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Country's first 'geological museum' to be set up in Jaflong

An elaborate plan to stop illegal stone extraction

| Updated: September 21, 2020 14:45:17

BMD plans to set up 'geological museum' in Jaflong

The Bangladesh Bureau of Mineral Development (BMD) plans to set up the country's first 'geological museum' at Jaflong in Gowainghat upazila of Sylhet to stop stone extraction in the Ecologically Critical Area (ECA).

BMD has already started the process as Gowainghat Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Nazmus Shakib confirmed the matter, reports UNB.

The BMD informed the Gowainghat Upazila administration about the plan in a letter last week in the wake of preparations to stop the illegal stone extraction by putting up signboards with the instructions of the High Court.

According to the Gowainghat Upazila administration, in 2012, the High Court directed Jaflong to be declares an ECA, in response to an application by the Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA).

A notification was issued on 18 February 2015 declaring Jaflong an ECA and on January 11, 2016, the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources conferred  'geological heritage' status on Jaflong. In this, 22.59 acres of land in Jaflong was declared as reserved area.

Meanwhile, an organisation called M/S Jalalabad Lime Manufacturers and Trading Association, in a letter dated August 17, 2020 claimed that they took acquisition of the protected area in Jaflong in 1972.

An official letter on the establishment of a geological museum said that 25.59 acres of land have been declared a geological heritage in the national interest for the protection of open rock, limestone and for purposes of research.

Signed by BMD Director General Mohammad Zafar Ullah, the letter said an international standard geological museum will be built on that land.

Any other organisation including Jalalabad Lime Manufacturers and Trading Association should refrain from quarrying in the area specified, it said.

A Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) outpost is likely to be damaged if stones are quarried in and around Sonatila in Jaflong.

In the interests of national security and towards implementing the development plan adopted by the government, BMD is also preparing to deal with any legal issues that may arise.

Apart from being a tourist destination, the Jaflong region of Sylhet is very important for its geological history and heritage and to geologists, the area is already known as the ‘geological museum’ of the country.

On a hill next to the Sangram BGB camp on the banks of the Dauki River, there are layers of very old sedimentary rocks, including layers of limestone, which are found nowhere else in Bangladesh. These rock layers are very important for oil and gas and mineral resources exploration and for research.

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