Illegal Ship breaking yards razed

Bangladesh Forest Department yesterday demolishing structures two ship breaking yards, SK Steels and SK Ship Breaking and Recycling, erected after razing several thousand trees on 14.5 acres of forested land in Sitakunda upazila of Chittagong four years ago.  Photo: Star

Bangladesh Forest Department yesterday demolishing structures two ship breaking yards, SK Steels and SK Ship Breaking and Recycling, erected after razing several thousand trees on 14.5 acres of forested land in Sitakunda upazila of Chittagong four years ago.

The drive was launched in line with a Supreme Court order of October 6 last year. The review of the verdict was completed on January 30.

The court also directed the Chittagong deputy commissioner to give all assistance to the eviction drive and not lease the land to any person or organization in the future.

The eviction team, led by Executive Magistrate Abdullah Arif Mohammad, planted over 1,000 saplings of different tree species on the recovered land.

 

Afterwards the department planted saplings there. Photo: Star

In 1989, the authorities started foresting 125 acres of land along the Sitakunda coast, said Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) of the coastal division RSM Munirul Islam.

But in 2009, some land and district administration officials illegally leased out 14.5 acres of the land to SK Steels, and SK Ship Breaking and Recycling, said Range Officer of the coastal forest division Muktaruzzaman. He said the officials admitted this before court.

To set up the yards, the lessee felled 15,000 trees on July 3, 2009, said officials. Two buildings were demolished, while the rest of the installations, including power generators, will also be removed.

Kamal Chowdhury, one of the three owners, alleged that they were not informed of the drive beforehand. “Now we have crores of taka in loan. How will we repay?”

The Forest Department filed a case against the leasing of the land in 2009. The case finally ended up in the SC.

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Posted in Shipping Industry Worker Issues

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