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Ctg people warn of tough action if move to cut trees not dropped

They recall successful movement to save those in 2022

Environment 2024-04-02, 12:07pm


Civil Society members took position under the century-old trees at Ctg Tiger Pass intersection on Monday.

Chattogram, Apr 2: Residents of Port City Chattogram on Monday threatened to ramp up their movement if the Chittagong Development Authority (CDA) does not backtrack from its move to cut 46 century-old trees and level hill slopes from Tiger Pass to the Central Railway Building area,  for the construction of a ramp of the elevated expressway being built in the city.

A group of people under the banner of Civil Society came up with the warning after taking position under the century-old tree at Tiger Pass intersection on Monday.

Freedom Fighter Dr Mahfuzur Rahman, one of the speakers at the rally, said “If the CDA wants to build a ramp there are plenty of places, why should we have to cut trees. No one will be allowed to cut trees here. They can do whatever is needed keeping nature intact."

"Their target is to destroy the environment of CRB after damaging the century-old trees and road and then grab the CRB," he said, adding there is no need to plant new seedlings here.

Speakers from the rally also compared 'those who cut 18 trees to make a 6-km road aree vultures'. On a sarcastic note, they say they have seen the authorities' "great skills" in reducing waterlogging.

The Chittagong authorities who 'failed to destroy CRB' now want to damage the  environment of the CRB - its main attraction.

They (authorities, inc. CDA) are saying that 'only 46 trees will be taken down,' which is nonsense, said the speakers.

Chattogram residents have been newly notified of the CDA's intentions. The speakers also urged the CDA authorities to stay away from such business in the name of development.

“We’ll force CDA to withdraw their present plan through a movement,” said speakers from the  rally.

Clearly those at the forefront of the  movement this time draw inspiration from the success of their last movement, when the authorities were planning to tear down the historic CRB,  a remnant of the British Era, in order to use the space for a modern hospital, back in 2021. 

But the city’s residents got organised against the move and demanded the hospital be built elsewhere.  The sprawling CRB and its surrounding areas, one of the few green spots left in the Port City, are regarded as ‘the lungs of Chittagong’, where people can come and breathe some fresh air. 

After 483 days of protest by the city’s residents, the authorities were forced to relent and scrap the hospital project in late 2022.    

Monday’s rally was presided over by theatre personality and journalist Pradeep Dewanjir. It was also addressed by Prof. Md Idris Ali,  Dr AQM Sirajul Islam, BFUJ joint general secretary Mahsin Kazi, President of People’s Voice Sharif Chouhan, Vice-President of Chattogram Press Club Chowdhury Farid, Aliur Rahman, writer Mohsena Jharna and others. 

According to CDA officials, among the 14 ramps of the expressway, one will be constructed at GEC junction, two at Tiger Pass, four at Agrabad, one at Fakirhat, two at Nimtala, two at CEPZ and two at KEPZ.

One of the two ramps at the Tiger Pass intersection will be on the New Market-bound road via CRB, while the other will be on the Ambagan-bound road. CDA sent a letter to the Bangladesh Railway on March 25 seeking permission to use 14 decimal land for construction of the ramp. 

Kazi Hasan bin Shams, chief engineer of CDA, said that the ramp in the CRB area will be constructed with utmost deference to environmental compliance. - UNB