To raise awareness among villagers about the necessity of protecting birds, thirty students of different schools and colleges in Saidpur upazila celebrated the Bangla new year by arranging a week-long cycle tour through rural roads carrying posters, distributing leaflets and holding roadside meetings.
The students of Kashiram, Belpukur and Bangalipur unions started their mission from Bangalipur High School premises on Monday. The programme has been organised by a bird-friendly local voluntary organisation named Setubandhon, and the participants are paying their own expenses.
This correspondent found the participants distributing leaflets among people at Chowmuhuni bazar in Bangalipur union on Monday.
“People celebrate new year by wearing new dress or cooking delicious food, but we like to observe it by campaigning to create love for birds as they are on the verge of extinction,” said college student Khurshid Zaman Kakon.
“People cut down trees without realising that it destroys the natural habitat of birds. During our rally we distribute leaflets and deliver speeches explaining the necessity of birds,” said Belayet Hossain Bipu.
During the visit, this correspondent saw that the boys were carrying posters saying, 'Killing wild animals and birds is a punishable crime,' 'If you want good days, let the birds survive,' 'Learn about birds and be kind to them.'
The youths said they plan to move through Khalisha, Hazipara, Bangalipur, Chowmuhuni, Khatamodhupur, Belpukur Hazari, Kamarpukur, Aishdhal and Chawra villages.
“I am delighted to see the excellent job of the youths and take part with them in distributing leaflets and delivering speeches,” said Bangalipur Union Parishad Chairman Pronobesh Bagchi.
Farmer Hamidul Islam of Hazari village said he learnt that birds eat up harmful insects in his crops field and from now he will not allow anybody to kill or disturb birds.
Khalisha High School Headmaster Fazlur Rahman, 50, said his students learnt from the youths that birds are necessary for the environment and existence of mankind as well.
“We are a voluntary organisation of local youths working for two years. We have set up several hundred earthen pitchers on trees in our working area to make a safe abode for birds,” said founder of Setubandhan Alamgir Hossain, 22, also an honours student in a local college.
“I am very happy to see the sincere effort of the Setubandhan youths. Whenever they inform me about presence of bird hunters in the villages, I instantly launch mobile court. This coordinated effort makes the villages a safe haven for birds,” said Saidpur Upazila Nirbahi Officer Bazlur Rashid.