Roadside trees looted in Nilphamari
Criminals felled and plundered 62 trees, planted under the government's social forestation five years ago, from one-kilometre area on both sides of Nilphamari-Saidpur road between Darwani pillar and Kachari points in Nilphamari Sadar upazila on Thursday noon.
After the massive plundering, police and forest department workers recovered some logs of the felled trees but none of the perpetrators was arrested.
At about 11:45pm on Thursday when it was raining heavily and busy Nilphamari-Saidpur road was almost empty, some 150-200 people of Charaikhola and Songolshi villages in Sadar upazila began to fell down roadside trees including neem, segun, mahogany, eucalyptus, and acacia with axes, said eyewitness and locals.
Earlier on the day, Power Development Board (PDB) employees from Nilphamari office cut down some branches of the roadside trees, to clear electricity supply lines in the area, they said.
Several locals took away some of the tree branches, as the PDB men were busy in clearing bushes covering the power line.
After the PDB employees left the area, heavy shower began, making the road empty. At that time 150-200 people of the area rushed there to fell and loot the trees.
Forest department in Nilphamari planted the trees under social forestation programme in 2007-2008 fiscal year and a number of beneficiary groups were formed, mostly with poor women living on both sides of the road, to look after the trees on condition of giving lion share of the prices when the trees would mature and be sold.
The chairman of Sangolshi union parishad (UP) told this correspondent, "During the incident I was busy in a meeting with the UP members at the UP office while a village policeman informed me about illegal felling of trees. I rushed to the spot but the miscreants fled away with most of the felled trees and branches. Then I informed police about the matter.”
Forester of Nilphamari forest department Sitanath Roy said, "I counted 62 trees that had been felled and stolen. Police recovered different parts of 20 trees."