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19 June, 2017 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 19 June, 2017 12:17:01 AM
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Rangamati landslides

Relocation of risky buildings sought

RAFIQUL ISLAM AZAD back from Rangamati
Relocation of risky 
buildings sought
This photo taken on Saturday shows the Rangamati TV station at risk as a major chunk of land on the adjacent road was eroded due to the recent landslides. Independent photo

Rangamati town has become vulnerable, as a large number of government offices, institutions and private establishments are at risk and cracks have developed at different points on the main road following the recent landslides, the worst in the country’s history. Government officials, people's representatives and common people living in the town blamed unplanned urbanisation and a lack of monitoring for the vulnerable state of the south-eastern district's headquarters town. They emphasised the need to immediately take up a master plan and adopt sustainable protective measures to save the hill town.
However, nobody knows the exact number of vulnerable buildings in the town and homes built on the slopes of the hills in and around the town.
However, the vulnerability of many government establishments—including the circuit house, TV centre, radio centre, passports office, minority ethnic museum, Sadar Hospital, local government engineering department (LGED) and fire services offices and the police superintendent’s bungalow—have surfaced and become visible following the landslides on June 11.
The landslides killed at least 113 and rendered thousands homeless in just Rangamati. Most of the victims are residents of areas under the pourasabha.
Rangamati deputy commissioner Manzurul Mannan admitted that they have no exact figures of the vulnerable buildings in the town. "I do not have exact figures of the vulnerable buildings, but we will work to get them. We have to think about the vulnerability of the town anew," he said.
The DC, who joined office less than a year ago, said he would try to adopt a master plan to ensure the town’s sustainable development, involving all the development agencies, relevant institutions and organisations, and civil society members.
Rangamati pourasabha mayor Md. Akbar Hossain Chowdhury said there are around 200 vulnerable buildings and semi-pacca buildings in the town.
Among them, he said the pourasabha has identified 22 government establishments as vulnerable following the recent landslides. These include the circuit house and the TV and radio centres. He said the approval to construct buildings or semi-pacca buildings was given only on registered lands.
Replying to a question, he said there are some 2,000 pacca and semi-pacca buildings that have been built without taking approval from the pourasabha.
The mayor said with the government’s assistance, he would take up an initiative to prepare a master plan involving all the development agencies to make Rangamati a sustainable tourist town.
The publisher of Dainik Rangamati, Jahangir Kamal, said there are many development agencies in the district, such as the deputy commissioner's office, district council, pourasabha and hill regional council, but there was no coordination among their respective activities.
He said the town has come under threat following the landslides. All the relevant departments should come forward to protect it and turn it into a tourist town, he added.
Kamal also emphasised the need to reorganise the town’s establishments and take up a rehabilitation programme for those who have been living on the hillslopes, imperilling their lives.
Jahangir Alam Munna, president of Samo-Adhiker Andolon (Movement for Equal Rights), a rights organisation, said the town has become vulnerable as most of the buildings have been constructed haphazardly, without soil tests and approved plans from the proper authorities.
He said some 150 cracks have developed on the roads in the town following the landslides.
Alam, who is also the convenor of the Medical University and Science and Technology University Implementation Movement, demanded that geological experts be brought in for soil tests in Rangamati, the roads reorganised and the vulnerable buildings relocated, so as to make the town sustainable.

 

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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