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Acute human resource crisis compels forest department to lease out Barshijora Eco-park

  • Published at 09:50 pm October 6th, 2019
Barshijora eco-park
File photo of Barshijora eco-park Dhaka Tribune

The initiative was taken to attract nature enthusiasts to experience nature from a close proximity

Forest Department is set to lease out the 900 acre Barshijora eco-park, which has been facing maintenance failure, and acute human resource crisis for 13 years.

The eco-park, a subtropical evergreen forestry, is situated in Barshijora, two kilometers south of Moulvibazar. It began its journey in 2006-07 fiscal year with two cottages, four picnic spots, two watchtowers, four security checkpoints, five public latrines, one ticket counter, and an arcade built with a budget of Tk1.5 crores.

The area was considered as a conserved forest before government declared it as an eco-park, to preserve its diversified plants and natural habitats, such as monkeys, jungle cats, fishing cats, various species of reptiles, and birds.

The initiative was taken to attract nature enthusiasts to experience nature from a close proximity.

But despite these efforts, the authority failed to inaugurate the park in 13 years, ensure proper security, and employ proper workforce to run the park.

Only two authorized personnel, a forest BIT officer, and a gardener runs the 900 acres of land.

Wishing to remain anonymous, the gardener of the park said, the park is famous among tourists, and is regularly visited but it is declining day by day due to lack of security. It is tough for him to look over the entire area alone.

"Taking advantage, local miscreants are robbing tourists, and using this place for substance abuse," he added.

On a field visit, the park was not seen to have any authorized entrance system to monitor visitors, and some part of the park was being used as a public transport route.

Few tourists visiting the place conveyed their concerns over the security of the park, and said that they visit the place with their family and friends for recreational purposes, but sometimes it gets sour because the area is overpowered by miscreants.

Kamalganj's Rahimpur Union Parishad Members, Mujibar Rahman and Mahbubur Rahman said, other eco parks like Lawachara National Park regularly get renovated, but Barshijora eco-park remained neglected by the authority for a long time.

If the park gets renovated it would absolutely attract a broader range of tourists, they hoped.

Speaking to Dhaka Tribune, Wildlife Management and Natural Resource Conservation Department's Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) ANM Abdul Wadud said: "The Forest Department is already facing a huge lack of workforce, so it is tough for us to allocate more people to Barshijora. Hence, to ensure better maintenance, we are planning to lease out the park."

However, the DFO said, they also submitted a Tk50 crore project proposal to the ministry, to renovate Barshijora eco-park along with Lawachara National Park, and Habiganj's Satchhari eco-park.

"A team from the ministry inspected the area, and it might get the allotment soon," he added.

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