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5:08 pm | April 20, 2024
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a thriving business of cutting the hills in pmkhali of coxs bazar, bangladesh
Aivee Akther Bangladesh Environmental crime

A thriving business of cutting the hills in PMkhali of Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh

A thriving business of cutting the hills in PMkhali of Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh

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Protected forest land cut down in Ghonarpara (Teillakata) area of Chankhola in PMkhali Union of Cox’s Bazar Sadar Upazila. Already five to six government hills of large size have been cut and leveled.

A local gang is grabbing crores of rupees by selling the hill soil. There is no action by the Environment Department and the Forest Department to stop the business of cutting hills and soil for sale.

Six dumper trucks carrying soil are going towards Cox’s Bazar on the east side of Chankhola Ghonarpara on the PMkhali-Khurushkul Local Government Engineering Department (LGED), Bangladesh, road.

Manzoor, a dumper driver, said that this soil dump on low-lying land belonged to a person in the city. The price of soil per truck is BDT.950. He pulls the soil five to six times a day.

A massive garden of Akashmani trees is one kilometer away from here. Another road has been made by cutting the trees of that garden. After the garden, there are 10 to 12 government hills full of tall green trees.

Hundreds of trees have been cut and destroyed in 5 to 6 government hills covering an area of about 4 hectares. As it is a remote area, the Department of Environment or the Forest Department officials do not set foot there.

Abdul Quader, A Local businessman, said, “For a long time, influential local people have cut five to six hills and run the soil business, but no one is active in these closures.

About 10 to 15 trucks filled with soil from hill cutting send to different places of Cox’s Bazar city, Ramu, and Eidgaon Upazilas day and night. People involved in hill clearing and clay trade are locally influential.

Local people do not dare to open their mouths against them. The soil business people already uprooted about 20,000 trees from 5 to 6 hills of 4 hectares. At least two million cubic feet of soil from the hills have been sold. The market value of which is around 50 million. “

Morshed Alam, Member Secretary of Cox’s Bazar Conscious Citizen Movement, filed a written complaint with the Directorate of Forests and Environment.

He claimed the authorities had not taken any action so far. The destruction of mountains and soil business has not stopped. No one would believe how the hills have been cut down unless they saw it with their own eyes.

 Obaidul Karim, a local influencer, is leading the hills cutting. Local Abdullah, Mostak, Nashir Uddin, Amin, Lutfar, Haroon, and at least 12 syndicates are with them.

He alleged they are running a soil salle business by cutting hills in collaboration with some dishonest employees of various departments, including the forest department.

Rashedul Majid, the Chief Executive of the Environmental Voluntary organization’ Environment People,’ visited the spot and shared his terrible experience of seeing soil getting cut and sold.

The hill cutting site is within one kilometer of the forest department’s most extended forest bit. The Department of Forests and Environment has been playing a silent role in cutting down thousands of trees and selling soil in this protected forest.

Stating that the hill is getting cut, Mosharraf Hossain, Beat Officer of Dighir Ghona Forest, said, “Earlier, the Forest Department created a garden. Now there are natural gardens.

Several cases have already been filed against the land grabbers in the hill-cutting incident. However, the hill cutting and mud business are happening during the night. Due to a shortage of manpower, it is impossible to go to the spot and stop cutting the hill.”

Sheikh Md. Nazmul Huda, Deputy Director of Environment Directorate Cox’s Bazar, said. “There had been reports that mountains getting cut significantly in Ghonarpara.

Quick action will take by identifying the names and identities of the people involved in the hill cutting. New syndicates formed there now.”

Md. Zillur Rahman, Assistant Commissioner (Land) of Cox’s Bazar Sadar Upazila, said, “There is no information about the destruction of hills in PM Khali. Quick action will be taken in soil looting by cutting mountains.”

Source: Green Page (Bangla)

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