Monday, 15 July, 2024, Reg No- 06
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26 AL men sued over felling trees of mangrove forest

Published : Wednesday, 10 July, 2024 at 6:39 PM  Count : 292

Constructing underway to build shrimp farms after destroying Mangrove forest in Sonadia Island. Photo: Collected

Constructing underway to build shrimp farms after destroying Mangrove forest in Sonadia Island. Photo: Collected

A case was filed against 26 individuals, including 22 local Awami League (AL) leaders and workers, for allegedly destroying the mangrove forest on Sonadia Island under Maheshkhali upazila of Cox's Bazar district, to construct shrimp farms.

The Department of Environment filed the case against 26 individuals, including 22 local leaders and workers of the ruling Awami League and its affiliated organizations, while the remaining four are supporters of the party.

Faizul Kabir, an inspector from the Department of Environment’s Cox’s Bazar office, filed the case with Maheshkhali Police Station on Monday where 10-15 unidentified individuals were also been named as suspects.

The accused include Maheshkhali Upazila Swechasebak League's former president Mohsin Anwar, Upazila Jubo League's general secretary Sajedul Karim, Upazila Sramik League’s president Jasim Uddin, Kutubjom Union AL's general secretary Rabiul Alam, former Upazila AL member Amiruzzaman, former UP chairman Nurul Amin, Kutubjom Union ward No.1 AL president Amir Hossain, general secretary Azizul Haque, and Kutubjom Union ward No. 5 AL general secretary Mohammad Tarek. 

Other accused individuals, who are the supportes of the party, are --Mohammad Siddiq, Nurul Amin, Saber Ahmad, Osman Ali, Mohammad Faruk, Jahangir Alam, Zafar Alam, Shahadat Kabir, Sona Mia, Shahidullah Sikder, Mohammad Nezam, Nasir Uddin, Shafi Alam, Mohammad Alam Sharif, Joynal Ahmad, Sajjadul Karim, and Amir Hossain.

Maheshkhali Police Station officer-in-charge Sukanta Chakraborty confirmed the filing of the case and said that the case was forwarded to the Department of Environment for investigation as its their responsibility as per the Environmental Court Act 2010. 

Sonadia is a tiny island on the estuary of the Bay of Bengal 11 kilometers to the north of Cox’s Bazar city. This island is famous for red crabs, tortoises and rare birds.

The island was a sanctuary once to 567 varieties of trees, 152 varieties of snails, 21 varieties of crabs, 9 varieties of shrimps, 207 varieties of fishes, 12 varieties of amphibians, 19 varieties of retiles and 206 different varieties of birds. The existence of the island is threatened now from the impact of climate change and the destruction of nature.

It was known that,  AL leaders and activists have reportedly cleared approximately 23 lakh trees across 4,010 acres of the ecologically critical mangrove forest on the island, converting the land into over 55 shrimp farms and salt fields. 

According to the case statement, after the matter of deforestation in Sonadia island and the construction of shrimp farms came to light, Faizul Kabir visited the site on July 7. 

The inspection revealed illegal cutting of natural forests and construction of embankments, shrimp farms, and salt fields within the ecologically critical area of Sonadia Island without permission from the Department of Environment. Activities detrimental to environmental and ecological balance were observed across 562 acres at seven points, though the accused were not found at the site during the inspection.

Plaintiff Faizul Kabir said that a swift investigation would be conducted, and charges would be filed in court against those involved.


Related Topics

Sonadia Island   AL   deforestation  

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