Forest research institute totters | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 26, 2011 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, May 26, 2011

Forest research institute totters

Bangladesh Forest Research Institute, Chittagong

The only national institute for research on forest resources limps with a shortage of human resources.
Bangladesh Forest Research Institute (BFRI), Chittagong, the only institution to conduct research on forests, functions with only 42 first class officers, out of 103 posts, and 11 second class officers, out of 43. The posts of the third class employees are 433 where 58 are working. The posts of fourth class employee are 213 but at present only 45 are working.
State Minister for Environment and Forest Dr Hasan Mahmud at a function here on March 4 assured BFRI, Chittagong of developing it as the most prestigious institute in the South Asian region.
Dr Hasan said the institute helps in enhancing the gravity and beauty of the port city and assured of filling up the vacant posts immediately. But the vacant posts are yet to be filled up, sources said.
Dr Mokhlesur Rahman, director of BFRI, Chittagong, told The Daily Star that the research activities are being hampered due to lack of researchers. Fifty-three percent posts of researchers are lying vacant, he added.
Mokhles said the ministry asked Public Service Commission for recruitment of researchers to fill up the vacant posts immediately.
Prof Dr Kamal Hossain of Department of Forestry and Environmental Sciences of Chittagong University (CU) said BFRI, Chittagong is to depend on the ministry for all of its decisions including recruitment, as it is not an autonomous institution, causing problems in its function.
Like Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute, Bangladesh Rice Research Institute, BFRI, Chittagong needs autonomy to function properly.
Dr Kamal said the promotion process in BFRI, Chittagong is very slow which is an obstacle to bringing dynamism in work as some officials have been working in the same posts for 20 years.
Established in 1955 as “Forest Products Laboratory” with a view to inventing technology for improvement and development of forest resources, BFRI, Chittagong is situated on an area of 28 hectares of land at Sholashahar in the port city. Later, it was upgraded to a full-phased national research institute in 1968.
It has been functioning under Ministry of Environment and Forest Affairs since 1985.
The institute is now divided into two units -- Forest Management and Forest Resources. The research activities are conducted under 17 departments of which 11 are under forest management and six others are under Forest Resources.
BFRI, Chittagong was established with a vision of playing role to assist the country in achieving self reliance in forest and forest resources.
Its mission is to conduct research activities in inventing proper technologies to increase forest resources and proper utilisation of these resources and let the countrymen know about these technologies and their uses.
It has a rich library with 11,832, bulletins and monographs on forestry. The library also collects 12 local and 79 international journals on regular basis as members of the institutions concerned.
BFRI, Chittagong publishes different research works mainly through “Bangladesh Journal of Forest Science.”
BFRI, Chittagong has some rich museums of Herbarium, Jailerium, Arboretum, Bamboos tom, insects and fungi, stuffed rare wild animals and forestry.
Around 21,000 specimens of different kinds of trees are kept in Herbarium. In Arboretum there are 60 local and 20 foreign specimens of trees. Bamboos tom is a collection of 28 species of local bamboo. There are 6,000 specimens of insects and fungi in the museum of insect and fungi.
Dr Mokhles termed the museum of wild animals as one of the richest and rarest collection museum in the South East Asian region.

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