By Zeba Tarannum
The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Bangladesh, has decided to make a special operation in the eviction of forest land’s illegal occupation.
The decision to free up the reserved forest lands On December 14, 2020, a special meeting of MoEFCC was held at the Bangladesh Secretariat to recover the illegally occupied reserved forest lands and Md. Shahab Uddin, Minister of MoEFCC, presided over the meeting. It was decided to take measures to recover the forcibly occupied reserved forest in that meeting.
The meeting has decided to conduct the first expedition to recover the illegally occupied reserved forest land recorded in the Forest Department’s name.
In this case, the expedition will carry out in phases to recover the occupied unlawfully reserved forests of Gazipur, Tangail, Mymensingh, and Cox’s Bazar. Later, an expedition will evict the illegal occupants from the rest of the country’s forests.
It was informed from the meeting, 140 occupiers have occupied 820.34 acres ( 332 ha) of reserved Forest and Established Industrial Estates and Factories. Five thousand nine hundred eighty-two occupiers have forcibly occupied 14,149.17 acres (5726 ha) of reserved forest land and established markets, shops, resorts/cottages, agricultural farms, and educational institutions.
Eighty-two thousand ninety-three people have illegally occupied 1,23,643.55 acres ( 5003.77 ha) of reserved forest land and built houses and agricultural land. Eighty-eight thousand two hundred fifteen occupiers have forcibly occupied 1,38,613.06 acres (56094.72 ha) of reserved forest land from a total of 33,10,907.52 acres (1339876.74 ha) of land across the country for a long time.
As per the meeting’s decision, the program of recovering all the illegally occupied reserved forest recorded in the forest’s name will continue. Officers with the rank of Joint Secretary and Deputy Secretary of the MoEFCC will be responsible for monitoring and coordinating this special expedition conducted by the district administrations of the twelve districts where more forest lands are illegally occupied.
The assistance of the concerned people, including the local people’s representatives, has been sought in all illegal occupants conducted through the District Commissioner. Mrs. Habibun Nahar, Deputy Minister of the MoEFCC, Secretary Ziaul Hasan, and senior officials of the Ministry and Forest Department were present.