The National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports yesterday urged all political parties in the country to include forestry reservation, especially the Sundarbans, and environmental protection in their manifesto for the 11th national polls.
Speaking at a press conference at Mukti Bhaban in Dhaka, activists also demanded that the government stop all industrialisation near the Sundarbans, the world's largest mangrove forest, before declaring the schedule of the election.
The committee organised the conference to place its demands for the next polls where it announced rallies, human chains and seminars in October and November to wage the demands.
In a keynote paper, its member secretary Anu Muhammad alleged that apart from the destructive coal-based Rampal power plant, a group of forest- and land-grabbers have undertaken more than 300 commercial projects near the Sundarbans.
“Such projects should be stopped to protect the Sundarbans as well as our environment,” he said.
Two indemnity acts in the country's power sector -- that allow implementation of the projects in this sector beyond legal barriers -- create obstacles to stopping the harmful activities and protect the forest, said Anu Muhammad, a professor of Jahangirnagar University.
Political parties should commit to abolish such indemnity acts, and include forestry reservation to their election manifesto, he added.