• Saturday, January 31, 2015

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Environment: At the mercy of the policy makers

At every opportunity, the leadership of Bangladesh reminds the industrial nations that global climate change is pushing the country towards a grim, uncertain future. Yet, the government staunchly defends not only the construction of the coal-fired Rampal Power Plant near the Sundarbans, it also gave green signal to commercial vessels to ply the Shela River flowing through the forest despite the recent environment-threatening oil spill and recommendation by UN experts to declare the river an out-of-bounds area. And the recent...

Alternative to Shela route will reopen by June

The Mongla-Ghasiakhali channel will reopen by June as an alternative to the Shela river route for water traffic movement, says a BIWTA report. The Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority submitted the report to the parliamentary standing committee on shipping ministry during a meeting yesterday. The BIWTA also informed the committee that 25 percent of the dredging of the channel had been completed and the navigability would be restored by June for resuming vessels' operation on the route. An oil tanker sank in...

Sundarbans tourism battered by blockade

The Sundarbans, one of the country's most popular tourism spots, witnessed a dramatic drop in visitors during the peak tourism season this winter due to the ongoing countrywide blockade enforced by the BNP-led 20-party alliance. “Peak tourism season continues in the Sundarbans. But the local and foreign tourists could not visit the tourist spot due to the ongoing political blockade. Tourists do not want to visit the Sundarbans putting their lives at risk on highways during the blockade,” Divisional Forest...

Tiger poaching rising despite govt measures

Even though the government has taken various measures to protect Bengal Tigers in the Sundarbans, its poaching is on the rise with 49 being killed in last 14 years (2001-2014), according to forest department data.  Among the 49 tigers, 17 were killed in the Sundarbans east zone of the forest department while 15 were killed in the Sundarbans west zone. According to the data, the forest department recovered 17 tiger skins from different parts of the country during the period (2001-2014)...

Sundarbans Bengal Tiger skin seized, 3 held

Sundarbans Bengal Tiger skin seized, 3 held

Three poachers have been held with the skin of an enormous Bengal Tiger of the Sundarbans from Bagerhat’s Morelganj upazila, Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) claimed today. Rab-8 held the three along with the 10-feet-long tiger skin and several pieces of the animal in a crackdown, Captain Hasibul Haque, spokesperson of Rab-8, told The Daily...


400 vessels in a single day!

IT is disquieting to see that despite the government's direction on 'controlled movement of vessels' through Shela River, 400 vessels plied through the route on the very first day of its reopening. Though the Sundarbans is still reeling in a catastrophe, the government decided to reopen the route only 26 days after the disaster. It defied recommendations of environmentalists and UN experts. The people remain in the dark as to the basis on which the government took the decision;...


Leave Sundarbans alone

THAT the government has reopened the Shela river route for vessel movement is totally unacceptable. It is also frustrating to note that, before doing so, the authorities did not take any safeguarding measures to prevent such accidents in the future. The recent oil tanker accident proved how fragile our whole system is. The shipping ministry said that vessels would ply the Shela river in a “controlled” way. We wonder how the government will control the vessel movements, given its weak...

286 vessels pass thru' Shela route

286 vessels pass thru' Shela route

Despite an outcry from green activists, shipping has resumed through the Shela river from Wednesday with at least a dozen cargo ships having violated rules on the very first day. The river was made off limits to shipping after a tanker capsized in the water streaming through the Sundarbans on December 9, spilling 3.58...

2 ‘pirates’ killed in Sundarbans ‘gunfight’

2 ‘pirates’ killed in Sundarbans ‘gunfight’

Two alleged pirates were killed in “gunfight” with elite force Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) this morning in the Sundarbans at Mongla upazila of Bagerhat. One of the victims were identified as Sagir, 30, the second-in-command of a notorious local dacoit gang Daroga Bahini, our Bagerhat correspondent reports quoting Maj Adnan Kabir, deputy commander of...


Reopening of Shela Route

WE are concerned over the government's decision to reopen the Shela route defying the recommendations of environmentalists and UN experts following the spillage of 358,000 litres of furnace oil in the Sundarbans area. We have noted with increasing apprehension the authorities' lackluster attitude towards the protection of the Sundarbans prior to and since the oil spill took place and spread over a vast area of the largest mangrove forest in the world, endangering its flora and fauna. The decision to...

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