has mandated that all illegal water, electricity, and gas connections be severed within 15 days. Service organization heads must report progress every 15 days to the Hill Management Committee.

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