urge parliamentary scrutiny of the state within a state of the Khakis, especially the security agency. The interference of the Khakis into state politics will once again jeopardize institutionalization of elective democracy, good governance and secularism. The security agencies fear transparency, accountability, social justice, critics, politicians, human rights defenders and independent journalists too - Joy Manush!
Candle light vigil for those dead in massive landslides - Photo: Facebook
Rangamati is cut off from rest of the
Bangladesh. The unprecedented landslides in Rangamati which damaged the vital
road infrastructures to and from the picturesque hill town.
Two roads which connect Rangamati have been
devoured in the landslides during torrential rains in advent of monsoon.
Already, Barrister Anisul Islam Mahmud,
Minister, Ministry of Water Resources, Ministry of Chittagong Hill Tracts
Affairs (MoCHTA) Bir Bahadhur, State Minister, Secretary of MoCHTA, Naba Bikram
Kishore Tripura, Additional Secretary Kamal Talukder, Joint Secretary, MoCHTA,
Sudatta Chakma, are in Rangamati to assess the situation.
The Ministers and senior officials in
Rangamati held coordination meetings with officials of the district
administration officials and Bangladesh Army and that the crucial road
communication “will take a long time to repair”, wrote Bikram Kishore Tripura
in Facebook on Saturday.
A crucial meeting of Relief and
Rehabilitation Coordination was held on Friday at Deputy Commissioner,
Rangamati's Conference Room. The meeting was attended by Tarun Ghosh, Vice
Chairman, Chittagong Hill Tracts Development Board (CHTDB), Brig Gen Faruk,
Region Commander, Rangamati, Ushaton Talukdar MP, Chakma Circle Chief Barrister
Debashish Roy, Riaz Ahmad, Director General, Disaster Management, Rangamati
Police Chief Syed Tariqul.
The Secretary also wrote that at “the
moment Rangamati is [only] accessible through waterways from Kaptai.”
The death tolls of the massive landslides have
killed more than 100 people and nearly 40 are still missing. Rescue operation
is going round the clock to find any survivors.
Meanwhile, Rangamati District
Administration has banned procession and rallies in the Hill district for a
Some has also posted in Naba Bikram Kishore
Tripura’s Facebook that the nature has taken its revenge for man-made
deforestation, hill-cutting to build houses and agriculture farms.
Former Conservator of Forest, Mihir Kiran,
writes: “Very sad and heart breaking. Demographic balance is must for the soil
condition of the region. Otherwise we have to face the same unbearable fate
Tripura in a response said: Ideal but
difficult to implement. You (Mihir Kiran) were one of the longest serving CCF
of FD. You had the experience of failure in plantation in CHT, of course it was
our collective failure, not at all personal. Nature has given us a grim signal.
We must act without further delay. Time is running out fast.
However, Kirti Nishan Chakma writes in
Facebook that “We can and must dissect the causes that has led to this tragedy.
But this can wait a little later.”
“Urgent help is needed at the moment. There
is a real risk of crisis of the essentials (rice, dal, salt, medicines, etc.)
as that the two roads that connects Rangamati to the rest of the country are
now completely cut off and repairing them is likely to take a long time given
the hilly terrain,” opines writes Kirti Nishan Chakma, General Secretary at
Moanoghar a home for distressed children in the Hills.
real scarcity of the essentials, maybe it is panic buying or hoarding by the
people that is exhausting the available stocks, maybe it the typical dishonest
traders who are trying to make quick bucks on the back of this catastrophe.
Whatever are reasons, immediate interventions by the government is needed,”
writes General Secretary at Moanoghar.
Already the price of the essentials is
rising. It is not only Rangamati town, the entire or most of the Rangamati
district could be affected.
However, the MoCHTA Secretary affirms that
the government will do the needful for the relief, rehabilitation of the
distressed people and repairs and reconstruction of the infrastructures. We
have to have some patience. First published in The Asian Age, July 19, 2017
Saleem Samad, an Ashoka Fellow (USA), is an award winning investigating journalist and is Special Correspondent, The Asian Age, Dhaka, Bangladesh