100 roadside trees illegally sold in Panchagarh
Over a hundred roadside trees in Hafizabad union under Panchagarh Sadar upazila have been felled and sold off in last few months, allegedly defying rules.
Seven members of the union parishad (UP) along with locals filed a complaint to Deputy Commissioner Muhammad Salah Uddin on October 23, stating that the chairman and the secretary of the UP illegally felled and sold off the trees.
Earlier on October 21, several beneficiaries (local people who look after the roadside trees for growing up) also submitted the same complaint to the DC.
They gave the copies of the complaint to local reporters on Wednesday afternoon.
"UP Chairman Sahadat Hossain and Secretary Sahadat Hossain [another person] felled over a hundred different species of trees including mahogany and eucalyptus along nine kilometres road from Diabari Dakkhin Talma to Bhitargarh Balurghat via Uttar Talma in Hafizabad union during last several months without maintaining rules or arranging auction," goes the complaint.
The duo also felled 25-30 roadside trees during October 17-20 in the same way, it adds.
The trees were planted along the road in 1990 under an afforestation project with the financial assistance of World Food Programme, UP sources said.
As per the agreement, the trees are to be sold thorough proper auction procedure when they gain maturity, and the beneficiaries who take care of the trees will get 55 percent, upazila parishad 30 percent and local union parishad 15 percent of the money.
But the stakeholders are deprived as the UP chairman and the secretary felled and sold off over a hundred trees in last few months without taking permission or arranging auction, said UP Member Rashidul Islam, and Aminar Rahman, one of the beneficiaries who looked after the trees.
Asked about the matter, UP Chairman Sahadat Hossain told this correspondent over cell phone, "We cut down several roadside dead trees adjacent to people's houses as those created risk and nuisance for them."
Contacted over cell phone, Upazila Nirbahi Officer Maksuda Begum Siddika said, "A show cause notice was served to the UP chairman in this connection. Assistant Commissioner (Land) Ilias Mehedi is investigating the matter and will submit report soon to the deputy commissioner. Legal action will be taken against the accused if anomalies are found."