Sangu Reserve Forest seems to be reserved for corruption by the officials

11 November 2020


PARBATYA Chattogram Forest and Land Rights Protection Movement has demanded the authorities to protect Sangu-Matamuhuri sanctuary and Sangu Reserve Natural Forest from destruction and take action against the destroyers. In a statement issued on Sunday, the platform said some timber smugglers were destroying the Sangu Reserve Forest in connivance with some unscrupulous officials of the Forest Department. The smugglers have been using more than 1,000 loggers since mid-September to destroy the natural forest, it alleged.
The organisation demanded immediate removal of loggers tasked with felling trees from the Sangu forest, departmental action against dishonest officials of the Forest Department, stopping transportation of timber at Boro Madok, Choto Madok, Remakri and Tindu areas adjacent to the Sangu protected forest and formation of a high level multi-sectoral committee to probe the incident. Declared protected in 1880, the Sangu reserve forest is known as the only virgin forest in the country. There are 36 species of mammals, 48 species of reptiles, 19 species of amphibians, and 11 species of rare birds, the statement said.
Unfortunately neither smugglers nor forestry officials have any care about conserving any forest because they are motivated only by pure greed --- which knows no bounds. It was only in 2007 that the chief conservator Osman Gani, known as a soft-spoken person and an academician, was found with over one crore taka using power like his predecessors. Gani made money by collecting bribes from his forest officials who made money from timber and wanted to halt their transfers.
Sources in the Forest Department at that time said forest officials made money by destroying the forests. High officials like the chief conservator took money for the transfers of the department staffs and providing jobs. They also took bribes from the check posts set up for the protection of the forests. Another means of making quick money is different development projects of the Forest Department, according to the reports of that time.
The chief conservator in 2007 was found to have held office despite being found guilty of corruption because he had political links in both major parties at that time and he admitted to paying over 80 lakh to get the job. We don't know the situation today as this is a snapshot of the recent past but if a section of forest officials are being accused by the movement it is not too difficult to find out the truth --- after all, it may be difficult for at least some officials to avert from their old ways. A proper investigation is needed to find out the current snapshot of the situation.

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