St. Martins isfacing economic degradation due to the ubiquity of concrete structures. Two years ago, the court ordered the demolition of illegal hotels and buildings on the island.
Reportedly, 1.5 km from the jetty-ghat, son of former UP member Rashid Ahmed, Belal Uddin was found constructing a home. There are other buildings under construction too, indiscriminately using stones and the coral of the island.
To construct hotels, restaurants, motels, forest areas are encroached upon and the sound and exhaust of generators are polluting the air of the island.
During tourism period, 68,000 kinds of coral face threat.
Within a one square km area of the northern part of the island, more than 84 hotels have sprung up, along with 30 restaurants. Saint Martin UP chairman, Nur Ahmed, said: “Due to the pressure of buildings the island is experiencing erosion.”
These buildings are being built to make profit and unless the construction was stopped, the island will be lost forever.
Locals say that to put up a structure on the island, a chain of leaders, public representatives and government officials have to be ‘managed’.
The Supreme court’s appellate division, gave a directive in 2011 to demolish all illegal structures. But despite this, new structures have come up.
Chief executive of Environment related agency, Youth Environment Society (YES) Ibrahim Khalil says: “The earlier directive to demolish 106 buildings which were constructed illegally was not implemented.”
UNO of Teknaf Rabiul Hassan added: “New buildings will not be allowed on St. Martins and legal steps will be taken against those who build unlicensed structures; cases under environment law will be lodged against offenders.”