Around 600 roadside trees have been illegally felled in Gaibandha and Sunamganj during the last several days.
Unscrupulous people at Uttar Dumurgachha village in Gobindaganj upazila of Gaibandha felled a good number of roadside trees without any permission from competent authorities, reports our Gaibandha correspondent.
Defying protest from villagers, labourers employed by influential people felled about 500 eucalyptus trees along a one-kilometre rural road at Uttar Dumurgachha in three days till Monday, locals said.
Over a decade ago, a youth organisation named Dumurgachha Adarsha Jubo Sangha planted saplings of eucalyptus trees along the one-kilometre road, they said.
“The organisation became defunct a few years ago. Recently its former president Razibur Rahman Mondol sold all the now mature trees to timber trader Mottaleb Hossain for Tk 4 lakh. Then Mottaleb employed labourers for felling the trees,” said Mahbub Hossain Majnu, a former member of the organisation.
Asked about the matter, Razibur Rahman said he ordered workers to cut down the trees after consultation with Abdul Kader Prodhan, chairman of local Nakai union parishad (UP).
The UP chairman, on the other hand, said, “None consulted with me before felling the trees. Village police have been deployed on the spot, so that miscreants cannot remove the logs of felled trees.”
Ramkrishna Barman, upazila nirbahi officer of Gobindaganj, said he sent officials to stop tree felling and ordered keeping the seized logs at the premise of union parishad.
Action is being taken against the culprits, he added.
Our Moulvibazar Correspondent reports: Criminals looted around 100 trees beside Tahirpur-Anwarpur road in Tahirpur upazila of Sunamganj during the last three days.
Gangs felled the roadside trees in broad daylight and took away the logs on pushcarts and rickshaw-vans, said locals.
Mofiz Mia, a resident of Anwarpur area, said the upazila administration had planted a good number of mango, mahogany and rain trees beside the five-kilometre road 15 years ago.
“When we asked the tree fellers why they were doing it, they replied that the forest department gave permission for it,” said Monir Mia, a resident of Husenpur village.
Birendra Kishore, beat officer at Tahirpur forest office, said, “I did not give the permission. We only marked some mature trees.”
Abdul Karim Kim, executive member of Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon, said it is unfortunate that a section of government officials are directly or indirectly encouraging felling of trees, killing of animals and destruction of forests.
Bijen Banerjee, upazila nirbahi officer of Tahirpur, said, “I do not know about the tree looting. I will take action after investigation.”