Environment, forest and climate change minister Md Shahab Uddin on Sunday said that all the illegally occupied forestlands of the country would be reclaimed at any cost.
He warned that legal actions would be taken against both the occupiers and officials who helped them in occupation.
‘Forest department officials and employees who would be injured in the incidents of protection or restoration of the forest would be rewarded, while those accused of assisting forest occupiers would be given exemplary punishment,’ Shahab said while attending a programme in Dhaka as chief guest.
Department of Forest organised the programme marking International Day of Forests, with the theme ‘Forest Restoration: A Path to Recovery and Wellbeing’.
Chittagong University’s Institute of Forestry and Environmental Science professor Md Kamal Hossain presented a paper on the theme.
Deputy environment, forests and climate change minister Begum Habibun Nahar, chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on the environment, forests and climate change ministry Saber Hossain Chowdhury, among others, were present at the programme chaired by chief conservator of forests Md Amir Hossain Chowdhury.
Cheques for Tk 15 lakh were distributed among 5 beneficiaries of social forestry.
Forest Department officials said that 4.58 lakh acres of forestlands, including 1.38 lakh acres of reserve forests, have been grabbed by occupiers in 80 years since the completion of the cadastral survey in 1940.
They said the amount of tree resources in the Sundarbans have increased as a result of various effective measures taken by the present government.
According to the National Forest Survey published in 2019, the total carbon reserves in the Sundarbans are 139 million tonnes, compared with 107 million tonnes shown in the 2009 survey.