Cumilla MP threatens DoE official for action against hill-cutting
AKM Bahauddin Bahar, lawmaker of Cumilla-6 constituency, threatened an official of Department of Environment (DoE) with dire consequences after she inspected a hill-cutting project by Roads and Highways Department (RHD) and prepared a damage assessment report.
Shawkat Ara Koli, deputy director of DoE Cumilla office, inspected the spot at Sadar (south) upazila where two contracting firms -- M/S Hasan Techno Builders and M/S Haque Enterprise -- that have close ties with MP Bahar, were found flattening around 1,14,000 cubic feet of hill to expand the existing road under a project of Roads and Highways Department, reports our Chattogram correspondent.
MP Bahar called Koli over phone on Wednesday, asking how she dared to prepare the inspection report without consulting him even though the inspection was conducted in presence of representatives from the contracting firms.
"You have seen the good side of me and yet to see the bad. I will lock up the DoE office. Nonsense! Have you got so much power? How dare you prepare inspection report without me, as I am part of it? Come to my office within ten minutes!" MP Bahar was heard saying in the recorded phone call, a copy of which was obtained by The Daily Star.
He also continued to charge her about why she chose to issue notice to him instead of issuing it to the Roads and Highway Department.
The DoE official said she issued notices to the two contracting firms as per the rules and did not issue any notice to the MP.
MP Bahar also asked her to leave Cumilla within 15 days.
Terrified, Shawkat Ara Koli did not make any comment.
Mohammad Moazzom Hossain, director of DoE Chattogram region, told The Daily Star that such behaviour was unexpected from a lawmaker who is supposed to help DoE ensure protection of the environment that the prime minister has set among her top ten priority list.
"State or private -- if any organisation has to cut hill for the sake of country's interest, then DoE will issue permission after proper procedure is followed. We asked the honourable lawmaker to appear at DoE where he could have corrected us if we are wrong in assessment," the director added.
MP AKM Bahauddin Bahar did not receive calls despite repeated attempts by our correspondent to contact him. He also did not reply to any texts.