Thousands in Pattashi union of Pirojpur’s Indurkani upazila and Bagerhat’s Morrelganj upazila have been suffering immensely for almost a year as a vital road they use has turned into a muddy ditch — thanks to the negligence of forest department.

Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) was supposed to complete construction of the 800-metre-long road, at Pashchim Charani Pattashi village of Pattashi union in Indurkani, more than five months ago.

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But the LGED in Indurkani said they could not carry out the work as the forest department did not yet remove nearly 200 hundred trees from both sides of the road. The trees were planted under social forestry programme of the forest department.

According to the LGED, after starting in June last year, the work was scheduled to be completed within the next six months.

Locals said the LGED contractor left the site six months ago, after turning the road into a trench, by removing upper layer of soil from the road.

Following rain showers of past few weeks, the road has now become a long muddy ditch, they also said.

Villager Asadul Islam said thousands of people from different parts of Pattashi union and nearby Morrelganj upazila in Bagerhat need to use this road every day, but now it has become a nightmare for them.

Now driving down the muddy road has turned extremely hazardous, said Pannu Kazi, driver of battery-run rickshaw van in the village.

Contacted, Laila Mithun, LGED engineer in Indurkani upazila, said, “We officially asked the forest department to remove the trees”, but they did not take any step in this regard even after eight months.

“The construction of the road remained incomplete only due to the negligence of the forest department,” she alleged.

Asked, Shafikul Islam, range officer of social forestry department in Pirojpur, said there are 171 trees on the both sides of the road and he submitted his relevant report to the divisional office of the forest department in Bagerhat immediately after taking count of the trees.

However, SM Ali Asgar, assistant forest conservator of social forestry department in Bagerhat division, blamed it on the outbreak of pandemic, for which they had been unable to float tender for selling the trees.  

Without specifying any timeframe, he also said, “We hope to remove the trees within a short time.”

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