Illegal hill cutting in the name of construction of a village road goes on unabated at Chatera village in Juri upazila of the district for months.
Moreover, the perpetrator also erected a bamboo fence at the entrance of the house of local complainant for allegedly opposing the illegal earth cutting.
Earlier, two written complaints were submitted to Juri upazila nirbahi officer (UNO) in this regard on behalf of the villagers, but no steps have been taken to stop the menace.
The Juri-Kulaura road is connected with Tetoyer area though Chatera village and people of the area used to travel through the hills to go to their destinations, the complaints say.
Nearly two months ago, one Liakat Ali of the area started cutting hills in the name of construction of a village road, villagers said.
As a result of the mindless hill cutting, the area became very risky and may see a sudden earth collapse even in moderate rain, they added.
A local union parishad (UP) member tried to stop the work a couple of weeks ago, but Liakat did not pay heed to his call.
“As I complained to the UNO about the hill cutting Liakat intentionally erected a bamboo fence in front of my house to restrict our movements,” Ashik Mia of the village said.
During a recent visit to the area this correspondent saw seven or eight labourers were cutting 15 to 20 feet high hills and taking away the soil to another place by trucks.
Three workers, on condition of anonymity, said the soil is being used to fill a pond of a nearby mosque in the village.
Abdul Khaleq, member of Ward No 3 under Jayfaragar UP, said after receiving the complaints the union assistant land officer visited the site and ordered the workers to stop cutting the hills, but they didn't pay heed.
When asked, Liakat said he doesn't need any approval from the environment department as he was doing it for the greater interest of the villagers.
Tofazzal Sohel, member of Bangladesh Paribesh Andolon, central unit, said people having political clot or influence are degrading the environment by indiscriminate hill cutting.
Bangladesh Environment Preservation Act 1995, as amended in 2000, prohibits the cutting of hills without the approval of the authorities concerned.
The punishment for such offence is up to two years imprisonment or fine of Tk 2 lakh or both for a first offence.
For subsequent offences the punishment is up to ten years imprisonment or fine of Tk 10 lakh or both.
After getting complaints from the villagers, he sent the assistant land officer for a spot visit, UNO Ashim Chandra Banik said, adding that, after getting the report he will take necessary action in this regard.