Over 10,000 people, occupying 57 acres of land without papers in Laldia Char, a small island at the estuary of the Karnaphuli river in Patenga, face eviction on Monday by the Chittagong Port Authority to make way for the Laldia Multipurpose Terminal.
Chittagong Port Authority has taken the initiative to evict illegal establishments from the Port City's Laldia Char in Patenga on the direction of the High Court, in accordance with the writ petition (Writ No. 6308/10) filed by Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh.
According to the order of the High Court sent last December, the illegal occupants were to be evicted within two months and a report submitted by March 9. Plans are to be made to set up a yard for handling containers at the evicted site, officials said.
Assistant Manager (Estate) of Chittagong Port Division Muhammad Shihab Uddin said WASA, electricity and gas were disconnected from the illegal establishments on February 18 to evict the people from Laldia Char in Patenga. The illegal occupants have been disconnected from electricity, gas and water as per the order of the High Court, which was informed in the newspaper on February 17.
Five executive magistrates from the district administration and one magistrate from the port have been requested to participate in the eviction drive. Besides, requisition has also been given for 100 members each from RAB and Ansar, plus 200 police personnel including 50 women officers.
On December 8, a virtual high court bench comprising Justice Ashfaqul Islam and Justice Mohammad Ali ordered eviction of illegal structures from Laldia Char in the port area of Karnafuli river bank within the next two months. Chittagong Police Commissioner, DC, RAB Commander, CDA Chairman and City Corporation Administrator have been named as defendants in the case. Lawyer Manzil Morshed appeared for the writ petition and lawyer Murad Reza appeared for the Chittagong Port Authority.
Alamgir Hasan, president of the Laldia Char Rehabilitation Implementation Committee, said we have held a meeting led by the local ward councilor. The port authorities said they would conduct the eviction operation tomorrow as there was a court order and direction. We have strongly demanded to rehabilitate the evicted families of Laldia Char to khas land elsewhere.
The land was registered under Chittagong Port Authority in the BS survey during the Ziaur Rahman and Ershad governments. On this, the port started a conspiracy to evict the people as illegal occupants. On July 12, 2005, for the first time, 500 families in Laldia Char were evicted. Earlier, on July 22, 2019, the port authorities evicted 250 establishments and vacated about 20 acres of land.
A massive fire has destroyed houses in Gazipur’s Konabari area.
The fire was reported from a colony in Baimail.
Four firefighting units initially worked at the spot. They were later joined by two more units.
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The six units contained the blaze around 10pm.
Gazipur Fire Service Deputy Director Md Hamid Mia said the fire was first reported around 8pm from a warehouse in the colony and spread rapidly to nearby tin-shed houses.
The cause of the fire could not be known immediately.
At least 2 persons were killed in separate road crashes in Sitakunda.
The deceased were identified as Shams Tahiyat Maunota (16), a class 10 student of Bangladesh Military Academy High School and Touhidul Islam Jafor (51), an assistant teacher at Sadak Mastan (RA) High School in Fakrihat Upazila.
According to the highway police and locals, Maunota was hit by a minibus in Kasem jute mill area, while returning home in the morning. She was taken to the hospital by locals where she died at around 12 pm.
Bar Aulia Highway Police Station SI Md. Babul Moiya said, We came to know after the accident. The bus was detained at the police station. The locals handed over the bus and its driver to the police."
Touhidul was killed as he was hit by a motorcycle on Saturday night. The incident took place at Sarij Bhuiyan Road in the upazila around 8pm on Saturday. Although he was rescued and rushed to a hospital in Chittagong, he died at 12:30 am.
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Abu Zafar Saad, the headmaster of the Sadak Mastan High School, said Tauhidul was hit by an unidentified vehicle as he was crossing the road from his home at night.
The High Court on Sunday sought a list of people who have laundered money from Bangladesh.
It also asked the authorities concerned to inform the court about steps taken to bring back laundered money.
Apart from these, the bench of Justice Md Nazrul Islam Talukder and Justice Mohi Uddin Shamim also issued a ruling seeking explanation from the authorities concerned on why it should not order investigation against those named in the Paradise and Panama papers.
It also asked why the inactivity of the authorities concerned to bring back laundered money should not be declared illegal.
The ruling came after the court heard a writ petition filed by lawyers Abdul Qaiyyum Khan and Subir Nandi Das.
Khan took part in the hearing on behalf of the petitioner. Advocate Khurshid Alam represented the Anti-Corruption Commission while Attorney General AM Amin Uddin and Deputy Attorney General AKM Amin Uddin Manik stood for the dtate.
March 30 has been fixed as the next date of hearing.
Fifteen people, including secretaries to Prime Minister’s Office, finance, commerce, foreign affairs, home, and law; the Attorney General, Anti-Corruption Commission, Bangladesh Bank governor, and police chief, have been asked to respond to the ruling.
In the ruling, the court asked why it should not order forming a separate team to investigate money laundering and issue order to bring back laundered money or recommend formulating new law to this end.
ACC lawyer Khurshid told the court that the authorities concerned are investigating those whose names appeared in Panama and Paradise papers. Abdul Awal Mintoo and Moosa Bin Shamsher are among these people, he said.
The authorities concerned – including the foreign and home ministries, immigration police, Bangladesh Finance Intelligence Unit (BFIU) – have been informed about bringing back laundered money from the Swiss Bank, he said.
JAAGO Foundation, in collaboration with Urmi Group, launched a COVID-19 vaccination awareness campaign with the slogan “Shurokkhatei Rokkha” (Safety through Protection) which will run for 8 days.
The initiative aims to bring the underprivileged community under the government’s COVID-19 Vaccination program, supported by Volunteer for Bangladesh.
The two organisations came forward with “Shurukkhatei Rokkha”, an awareness campaign to make the vaccination program a success. Volunteers are going door to door and helping underprivileged people aged over 40 without access to technology to register for the campaign.
Founder and Executive Director of JAAGO Foundation Korvi Rakshand said many people from the underprivileged community face challenges in signing up through the website, getting their cards printed, etc, on their own.
“Taking these challenges into account, we have launched a campaign -Shurokkhatei Rokkha- to help people get vaccinated in every district across the country. Our young volunteers are highly committed and eager to help,” Rakshand added.
Director of Urmi Group Fahmida Mahfuz said, “We are delighted to be able to come forward to help the people of the country. We aim to make our government's vaccination program a success and deliver the Covid-19 vaccine to all who need our help. I hope our efforts will be fruitful.”
“We must stay alert in periods of a pandemic and get vaccinated. Therefore, JAAGO Foundation, Urmi Group, and Volunteer for Bangladesh draw people’s attention to this campaign to encourage disadvantaged people to get vaccinated in their fight against COVID-19.”
Fahmida further added that they have been working on several campaigns that include providing food and masks to thousands of families in crisis since the beginning of the pandemic.
The Bangladesh government launched its countrywide Covid-19 vaccination campaign on February 9.
Mizanur Rahman, a resident of Agargaon slum, was extremely grateful to the volunteers. “I could not register for the vaccination before. It only took a few minutes with their help,” he said.
Ayesha Begum of Pirojpur district expressed her happiness, “Neither I nor anyone in the family knew about the process of registration for the vaccine. The volunteers have done the whole process of registration so easily, and I feel relieved now.”