A fire incident on Jahangirnagar University (JU) campus severely burnt trees and plants on about 10 acres of reserve forest area yesterday.
At noon, the fire originated at the reserve forest area, adjacent to the university’s chemistry department building, said Jefrul Hassan Chowdhury, security officer of the university.
“We reported the incident to the fire-service station as fire spread out around 1:30pm. Later, two units of Savar fire service brought the situation under control,” he said.
It took an hour to douse the blaze.
“The reason behind the fire is still unknown; miscreants lighting cigarettes at the area might have started it,” station officer Mahfuzur Rahman told reporters.
Although the university’s estate office is responsible for maintaining the area, none of its officials were seen at the spot during the incident.
Abu Sayeed, general secretary of Samajtantrik Chhatra Front’s JU unit, alleged that university gardeners set fire to bushes to keep places beside the roads and buildings clean, as trimming overgrown bushes is time-consuming.
The biodiversity and ecological balance of the campus are being harmed due to frequent fires. Authorities should look into the real cause to stop such incidents, he added.
Abdur Rahman Babul, acting officer of the university’s estate office, could not be reached after repeatedly trying.
Expressing dissatisfaction, Prof Khabir Uddin of JU’s environmental sciences department, said, “Fires will not only affect trees and animals but also damage the land permanently, as micro-bacteria and other micro-components of soil, which are must for fertility, get destroyed.”
He also urged to take immediate measures to stop such incidents.