Tale of an unsung tree lover

The government has not even taken any initiative to save the trees

palm tress Brick kiln labourer Alimuddin Pramanik of Dupchachia upazila set an imitable example by planting 15,000 trees, mostly palm and date, on government land out of his caring thoughts for the environment. Alimuddin died in 1992 at the age of 64, leaving behind a big family of 12 members. His trees are still standing on both sides of the Bogra-Naogaon road from Dupchachia to Choumuhoni, a 3km stretch. He also planted trees in the 2km area comprising Masinda, Kamargachhi and Chhatagari villages.

Alimuddin planted trees for the sake of clean environment for the next generation, his family members said, adding that the "environmentalist" day labourer planted the trees on government land so that nobody, not even his own children, can claim ownership of those trees in future. Alimuddin's son Bhutto Pramanik often used to accompany him in planting trees. Bhutto said his father used to buy or collect the palm seeds from people. He would request students to bring the palm seeds wasted in their houses.

Thus Alimuddin planted 15,000 palm and date trees and a few coconut and rain trees from 1982 to 1987. "The price of the 12,500 palm trees and 2,500 date trees my father had planted would be around Tk 3 crore at present," said Bhutto, who does not have the means to buy even their daily bread.

Asked why Alimuddin planted mostly palm and date trees, his son said cows and goats do not eat these trees, so the trees do not need extra care. Children of Alimuddin are very proud of their father, who sacrificed his money, even his children's fortune, for the sake of environment.

Bhutto said once his father had 23 bighas of cultivable land but he sold them to maintain his family and plant trees. Later, at old age Alimuddin took a job at a brick kiln. But Alimuddin is yet to receive any government recognition for his deed. Locals remember Alimuddin but no government agency has ever inquired who planted those trees. The government has not even taken any initiative to save the trees. Locals said many people are often felling the trees (Hasibur Rahman Bilu, Bogra, October 6, 2007).

Population 149112; male 50.77%, female 49.23%; Muslim 90.57%, Hindu 9.15%, others 0.28%.; ethnic nationals: 1062 (santal).

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