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Indiscriminate burning of firewood

40 brick kilns posing threats in Bandarban

Bandarban Correspondent: Some forty brick kilns in the district are being run illegally at the very nose of the district administration, violating the brick kilns act 2013, much to the problems for human habitations, schools and farmlands.

Hundreds mounds of firewood is being burnt everyday in those kilns, destroying the natural forests in the district.

The brick kilns are running in the remote areas of Lama, Alikadom, Naikkhangchhari, Rowangchhari, Ruma, Thanchi and even in the sadar upazilla of the district despite a statutory restriction.

This year twenty one brick kilns in Faitong, Fashiakhali, Sarai, Gajalia and sadar union of Lama upazilla, eight in Sadar upazila, four in Naikkhongchhari, three in Rowangchhari, two in Alikadom, one in each in Thanchi and Ruma upazilas, sources said from District Administration.

Shahidul Alam, acting Director of DoE, Chittagong Division, said, “The brick kilns in Bandarban are running illegally as they have no clearance certificate from the DoE.”

“We are going to operate mobile court in the respective upazillas of the district to stop the illegal practice very soon”, he adds.

The owners of these brick kilns have not even taken any permission from the authority of respective upazilas, union parishads and municipality authorities for the purpose.

The brick-fields set up in near at residential areas, on agricultural lands, even beside schools, which are posing serious health hazards and polluting environment.

Instead of using environment friendly 120 feet chimneys, they are using banned only 30-40 drum chimneys and burning firewood for making bricks in almost every kilns.

According to the Brick Making and Kilns Establishment (Control) Act-2013, the use of firewood is strictly banned.

Around 300-350 mounds of firewood are used everyday in each of these illegal brick kilns in connivance with the unscrupulous forest officials.

The owners of the brick-fileds and some dishonest forest officials allegedly have nexus in running the illicit business.

Talking to some owners---Nazmul Haque Piaro, a local AL leader, Samsuddin, and Md. Kamal of Naikkhongchhari upazila---they admitted that their kilns were illegal.

They, however, said that about the matter of gratifying the upazilas administration for their illegal business.

“We did not get the clearance certificate from the DoE this year while we are operating brick kilns,” said Kabir, Belal, Fakrul and Swapan all are owners of brick kilns in Lama upazilla.

Md Jashim, a local AL leader, has built a brick kiln on an arable land, also within 150 feet from Menron Para Non-Government Primary School in Ruma upazila, defying law and ignoring protest from the students, said teachers and locals.

It is very difficult to stay in the classroom due to black smoke emits from the kiln, and the noise and dust from trucks coming the kiln laoding with friewood every day, said students and teachers of the school during a visit to the area.

“We the teachers and local people urged the upazila administration to stop operation of those kilns very adjacent ot school but no action has been taken yet,” said (Name) headmaster of the school.

“For burning firewood in those kilns, indiscriminate felling of forest tress with the help of few dishonest forest officials is continued to unabated, posing threat to the environment and public health hazard of the district,” said Jumlian Amlai, president of Parbattya Chattagram Forest and Land Rights Protection Movement (Bandarban Chapter).

“The illegal brick kilns owners of the district use thousands mound of firewood every year destroying ecological balance. The authority seemed to had taken no action rather it favoured of them”, Amali adds.

Divisional Forest Officer Rafiqul Islam Chowdhury of Lama Forest Division confessed that few officials of his department might have involvement with the owners. He assured about taking proper legal action against people those who cut down forest trees if once red handed.

Bandarban Deputy Commissioner Mizanul Haque Chowdhury confessed that all the brick kilns in the district are operating illegally.

“Our administration is aware of these brick kilns and action will be taken against the owners after investigation”, said DC.