Illegal felling of roadside green trees continues, allegedly by the auction winner for 1200 trees prior to renovation of Patgram-Dahagram road at Dahagram union in Lalmonirhat’s Patgram upazila, much to the grievance of nearby villagers.
Locals said around 15 thousand trees, including mahogany, akashmoni and different fruit trees, adorned both sides of the 18-kilometre road with greenery and provided shed to locals, pedestrians and tourists to Tin Bigha Corridor area.
Recently, forest department auctioned 742 out of 5,000 roadside trees under their jurisdiction and the zila parishad auctioned 458 out of another 5,000 trees under their supervision, as the Roads and Highways Department (RHD) is going to start renovation work of Patgram-Dahagram road, said officials concerned.
Locals alleged that Forman Ali, who got the auction order to fell the 1200 trees, is getting many unauthorised trees felled while the authorities are not taking any action.
“Forman felled roadside green trees, including the ones that are not marked as auctioned by zila parishad and forest department. Our protest fell into deaf ears while the authorities seem reluctant to take any action,” said Fazle Rahman, 55, of Panbari village.
“We don’t understand why many trees, which were at safe distances from the road, have been felled,” said Nazrul Islam, 62, at Dahagram village.
“As the bidder’s men continued to fell roadside green trees outside auction, I informed the authorities concerned of the matter but no step has been taken yet,” said Kamal Hossain, chairman of Dahagram Union Parishad.
Contacted, Forman Ali said his hired labourers are working to fell 1200 trees beside Dahagram road, following auction of forest department and zila parishad.
“Around 60 percent of the specified trees have been felled in last one month. I’m not felling any roadside trees outside the auction,” he said.
Patgram Upazila Forest Officer Badsha Miah said forest department auctioned 742 dried, risky roadside trees ahead of the RHD’s road renovation work.
“The auctioned trees were marked for felling. Forest department will take legal action if the bidder fells any tree outside the auction order,” he said.
“The zila parishad auctioned 458 such trees. Our assistant remains vigilant during felling of the trees by the bidder. Action will be taken if he is found guilty of felling unauthorised trees,” said Abdul Quader Siddique, assistant engineer in charge of the zila parishad’s roadside tree maintenance work.