May 26, 2024, 1:48 am

HC moves to stop random trees felling

  • Update Time : Monday, May 6, 2024
  • 7 Time View
Photo: Collected

TDS Desk:
An environmentalist organisation has filed a petition with the High Court seeking a halt to the cutting down of trees across the country, which it says has been going on despite the current heatwave.
The petitioners say that the decreasing number of trees in Dhaka city and other parts of the country is harming the quality of life.
Advocate Manzil Morshed filed the petition at the relevant branch of the High Court on Sunday on behalf of Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh (HRPB).
Morshed said the petition could be heard on Monday.
“Living a healthy life requires trees. Every day the number of trees in Dhaka city are decreasing. The recent rise in the temperature has also made living conditions for residents more miserable. Due to this, people are being deprived of their right to a healthy life.”
“The cutting down of trees planted according to the social forestry contracts across the country has had an adverse effect on the environment. If this is not stopped, Bangladesh will face environmental disaster and people’s right to life will be seriously affected.”
The petition sought five orders from the court:

1. The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change will form a seven-member committee consisting of environmentalists, ecologists, and professors from the departments of environmental science at Dhaka University and Jahangirnagar University within seven days. This committee will oversee the cutting of trees and approve cutting in Dhaka city if necessary.
2. The Ministry of Public Administration will issue a circular within seven days to stop the felling of trees and order the formation of a committee presided over by a deputy commissioner and consisting of a district environmental officer, the principal of a public college, social workers, environmentalists, the president or secretary of the district’s bar association, and the civil surgeon. Trees cannot be cut down without the permission of this committee.
3. The Ministry of Public Administration issues a circular within seven days to stop the cutting down of trees and orders the formation of a committee led by the Upazila nirbahi officer (UNO) and consisting of a college principal, social workers, environmentalists, the social welfare officer, an assistant commissioner of land and coordinated by an executive engineer from the LGED, without whose permission trees cannot be cut down.
4. Until such committees are formed, the respondents [the officials named in the petition] must take all appropriate measures to ensure that no trees are cut down in their respective areas. They must also submit a report on the matter to the court within two weeks.
5. A rule asking why the inaction of the respondents to prevent trees from being cut down should not be declared illegal, why orders should not be given to stop the felling of trees in Dhaka city, other districts and Upazila towns, and why a provision regarding payments to contracting parties involved in planting trees should not be added to the Social Forestry Rules 2004.
The cabinet secretary, chief secretary to the prime minister, secretary to the ministry of environment, forest and climate change, secretary to the ministry of local government, senior secretary to the ministry of public administration, secretary to the department of road transport and highways, director general of the environment department, the mayors and chief executive officers of the Dhaka North and Dhaka South city corporations, the chief engineer of the LGED, chief conservator of forests, chief engineer of the roads and highways department and inspector general of the Bangladesh police have been made respondents in the writ petition.

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