St Martin’s jagged island stands in the blue waters. Since 2020, the island has been designated as an environment-threatening area, but the last Kayabons of the island are not being protected due to the indifference of the Environment Department. However, this time locals are seen cheering by burning the Kayaban of the torn island.
Last Tuesday (October 31) evening, a group of young people, led by a local youth named Arian Khan, were seen setting fire to Keyaban and cheering. After Aryan Khan posted several pictures on his Facebook, the matter came to attention. Aryan Khan is a resident of Konapara.
On condition of anonymity, a local UP member said that even though there is a travel ban on the torn island, locals including tourists are moving on auto-rickshaws and motorcycles near Kayabon on the beach. Kayaban is being destroyed every year as new structures are built.
Chairman of Saint Martin’s Union Parishad Mujibur Rahman said, ‘The incident is very sad, I am looking into the matter.
Deepak Sharma Dipu, president of Cox’s Bazar Forest and Environment Protection Society, said that the government’s restrictions are being ignored by the island’s residents and administration. The Environment Department and the local administration are destroying the island by taking illegal facilities. If you want to protect the island, stop the construction of new buildings and demolish the illegal ones. After that, the ban on tourist travel to St. Martin will be implemented. In particular, he commented that it is necessary to take legal action against those who were involved in setting fire to the torn island.
Locals say that the protective wall of Saint Martin Island is lined with caybons. Even five years ago there were Kayabons around the island. As a result of the destruction of Kayaban by human oppression, new areas are being submerged in floods.
Abdus Salam, senior chemist of the Department of Environment in charge of St. Martin, said – I am new to the island. Not so much contact with people. Legal action will be taken against those involved after inquiry to the chairman.
Teknaf upazila executive officer Adnan Chowdhury said – I have heard the matter, and action will be taken against them after investigation.