New tree plantation on Dhaka-Sylhet Highway to replace old ones

Dhaka,  Thu,  24 August 2017
Published : 13 Jun 2017, 21:05:51

New tree plantation on Dhaka-Sylhet Highway to replace old ones

Our Correspondent

SYLHET, June 13: Felling of over a thousand trees on both sides on the Dhaka-Sylhet Highway via Fenchuganj has been on for the last few days at the city suburban Pararirchak area.

With a note of protest, the environment activists had already demanded for stopping it while the forest officials claimed it is being done for ensuring road safety. However they further said the trees were planted about 2 decades ago under social forestry programme and those needed to be felled down by now.

On the other hand, the executive engineer of the Roads & Highways Department, Sylhet, Utpal Samanta said the matured trees were being felled to avert any possible accident on the road. "However we had requested for fresh plantation on the same area", he added.

Divisional Forest Officer of Sylhet RSM Monirul Islam told this correspondent yesterday the trees were planted in the nineties under social forestry programme and these are being felled through bidding now. As per contract with the beneficiaries and government rules, part of the sale proceed would be given to the beneficiaries while we would keep 10 per cent of the money for new plantation, he added.

A number of environment activists, on the other hand said the area would suffer as there is no habitat on several kilometres on the road. Besides, the waste dumping ground of the Sylhet City Corporation stands nearby. Pedestrians as well as passengers of transports of all types suffer much due to odour from the open and road side dumping point, where everyday wastes collected from the city is dumped for years without any protective measure.

 In total 1200 tress of different species were planted on the said area in 1993-1994. In a move in 2015 the forest department marked 1095 trees as matured and for felling down. But, it was stopped in the face of mass protests. Now these are being felled at the request from R & H.

The trees had already been sold at Tk 3.11 million to a trader. These were planted by a group of 22 under the social forestry programme. In line with a contract between the forest department and the group, they would get a part of the sale proceeds now. Same group would be entrusted again for fresh plantation on the same road, the officials added.
Editor : A.H.M Moazzem Hossain
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