Now, trees cut for govt housing project
Workers under supervision of the Public Works Department (PWD) officials yesterday cut down trees to make space for a housing block for parliament officials and staff near Shahid Shahabuddin Road in the capital's Agargaon without authorisation from relevant authorities.
They chopped down five trees out of 59 in the project zone in the morning and stopped their work only after facing protests from locals and environmental activists.
Aged around 30 years, the trees are home to a variety of birds, said locals.
Ahsan Rony, a local and the founder of Green Savers, a green movement platform, told The Daily Star that he saw workers cutting trees yesterday morning. When he questioned them, they replied that trees were being felled for a housing block and they were working on behalf of Public Works Department (PWD).
Mohammad Azaz, chairman at River and Delta Research Centre, who is also a local, told The Daily Star that they rushed to the spot in the afternoon and forced the labourers to halt their work. Later, a PWD representative came to the spot and invited the protestors for a meeting today.
"We sought the housing block's layout and design to understand their plan," Azaz added.
"There are hundreds of birds of various species living in the trees. Oriental magpies, parrots, and starlings are regularly seen there. A responsible government can't do something like this", he added.
Contacted, Moazzem Hossen, executive engineer of PWD, told The Daily Star that the housing block project was planned for parliament officials and staff.
"Receiving instruction from high-ups, I went to the spot. We'll discuss the details with all stakeholders in tomorrow's (today) meeting," he said.
Preferring anonymity, a official from The Forest Department told The Daily Star that PWD did not obtain any permission to cut trees from them.
The incident came only months after a protest against the felling of trees by the Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) for road development work on Satmasjid Road in Dhanmondi. Nearly 600 were cut in the area.
DSCC Mayor Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh later apologised to the locals of Dhanmondi for the felling of trees.