Even seven months after its approval red tapes are holding back a much-hyped government project aimed at the sustainable conversation of Sundarbans, the world's largest mangrove forest.
The Tk. 1.5-billion Sundarbans Conservation project got the go-ahead by the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) at its last January 5 meeting chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
The meeting set December 31, 2024, as the deadline to complete the project.
But officials are yet clear necessary files delaying take-off of the important project on the Sundarbans, home to famed Bengal Tigers, exotic flora, and fauna. Besides, the forest has worked as a natural shield to protect the coast from severe cyclones.
What’s the project about?
The project will be implemented to protect the Sundarbans in a sustainable manner through the modernisation of internal communication systems with ICT.
Surveys will be conducted to track the number of animals, their habitats and diseases and the characteristics of the conserved area and its environment under this project.
This project also aims at automating the conventional permit system and identity cards of about 30,000 collectors of the forest’s resources and other beneficiaries, introduce a plan for ‘Eco-tourism’ and ensure training up the tourist guides.
Employment opportunities will also be created through the project for locals in excavation and re-excavation programs of ponds, canals and rivers of the Sundarbans.
“At least 3 million people of 39 upazilas of Barishal division will get jobs on implementation of this project,” said Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) of West Sundarbans, Dr Abu Nasr Mohsin.
Programs will be conducted to establish, repair and maintain offices, residential buildings, barracks, wooden jetties, pontoons and to buy fast moving vessels.
Besides, the officials appointed for safeguarding the vast forest area will be trained up, Khulna-based Geographic Information System (GIS) laboratory, computer software, software license and GPS tracking facilities will be improved under this project.