Protests rage on | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 08, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 05:21 AM, May 08, 2021


Protests rage on

Protests against cutting down trees at the capital's Suhrawardy Udyan for the implementation of a mega project at the historic site continued throughout the day yesterday.

Demanding an immediate stop to the tree felling, the protesters said 10,000 trees at the park have to be planted there instead. Throughout the day, people from all walks of life including writers, poets, artistes, activists and members of various student organisations held rallies at the Udyan.

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In the morning, youth organisation -- Green Voice -- demonstrated at the entrance to the park near TSC of Dhaka University.

They also placed a five-point demand, which included ensuring environment-friendly development at the park and stopping construction of concrete structures at the expense of greenery.

In the afternoon, Anchor Bangladesh, Swadhinata Udyan Cultural Alliance, and Green Planet performed a street play, highlighting various harmful aspects of deforestation. A group of artist-activists displayed paintings depicting their interpretation of the situation.

Environmentalists and educationists also lambasted the government for destroying the environment of the Suhrawardy Udyan.

Meanwhile, activists of Bangladesh Students Federation planted saplings -- as a form of protest -- at the same places where trees are being felled for the project.

In a protest rally, Zakir Hossain, joint convener of Mass Cultural Front, said, "Hills are being razed to make buildings and trees are being cut down for constructing restaurants. It's very unfortunate."

The Tk 265.44 crore project, titled "Shawdhinata Stambha Construction Project in Dhaka", began its third phase in January 2018 at the park.

Organisations tasked with the implementation of the project include the Liberation War affairs ministry, the Department of Public Works and Dhaka South City Corporation.

Under the project, public toilets, walkways, food courts, artificial ponds, underground parking lots, underpasses and mosques will be constructed.

The project was undertaken to develop the Udyan and make it greener. However, green activists said the authorities concerned are seemingly contradicting one of their own goals, as under the same project, they are felling old trees to construct buildings.  

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