Another landslide tragedy hit hilly area of the country recently. The landslide, triggered by heavy rainfall following a cyclone claimed three lives of a family and another man died in a wall collapse in two places of Chattogram.
According to media reports, the three victims lived in the slope of a hill at Feroze Shah Colony under Akbarshah Police Station. The ill-fated three persons were killed when a chunk of mud fell on their shanty around 2:00pm on Sunday. Earlier, another one was killed when a wall collapsed in Rahman Nagar under Panchlaish thana area around 1:00am.
Fire service officials said the three were killed when mud fell on their two tin shed shanties burying them under mud.
Jashim Uddin, deputy assistant director of fire service said, following rain, a tree root was uprooted in foothills. Later, the tree root collapsed on a boundary wall which hit the victims.
People are dying in Chattogram hills regularly. Usually excessive rainfall, earthquake, volcanic eruption and other reasons caused landslides. But, nonstop cutting hills and trees are also responsible for landslide. Observing the reasons and results behind landslide in Bangladesh, it can be said that man-made reasons are main issue of landslide in the country. Ultimately, people are suffering most.
Land occupiers are cutting hills randomly. They are looting sand cutting hill in a broad daylight and setting illegal settlement. As a result, the sands are coming down from hills following rain. People are living in foothills avoiding restriction which is highly risky. However, risky living is ongoing there. Thousands of people are still living in 30 hills under government and private ownership in Chattogram Metropolitan.
Over two hundred people from Chattogram, Rangamati, Khagrachhari areas lost their lives following heavy rain in just two-day in last year. Besides, wealth worth crore of Taka have been lost due to landslide.
As per Bangladesh Environment Conservation Act, 1995 (amended 2010), it is prohibited by any individual or any institution to cut or raze hills or hillocks owned or possessed by government or semi-government or autonomous institution or any individual. If anyone breaks the law, the punishment is up to three years' imprisonment or Tk five lakh fine. However, the reality is -the punishment for cutting hills is rare.
Environment experts said serious natural disaster will occur if the authority fails to stop cutting hills. The loss of lives and wealth rate would increase. Effective steps should be taken place to reduce the loss and damage of wealth. People are getting scope to build settlements here and there due to irregularities in hilly land management. As a result, landslide becomes a regular matter.
So, the government should pay attention to land management in hilly areas to stop landslide first. The concerned authorities have to take proper steps to prevent landslide and immediate response after the natural disaster. Side by side, stern action should be taken against the rules violators to protect nature and environment.
risingbd/Dhaka/Oct 18, 2018/Ali Nowsher/Nasim