Volume 2 Issue 51 | February 14, 2009 |


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Behind the Scene

From Pabna

Adding More Trees

Ahmed Humayun Kabir Topu

A resident of Shalgaria, Md. Abdul Aziz, had started planting trees by the side of the highways about a decade ago as a hobby. He died in 2004 but his forestation programme is still alive. His son Zulfikhar now watches over the tree plantation programme in Pabna and keeps his father's example alive. Over ten thousand trees beside the Pabna Bypass Highway (Dhaka-Pabna Road) are giving shade and protecting the environment.

Abdul Aziz was an employee of the PWD. He loved planting trees at a very early age. After retirement he started the forestation programme through his own efforts. He invested provident fund money for planting trees beside the highway roads in the district headquarter. He planted over 5 hundred trees along the Pabna Bypass since 1998. A lot of people made fun of Aziz for what he was doing, but he didn't really pay attention. He gave his programme a name: “Pholojo, Bonojo, Oushodhi Brikkha Shamiti”.

“When my father saw that it was impossible for him take care of the tree plantation programme on his own, he started the tree planting society. In the beginning in 2002, there were 11 members,” Aziz's son Zulfikhar said. Aziz started making contracts with the roads and highways departments for planting trees besides the roadside in 2003.

“My father invested most of his provident fund money towards planting trees,” Zulfikhar said. Besides seedlings brought by the members, he often managed seedlings from his friends and well-wishers.

In 2003, Aziz got a contract with the Department of Roads and Highways to plant trees beside the highway. This contract allowed Aziz and his men to plant trees in the 7 kilometer area of the Pabna Bypass road in 2003. Aziz spent all of his provident fund money on trees.

He never stopped. Aziz died on November 31, 2004. His son took over. Zulfikhar said that they had already planted over 30 thousands seedlings by the highway in the last 10 years while over 15 thousand trees were damaged due to lack of maintenance. Over 8 thousand trees had matured and 7-8 thousand trees were getting there.

“Maintenance is crucial. Maintenance suffers due to lack of manpower. Only two people are looking after each kilometer,” Zulfikhar said. “After the maturity of the trees, the government will get 50 percent of the revenue and the other 50 percent will go to the planters”.

It has been found that certain types of trees in particular give good shade. Examples are: mango and jackfruit.

Government officials said such planting initiatives were appreciated. “Such work is great for the environment,” said District Forest Officer Ajit Kumar Kundu. Zulfikhar said he was trying to increase the size and scope of the programme. He says some government assistance is needed.


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