Sundarbans biodiversity is govt’s highest priority: PM
Published: 10:03 PM, 16 June 2021 Updated: 10:06 PM, 16 June 2021
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina; File photo
Prime Minister and Leader of the Parliament Sheikh Hasina said her government has taken various initiatives to expand the Sundarbans by creating artificial mangrove forests across the coastal region as well as protecting its biodiversity with the highest priority.
She said this in response to a question from Sultana Nadira, a female reserved seat MP, in the question and answer session scheduled for the 11th session of the 11th National Assembly (Budget Session 2021) on Wednesday. Speaker Dr. Shirin Sharmin Chowdhury presided over the question and answer session. The Prime Minister highlighted the various steps taken by the government for the development of the Sundarbans.
The Prime Minister said that no matter what steps are taken for the development of the country, it is important that the Sundarbans and its biodiversity are not harmed in any way. The present government has always been sincere and determined to protect the Sundarbans and its biodiversity.
She said steps have been taken to expand the Sundarbans to the entire coastal region with the initiative of creating artificial mangroves. At the same time, various measures including smart patrolling have been taken to protect the trees and wildlife of the Sundarbans and to curb forest crime.
Sheikh Hasina said that according to the 2015 tiger census through camera trapping, the number of tigers in the Sundarbans was 106. But the number rose at 114 as per the 2018 census. Carbon reserves in the Sundarbans have increased from 108 million tonnes in 2009 to 139 million tonnes in 2019.
The leader of the House said the Sundarbans is home for 334 species of plants, 175 species of algae, 13 species of orchids, and 365 species of wildlife.
Among the wildlife, there are 42 species of mammals, 35 species of reptiles, 6 species of amphibians, 315 species of birds, 210 species of fish, 24 species of shrimps, and 14 species of crabs, she said.
She said the government has taken measures to make foresters a time-befitting force to protect trees and wildlife in the Sundarbans.
Mentioning that the wildlife sanctuary area was expanded in 2017, she said that at present about 53 percent of the Sundarbans area is included in the sanctuary.
Khulna, Bagerhat and Satkhira districts of Bangladesh cover 8,017 sq km of the Sundarbans with an area of about 10,000 sq km. The rest is in the South 24 Parganas district of the Indian state of West Bengal.
Replying to a question from Sahiduzzaman, MP of the ruling party, the Prime Minister said fish production in the country has increased by 50 percent in the last 11 years due to effective and fruitful steps taken by the government.
She said that according to the UN report of 2020, Bangladesh is in second place in the production of freshwater fish. Now we are self-sufficient in fish production. At present we are consuming 62.58 grams of fish against the daily demand of 60 grams.
Replying to a question by Anwar Hossain, MP of Tarikat Federation, the Prime Minister said the present government has taken various initiatives to preserve the places where Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman has led the freedom struggle and various movements in the country including the capital Dhaka.
She said a sculpture would be erected at Suhrawardy Udyan to commemorate the historic March 7 speech. In the meantime, a 150 feet high glass tower has been built. Bangabandhu Memorial will be constructed at Rajganj Bazar in Jashore and Ambika Maidan in Faridpur.
Sheikh Hasina said the young and future generations will be able to be aware of Bangabandhu's life and ideals if the places in Bangladesh where Bangabandhu's special memory is intertwined, the significance of the event and its historical significance are preserved as memories.
Replying to a question from Shahiduzzaman Sarkar, another MP from the ruling party, the Prime Minister said the government has upheld the freedom of expression in the society by providing all kinds of support to the country's media.
She said that at present the number of newspapers published in the country is 3,222. In addition, the government has allowed 45 television, 27 FM radio, and 31 community radio channels in the private sector. The launch of Bangabandhu Satellite-1 has strengthened the media arena. TV channels in the country are now conducting broadcasting activities using Bangabandhu Satellite-1 at a much lower cost.