2,468 acres of forest land recovered in past 8 months: Bangladesh Forest Department
The Bangladesh Forest Department has recovered 2,468 acres of forest land from grabbers in the last eight months.
Officials of the forest department shared this information at a meeting of the parliamentary standing committee on environment, forest and climate change affairs ministry at the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban.
Ruling Awami League MP and chief of the parliamentary watchdog Saber Hossain Chowdhury presided over the meeting at the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban.
Earlier on February 7, the forest department informed the Jatiya Sangsad Committee that over 1.6 lakh individuals and organisations have grabbed 2.57 lakh acres of forest land across the country.
The grabbed forest land is in 28 districts and Cox's Bazar is the worst affected with 59,471 acres of forest land grabbed, the department said.
Of the total grabbed land, 1.38 lakh acres of reserved forests were occupied by 88,215 individuals and organisations.
This was the first time in the country's history that the forest department made a complete and detailed list of grabbers of forest land which is a huge document of nearly 5,000 pages, Saber Hossain earlier told The Daily Star.
In that meeting, the parliamentary body had asked the ministry to take immediate measures to recover the grabbed forest land and to make sure that a "good amount" of forest land is recovered in the next two to three years.
In today's meeting, the committee recommended to specify the responsibilities in its new organogram in a bid to protect forest department's land and to make the department more effective.
The committee recommends that necessary steps be taken to ensure that the rate of deforestation in Bangladesh is lower than the rate of deforestation published by various international organisations.
The parliamentary body also emphasised on risk assessment before adopting any plan under the Department of Environment.
The meeting also discussed in detail the feasibility study project titled `Feasibility Study of Transboundary Wildlife Corridor in Chattogram, Chottogram Hill Tract and Cox's Bazar with Myanmar and India 'to assess the feasibility of setting up a Wildlife Corridor prepared by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change.