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Writ against tree felling at Suhrawardy Udyan filed

10 May 2021

Staff Reporter :
A writ petition was filed on Sunday with the High Court seeking its directives upon the respondents to prevent any further tree felling in the Suhrawardi Udyan for commercial purposes or for purposes not directly related to the preservation of the memories of the historic war of Independence.
It also sought directives from the HC upon the respondents to plant three times more trees (of the same species) than the number of trees already felled in the name of implementing a project by the respondents.
Six rights organizations namely Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA), Ain O Shalish Kendro (ASK), Association for Land Reforms and Development (ALRD), Nijera Kori, Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST), Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (BAPA), and an architect, Mubasshar Hussain, filed the petition on Sunday.
In the petition, they sought a ruling upon the respondents to explain as to why the felling of old, mature trees in the Suhrawardi Udyan in the name of implementing a project violating the Constitution and all applicable laws shall not be declared to be without lawful authority.
The petitioners, also prayed to the court to issue a ruling upon the respondents to explain as to why they should not be directed to refrain from authorizing any commercial set up in the said historic Udyan, and to remove all structures from the Udyan that are not relevant to the conservation needs of the Udyan, and to protect, conserve, preserve and maintain the natural and historical appeal of the Udyan as envisaged in the Dhaka City Master Plan.
Advocate Sayeed Ahmed Kabir, a lawyer of the petitioners, said he had submitted the petition on Sunday in the High Court Bench of Justice Farah Mahbub and Justice S M Maniruzzaman.
 After primary hearing, the court fixed May 19 for hearing on the petition, added the lawyer.
Ministry of Liberation War Affairs is implementing a project titled "Shawdhinata Stambha Construction Project in Dhaka (third phase)" in the Suhrawardy Udyan. The Public Works Department has already felled some trees at the Udyan as part of the implementation.
Meanwhile, two Supreme Court lawyers filed a contempt of court petition with the High Court against the government on Sunday on charge of cutting down trees to implement the mega project at the site ignoring the court's 2009 verdict.
Lawyers Mahbubul Islam and Ripan Barai submitted the petition to the officials concerned of the High Court seeking its directive on three government officials to stop felling trees at Suhrawardy Udyan.
The three officials are Liberation War Affairs Ministry Secretary Tapan Kanti Ghosh, Public Works Department's Chief Engineer Mohammad Shamim Akhter, and Bangladesh's Chief Architect Mir Manzur Rahman, said petitioners' Lawyer Manzill Murshid.
It has been prayed in the petition to the HC to issue a contempt of court rule against the three government officials for cutting trees in Suhrawardy Udyan in violation of the 2009 High Court directives, he said.
Following a writ petition, the HC on July 7, 2009, directed the government to identify and preserve all the important historic places related to the liberation war and set up memorial monuments at the historic places in the Suhrawardy Udyan.  

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