'Revoke decision to fell 25,000 trees in Lawachhara forest'
Lawachhara Bon O Jibo Boichitro Rokkha Andolon formed a human chain at Chowmuhona area under Srimangal upazila town of Moulvibazar district yesterday afternoon protesting the move to fell thousands of trees in Lawachhara reserve forest.
The Bangladesh Railway earlier sent a letter to forest department, with an entreaty to fell around 25,000 trees under Komolganj Range along the Dhaka-Sylhet track for safety of trains plying there.
Around 400 trees have already been cut down at Khasi Punji inside Lawachhara forest under the range, local sources said.
"Greenery in the reserve forest sees gradual decrease due to construction of several roads through the forest. Now felling of a large number of trees will put wildlife under risk," said Joly Paul, convener of Lawachhara Bon O Jibo Boichitro Rokkha Andolon.
The government in 1997 declared Lawachhara a National Park considering the ecological importance of the major natural reserve forest.
“The authorities have already started cutting many trees which had been planted under social forestation programme in the area. The habitat of wild creatures will face grave crisis if a large number of trees at the forest is cut down,” said Abdul Karim Kim, general secretary of Sylhet chapter of Bangladesh Paribesh Andolon.
To make rail communication safe, the authorities can sae off some tree branches, which is enough to avoid accidents, he said.
He also warned of a tough movement against the move after the Eid.
Rezaul Karim beat officer of Lawachhara forest, said they had cut down 400 trees at Khasi punji following the existing forest law.
On April 9, a letter signed by Md Arman Hossain, divisional engineer of Bangladesh Railway, was sent to Kamalganj Forest Range office, asking for cutting trees along five kilometre areas of the rail track in Srimongal-Bhanugachh section.