School bldg in Bandarban at risk of collapse for hill cutting

Published : 09 Dec 2023 08:55 PM

In Lama, Bandarban, allegations have surfaced regarding the unlawful cutting of mountains for earth sales adjacent to the government primary school premises. Despite ongoing hill cutting for the past month, no actions have been taken. The soil extraction, reaching up to at least 25 feet in height, poses a risk to the nearby school building, potentially leading to significant accidents if any part of the mountain collapses onto the school.

The proprietors of the land where mountain cutting is happening, Rafiq and Jasim Uddin, asserted, "When the authorities’ allocated land for the new school building, they forcefully took over our renowned land. Nevertheless, for the sake of educational advancement, we agreed to offer 40 percent of our land. However, now that the construction of the school building is complete, development work has begun on the Lama-Sualok road. For this road construction, a substantial amount of soil is required, and this mountain is the source."

Local ward member Nasir Uddin, along with assistant teacher Yasin Master from the school, in conjunction with a few others, arranged for a contractor to buy soil from our mountain, which is adjacent to the school's western side. Approximately 500 truckloads of soil have been extracted, cutting the mountain to a height of 25 to 30 feet. There's a risk of the mountain collapsing onto the school at any time. Additionally, several of our planted trees worth several lakhs have also been cut down from this area. Despite informing the district administration about these issues, no action has been taken yet.

A survey reveals that local syndicates, two to three in number, have cut the mountain several times, extracting soil connected to the school premises. Due to their influential status, no one dares to speak against them. Fundamentally, some individuals are selling the school's property by cutting the mountains.

The headmaster (acting) of the Government Primary School, Kompaniya, Waz Kuruni, stated, "We don't have any knowledge about the mountain cutting or who is involved."

Nasir Uddin further mentioned, "We need some areas for the school's wastage pit, which is why we're cutting the mountain. The extracted soil is being used for road construction. This area is specific and not the complainant's property."

Regarding this matter, Assistant Director Fakhr Uddin Chowdhury of the Bandarban Environmental Department said, "We have received information about this issue. Immediate action will be taken. The mountain cutting won't be allowed."

Lama Upazila Executive Officer Mohammad Mostafa Jabed said, “The affected individuals should come to us. We'll address the issue.” 

Illegal hill cutting risks school building in Bandarban.