Bapa condemns leasing out forestland in Cox’s Bazar
The Daily Star
September 11, 2021
Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (Bapa) condemned the land ministry's decision
to lease out 700 acres of protected forest area in Cox's Bazar to
Bangladesh Civil Service Administration Academy.
Bapa urged authorities to cancel the lease in a statement sent to the media
on Thursday. The statement was signed by Bapa President Sultana Kamal and
General Secretary Sharif Jamil.
The land ministry in June granted the lease in Suknachari area of Cox's
Bazar's Jhilwanja union, next to Marine Drive, prompting an outrage among
greens, as 15 organisations based in Cox's Bazar decided to wage a tough
movement to have the lease suspended.
Bangladesh Civil Service Administration Academy is planning on building a
training institute on the land. The statement termed the decision a threat
to biodiversity and forest ecology, as the leased area is home to
endangered flora and fauna, including the Asian elephant.
The forest was declared "protected" in 1935 and has been under the Forest
Department's supervision and care. It is home to 58 species of trees,
Asian elephants, deer, Burmese pythons and birds. The lease was granted in
violation of the national forest policy, forest law and the government's
commitment to the international community to protect forest land, it read.
A quarter in the government is out to grab forest land. This practice has
been wreaking havoc on already shrunk forest land, the statement alleged.
It is in no way acceptable. Forest land is being leased out for building
structures. This decision will jeopardise the environment of Cox's Bazar,
the statement warned.