Destruction of nature continues unabated in Bandarban by the hands of influential individuals or even by the public authorities that are entrusted with the task of protecting public interest.
The most recent example of such breach of trust is by Bandarban Hill District Council (BHDC), which razed several hills in Sualok union of Bandarban Sadar upazila to build a road for a private university named Bandarban University (BU).
However, the one kilometre-long road, being built at a cost of Tk 1.5 crore, already started to subside at various points.
Moreover, another project, with an approved funding of Tk 5.74 crore, is being undertaken by Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) in Bandarban to reinforce the same road. A tender was floated in this regard on August 10.
Md Mahbubur Rahman, executive engineer of BHDC, said, “We had cut several hills to make the road for Bandarban University. The Tk 1.5-crore road is under construction.”
Contacted, Bandarban LGED Executive Engineer NSM Zillur Rahman said, “Upon request from Bir Bahadur, the hill tracts minister, we took on a project to improve the road that is one kilometre in length.”
The Tk 5.74-crore funding would be used to reinforce the road with new retention walls, he added.
According to the official website of BU, it is country’s first public-private partnership (PPP) university.
Bir Bahadur U Shwe Sing, minister for Chattogram hill tracts affairs ministry; and Kwe Shwe Hla, the chairman of BHDC and also brother-in-law of the minister, are mentioned as founders of the university on the website.
BU is listed under the category of ‘private universities’ on the website of University Grants Commission (UGC) of Bangladesh.
Dr Fakrul Islam, director of Private University Division at UGC, said, “Bandarban University is a private university, which was established as per the Private University Act, 2010.”
Chattogram Hill Tracts Affairs Minister Bir Bahadur U Shwe Sing could not be reached for his comments over the issue despite repeated calls made on his cell phone by this correspondent.