The government has taken steps to reclaim the illegally occupied 138,613 acres of reserved forest land, said Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister on the day of International Day of Forests.
The forest minister claimed that a significant portion of the forcibly occupied reserved forest land has already been vacated. He, however, did not mention the figure of reclaimed land.
The minister made the remarks while addressing a discussion meeting organized by the Forest Department on the occasion of International Day of Forests-2021 on Sunday with the theme “Forest Restoration: A path to recovery and well-being”.
He mentioned that the amount of tree resources in the Sundarbans has increased citing National Forest Survey that says the total carbon reserves in the Sundarbans are 139 million tonnes in 2019, compared to 107 million tonnes in the 2009 survey.
He vowed that the country’s forest lands will be cleared of illegal occupation at any cost and legal action would be taken against both the occupiers of the forest and those who assisted in the occupation.
At the meeting, Deputy Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change Begum Habibun Nahar said her ministry was discouraging deforestation and construction of facilities in forest in the name of development.
She paid tribute to the forest workers killed in forest protection and said the government has success stories in clearing illegal forest lands.
“Even an inch of forest land would not be kept in a state of encroachment,” Saber Hossain Chowdhury, chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, said adding that the contribution of the officials of the forest department will be evaluated to this effect.
Checks of Tk 1.5 million were distributed among five beneficiaries of social forestry.
Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Climate Change Ahmed Shamim Al Razi was present as special guests at the meeting which was chaired by Chief Conservator of Forests Md Amir Hossain Chowdhury.