Vol. 5 Num 870 Wed. November 08, 2006  
Star City

Ibn Sina fells 150 trees, says it is for beautification

Ibn Sina Trust, a leading healthcare provider, chopped down over 150 krishnachura trees on the median of Satmasjid Road yesterday in the name of beautification.

The felling of the krishnachuras, each at least seven years old, instantly sparked a protest from local residents and also Bangladesh environment movement activists.

The offenders chose the public holiday yesterday to fell the trees from early morning. The workers, who arrived in a van belonging to the Trust, fled the scene when residents challenged them. But by 11am they had done enough damage to strip a large stretch of the median of the krishnachuras, which are traditionally a symbol of Dhaka's beauty. Dhaka was once known as the city of krishnachuras.

The DCC Chief Conservancy Officer and in-charge of Dhaka Beautification Programme Commander Sohel Faruque rushed to the spot after this correspondent informed him about the incident.

"The Ibn Sina has no right to chop down trees which belong to the public, i am going to recommend stern action against Ibn Sina," said Faruque, who also directed his Zonal Conservancy Officer Zafar to keep vigil along the Satmasjid Road.

Ibn Sina was officially given the responsibility to maintain and beautify the median for four years. They have violated the rules under which they are supposed to conduct activities for beautification, Faruque said.

Anisuzzaman, Manager (admin) of the Ibn Sina Hospital, who is entrusted with the beautification programme of the trust, said that they sought permission from DCC to chop down tall trees as those obstruct growth of flower plants.

The city beautification programme is coordinated by the Prime Minister's Office (PMO). According to sources, in a meeting at the PMO in September this year a representative of Ibn Sina Trust sought permission from the PMO's principal secretary to chop down the same trees on the Satmasjid Road.

"The principal secretary and other officials present at the meeting outright rejected Ibn Sina's plea and warned them against such ideas," said a source who was also present in the meeting.

In an impromptu protest rally along the Satmasjid Road residents and environmental activists under the banner of Bangladesh Paribesh Andolon (BAPA) demanded exemplary punishment for felling the krishnachuras.

In the presence of DCC's Chief Conservancy Officer Sohel Faruque the protesters chanted slogans condemning Ibn Sina for such a 'mindless act'. They demanded immediate cancellation of Ibn Sina's contract with DCC regarding beautification programme.

DCC has distributed the responsibility of beautification among 80 companies in the city who were allowed to advertise their firms on the median and conduct beautification.

The Ibn Sina felled krishnachuras on the Satmasjid Road (left). An impromptu protest rally on Satmasjid Road, yesterday (right). PHOTO: Syed Zakir Hossain