D-Day for Laldia Char residents as eviction set to proceed

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.

Source: United News of Bangladesh