A tree planted by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at a Parjatan hotel in Tungipara, Gopalganj, has been trimmed, much to the consternation of locals.
Farukuzzaman, manager of Hotel Madhumati of Parjatan Corporation, had the tree cut on Friday, enraging locals who demanded he be brought to justice.
Farukuzzaman has been closed in Dhaka over the incident, Parjatan Corporation Chairman Akhtaruzzaman Khan Kabir said.
He added that a probe body had been formed on behalf of the Parjatan Corporation and sent to Tungipara to investigate the matter.
“We will decide on our course of action after we get the probe report,” the chairman said.
Md Habibur Rahman, a waiter at the hotel, said the prime minister planted the tree on the hotel premises during her first term in office, on July 13, 2001.
He claimed Manager Farukuzzaman had 18 Debdaru trees in addition to the one planted by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina trimmed in order to make the grounds of the hotel look more spacious.
Hotel Deputy Manager Sheikh Md Ziaul Haque said he had asked the manager not to trim the tree.
“I was on an official tour that day. The manager had the tree trimmed to show his influence. When I protested the incident on return to the hotel, he became angry with me,” he said.
Tungipara munipality Mayor Sheikh Ahmed Hossain Mirza said he was shocked to hear the news.
“The daughter of Bangabandhu planted the tree 17 years ago. The tree was a souvenir. The manager has committed many misdeeds to show his influence since he joined this hotel,” he said.
Farukuzzaman claimed he was not aware that the tree had been planted by the prime minister as he joined the motel just two months ago, adding that no one informed him.
“The branches of the tree had spread so much that nobody from outside could see the signboard of the hotel. Considering this issue, I asked for the tree to be trimmed. Had I known that the prime minister had planted the tree, I would have never asked them to cut it,” the manager said.