Forest bosses flayed for failure

June 29, 2009

JS body asks for steps to recover 3.27 lakh acres grabbed land
A parliamentary body yesterday castigated forest officials for their failure to prevent grabbing of forest land and illegal felling of trees, and directed the chief conservator of forest to strengthen the drive to recover around 3.27 lakh acres of land from grabbers.
The parliamentary standing committee on the environment and forest ministry asked forest officials to come up with a report at each of its meetings specifying the progress of the drive.
It also asked the forest department to seek, if necessary, directives from the High Court to fight grabbers who obstructed recovery of forestland by filing cases.
“A vast tract of forestland has been grabbed mainly due to indifference of forest officials to protecting it and corruption among them,” chief of the committee Abdul Momin Talukder said at a news briefing after it met at the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban.
The House body made a set of recommendations which include stern legal action against individuals and organisations who pose a threat to environment and forest.
It also recommended that the government impose tax on vehicles and commodities that harm environment.
Expressing concern at the use of polythene bags again, the committee asked the environment ministry to amend the existing law to prevent the use of polythene, which is a major cause of environmental pollution.
Momin Talukder mentioned that even the state minister for forest was embarrassed as grocers gave him a polythene bag while he was shopping. “The state minister felt embarrassed, and he shared his feelings with the committee members,” said Momin, who is a BNP lawmaker.
One of the members, AKM Maidul Islam, informed the committee that birds and animals are dying due to environmental pollution caused by brickfields in his constituency Kurigram-3.
“Hence, we asked the ministry concerned to enquire into the matter and ensure that no brickfield can operate within three km from city limits across the country,” Momin said.
The parliamentary body rejected a forest department probe report on stealing of wood worth Tk40 crore at Laoachhara forest in Sylhet, terming it incomplete.
“It seems woods were stolen, but the probe report said the issue was not so serious. So, we rejected the report and asked them to come up with a complete report,” Momin said.

Courtesy of The Daily Star

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