The High Court has observed that the development work in Suhrawardy Udyan initiated by the authorities would be consistent with its previous order.
Bickering between the government and environmentalists over felling trees and constructing shops and commercial establishments will be resolved through discussion, the HC said.A Division Bench comprising Justice Farah Mahbub and Justice SM Maniruzaaman made the statement on Thursday following a petition filed by six environmental and right bodies, seeking directive on the government not to cut trees and damage environment at Suhrawardy Udyan.
The petitioners are Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA), Association for Land Reforms and Development (ALRD), Nijera Kori (NK), Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST), Bangladesh Paribesh Andolon (BAPA) and Ain O Salish Kendra (ASK) -- and architect Mubasshir Hossain.
"We do not want to interfere with this issue at this moment. We hope that all the issues regarding Suhrawardy Udyan will be settled keeping a balance -- in a beautiful way -- as the government will take necessary decisions after consulting with the environmentalists including the writ petitioners," the HC said.
The HC adjourned the hearing of the petition for four weeks. Appearing for the state, Attorney General AM Amin Uddin said to have talked to the Ministry of Liberation War Affairs about protecting original and natural historical shape of Suhrawardy Udyan.
The ministry will talk to environmentalists and take necessary steps taking into consideration their recommendations, he said. He said felling of trees at Suhrawardy Udyan has been put on hold.
Lawyers Fida M Kamal and Syeda Rizwana Hasan appeared for the writ petitioners, Attorney General AM Amin Uddin, Additional Attorney Generals Mohammad Mehedi Hasan Chowdhury and SK Md Morshed for the state.Earlier on May 10, the High Court directed the government to halt the cutting of trees at historic Suhrawardy Udyan.
Deforestation in the name of beautification of the historic park and construction of shops and restaurants drew widespread criticism from the environmentalists and lawyers.
Supreme Court lawyer and Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh president Manzill Murshid filed the petition seeking contempt of court proceedings against the government officials concerned for ignoring a previous order of the HC to protect the sanctity of the liberation war-related historic sites, including Suhrawardy Udyan. The HC slapped the ban on cutting trees at Suhrawardy Udyan in an interim order as the contempt petition will be heard on May 20.
Manzill Murshid brought a ‘contempt of court’ allegation against Liberation War Affairs Secretary Tapan Kanti Ghosh, Public Works Department Chief Engineer Mohammad Shamim Akhter and Architecture Department Chief Architect Mir Manzurur Rahman.