Saturday, April 13, 2024

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বাংলা
Dhaka Tribune

Environmentalists demand declaration of CRB trees as heritage

  • The notice sent to the CDA, Chief Conservator of Forests and General Manager (East) of Bangladesh Railway, Chittagong
  • Bela demands the cancellation of all initiatives taken to fell down the ancient and traditional trees and build ramps on the road
Update : 03 Apr 2024, 07:49 PM

Bangladesh Environmental Law Association (Bela) has sent a notice demanding the declaration of heritage to ancient and centuries-old trees along Mohammad Yusuf Chowdhury road from Tigerpass to CRBM in Chittagong city to construct a ramp of Chittagong Elevated Expressway.

The notice has been sent to the Chairman of Chittagong Development Authority (CDA), Chief Conservator of Forests and General Manager (East) of Bangladesh Railway, Chittagong,

Bela also demanded the cancellation of all initiatives taken to fell down the ancient and traditional trees and build ramps on the road.

A copy of the notice has been forwarded to the minister of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change.

On April 1, 2024, a news was published titled Chittagong Development Authority (CDA) wants to cut down the trees on the iconic road of Chittagong.

Defying its policy, the CDA has decided to fell 10 species of century-old trees and 44 other traditional trees.

About 16-km long elevated expressway will be constructed from Lalkhanbazar of the city to the airport.

The decision has triggered protests among teachers, residents, civil society, and environment activists.

The residents of Chittagong are angry and surprised by this initiative to build the elevated expressway ramp by cutting 44 trees from these centuries-old trees and destroying the beauty of the road and the natural balance of the adjacent area.

It has already been circulated in various media that the Chairman of CDA has applied to the Chief Conservator of Forests and General Manager for Bangladesh Railway for permission to cut trees and using the land. 

Article 18 (a) of the Constitution has pledged the state to provide for the safety of life, nature and environment. As a result, any development activities must be done with environmental protection.

But without doing that, cutting down trees for various developmental works is not in favour of public interest. If these trees are cut down in the name of the construction of a ramp, it will be similar to killing trees and natural heritage.

These trees are home to many birds which help pedestrians to get close to nature.

Additional urban planners and experts have suggested suitable alternative sites for the construction of the ramp.

If these trees are cut for the so-called development, there will be no harm to the people of Chittagong if the development is elsewhere, but if these trees are cut, the tradition of the people of Chittagong will disappear, which is an irreparable loss.

To protect old and historic trees, the government can declare trees of cultural importance on government lands, designated as national monuments and habitats for various birds, as per Section 23 of the Wildlife Conservation and Protection Act, 2012, as national monuments or memorial trees.

There are various restrictions imposed in its 14, 15 and 16 for the preservation of such iconic or memorial trees. CDA has sought permission to cut down the ancient and traditional trees on Mohammad Yusuf Chowdhury road under the applicable law without applying for special status, which is against public interest.

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