WDB felling 4 lakh trees in N-canal sector posing environmental hazard

Published : 01 Feb 2023 08:40 PM

Trees protect the environment from various natural disasters and health hazards. As a result of deforestation, people are facing various problems in the environment and public life. When the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is encouraging tree planting in most of his speeches, at such a time, in the name of 'renovation of irrigation canals to increase cultivation in Teesta irrigation area', about 4 lakh trees of social forestry will be cut on both sides of the canal. There is a fear that public health will be threatened along with natural disasters.

In 1991, canals were dug through different areas of 12 upazilas including Syedpur, Rangpur, Dinajpur, Nilphamari, Dimla, Jaldhaka, Kishoreganj, Gangachra, Taraganj, Badarganj to use the water flow of Tistandi for agriculture. The notable canals are Dinajpur Irrigation Canal, Bogura Irrigation Canal, Rangpur Irrigation Canal, S Seventy Canal, S Forty Canal, S Sixty Canal, T-2 S Seventy Canal, Teesta Main Irrigation Canal, S Y R Irrigation Canal, S Two R Irrigation. Canal, S Five D Irrigation Canal, S Eight Irrigation Canal, S Three-D Irrigation Canal, S Six D Irrigation Canal, B3 D Irrigation Canal. All these canals are connected through about 40 small narrow canals. However, most of the sub-main canals and connecting canals are damaged due to lack of proper supervision.

  Ministry of Forest and Ministry of Water jointly planted social forestry trees on both sides of these canals and connecting canals under various conditions. Seedlings are cut and replanted at maturity.

Thus, from 2002 to 2020 through the local forest department and beneficiaries Akashmani, Eucalyptus, Jarul, Parul, Bahera, Harataki, Coconut, Mango, Jam, Bot, Fig, Gumar, Guti, Mahogany, White curry, Raintree, Cotigua, Pakur, Olive , Rajkarai, Bakhin, Kadam, Paua Jiga, Jigni, Kathal, Mil Karai, Tarul, Palash, Acacia, Shishu, Amalki, Nunati, Chaitan, Arjuna, Mandal, Champa, Sonalu, Krishnachura and planted various species of forest, fruit and medicinal trees.

This initiative made the nature of all these areas in the north decorated with green softness.

Recently, in the name of increasing water supply for agriculture, the stakeholders have engaged in the game of destruction of social forestry trees in large areas.

When the matter was informed to Rangpur Divisional Forest Officer Matlubur Rahman, he said, I am aware of the matter. In order to increase the yield in agriculture, the trees of that project of the Water Development Board have to be removed. Because trees were planted there under these conditions. But I am worried about the trees they are destroying. After removal of huge forest, trees will be replanted. It will take some time. It can affect nature. There is nothing to do in this case.

Meanwhile, due to the lack of work force, the huge social forestry trees are to be removed in consultation with the District Commissioner and Upazila Nirbahi Officer, followed by blazing, numbering, measurement and sale after tender. Nevertheless, it takes a long time. Therefore, the Water Development Board does not want to accept anything about this.

They have cut down almost lakhs of trees in the development drive. Besides, in many areas, blazing, numbering and measuring trees are being covered under piles of soil with excavator machines.

Speaking to Sirajul Islam, President of the Beneficiaries of Forestry, he said that the trees are far from the canal. Even on one side of the embankment. They had no problem in digging and rebuilding dams. Even then all these trees have been ordered to be removed. This is hard to accept.

Mohaiminul Islam Jhantu, President of Social Forestry Area of Khatamdhupur Union of Syedpur Upazila said, 15 thousand saplings were planted in 2019 in 15 km on both sides of the connection canal. The trees have grown from 12 to 15 feet in height with the regular care of 75 beneficiaries. Selling them would result in nothing but stove chalk. So no value can be found. How will they kill these immature plants? Just thinking about it brings tears to my eyes.

The forest department has to remove about 4 lakh trees of social forestry existing in all these canals and canals. In addition, due to the destruction of a large number of trees, it is feared that there may be an adverse effect on the nature in these northern towns this season.

Lokman Hakim, in-charge of Syedpur Meteorological Office, said that every year the temperature is increasing in the northern region during summer.

Last year the average temperature was minimum 35 and maximum 39 degrees Celsius. There was a huge uproar. In addition, if large areas of green trees are cut, there is a risk of desertification in the area in the future.