In the last four fiscal years, the budget of Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) has been reduced by 91 percent in the forestry and beautification sector. On the other hand, the budget of Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) for forestry and median, beautification and greening of sidewalks has been reduced by 92 percent as compared to last year. Again, the officials concerned do not know the exact amount of money spent in this sector every year. Even in the last five years, no North-South organization has been able to give an accurate account of the number of trees planted in the capital.
In the 2016-17 financial year, the budget of DNCC for afforestation and beautification was 11 crore 50 lakh taka. Which decreased to 13 percent in the next financial year. In the 2018-19 financial year, this budget has been reduced by another 64 percent. Similarly, comparing the next four financial years with the 2016-17 financial year, it is seen that the allocation of DNCC for afforestation and beautification has decreased every year.
In this financial year, this allocation has come down to only one crore.
However, the DNCC officials do not have accurate information on how the money allocated for afforestation and beautification is being spent in any sector even after the budget is reduced every financial year. According to the research, most of the trees that have been planted in the north in the past years for afforestation and sidewalks and road divisions are in the private sector or under some or the other project. Maqsood Hashem, chief urban planner of DNCC, said that the trees planted at the private level are taken care of by the concerned institutions. “Most of our trees are planted in private-public partnerships,” he said. As a result, we do not have to spend here. Apart from this, due to some mega projects of the government, some of the trees we have planted have also been cut down. So at the moment we are not planting trees there. ‘
Asked where the money allocated for afforestation in the budget is being spent, Mohammad Abul Kashem, executive engineer of the DNCC’s Environment, Climate and Disaster Management Circle, said, “In fact, the afforestation of our main roads is in the private sector.” But in other small places we do some work. However, he could not say anything about the works in that small place. ‘
Meanwhile, the budget of South Dhaka for afforestation and median, beautification and greening of footpaths was Tk 204 million in FY 2016-17, which has been reduced by 24 percent in FY 2017-18. In the 2018-19 financial year, this budget has been reduced by 69 percent. Although this budget increased in the last financial year, the budget has decreased by 92 percent in the current financial year as compared to that. In the last five financial years, the total budget of DSCC for afforestation and median, beautification and greening of footpaths was Tk 8 crore 72 lakh. However, the officials do not have an account of the expenditure of that allocation.
According to the investigation, in the last five financial years, the DSCC has not spent any money on its own allocation for afforestation and median, beautification and greening of sidewalks. In this case, the little work that has been done is also under one or another project. As a result, the corporation did not spend its own money in this sector. But the concerned officials have no good answer as to where the money went. Everyone is giving different answers. Someone says, this money is spent on inter-departmental coordination. Some say the money is revised in the next budget. Again, on condition of anonymity, an official said the money actually went into the project. However, the chief urban planner of the DSCC. Sirajul Islam said, there is never a chance for the budget’s own money to go into any project. This information is incorrect.
If you want to know about the DSCC Environment, Climate and Disaster Management Circle Supervising Engineer. Khairul Buck declined to comment.
Meanwhile, trees have been planted in the city under various projects at different times, but those trees do not last long. Experts believe that many trees planted by city corporations do not survive due to unplanned planting that does not suit the geographical environment.
Dhaka University Professor of Botany. Md. Jasim Uddin said, ‘The city corporation never puts experts in the planting plans. As a result, most of the time they plant trees that are not suitable for the city. These trees do not live long. We have to plant suitable trees for our country here. ‘