Ministry ignores probe body recommendation
The housing and public works ministry has asked the deputy commissioner of Natore to file a case against a Public Works Department contractor for illegally felling trees on Uttara Gonobhaban premises in Natore's Dighapatia.
The ministry, however, ignored the probe committee's recommendation to accuse five PWD officials in the case.
In a letter to the DC yesterday, the ministry only held Sohel Faysal, an enlisted contractor of PWD, responsible for the incident, without mentioning anything about the five officials, including PWD Executive Engineer Mashiur Rahman Akando.
DC Shaheena Khatun said she got the letter signed by ministry's Deputy Secretary Suraiya Khatun.
The move by the ministry triggered an outcry among the civil society members who alleged that it was an ill attempt to save the government officials.
Meanwhile, the ministry yesterday suspended Mashiur Rahman, PWD Sub-divisional Engineer Ziaur Rahman and Section Officer Md Kamruzzaman as a part of departmental action, said Aktar Hossain, additional secretary of the ministry.
In its report submitted to the DC on Monday, the committee investigating the incident said Mashiur, contractor Sohel and caretaker Abdus Sabur were directly involved in cutting down of the trees.
It also said Ziaur, Kamruzzaman and another caretaker Abul Kashem aided and abetted the trio.
The committee had recommended filing a case against the six.
Receiving the report, the DC had forwarded it to the higher authorities, including Cabinet Division and housing and public works ministry.
Asked about filing of a case against Sohel, DC Shaheena, also the president of Uttara Gonobhaban management committee, told this newspaper yesterday she would made the decision after consulting the Cabinet Division.
Contractor Sohel reportedly in collusion with the PWD officials felled 25 big old trees on the Uttara Gonobhaban premises in the last two months, although the PWD floated a tender for cutting branches of dead trees only.
The local administration formed the probe committee, headed by Additional District Magistrate of Natore Razzaqul Islam, following media reports about cutting down of the trees.