পৃষ্ঠাসমূহ

শুক্রবার, ১৩ মে, ২০১৬

Sundarban: A Study & impact compare with natural Justices` by Sayed Taufiq Ullah.



Sundarban: A Study & impact compare with natural Justices`.

In 1911, it was described as a tract of waste country which had never been surveyed nor had the census been extended to it. It then stretched for about 266 kilometres (165 mi) from the mouth of the Hugli to the mouth of the Meghna river and was bordered inland by the three settled districts of the 24 Parganas, Khulna and Bakerganj. The total area (including water) was estimated at 16,900 square kilometres (6,526 sq mi). It was a water-logged jungle, in which tigers and other wild beasts abounded. Attempts at reclamation had not been very successful. The Sundarbans was everywhere intersected by river channels and creeks, some of which afforded water communication throughout the Bengal region both for steamers and for native ships.
 
The history of the area can be traced back to 200–300 AD. A ruin of a city built by Chand Sadagar has been found in the Baghmara Forest Block. During the Mughal period, the Mughal Kings leased the forests of the Sundarbans to nearby residents. Many criminals took refuge in the Sundarbans from the advancing armies of Emperor Akbar. Many have been known to be attacked by tigers.[7] Many of the buildings which were built by them later fell to hands of Portuguese pirates, salt smugglers and dacoits in the 17th century. Evidence of the fact can be traced from the ruins at Netidhopani and other places scattered all over Sundarbans.The legal status of the forests underwent a series of changes, including the distinction of being the first mangrove forest in the world to be brought under scientific management. The area was mapped first in Persian, by the Surveyor General as early as 1764 following soon after proprietary rights were obtained from the Mughal Emperor Alamgir II by the British East India Company in 1757. Systematic management of this forest tract started in the 1860s after the establishment of a Forest Department in the Province of Bengal, in British India. The management was entirely designed to extract whatever treasures were available, but labour and lower management mostly were staffed by locals, as the British had no expertise or adaptation experience in mangrove forests.
The first Forest Management Division to have jurisdiction over the Sundarbans was established in 1869. In 1875 a large portion of the mangrove forests was declared as reserved forests under the Forest Act, 1865 (Act VIII of 1865). The remaining portions of the forests were declared a reserve forest the following year and the forest, which was so far administered by the civil administration district, was placed under the control of the Forest Department. A Forest Division, which is the basic forest management and administration unit, was created in 1879 with the headquarters in Khulna, Bangladesh. The first management plan was written for the period 1893–98.

The name Sundarban can be literally translated as "beautiful forest" in the Bengali language (Shundor, "beautiful" and bon, "forest"). The name may have been derived from the Sundari trees (the mangrove species Heritiera fomes) that are found in Sundarbans in large numbers. Alternatively, it has been proposed that the name is a corruption of Samudraban, Shomudrobôn ("Sea Forest"), or Chandra-bandhe (name of a primitive tribe). However, the generally accepted view is the one associated with Sundari trees.
The Sundarban forest lies in the vast delta on the Bay of Bengal formed by the super confluence of the Ganges, Padma, Brahmaputra and Meghna rivers across southern Bangladesh. The seasonally flooded Sundarbans freshwater swamp forests lie inland from the mangrove forests on the coastal fringe. The forest covers 10,000 square kilometres (3,900 sq mi) of which about 6,000 square kilometres (2,300 sq mi) are in Bangladesh.[12] It became inscribed as a UNESCO world heritage site in 1997. The Indian part of Sundarbans is estimated to be about 4,110 square kilometres (1,590 sq mi), of which about 1,700 square kilometres (660 sq mi) is occupied by waterbodies in the forms of river, canals and creeks of width varying from a few metres to several kilometres.
The Sundarbans is celebrated through numerous Bengali folk songs and dances, often centred around the folk heroes, gods and goddesses specific to the Sunderbans (like Bonbibi and Dakshin Rai) and to the Lower Gangetic Delta (like Manasa and Chand Sadagar). The Bengali folk epic Manasamangal mentions Netidhopani and has some passages set in the Sundarbans during the heroine Behula's quest to bring her husband Lakhindar back to life.
The area provides the setting for several novels by Emilio Salgari, (e.g. The Mystery of the Black Jungle). Sundarbaney Arjan Sardar, a novel by Shibshankar Mitra, and Padma Nadir Majhi, a novel by Manik Bandopadhyay, are based on the rigors of lives of villagers and fishermen living in the Sunderbans region, and are woven into the Bengali psyche to a great extent. Part of the plot of Salman Rushdie's Booker Prize winning novel, Midnight's Children is set in the Sundarbans. This forest is adopted as the setting of Kunal Basu's short story "The Japanese Wife" and the subsequent film adaptation. Most of the plot of an internationally acclaimed novelist, Amitav Ghosh's 2004 novel, The Hungry Tide, is set in the Sundarbans. The plot centres on a headstrong American cetologist who arrives to study a rare species of river dolphin, enlisting a local fisherman and translator to aid her. The book also mentions two accounts of the Bonbibi story of "Dukhey's Redemption". The SunPadma Nadir Majhi was made into a movie by Goutam Ghose.
The Sunderbans has been the subject of a detailed and well-researched scholarly work on Bonbibi (a 'forest goddess' venerated by Hindus), on the relation between the islanders and tigers and on conservation and how it is perceived by the inhabitants of the Sundarbans, as well as numerous non-fiction books, including The Man-Eating Tigers of Sundarbans by Sy Montegomery for a young audience, which was shortlisted for the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children's Book Award. In Up The Country, Emily Eden discusses her travels through the Sunderbans. Numerous documentary movies have been made about the Sunderbans, including the 2003 IMAX production Shining Bright about the Bengal tiger. The acclaimed BBC TV series Ganges documents the lives of villagers, especially honey collectors, in the Sundarbans.
Geography
The Sundarbans is intersected by a complex network of tidal waterways, mudflats and small islands of salt-tolerant mangrove forests. The interconnected network of waterways makes almost every corner of the forest accessible by boat. The area is known for the eponymous Royal Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris), as well as numerous fauna including species of birds, spotted deer, crocodiles and snakes. The fertile soils of the delta have been subject to intensive human use for centuries, and the ecoregion has been mostly converted to intensive agriculture, with few enclaves of forest remaining. The remaining forests, taken together with the Sundarbans mangroves, are important habitat for the endangered tiger. Additionally, the Sundarbans serves a crucial function as a protective barrier for the millions of inhabitants in and around Khulna and Mongla against the floods that result from the cyclones. The Sundarbans has also been enlisted among the finalists in the New7Wonders of Nature.

Physiography

The mangrove-dominated Ganges Delta – the Sundarbans – is a complex ecosystem comprising one of the three largest single tracts of mangrove forests of the world. Situated mostly in Bangladesh, a small portion of it lies in India. The Indian part of the forest is estimated to be about 19 percent, while the Bangladeshi part is 81 percent. To the south the forest meets the Bay of Bengal; to the east it is bordered by the Baleswar River and to the north there is a sharp interface with intensively cultivated land. The natural drainage in the upstream areas, other than the main river channels, is everywhere impeded by extensive embankments and polders. The Sundarbans was originally measured (about 200 years ago) to be of about 16,700 square kilometres (6,400 sq mi). Now it has dwindled into about 1/3 of the original size. The total land area today is 4,143 square kilometres (1,600 sq mi), including exposed sandbars with a total area of 42 square kilometres (16 sq mi); the remaining water area of 1,874 square kilometres (724 sq mi) encompasses rivers, small streams and canals. Rivers in the Sundarbans are meeting places of salt water and freshwater. Thus, it is a region of transition between the freshwater of the rivers originating from the Ganges and the saline water of the Bay of Bengal.
The Sundarbans along the Bay of Bengal has evolved over the millennia through natural deposition of upstream sediments accompanied by intertidal segregation. The physiography is dominated by deltaic formations that include innumerable drainage lines associated with surface and subaqueous levees, splays and tidal flats. There are also marginal marshes above mean tide level, tidal sandbars and islands with their networks of tidal channels, subaqueous distal bars and proto-delta clays and silt sediments. The Sundarbans' floor varies from 0.9 to 2.11 metres (3.0 to 6.9 ft) above sea level.
Biotic factors here play a significant role in physical coastal evolution, and for wildlife a variety of habitats have developed which include beaches, estuaries, permanent and semi-permanent swamps, tidal flats, tidal creeks, coastal dunes, back dunes and levees. The mangrove vegetation itself assists in the formation of new landmass and the intertidal vegetation plays a significant role in swamp morphology. The activities of mangrove fauna in the intertidal mudflats develop micromorphological features that trap and hold sediments to create a substratum for mangrove seeds. The morphology and evolution of the eolian dunes is controlled by an abundance of xerophytic and halophytic plants. Creepers, grasses and sedges stabilise sand dunes and uncompacted sediments. The Sunderbans mudflats (Banerjee, 1998) are found at the estuary and on the deltaic islands where low velocity of river and tidal current occurs. The flats are exposed in low tides and submerged in high tides, thus being changed morphologically even in one tidal cycle. The interior parts of the mudflats serve as a perfect home for mangroves.
The Sundarbans freshwater swamp forests are a tropical moist broadleaf forest ecoregion of Bangladesh. It represents the brackish swamp forests that lie behind the Sundarbans Mangroves, where the salinity is more pronounced. The freshwater ecoregion is an area where the water is only slightly brackish and becomes quite fresh during the rainy season, when the freshwater plumes from the Ganges and the Brahmaputra rivers push the intruding salt water out and bring a deposit of silt. It covers 14,600 square kilometres (5,600 sq mi) of the vast Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta, extending from the northern part of Khulna District and finishing at the mouth of the Bay of Bengal with scattered portions extending into India's West Bengal state. The Sundarbans freshwater swamp forests lie between the upland Lower Gangetic plains moist deciduous forests and the brackish-water Sundarbans mangroves bordering the Bay of Bengal.
Ecological succession is generally defined as the successive occupation of a site by different plant communities. In an accreting mudflats the outer community along the sequence represents the pioneer community which is gradually replaced by the next community representing the seral stages and finally by a climax community typical of the climatic zone. Troup suggested that succession began in the newly accreted land created by fresh deposits of eroded soil. The pioneer vegetation on these newly accreted sites is Sonneratia, followed by Avicennia and Nypa. As the ground is elevated as a result of soil deposition, other trees make their appearance. The most prevalent, though one of the late species to appear, is Excoecaria. As the level of land rises through accretion and the land is only occasionally flooded by tides, Heritiera fomes begins to appear.
A victim of large-scale clearing and settlement to support one of the densest human populations in Asia, this ecoregion is under a great threat of extinction. Hundreds of years of habitation and exploitation have exacted a heavy toll on this ecoregion's habitat and biodiversity. There are two protected areas – Narendrapur (110 km2) and Ata Danga Baor (20 km2) that cover a mere 130 km2 of the ecoregion. Habitat loss in this ecoregion is so extensive, and the remaining habitat is so fragmented, that it is difficult to ascertain the composition of the original vegetation of this ecoregion. According to Champion and Seth (1968), the freshwater swamp forests are characterised by Heritiera minor, Xylocarpus molluccensis, Bruguiera conjugata, Sonneratia apetala, Avicennia officinalis, and Sonneratia caseolaris, with Pandanus tectorius, Hibiscus tiliaceus, and Nipa fruticans along the fringing banks

Endangered and extinct species

Forest inventories reveal a decline in standing volume of the two main commercial mangrove species – sundari (Heritiera spp.) and gewa (Excoecaria agallocha) — by 40% and 45% respectively between 1959 and 1983.Despite a total ban on all killing or capture of wildlife other than fish and some invertebrates, it appears that there is a consistent pattern of depleted biodiversity or loss of species (notably at least six mammals and one important reptile) in the 20th century, and that the "ecological quality of the original mangrove forest is declining".
The endangered species that live within the Sundarbans and extinct species that used to be include the royal Bengal tigers, estuarine crocodile, northern river terrapins (Batagur baska), olive ridley sea turtles, Gangetic dolphin, ground turtles, hawksbill sea turtles and king crabs (horse shoe). Some species such as hog deer (Axis porcinus), water buffalos (Bubalus bubalis), barasingha or swamp deer (Cervus duvauceli), Javan rhinoceros (Rhinoceros sondaicus), single horned rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis) and the mugger crocodiles or marsh crocodiles (Crocodylus palustris) started to become extinct in the Sundarbans towards the middle of the 20th century, because of extensive poaching and man hunting by the British.There are several other threatened mammal species, such as the capped langurs (Semnopithecus pileatus), smooth-coated otters (Lutrogale perspicillata), Oriental small-clawed otters (Aonyx cinerea), and great Bengal civets (Viverra zibetha).
The fertile soils of the delta have been subject to intensive human use for centuries, and the ecoregion has been mostly converted to intensive agriculture, with few enclaves of forest remaining. The remaining forests, together with the Sundarbans mangroves, are important habitats for the endangered Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris). The forest also contains leopard (Panthera pardus fusca) and several other smaller predators such as the jungle cats (Felis chaus), fishing cats (Prionailurus viverrinus), and leopard cats (Prionailurus bengalensis).
Several predators dwell in the labyrinth of channels, branches and roots that poke up into the air. This is the only mangrove ecoregion that harbours the Indo-Pacific region's largest predator, the Bengal tiger. Unlike in other habitats, tigers live here and swim among the mangrove islands, where they hunt scarce prey such as the chital deer (axis axis), Indian muntjacs (Muntiacus muntjak), wild boars (Sus scrofa), and even rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta). It is estimated that there are now 500 Bengal tigers and about 30,000 spotted deer in the area. The tigers regularly attack and kill humans who venture into the forest, human deaths ranging from 30–100 per year.
Some reptiles are predators too, including two species of crocodiles, the saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) and mugger crocodile (Crocodylus palustris), as well as the gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) and the water monitor lizards (Varanus salvator), all of which hunt on both land and water. Sharks and the Gangetic dolphins (Platanista gangetica) roam the waterways.
The Sundarbans provides a unique ecosystem and a rich wildlife habitat. According to the 2015 tiger census, the Sundarbans have about 170 tigers (106 in Bangladesh and 64 in India). Although previous rough estimates had suggested much higher figures close to 300, the 2011 census provided the first ever scientific estimate of tigers from the area Tiger attacks are frequent in the Sundarbans. Between 0 and 50 people are killed each year.
There is much more wildlife here than just the endangered Royal Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris). Most importantly, mangroves are a transition from the marine to freshwater and terrestrial systems, and provide critical habitat for numerous species of small fish, crabs, shrimps and other crustaceans that adapt to feed and shelter, and reproduce among the tangled mass of roots, known as pneumatophores, which grow upward from the anaerobic mud to get the supply of oxygen. Fishing cats, macaques, wild boars, common grey mongooses, foxes, jungle cats, flying foxes, pangolins, and spotted deer are also found in abundance in the Sundarbans.
A 1991 study has revealed that the Bangladeshi part of the Sundarbans supports diverse biological resources including at least 150 species of commercially important fish, 270 species of birds, 42 species of mammals, 35 reptiles and 8 amphibian species. This represents a significant proportion of the species present in Bangladesh (i.e. about 30% of the reptiles, 37% the birds and 34% of the mammals) and includes many species which are now extinct elsewhere in the country.[26] Two amphibians, 14 reptiles, 25 aves and five mammals are endangered.[27] The Sundarbans is an important wintering area for migrant water birds[28] and is an area suitable for watching and studying avifauna.
The management of wildlife is restricted to, firstly, the protection of fauna from poaching, and, secondly, designation of some areas as wildlife sanctuaries where no extraction of forest produce is allowed and where the wildlife face few disturbances. Although the fauna of Bangladesh have diminished in recent times and the Sundarbans has not been spared from this decline, the mangrove forest retains several good wildlife habitats and their associated fauna. Of these, the tiger and dolphin are target species for planning wildlife management and tourism development. There are high profile and vulnerable mammals living in two contrasting environments, and their statuses and management are strong indicators of the general condition and management of wildlife. Some species are protected by legislation, notably by the Bangladesh Wildlife (Preservation) Order, 1973 (P.O. 23 of 1973).
A total 245 genera and 334 plant species were recorded by David Prain in 1903.[21] While most of the mangroves in other parts of the world are characterised by members of the Rhizophoraceae, Avicenneaceae or Combretaceae, the mangroves of Bangladesh are dominated by the Malvaceae and Euphorbiaceae.
 Dominant flora includes:
The Sundarbans flora is characterised by the abundance of sundari (Heritiera fomes), gewa (Excoecaria agallocha), goran (Ceriops decandra) and keora (Sonneratia apetala) all of which occur prominently throughout the area. The characteristic tree of the forest is the sundari (Heritiera littoralis), from which the name of the forest had probably been derived. It yields a hard wood, used for building houses and making boats, furniture and other things. New forest accretions is often conspicuously dominated by keora (Sonneratia apetala) and tidal forests. It is an indicator species for newly accreted mudbanks and is an important species for wildlife, especially spotted deer (Axis axis). There is abundance of dhundul or passur (Xylocarpus granatum) and kankra (Bruguiera gymnorrhiza) though distribution is discontinuous. Among palms, Poresia coaractata, Myriostachya wightiana and golpata (Nypa fruticans), and among grasses spear grass (Imperata cylindrica) and khagra (Phragmites karka) are well distributed.
The varieties of the forests that exist in Sundarbans include mangrove scrub, littoral forest, saltwater mixed forest, brackish water mixed forest and swamp forest. Besides the forest, there are extensive areas of brackish water and freshwater marshes, intertidal mudflats, sandflats, sand dunes with typical dune vegetation, open grassland on sandy soils and raised areas supporting a variety of terrestrial shrubs and trees. Since Prain's report there have been considerable changes in the status of various mangrove species and taxonomic revision of the man-grove flora.[22] However, very little exploration of the botanical nature of the Sundarbans has been made to keep up with these changes. Differences in vegetation have been explained in terms of freshwater and low salinity influences in the Northeast and variations in drainage and siltation. The Sundarbans has been classified as a moist tropical forest demonstrating a whole mosaic of seres, comprising primary colonisation on new accretions to more mature beach forests. Historically vegetation types have been recognised in broad correlation with varying degrees of water salinity, freshwater flushing and physiography.
The forest is also rich in bird life, with 170 species including the endemic brown-winged kingfishers (Pelargopsis amauroptera) and the globally threatened lesser adjutants (Leptoptilos javanicus) and masked finfoots (Heliopais personata) and birds of prey such as the ospreys (Pandion haliaetus), white-bellied sea eagles (Haliaeetus leucogaster) and grey-headed fish eagles (Ichthyophaga ichthyaetus). The Sundarbans was designated a Ramsar site on 21 May 1992. Some more popular birds found in this region are open billed storks, black-headed ibis, water hens, coots, pheasant-tailed jacanas, pariah kites, brahminy kites, marsh harriers, swamp partridges, red junglefowls, spotted doves, common mynahs, jungle crows, jungle babblers, cotton teals, herring gulls, Caspian terns, gray herons, brahminy ducks, spot-billed pelicans, great egrets, night herons, common snipes, wood sandpipers, green pigeons, rose-ringed parakeets, paradise flycatchers, cormorants, white-bellied sea eagles, seagulls, common kingfishers, peregrine falcons, woodpeckers, whimbrels, black-tailed godwits, little stints, eastern knots, curlews, golden plovers, pintails, white-eyed pochards and lesser whistling ducks.
Some fish and amphibians found in the Sundarbans are sawfish, butter fish, electric ray, common carp, silver carp, barb, river eels, starfish, king crab, fiddler crab, hermit crab, prawn, shrimps, Gangetic dolphins, skipping frogs, common toads and tree frogs. One particularly interesting fish is the mudskipper, a gobioid that climbs out of the water into mudflats and even climbs trees.

Climate change impact

The physical development processes along the coast are influenced by a multitude of factors, comprising wave motions, micro and macro-tidal cycles and long shore currents typical to the coastal tract. The shore currents vary greatly along with the monsoon. These are also affected by cyclonic action. Erosion and accretion through these forces maintains varying levels, as yet not properly measured, of physiographic change whilst the mangrove vegetation itself provides a remarkable stability to the entire system. During each monsoon season almost all the Bengal Delta is submerged, much of it for half a year. The sediment of the lower delta plain is primarily advected inland by monsoonal coastal setup and cyclonic events. One of the greatest challenges people living on the Ganges Delta may face in coming years is the threat of rising sea levels caused mostly by subsidence in the region and partly by climate change.
In many of the Bangladesh's mangrove wetlands, freshwater reaching the mangroves was considerably reduced from the 1970s because of diversion of freshwater in the upstream area by neighboring India through the use of the Farakka Barrage bordering Rajshahi, Bangladesh. Also, the Bengal Basin is slowly tilting towards the east because of neo-tectonic movement, forcing greater freshwater input to the Bangladesh Sundarbans. As a result, the salinity of the Bangladesh Sundarbans is much lower than that of the Indian side. A 1990 study noted that there "is no evidence that environmental degradation in the Himalayas or a 'greenhouse' induced rise in sea level have aggravated floods in Bangladesh"; however, a 2007 report by UNESCO, "Case Studies on Climate Change and World Heritage" has stated that an anthropogenic 45-centimetre (18 in) rise in sea level (likely by the end of the 21st century, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), combined with other forms of anthropogenic stress on the Sundarbans, could lead to the destruction of 75 percent of the Sundarbans mangroves. Already, Lohachara Island and New Moore Island/South Talpatti Island have disappeared under the sea, and Ghoramara Island is half submerged.
In a study conducted in 2012, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) found out that the Sunderban coast was retreating up to 200 metres (660 ft) in a year. Agricultural activities had destroyed around 17,179 hectares (42,450 acres) of mangroves within three decades (1975–2010). Shrimp cultivation had destroyed another 7,554 hectares (18,670 acres).
Researches from the School of Oceanographic Studies, Jadavpur University, estimated the annual rise in sea level to be 8 millimetres (0.31 in) in 2010. It had doubled from 3.14 millimetres (0.124 in) recorded in 2000. The rising sea levels had also submerged around 7,500 hectares (19,000 acres) of forest areas. This, coupled with an around 1.5 °C (2.7 °F) rise in surface water temperatures and increased levels of salinity have posed a problem for the survival of the indigenous flora and fauna. The Sundari trees are exceptionally sensitive to salinity and are being threatened with extinction.
Loss of the mangrove forest will result in the loss of the protective biological shield against cyclones and tsunamis. This may put the surrounding coastal communities at high risk. Moreover, the submergence of land mass have rendered up to 6,000 families homeless and around 70,000 people are immediately threatened with the same. This is causing the flight of human capital to the mainland, about 13% in the decade of 2000–2010.
A 2015 ethnographic study, conducted by a team of researchers from Heiderberg university in Germany, found a crisis brewing in the Sunderbans. The study contended that poor planning on the part of the India and Bangladesh governments coupled with natural ecological changes were forcing the flight of human capital from the region
In August 2010, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) and India's state-owned National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) where they designated to implement the coal-fired Rampal power station by 2016. The proposed project, on an area of over 1,834 acres of land, is situated 14 kilometres north of the Sundarbans. This project violates the environmental impact assessment guidelines for coal-based thermal power plants.[46] Environmental activists contend that the proposed location of the Rampal Station would violate provisions of the Ramsar Convention. The government of Bangladesh rejected the allegations that the coal-based power plant would adversely affect the world's largest mangrove forest.
On 9 December 2014 an oil-tanker named Southern Star VII, carrying 358,000 litres (79,000 imp gal; 95,000 US gal) of furnace oil, was sunk in the Sela rive of Sundarbans after it had been hit by a cargo vessel. The oil spread over 350 km2 (140 sq mi) area after the clash, as of December 17.[54] The slick spread to a second river and a network of canals in the Sundarbans and blackened the shoreline. The event was very threatening to trees, plankton, vast populations of small fishes and dolphins.[56] The event occurred at a protected Sundarbans mangrove area, home to rare Irrawaddy and Ganges dolphins. Until 15 December 2014 only 50,000 litres (11,000 imp gal; 13,000 US gal) of oil from the area were cleaned up by local residents, Bangladesh Navy and the government of Bangladesh. Some reports indicated that the event killed some wildlife. On 13 December 2014, a dead Irrawaddy dolphin was seen floating on the Harintana-Tembulbunia channel of the Sela River.
Unplanned growth of shrimp culture in coastal areas of Khulna, Satkhira and Bagerhat districts has a serious effect on alteration of coastal ecology. Vast area of tidal land previously used for rice cultivation in Khulna and Bagerhat districts has been changed into shrimp farm. Inundation of arable lands by saline water to cultivate shrimp has become a common occurrence.High rate of economic return has resulted in over exploitation of shrimp juvenile from the wild leading to ecological imbalance, change in cropping pattern, interest conflict, leasing of land of small farmers, depriving them of their rights to own land and other socio-economic and environmental consequences.

Conflict with Rampal Power Station (Proposed)

The Sundarbans is celebrated through numerous Bengali folk songs and dances, often centred around the folk heroes, gods and goddesses specific to the Sunderbans (like Bonbibi and Dakshin Rai) and to the Lower Gangetic Delta (like Manasa and Chand Sadagar). The Bengali folk epic Manasamangal mentions Netidhopani and has some passages set in the Sundarbans during the heroine Behula's quest to bring her husband Lakhindar back to life.
The Rampal power station is a proposed 1320 megawatt coal-fired power station at Rampal Upazila of Bagerhat District in Khulna, Bangladesh.[1] It is a joint partnership between India's state owned National Thermal Power Corporation and Bangladesh Power Development Board. The joint venture company is known as Bangladesh India Friendship Power Company (BIFPC).The proposed project, on an area of over 1834 acres of land, is situated 14  kilometers north of the world's largest mangrove forest Sundarbans which is a UNESCO world heritage site. It will be the country's largest power plant.
The area provides the setting for several novels by Emilio Salgari, (e.g. The Mystery of the Black Jungle). Sundarbaney Arjan Sardar, a novel by Shibshankar Mitra, and Padma Nadir Majhi, a novel by Manik Bandopadhyay, are based on the rigors of lives of villagers and fishermen living in the Sunderbans region, and are woven into the Bengali psyche to a great extent. Part of the plot of Salman Rushdie's Booker Prize winning novel, Midnight's Children is set in the Sundarbans. This forest is adopted as the setting of Kunal Basu's short story "The Japanese Wife" and the subsequent film adaptation. Most of the plot of an internationally acclaimed novelist, Amitav Ghosh's 2004 novel, The Hungry Tide, is set in the Sundarbans. The plot centres on a headstrong American cetologist who arrives to study a rare species of river dolphin, enlisting a local fisherman and translator to aid her. The book also mentions two accounts of the Bonbibi story of "Dukhey's Redemption".The SunPadma Nadir Majhi was made into a movie by Goutam Ghose.
The Sunderbans has been the subject of a detailed and well-researched scholarly work on Bonbibi (a 'forest goddess' venerated by Hindus), on the relation between the islanders and tigers and on conservation and how it is perceived by the inhabitants of the Sundarbans,[65] as well as numerous non-fiction books, including The Man-Eating Tigers of Sundarbans by Sy Montegomery for a young audience, which was shortlisted for the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children's Book Award. In Up The Country, Emily Eden discusses her travels through the Sunderbans.[66] Numerous documentary movies have been made about the Sunderbans, including the 2003 IMAX production Shining Bright about the Bengal tiger. The acclaimed BBC TV series Ganges documents the lives of villagers, especially honey collectors, in the Sundarbans.
This project violates the environmental impact assessment guidelines for coal-based thermal power plants.
On August 1, 2013, Department of Energy of Bangladesh approved construction, but then changed its stance and set 50 preconditions for the project.But the location of the plant, 14 kilometers from the Sundarbans, violates one of the basic preconditions which says such projects must be outside a 25-kilometer radius from the outer periphery of an ecologically sensitive area.
Environmental activists contend that the proposed location of the Rampal Station would violate provisions of the Ramsar Convention. The Ramsar Convention, to which Bangladesh is a signatory, is an international environmental treaty for the conservation of wetlands. The Sundarbans are on Ramsar's list of wetlands of international importance.
The plant will need to import 4.72 million tons of coal per year. This massive freight will need about 59 ships each having 80,000-ton capacity that would be taken to the port on the bank of Poshur river. The 40 kilometers from the port to the plant cuts through the Sundarbans and it includes the river flow path. Environmentalists say these coal-carrying vehicles are not often covered as they scatter large amounts of fly ash, coal dust and sulfur, and other toxic chemicals are released throughout the life of the project.
The predictions made by environment and ecology experts are that the plant will release toxic gases such as carbon monoxide, oxides of nitrogen and sulphur dioxide, thereby putting the surrounding areas and, most importantly, Sundarban at grave risk.
According to a report published in New Age, in past few years the Indian central and state authorities which deal with environmental concerns in India denied the proposal of NTPC to set up a similar coal-fired thermal power plant at Gajmara in Gadarwara of Madhya Pradesh over a number of points. NTPC failed to get approval of the Indian Central Green Panel (Green Tribunal) in 2010 for the construction of that coal-fired thermal power plant because a vast portion of double-crop agricultural land reportedly comprised the site, a similar situation to Rampal.
On March 1, 2011, a bench of Bangladesh High Court asked the government "why the construction of the plant should not be declared illegal".[13] Environmental experts have expressed concerns that the proposed plant at Rampal in Bagerhat might destroy the world’s largest mangrove forest Sundarbans, a UNESCO world heritage site. Faridul Islam, chief coordinator of Save the Sundarbans, pointed out that the selected location of the project was only nine kilometres from Sundarban. About 2.5 million people depend on the Sundarban region, such as wood-cutters, fishermen, and honey hunters.
The National Committee on Protection of Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, and Power-Port, environmentalist groups, bodies of the left-leaning parties and general people of Bangladesh vowed to resist theplanned inauguration of the Rampal Power Plant scheduled on 22 October 2013.On September 24, 2013 thousands of people in Bangladesh began a rally for 5 days and 400 kilometers to oppose the power plant. Their march began in the capital city of Dhaka but slowly went to the world's largest mangrove forest,"Sundarban".
In India too there has been some fragmented opposition of the power plant. In his interview with Siddharth Sivakumar of the Indian cultural website Tinpahar, Shayan Chowdhury Arnob said on this issue, "The Rampal Power Plant might become the biggest Power Plant, but it would cost the world its largest mangrove forest, the Sundarbans. Sundarbans has its life in numerous intertwined organic chains. When a chain is broken everything would fall apart, one after the other. Money has nothing to do with development or happiness; it's about our attitude to life."
The government of Bangladesh rejected the allegations that the coal-based power plant would adversely affect the world’s largest mangrove forest. The energy adviser of the Bangladeshi prime minister, Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, said that the controversy over the power plant and its impact on the Sundarbans was “not based on facts”. He also said that the plant will not negatively affect the mangrove forest because the emission of green house gas will be kept at the minimum level. The government also affirmed they will import high quality coal, build a 275 metre high chimney, employ state-of-the art technology and other steps to keep its impact on the Sundarbans at a negligible level.
In August 2010, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) and India's state-owned National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) where they designated to implement the project by 2016. On January 29, 2012, the Bangladesh Power Development Board signed an agreement with NTPC to build the plant.The joint venture company is known as Bangladesh India Friendship Power Company (BIFPC).The BPDB and the NTPC agreed to implement the project on a 50:50 equity basis. The NTPC will set up and operate the plant. Bangladesh and India will equally share up to 30 per cent of the capital of this project as equity. The remainder of the capital, which might be equivalent to USD 1.5 billion, will be taken as bank loans with help from the NTPC. According to the sources in the Bangladesh Power Division, the joint venture company will enjoy a 15-year tax holiday.
As the sanctuary is situated in very isolated area the wildlife of the sanctuary is comparatively better than most other national parks of Bangladesh. However, for the same reason its very unprotected. And hunting, poaching, illegal deforestation has become a common scene in the sanctuary due to the lack of management from forest department. Also the fauna data isn't well documented.
Other than Sangu river there are some gorgeous looking small waterfalls all around the forest reserve. Some of the fish and amphibians found in the Sangu river are sawfish , butter fish , electric ray, common carp, silver carp, barb, river eels, starfish, king crab , fiddler crab, hermit crab, prawn etc.
The wide variety of plant life provides suitable habitats for 55 species of mammals including the capped leaf monkey and binturong, 286 species of birds like the hill myna, house swift and the greater painted-snipe; 56 species of reptiles and 13 species of amphibians. A limited number of Asian elephants live in the park. Common animals including reptiles and mammals are rhesus macaque , barking deer, Asian black bear, monitor lizard, Bengal monitor, etc. Golden jackals, fishing cats and dholes are common predators of the forest. There's few elusive clouded leopards too roaming inside the remoteness.
The wildlife sanctuary was once covered with luxuriant multi-storied evergreen forest. The Asian elephant herds used to roam in and around the sanctuary. However, due to settlement of refuge, the vegetation of these areas diminished and became uninhabitable for elephants, which now can be seen in Sangu Mouza only. Asian black bear is the most common bear species in the area but still low numbered. Malayan sun bear is another one but may be its extirpated from the sanctuary. Other large mammal sambar deer are also been reported here but these are almost extinct from the area. Just recent camera trap project captured some clouded leopard photos.[7] but these are not viable population. Endangered species great hornbill are still seen flying in the sanctuary. There are some spotted owlet as well
There are reports of tigers in the mixed evergreen hill tract valleys of Sangu-Matamuhuri, which are contiguous with forests in India and Myanmar respectively. Both of these sites are within an area classified as a Tiger Restoration Landscape, contiguous with the Northern Forest Complex-Namdapha-Royal Manas Global Priority Tiger Conservation Landscape (TCL).
Last couple of months 26th time sundorbon burn .
The Sundarban, the world’s largest mangrove forest and a UNESCO world heritage site, saw four fire incidents in just one month.
According to local people, villagers living nearby the Sundarban often enter the forest and set fire to it to collect firewood and when the burnt area of the Sundarban goes under water during monsoon they use it to catch fish. They also use the fire-damaged area as cattle grazing ground during the dry season.
The mangrove forest also suffered recurrent manmade disasters in recent years. A tanker carrying about 350,000 litres of furnace oil crashed in its Shela River on 9 December 2014 while a cargo sank on 19 March 2016.
Quoting officer-in-charge of the police station Shah Alam Miah, UNB reported that the forest department filed the case under section 26 of the Forest Act 1927 for setting fire to the forest.
Environment and Forest Minister Anwar Hossain Manju has said the recent incident of fire at the Sundarbans hardly caused any damage to the mangrove forest.
Manju came up with the statement at a meeting with local people in southern Sharankhola, a sub-district adjacent to the Sundarban forest, after paying a brief visit to the fire affected areas.
“The damage is not much as it was presumed. The incidents received much publicity. There has been hardly any damage,” claimed the minister seeking cooperation from the local MPs and the ruling Awami League leaders to prevent recurrence of such incidents in the forest.
Police detained four persons for their alleged involvement in setting fire to the forest. The fire ravaged a part of the forest for nearly a week.
The latest incident of fire in the forest was doused on Saturday afternoon.
REF: Wiki, online Journal,
Vediolink: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jnULooyZczc


সত্যি প্রিয় স্বদেশ তোমার সবুজ
বড্ডো বেশী আসহায়
গাছের পর গাছ শৈশবের হারানো আরণ্য
তোমার সবুজ অরণ্য সেদিন ধরে ছাব্বিশ
হলো সুন্দর বণে। বুকের পাজরে হাড়ে
ঝোলানো মানতের তাবিজ রামপালে
কয়লার টানে সবকথা সবাইজানে।
সুন্দরবনে গাছের, মায়া হরিণের খুন হতো না। গাছের পর গাছের হত্যা
বন পোড়ানো মনবিলের গন্ধো
এতদিন বাচালেন কতই কতই
ততই মানুষের দল
করছে ছলের পর ছল
আমরা তবে কি আমরা বনদস্যু ?
আমাদেরই বাংলাদেশে!

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