Rajshahi University of Engineering and Technology (RUET) is cutting down half-century-old trees to make way for a new administrative and academic building.
Till Wednesday, at least 15 Royal Poinciana and Siamese Senna trees have been cut down to the clear ground for the construction of those buildings and their logs are being removed from the campus by workers on rickshaws and vans.
The timber from the trees cut have been sold at a nominal price to an employee of RUET.
The price of timber from each tree is estimated to be worth around Tk 50,000, but the RUET authorities have sold all 15 trees only for Tk 1.27 lakh.
Regarding the timber, the RUET authorities stated that the timber from these trees have been sold in accordance with the appropriate rules.
RUET Registrar Professor Mohammad Selim Hossain said, "The trees have been sold to the person who paid the highest price according to proper rules."
According to campus sources, most of these trees were planted in 1964 on the RUET campus when it was founded.
Environmentalists say that cutting down old trees in this way will have an adverse impact on the environment.
Regarding this, Registrar Selim Hossain said that these trees are being cut down to implement the development projects of the prime minister.
Recently, the government has approved a development project worth Tk600 crore. Under the project, RUET authorities will construct 13 buildings including ten 10-storey buildings. Of those, 3 buildings have already been constructed.
It is expected that 50 more trees might be cut for the project.
Professor Mohammad Selim Hossain said, "Trees will be cut in the areas where the buildings will be constructed. For this, RUET authorities have planted one thousand trees on the campus in the first week of August."
When asked about the trees cut, the forest department said that they were not aware of it.
Rajshahi Divisional Forest Officer Ahmed Niamur Rahman said, "Authorisation should be obtained from the forest department authorities before cutting down government trees and the forest department should assess the price of the trees."