Locals said a written complaint was sent to the upazila nirbahi officer but to no avail
The headmaster of Shariat Ullah Government Primary School has been accused of chopping down a number of precious trees and demolishing the school building in Andharirjhar union of Bhurungamari upazila in Kurigram.
Locals say the trees around the school premises were cut down and bricks were removed from the building without permission to construct a new building for the school. The chopped trees and removed bricks were sold and the profit split.
The allegations have been made against the school’s board of directors, including Headmaster Rafiqul Islam.
Locals said a written complaint was sent to the upazila nirbahi officer but to no avail.
Bhurungamari Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Firozul Islam and Education Officer Jyotirmoy Barman confirmed that they had received a written complaint in this regard.
According to the complaint, a tender was issued for the renovation of the government school. However, without permission, the headmaster and the board of directors of the school demolished the school building and chopped down its trees.
The loot was then split between school headmaster Rafiqul Islam, former chairman of the board Umar Ali, and Upazila Vice Chairman Jalal Uddin Mondol, among others.
Upazila Vice Chairman Jalal Mondol reportedly signed a permit on a notepad to allow the school authority to cut trees, remove bricks, corrugated roofing sheets, and rods of the old building.
Subsequently, a complaint was made to the upazila nirbahi officer, education officer, and the upazila chairman on March 6.
Headmaster Rafiqul Islam was, however, unavailable for comment on the above allegations against him.
Upazila Vice Chairman Jalal Uddin Mandal, denied the allegations, saying: “I am aware that trees have been cut down and the old school buildings have been demolished to construct a new building. However, I am not involved in this.”
When asked if he had the jurisdiction to provide written permission for the school renovation project, he said: “I have no recollection of signing any permission papers.”
Contacted, Bhurungamari UNO Firozul Islam said: "We have received the complaint. We can confirm that the school authorities did not receive permission to cut down trees and demolish the school building to construct a new one. An investigation will soon be launched in this regard.”
Upazila Primary Education Officer Jyotirmoy Barman said: “We neither received nor gave written or verbal permission to cut down trees and demolish the old school building. We have been made aware and we will soon take necessary steps.