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Patuakhali coastal Area: Tree looting threatens reserve forests By Our Correspondent, Patuakhali

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Sunday, March 17, 2013



Locals seize this trawler, loaded with logs of trees stolen from Char Bestin in Rangabaliupazila under Patuakhali district and detained three people from Charfashion in neighbouringBhola district when they were taking away the logs. PHOTO: STAR



Stealing of trees from reserve forest areas in different places especially remote coastal islands has continued for long allegedly with the help of a section of local forest staff.

Several gangs from nearby Bhola district, especially those from Charfashion area, often come to the forests in coastal islands including Char Bestin, Sonar Char, CharAnda at night by trawlers, fell trees and return after loading the trawlers with logs. Local people led by MozammelHaquePada, member of Char Bestin union parishad (UP), caught a three-member gang led by Sohag Akon, secretary of local Awami League (AL) of Char Manika union in Charfashion under Bhola district, on Tuesday night when they were cutting trees at Char Bestin, a coastal island under Rangabaliupazila, and loading the logs in a trawler.

Later they handed over the three thieves and the trawler to Kamruzzaman, range officer of Char Montaz forest office. After hearing the matter, a group of local AL leader led by Mosharef Khan, organising secretary of Char Montaz union unit of AL, came to the spot on five motorcycles. “After negotiation, the forest officer freed the gang at around 3:00am the same night. Sohag Akon threatened to see me and others who caught him,” Mozammel said.

“Often gangs from nearby areas under Bhola district come here and steal trees from reserve forest areas but the officials concerned hardly take any action against the thieves. If random tree felling continues, the coastal islands will lose the forests, leaving very bad impact on the environment of the area vulnerable to natural disasters,” he said.

Mosharef Khan, organising secretary of Char Montaz union unit of AL, who allegedly managed to free the gang of tree looters on Tuesday night, declined to make any comment in this regard. Kamruzzaman, range officer of Char Montaz forest office, said, “We seized logs and a trawler and filed a case against the gang in this regard on Wednesday. I freed Sohag under the custody of Awami League leader JoynalKhalifa as he was ill.”



Source: thedailystar







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