Betting with greenery

A neighborhood official has advanced a proposition to change the status of almost 600 sections of land of save backwoods and untamed life safe-haven in Cox's Bazar into khas land for renting it out to individuals living there. 

Jafar Alam, chose from Chakaria-Pekua (Cox's Bazar-1) body electorate, sent a DO (demi official) letter in January this year to the Cox's Bazar region organization to continue with a proposition to the secretaries of the land service and climate, woodland and environmental change service in regards to the de-reservation. 

The legislator himself is an individual from the parliamentary standing council on the climate, woodland and environmental change service. 

Refering to individuals living inside the backwoods domain as tornado casualties, a couple of whom have lived there since 1970, Jafar said in the letter individuals had been getting a charge out of utilities alongside other taxpayer driven organizations throughout the long term. 

The letter alluded to this as grounds to de-hold very nearly 600 sections of land of forestland in Harbang association of Chakaria upazila. 

The forestland which Jafar proposed to be de-held lies only nearby Chattogram-Cox's Bazar parkway and is important for Chunati Wildlife Sanctuary, set up in 1986. 

A bunch of towns have created there throughout the long term. 

By a stretch of block street around 2km long, as observed by this reporter during a visit on November 25, there were many shops, tea slows down, homes, madrasas and mosques – a setting quite far from the thick woodland it used to be. 

The rush of individuals choosing this forestland began with 16 families whom the public authority restored at Villager Para of Harbang in 1952 after a tornado crushed Cox's Bazar beach front zones, for example, Moheshkhali and Kutubdia, leaving numerous destitute. 

Khurshed Alam, 50, whose guardians were among these first occupants, revealed to The Daily Star that just around 3,000 individuals in the zone establish the families and relatives of the typhoon casualties. 

The remainder of the occupants are the individuals who settled here from different pieces of the nation and whose family members before long followed, he said. In the almost a long time since, the populace currently remains at roughly 20,000, he added. 

"As it is no longer forestland, the public authority ought to permit us to live here lawfully," Khurshed thought. 

Huge numbers of the occupants of Villager Para chose the land before it was pronounced an untamed life safe-haven in the last part of the '80s, however it was proclaimed a save timberland during the provincial time. In that capacity, it is as yet ensured by the woodland office. 

The State Acquisition and Tenancy Act, 1950 forestalls forestland from being rented out, and in 2018, a land service roundabout mentioned the area delegate chiefs not to rent out any secured woodland, given the shortage of forestland. 

Residents said they have been living on the forestland calmly, with no antagonism among them and backwoods office authorities. 

This tranquil conjunction is presently compromised by the MP's proposition, said a Forest Department official. 

On state of obscurity, he said if the status of the woods is changed, there is no assurance that these residents won't be removed from the land as there may be a shrouded plan behind the proposition. 

The Daily Star has recently investigated different occurrences of questioned forestland, erroneously or deliberately named khas land, making it defenseless against land grabbers or rented out to companies and neighborhood influentials for business purposes. 


On getting the DO letter from the official, Cox's Bazar locale organization asked the Chakaria upazila organization to examine the issue in March. 

In June, the assessor of Chakaria upazila land office arranged a report for the transition to de-save the timberland, refering to no vegetation there. 

The report, a duplicate of which The Daily Star acquired from the land office, expressed there was no manor by the Forest Department on 594 sections of land of the natural life safe-haven. 

The examination group discovered 931 properties, 110 sections of land of agrarian land, 7.70 sections of land of vegetable fields, 73 betel leaf gardens, nine mosques, two madrasas and a grade school in the region. It likewise recorded 2,986 citizens who got keen cards from the Election Commission in the region. 

While Chunati Wildlife Sanctuary has been intensely debased throughout the long term, the Forest Department's reforestation ventures are in progress there. 

In September, the region organization found out if they had any reservations with respect to the difference in status. 

Abu Naser Mohammed Yeasin Neyaz, divisional woods official (DFO) of Wildlife and Nature Conservation Division of Chattogram, revealed to The Daily Star on November 28 that they unequivocally fought the move that tries to authorize timberland snatching. 

"The area organization could without much of a stretch have dismissed the move, rather they are just looking for our assessment with respect to this. Their property office suggested for changing the hold backwoods status, a methodology that totally baffled us," he said. 

The DFO further said the land office's report depends on wrong insights about what establishes forestland. 

"It refered to that there were no trees on the land except for all forestland doesn't need to be thickly forested. Some open space, or field, is additionally needed for untamed life to wander around on. They mixed up the open land as deforested region." 

He added the Forest Department contradicts the move as critical backwoods cover in the area, and in the nation all in all, has been lost as of now. 

"We can't permit this transition to continue in such a circumstance." 

Md Mostafa Javed Kaisar, income representative gatherer of Cox's Bazar area organization, who is additionally supervising the issue, affirmed to The Daily Star that they sent a letter to the backwoods division to know whether they have any booking with respect to this. 

As it is archived as Forest Department land, it is unimaginable to expect to rent it out until the status is transformed, he stated, adding that huge number of families lived there. 

Jafar Alam, in a composed articulation on December 9, disclosed to The Daily Star that around fifty years prior individuals currently living there had their properties crushed by a tornado. They at that point took cover on this land. 

He said he thought about the issue from a "accommodating" approach, as the individuals in the territory have for some time been requesting this. "As the individuals' delegate, I tuned in to them and sent the DO letter." 

He added, "This is the lone explanation which drove me to compose the DO letter inquiring as to whether something should be possible for the individuals. I have no other expectation behind this."