Special forest laws to save Sundarbans demanded

Bagerhat Correspondent, The New Nation May 9, 2012

Dr. Mozammel Hossin MP and former deputy minister and  Adv. Mir Shawkat Ali Badsha, MP  said, that special forest laws should be enacted immediately in order to save  Sundarbans, the biggest mangrove forest of the world and one of the world heritage site  while they were speaking as he Chief Guest and special guest respectively in a seminar held at Bagerhat Press Club auditorium held on Monday  with Prof. Mozaffar Hossain, President of Bagerhat District Policy Forum in the chair.

The seminar was organized by NGO Nablok with the assistance of USAID and Asian Foundation. They also said that a number of organized gangs of  dacoits and jungle pirates with he help of come corrupt fores employees are destroying the forest. Some local people of the localities are also responsible for that.

In the welcome speech Mihir Kumar, Divisional Forest Officer of the Eastern Zone disclosed the history of the forest in a nutshell. He says that Sundarban is the largest contiguous  of mangrove forest in the world  and it is located on the extreme of south-west part along the Bay of Bengal of Bangladesh.

Sundarbans covers 49.1% of the total Reserved Forest and 4.2 % of total area of Bangladesh.

He adds that Sundarbans Reserved Forest (SRF) covers 6,017 sq km.. Out of the total 4,143 sq km. (69 %) is land and the rest, 1,873 sq km. is water bodies.

At the beginning of the 18th century, the forest was double of the present size and was under the control of Zamindars. In 1828, British government first took its control over Sundabans management. In 1874 the Sundarbans was declared as Revenue Forest and then was placed under the control of he Forest Department in 1879.

The Sundarbans forest is now running under the forest Act of 1927.

The DFO further adds that now it is divided into two divisions-The  Eastern and Thee Western Zones. The headquarters of the East is in Bagerhat and that of the West is in Khulna. The best portion of the forest is under the Eastern Zone. He adds that there are as many as  291 spices of fish, 440 tigers, about 1 .5 lakh deer, about 50 thousand monkey about, 25 thousand wild boar, about 2 hundred crocodiles and about 25 thousands otters at present in Sundarban forest, according to a census of the year 2004.

Sundarbans Eastern zone earned Tk. 3 crore 56 lakh 98 thousand 3 hundred 9 in the fiscal year of 2005-06 while in the  same period the Western zone earned a sum of Tk,  crore 24 lakh 5 thousand 5 hundred 62. So, the DFO urged the all concerned to take all the  nercenary steps to save the forest.

It was also addressed among other by Hirendranath Haldar, Deputy Director of Bagerhat District Agriculture Extensin Department, Prof, Amiruzzamn, Bisnuprosahd Chakravarty, Secretary General of Bagerhat Press club and others. All the speakers urged the government to take necessary steps and enact new laws for the protection of the Sundarban forest.