Published on 12:00 AM, May 07, 2024

Jashore roads

Forest dept to fell 2,044 trees

Locals protest decision

While Jashore has been suffering from a heatwave over the last three weeks, the Forest Department has decided to cut down 2,044 trees on four roads in the district.

A tender notice -- signed by Abul Kalam, Jashore divisional forest officer of Social Forest Division -- was published in this regard in two local newspapers on April 25 to sell the trees, reports our local correspondent.

Meanwhile, environmental organisations protested the decision, citing the chopping of trees as one of the main reasons for the extreme heatwave and urged plantation of more trees.

"Tenders are being invited on specified conditions for the sale of forest trees and other forest products that have passed the cycle of social forestry," the notice read.

The notice said 243 old trees along a 3km stretch of road from Narendrapur in Jashore Sadar upazila to Andulia, 979 old trees along the 9km stretch from Chanchra-Bhaturia-Sharapole to Tentulia village, 502 old trees along the 4km stretch in Keshabpur upazila from Barenga Bazar to Pacharai, and 310 old trees along the 2km road from Bagharpara upazila's Dhoakhola Bazar to Talbaria are to be sold.

The trees include rain trees, bakain (chinaberry), oak, mahogany, shegun (teak), babla (acacia), and khai babla (edible acacia).

Md Ohidullah, a social worker of Chanchra union in Jashore Sadar upazila, said the environment of this area is relatively cooler as there are many trees on both sides of the Chanchra-Bhaturia road.

"There are also many bird nests in the trees. If the trees are cut down, the balance of nature will be disrupted," he added.

Jashore DFO Md Abul Kalam said, "The trees are a part of social forestry. After a specified rotation period, these trees are cut down and reforested. It has been decided to cut down the trees according to the rules."

However, the Jashore Road Development and Century-Tree Protection Committee protested the decision of the Forest Department.

Committee convener Khandaker Azizul Haque and member secretary Zillur Rahman in a statement said the Forest Department has invited tenders for the sale of more than two thousand very old trees for social forestry. "We are condemning and protesting this ineffective initiative of the Forest Department."

"We demand the cancellation of the tender call immediately," it said. At the same time, they called upon conscious citizens to unite against those who destroy nature.

On January 18, 2018, the High Court issued a stay order for six months on the felling of century-old Jashore-Benapole highway trees in the backdrop of protests against the government's solution to widen the road.