UNB, Sylhet : Unabated hill cutting is posing a serious threat to the environment in Haripur of Jaintapur upazila, an area rich in mineral resources. Hills and hillocks are being levelled in the pretext of making space for constructing buildings but the red soil is being sold instead to be used for filling up rivers, ponds and lowlands in the area. Locals said that some influential people are involved in the process. They expressed anger and frustration at the inactivity of the local administration, forest department and police. Many are cutting hills in the area in the cover of darkness. Alkas, a local Awami League leader, said hills are being razed to fill up low-lying land in the area. "I'm currently cutting down the hillocks of freedom fighter Manik Mia and Rahim. I'm looking for another hillock," he said, asking the UNB correspondent not to write about the matter. Section 6 (Kha) of the Bangladesh Environment Conservation Act 1995 prohibits cutting and/or razing hill and hillocks. They can be cut or razed in national interest with the permission of the Department of Environment. The maximum penalty for illegal hill cutting is 10 years' imprisonment and a fine of Tk 10 lakh.
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