Environmentalists on Monday said it is necessary to take opinion of experts and locals when any development project is taken in city, but the Dhaka South City Corporation did not do so while taking development project on Sat Masjid Road in the capital’s Dahnamondi area.
Rather trees of the road dividers were chopped down at the dead of the night, and that is result of lack of transparency, they said.
They made the remarks at a press conference at the National Press Club in the capital.
Sat Masjid Sarak Gach Rakkha Andolon (Sat Masjid Road Tree Saving Movement) organised the press conference demanding an end to felling of trees on road divider of all city streets including Sat Masjid Road.
Recently, the Dhaka South City has been cutting trees on the road divider of Dahnamondi’s Sat Masjid Road for road beautification, sparking protest among locals and civil society members.
A written statement was read out at the Monday’s press conference, which was organised as part of the protest.
Speakers said various species of trees were cut down including banyan, Spanish cherry, royal poinciana, peacock flower and albizia lebbeck.
Protesters then went to Nagar Bhaban to submit a memorandum to the Dhaka south city mayor Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh. Assistant personal secretary Nasirul Hasan said the mayor was not in the office at that time.
Later Dhaka South City Corporation chief engineer Saleh Ahmed spoke to newspersons. He said the road divider of Sat Masjid Road is three feet wide and work on earth filling is underway after erecting guide wall on divider area. As a result, there was no option to keep the trees, he said requesting all to take it easy.
Addressing the press conference, Bangladesh Paribesh Andolon (BAPA) president and rights activist Sultana Kamal said such cruel behaviour of chopping down all trees had never been seen before. Development must take place, but for what? Such development, which will give people a relief, peace and security, is needed, she added.
Former adviser to a caretaker government executive director Rasheda K Chowdhury raised question on how prime minister Sheikh Hasina’s instructions on protection of environment were violated.
Among other, actor Mamunur Rashid was present at the press conference. He recalled that there were lots of lakes and greeneries in Dhanmondi and it was a dream place to live, but currently, there are more than 1,350 restaurants and food shops in the area, and entire Dhanmondi has become a commercial area.
Bangladesh Environment Lawyers Association (BELA) chief executive Syeda Rizwana Hasan said, “The mayhem that we had seen in the past five days is only possible for an irresponsible and insensitive city administration.”
At the press conference, speakers also demanded replanting of local species of trees, shunning destruction of greenery in name of development and prioritising nature-based plan. They also protested the stopping of road crossing on Sat Masjid Road saying people need to drive further to take a turn.
When asked, Dhaka Metropolitan Police additional commissioner (traffic) Md Munibur Rahman told Prothom Alo the city authorities did not discuss the matter with them. Since traffic department works on the field, they want to give opinion on it, he added.