Bangaladesh preparing composite plan to protect Sundarbans

Jayanta Mallick Kolkata | Updated on December 20, 2014 Published on December 20, 2014

sundarbans   -  PTI

Bangladesh is giving final touches to the proposal before presenting it to Indian government for joint consultation process.

Bangladesh is preparing a composite plan, for joint implementation with India, to protect Sundarbans. The 10,000 square kilometres world’s largest mangrove forest is shared largely by Bangladesh (6,000 sqkm) with India.

Akhtaruz Zaman Khan Kabir, Chief Executive Officer of Bangladesh Tourism Board told Business Line here on Saturday that Bangladesh Government is giving final touches to the proposal before formally presenting it to the Government of India for a joint consultation process.

The world heritage site is currently facing ecological threat, dwindling green cover, human encroachments, livelihood issues as well as conservation of Royal Bengal Tigers, Gangetic dolphins and few other animal varieties including a rare species of crocodiles.

“The fragile ecosystem needs a holistic approach for economically and environmentally sustainable conservation efforts by the two countries,” the Bangladesh official said on the sidelines of an event organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce.

He said the proposal document, to be shared shortly with New Delhi, has incorporated conservation, eco tourism, and security as well as human livelihood issues.

The massive Ganga-Brahmaputra delta area with its intricate network of waterways, according to experts, in the past six decades has withstood serious population and pollution pressures, and gradual inundation of land areas.

Last week, in an accident in the Chandpai dolphin sanctuary in Bangladesh, a cargo vessel spilt of more than 3.5 lakh litres of furnace oil into the waters of Sela river. The authorities are reportedly still struggling to put together a proper clean up action.

The Bangladesh government opened up the delta in 2011 to large commercial vessels. Now, a 1,320-mw coal-fired power plant has also been proposed 14 km from the northern part of the delicate delta in Bangladesh.

In the western side of Sundarbans, a large resort project proposed a few years ago by the Sahara India group to West Bengal died young as the group got mired in controversy.

At present, the official enumeration placed the tiger population at around 200 in the forest. The West Bengal Government is trying to promote a Tiger Safari project in Sundarbans and to build eco tourism and transport infrastructures.

Published on December 20, 2014

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