Bangladesh Rural Electrification Board (REB) has moved to install electric poles in the Bhawal forest to expand the electricity distribution network in Gazipur.
In a letter to the REB executive engineer of Gazipur on 7 February, Divisional Forest officer ASM Jahir Uddin Akon has raised objection against the move, requesting the Rural Electrification Board to remove the stockpile of poles and stop installing any new electric poles inside the forest.“The forest will be affected by the installation of any utility pole inside the forest,” the Forest Division said in the letter. The objection raised by the Forest Department has been forwarded to the power division and the ministry of forests as well.
Jahir Uddin Akon said installation of electric poles inside the forest is a violation of the policy regarding the expansion of the electricity distribution line.
At a meeting with Forest Department in 2017, the Gazipur Palli Bidyut Samity has said they will not do anything without consultation and permission from the Forest Department.
The letter also reminded the REB that no one is allowed to cut trees in the forest area without written permission from the Ministry of Environment and Forests.
According to the REB officials, the government is planning to achieve 100 per cent electricity coverage by 2021. They said they have been focusing on the quick expansion of the power distribution line to achieve the electricity coverage target.
REB will be more careful in future while working in and around the forest area, they added.Around 93 per cent of the country’s population has come under electricity coverage.