Human rights activist Sultana Kamal today alleged that lives of people who live in and around the Sundarbans, are being jeopardised due to unplanned development and industrial works near the forest.
So far, around 20 thousand people have lost their houses in erosion on both sides of Pashur river triggered by filling up of the creeks connecting to the river, Sultana Kamal said, reports Bangla daily Prothom Alo.
Several village markets and important establishments were also lost to the river, she added.
Sultana Kamal, also the convener of National Committee to Protect the Sundarbans, was speaking as the moderator at a press briefing at Bishwa Sahitya Kendra (BSK) auditorium in Dhaka.
The programme was jointly organised by the committee and Pashur River Water Keeper, the Bangla daily said.
Factories and industries are being established without planning near the Sundarbans and on the bank of Pashur river. The factory owners are filling up the canals connecting to the river, hindering the flow of tidal water, she alleged.
“Lives of people are being jeopardised in the name of development beside the Sundarbans. These destitute people are moving to the cities and living in the slums, from where they are once again being evicted. We did not want to see life becoming endangered in this way in a country that earned its independence through war,” Sultana Kamal said.
Syed Abul Maqsud, journalist and researcher of the national committee, alleged that the government has approved establishment of so many industries beside the Sundarbans for the sake of the commercial intentions of a handful of individuals and businessmen, thus endangering a national asset over personal gains.
The allocations for establishments upon Pashur river have to be cancelled as the government has promised to Unesco that it would submit a report on technicalities regarding environmental aspects of the Sundarbans and adjacent areas by 2018, hence such establishments, by no means, could be made before that, said Sharif Jamil, a member of the national committee.