Bapa condemns leasing out forestland in Cox’s Bazar
Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (Bapa) condemned the land ministry's decision to lease out 700 acres of protected forest area in Cox's Bazar to Bangladesh Civil Service Administration Academy.
Bapa urged authorities to cancel the lease in a statement sent to the media on Thursday. The statement was signed by Bapa President Sultana Kamal and General Secretary Sharif Jamil.
The land ministry in June granted the lease in Suknachari area of Cox's Bazar's Jhilwanja union, next to Marine Drive, prompting an outrage among greens, as 15 organisations based in Cox's Bazar decided to wage a tough movement to have the lease suspended.
Bangladesh Civil Service Administration Academy is planning on building a training institute on the land. The statement termed the decision a threat to biodiversity and forest ecology, as the leased area is home to endangered flora and fauna, including the Asian elephant.
The forest was declared "protected" in 1935 and has been under the Forest Department's supervision and care. It is home to 58 species of trees, endangered
Asian elephants, deer, Burmese pythons and birds. The lease was granted in violation of the national forest policy, forest law and the government's commitment to the international community to protect forest land, it read.
A quarter in the government is out to grab forest land. This practice has been wreaking havoc on already shrunk forest land, the statement alleged.
It is in no way acceptable. Forest land is being leased out for building structures. This decision will jeopardise the environment of Cox's Bazar, the statement warned.