A horrible example of public-private partnership

In what seems like a case of complicity between a government agency and a private farm, a portion of land of a mangrove forest in Chattogram’s Sitakunda upazila was leased out to a private company to build a for-profit ship-breaking yard. As this daily reported on May 13, at least 7.1 acres of land of the forest was leased out to BBC Steel, violating all the existing environmental laws. And to do so, the district administration has shown the forest as a charland in the Bangladesh Ledger Survey. This was done despite the fact that the forest has been “notified” under Section-4 of the Forest Act-1927, meaning that it is under the process of being declared as a reserve forest. Meanwhile, BBC Steel, the company that got the land, has already started the construction work of the ship-breaking yard without any environmental clearance. They have already installed a 300-feet-long fence along the forest, restricting the movement of the locals. What we do not understand is why a government agency would violate the Supreme Court’s directive in 2011 prohibiting leasing out “notified” forest to any person or company. If a ship-breaking yard is built in the area, it would also pollute the nearby forests and damage coastal biodiversity. So, the deal must be scrapped immediately. As the High Court has already imposed a six months’ stay on the effectiveness of the lease contract, we hope that by this time the government would act and cancel the contract once and for all. At the same time, those involved in this illegal act should be called to account for this serious breach of the law. Source: Thedailystar