Tree felling at Suhrawardy Udyan sparks protest

Staff Correspondent

7 May, 2021 12:00 AM printer

People from different quarters have expressed anger over the government’s decision to cut down trees at historic Suhrawardy Udyan in the name of development works. 

Following a Daily Sun report on tree felling at the historic park, different professionals and organisations, environmentalists, urban planners and politicians urged the government for taking immediate steps to stop cutting down trees and refrain from building concrete structures in the park.

They said that the trees of Suhrawardy Udyan bear the memories of many historical events including the historic 7th March Speech, Surrender of Pakistani Army and the homecoming day of Bangabandhu.

The park is also an oxygen hub of Dhaka and a safe haven for birds and animals. Cutting down the trees with cause harm to the environment, they also said.

The Ministry of Liberation War Affairs and the Ministry of Housing and Public Works are jointly implementing a development project in the park titled “Construction of Swadhinata Stambha at Suhrawardy Udayn, Dhaka (3rd Phase).

Under the project, the government is building seven restaurants and 6.5 kilometres walkway by felling several hundred trees that bear many historic memories.

Forest and Environment affairs secretary of Bangladesh Awami League Delwar Hossain protested against the development plan.

He said, “We want economic development but not by destroying, rather protecting the environment. We want to continue development works and achieve sustainable development goals. But we don’t support brutal behaviour on the environment.”

“The park is a historic site for many reasons. We will support any move for the protection of those historic memories but we will protest against any commercial move. Many trees have cut down in the dead of night and the roots were covered by filing earth,” Delwar also said.

He demanded an immediate halt of these development works in Suhrawardy Udyan.

The Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal on Thursday urged the government to cancel the restaurant building plan to save the historic park which has many memories entangled with the liberation war.

Jasad president Hasanul Haq Inu and general secretary Shirin Akhter in a press statement said, “If the evil attempt of setting up commercial restaurants continues, we will thwart it with the people. In no way we are supporting the building of commercial hub or restaurants in the place that bears the signs of national glory.”

The statement also said that former military ruler General Ziaur Rahman set up a Shishu park and later, Shahbag police station was set up as part of the evil attempt to deface the history of the park.

On social media, commoners are also criticizing tree felling at Suhrawardy Udyan. 

Meanwhile, a Supreme Court lawyer Manzill Murshid has issued a legal notice to the secretary of the Ministry of Liberation War Affairs, the chief engineer of the public works department and the architect of Bangladesh asking to stop the tree felling by 48 hours.

Many voluntary organizations and environmental activists staged a demonstration and made a statement against the development plan in the historic park.

Poribesh Bikkhon, a voluntary organization, staged a demonstration in front of the office of the public works department.

Speaking on the occasion, Sumaiya Setu, an activist of the voluntary organization, urged the government to stop the destruction of the park in the name of development.

Gourav 7, staged a demonstration in Suhrawardy Udyan protesting the development plan of the government and demanded the cancellation of the plan.

‘Solo Ana Bengali’ and ‘Nongor Bangladesh’, two voluntary organisations, formed a human chain on Wednesday protesting the destruction of the sanctuary of birds and other animals in Suhrawardy Udyan.