Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister Rashed Khan Menon has proposed setting up a commission to monitor the impact of development activities around the Sundarbans.
The mangrove forest is already struggling with a burdensome number of tourists, and the Padma Bridge will bring about rapid industrialization in the areas adjacent to it, he cautioned. Given these developments, the minister recommended that a commission be formed to coordinate government projects involving the Sundarbans.
He said: “Currently, about 10 million citizens travel across the country in a year. A good number of the tourists go to the Sundarbans. But those who visit the Sundarbans are destroying its environment. Strict measures must be taken to stop any type of tourism or pleasure trip other than eco-tourism here.
“The existence of the country is linked with the Sundarbans, and, if necessary, a commission on Sundarban affairs could be established to create an agency that will coordinate the works of all the government departments. After the construction of the Padma Bridge, rapid industrialization will take place in this area. But the people concerned must be more proactive in making sure no industrial unit can cause any harm to the environment and the Sundarbans.”
The minister was addressing a discussion on Sundarbans Day, held at Khulna Press Club on Wednesday. February 14 has been observed as Sundarbans Day in Bagerhat, Khulna, and Satkhira districts over the last couple of years.
Speaking at the occasion as a special guest. Khulna Divisional Commissioner Lokman Hossain Miah said: “The Sundarbans is part of our life. This forest has benefited people and nature for about one lakh years. We need to protect this at any cost.”
He also urged the government to ban any type of tourism that is detrimental to the biodiversity of the mangrove forest.