Dhaka,  Sunday
21 July 2024

Nearly 1900 roadside trees to chop amid climate concerns

Taslimul Hasan Siam, Gaibandha 

Published: 10:00, 7 May 2024

Nearly 1900 roadside trees to chop amid climate concerns

Photo : Messenger

Amid nationwide efforts by conscientious citizens to combat the unprecedented heatwaves through tree planting campaigns, Gaibandha Zilla Parishad has recently issued tenders to cut down approximately 1892 immature trees lining the roadsides, drawing concerns from local residents and environmentalists.

The move came to light when Gobindganj Upazila in Gaibandha issued a circular inviting tenders to chop down 1852 trees of various species along the Gobindganj to Kamdia and Rajabirat to Kamdia roads.

The circular, signed by Gaibandha Zilla Parishad Assistant Engineer Siddiqur Rahman on April 22, called for bids to sell off 12 packages of trees planted under the RD-9 project along the specified roadsides. Among the targeted trees are rain trees, mahogany, and teak. The deadline for tender submissions, as stated in the notice, was May 5.

Reacting to the news, members of environmental organizations and local residents expressed their dismay over the planned tree felling. Fimimon Baske, an indigenous Santal leader and social worker in Gobindganj Upazila, emphasized the cooling effect and ecological balance provided by the trees, highlighting the presence of bird nests in them.

Haider Ali, a local farmer, shared his sentiment, stating how the trees have been a source of shade and comfort for travelers along the road, and advocated against their removal.

Maruf Hasan, President of Youth Net Gaibandha district branch, condemned the tree felling as a detrimental act that contradicts the urgent need for afforestation to maintain environmental balance. Hasan underscored the need to halt indiscriminate tree cutting driven by short-term gains, advocating for canceling the tender promptly to preserve the region's green cover.

Forest department officials shed light on the social forestry program that involves locals in nurturing and harvesting fuelwood saplings along roads. After a decade of growth, tenders are opened for the sale of mature trees, with profits shared among association members and the Union Parishad.

Efforts to reach Gaibandha Zilla Parishad Chief Executive Officer Mohammad Abdur Rauf Talukder for comment were unsuccessful at the time of reporting.

The controversy underscores the ongoing tension between development projects and environmental preservation, prompting calls for a reassessment of priorities in sustainable urban planning and resource management.