11 September 2012 - At least 30 trees were felled for allegedly grabbing the land to set up ship-breaking yards in Sonaichhari coastal area of Sitakunda upazila.
Hasan Mia, beat officer of Coastal Forest Department of Sitakunda Range, said they had seized the chopped off Kewra trees on Sunday.
Locals said the trees were cut down on Saturday night and only 10 trees were left.
Yesterday, during a visit to the spot, this correspondent found two tin-shed houses with two signboards. One of those read –“Site for Nowshin Steel”, while the other –“MSS Steel Recycling”.
However, this correspondent could not trace any industry in Chittagong by the names.
Locals said the whole area was covered by coastal forest before early 2009. On July 3 of the year, around 15,000 mangrove trees were felled on instructions of some influential quarters who wanted to set up four ship-yards there.
On November 29 of the same year, around 5,000 trees of the forest were felled again.
Quoting locals, Hasan said people from the ship-breaking business are involved in the felling of the trees.
“We are about to lodge a case in this connection,” he added.