The Ministry of Liberation War Affairs has continued to fell trees inside the Suhrawardy Udyan to build restaurants even after protests by environmentalists.
Construction work is going on at seven points. Trees have also been cut down to build concrete walkways. Last year, trees were razed in a swathe of the park opposite TSC at Dhak University and in another area from across the Faculty of Fine Arts.
Restaurant structures have become visible at these sites. The roofs have already been completed.
Meanwhile, Poribesh Bachao Andolon on Tuesday demanded that the felling of trees be stopped immediately. On Wednesday, young writers, artistes, literati and filmmakers held human chains to press home the same demand.
Sujit Sajib, young filmmaker, said that nearly 300 trees had been cut down, more than one-third of which were 30-40 years old.
"We have to maintain the ecological balance in whatever we do. People come here to find bliss amongst trees. If the park that is known as the life of Dhaka is ruined, where our next generations will go to breathe in fresh air!" he said.
Three demands were placed at the human chain; those behind the cutting of trees should be brought to justice, no more trees will be felled in future in the name of development, and 10,000 saplings will be planted in the rainy season.
Squirrels, brahmini kites are losing habitats
An enchanting but common sight at the park is Brahminy Kite on the trees called Gagan Sirish. Many such trees have been razed.
Nature lovers say the Brahmini kite population will fall drastically if the park loses more Gagan Sirish trees.
Birds of many species, such as doel, shyama, shalik and bulbuli are also at risk of losing their habitats in the concrete jungle of Dhaka. Fern, shrubs, bees, snakes, bats and butterflies that enrich the biodiversity of the park are also threatened due to thoughtless construction.
"Humans cannot put animals in danger like this. We can build without disturbing nature but the government has chosen to destroy it," Sajib said.
Experts also express concerns over rising temperature.
M Zakir Hossain Khan, climate change specialist and honorary executive director of Change Initiative, said the decline in trees would reduce rainfall. Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the environment lowering the atmospheric temperature.
Dhaka dwellers are facing heat waves because of diminishing greens and increasing concrete structures, he added.
Meanwhile, the ministry said it would plant 1,000 trees and sought public support for the project.
In a notice, it said many structures, including monuments, had been built to preserve the history of the Liberation War and different movements so that the world and young generations could learn about them.
The ongoing construction is also aimed at preserving war history and drawing local and foreign tourists.
The project taken up on 1 January 2018 is scheduled to be completed by 30 June 2022 at the cost of Tk 265.44 crore. Until now, Tk 78 crore has been spent.