An inter-ministerial body formed to resolve the dispute between the Bangladesh Forest Department (BFD) and the Roads and Highways Department (RHD) over a proposed road through two reserve forests earlier this month decided against the project, reports our Chattogram correspondent.
The body comprised of nine members from forest, environment and climate change ministry, road transport ministry and planning ministry also suggested an alternative -- expanding the existing Mirsarai-Narayanhat road connecting Mirsarai and Fatikchari upazila.
The RHD had planned on constructing the nine-km road through the Hazarkhali Wildlife Sanctuary and Boroiyadala National Park in Chattogram. The proposal whipped up strong opposition from the divisional forest office (north) under Chattogram forest circle.
Following the dispute, the committee -- led by Chandan Kumar Dey, additional secretary of Road Transportation and Bridge Ministry -- was formed to assess the impact of the project.
In its final report, the committee came up with an alternative suggestion considering the biodiversity and wildlife resources of the forest.
After visiting the wildlife sanctuary and national park on December 18 last year, the committee held a tripartite meeting where representative of the RHD emphasised on the necessity of the road, insisting wildlife can be protected through erecting barriers, fencing and making corridors.
Earlier, the RHD had issued a work order to its selected contractors to build the road through the protected areas after ECNEC (Executive Committee for National Economic Council) approved the project in May 2018.
The construction work came to a halt after the forest department objected to it as no clearance was taken from them in line with a circular issued by the cabinet division in 2015.