Environmental organisations have blamed the Forest Department for playing a dysfunctional role in stopping the killing of wild animals. The organisations have placed an eight-point demand to save the forest and wildlife animals, including elephants.
They placed the demands from a daylong sit-in and cultural protest programme held in front of the Bon Bhaban (office of the Forest Department) at the Agargaon area in Dhaka on Sunday.
A total of 33 environmental organisations took part in the movement under the banner ‘Bangladesh Nature Conservation Alliance (BNCA)’. Many other individuals also expressed solidarity with the movement.
The united platform launched the movement protesting the failure of the authorities concerned as well as the Forest Department in stopping deforestation and killing of wild animals.
During the daylong programme, various events, including human chain, songs, recitation, acting and elephant painting were held in front of the office to express non-confidence to the department and also to create public awareness on wildlife conservation.
However, a delegation of the BNCA submitted the no-confidence motion to the Forest Department during the programme. Beginning at about 9:00 am, the daylong programme ended at about 5:00 pm through a painting exhibition.
Prof Dr Kamruzzaman Majumder, the convener of the BNCA and joint secretary of Bangladesh Paribesh Andolan (BAPA), presided over the progrmame, while journalist Kefayet Shakil and Shams Sumon, founder president of Nongar Bangladesh, moderated it.
The eight-point demand of the Bangladesh Nature Conservation Alliance (BNCA) includes- formation of a probe body by experts to investigate the incidents of elephant killings and bring the culprits under punishment after identifying them; the elephant habitat must be brought back through evicting the occupants from the elephant corridor; formation of a neutral national commission with the people concerned to protect the country’s forests and wildlife animals; no more allotment of forest land for new development projects; all existing laws relating to forest and wildlife must be modified to incorporate the provisions for the responsibilities and duties of the forest department and ensure accountability of the forest officials; enactment of forest policy which will play vital role in stopping the commercial establishments in the forest; every wildlife-related crime should be investigated neutrally and the role of the forest department should be made clear to all; and taking effective steps to implement SDG-14 and 15.
In his presidential speech, Dr Kamruzzaman Majumder said, “We are concerned over the recent incidents of wildlife killings and deforestation. We called upon the Forest Department to realise our demands in the interest of the country.”
Forest ranger (administration and finance) of the Forest Department Hossain Mohammad Nishad also expressed solidarity with the programme. He said, “We will take necessary action. We will further increase our efforts in forest and wildlife conservation. We will work together for making awareness.”
Sharif Jamil, general secretary of BAPA, Mohammad Ejaj, chairman of River & Delta Research Centre, Prof Dr Kabirul Bashar of Jahangirnagar University, Yeasir Yeamin of BanglaVision, Abdul Wahab, consultant of Asian Development Bank, Muhammad Anowarul Hoque, secretary-general of Save Our Sea, Md Akhtarujjaman, executive director of Nature Loving People (NLP), Saidul Islam, founder of Youth Platform for Sustainable Development (YPSD), Ibnul Said Rana, chairman of Nirapad Development Foundation, Nabil Ahmed, president of Green Fighting Movement, Noyon Sarker, Nilufar Yeasmin Rupa and Ashraful Alam Ujjal also spoke on the occasion, among others.