Death of forest official stuns all

Published : 31 Mar 2024 10:22 PM

Vested interest groups are so powerful in our society that they can do whatever they like. They do not even hesitate to kill people and commit other serious crimes, not giving a damn about the government’s warning. 

Death of a forest official Md Sajjaduzzaman Sajjad during a drive against hill cutting at Harinmara in Cox’s Bazar bears the testimony of the strength of musclemen in our society.    

Sajjad, 30, in-charge of Dochari forest of Ukhiya range, died after he was crushed under the wheels of a mini truck during the drive against hill cutting on early Sunday.

According to the forest department officials, Sajjad along with another employee Ali conducted a drive on information that local influential people are cutting hill and collecting soil at Harinmara by a dumper. 

When the soil-laden dumper was obstructed by the forest officials, the dumper driver driver ran the vehicle over Sajjad, leaving him dead on the spot. Meanwhile, forest officials expressed anger over the death of Sajjad and demanded formation of mobile courts for speedy trial for crimes committed in the forest.

Influential quarters 

continue destroying forests 

and cutting hills

According to the Forest Survey 2015-2019, the amount of Bangladesh’s green coverage was 22.37 per cent of its total area. But, many areas of our country may face serious disaster as unscrupulous influential quarters continue destroying forests and cutting hills in violation of environmental laws. 

The authorities concerned sometimes conduct raids to stop hill cutting and fine the influential people involved in destroying forests and cutting the hills. Cases are also filed against the workers but the main culprits always remain untouched as they have an unholy nexus with the local administration, it is alleged. 

Therefore, showing thumbs to the authorities concerned they are destroying the forest and cutting the hills and selling the soil for construction works. Different national dailies ran stories in details in this regard. Several forests and hilly areas are being destroyed by the organised influential quarter under the very nose of the local administration. These influential people in association with local armed middlemen also issue threat to the people who protest the destruction of forest and cutting of hill. But deforestation and hill cutting are still going unabated in the name of housing as the demand for plots and flats in the hill area is very high. 

Many residential and commercial buildings, resorts and hotels have been constructed by cutting down hills over the last two decades but the authorities concerned appear to be turning a blind eye to this mindless act. The government must take necessary steps to stop hill cutting and deforestation and bring the culprits to book immediately.