Speakers at a roundtable in the city have called for making the river routes in Sundarbans off limit for the ships carrying oil, chemical, coal and harmful materials and preserve the mangrove forest.
The speakers expressed their concern over the repeated ship capsize in Sundarbans at the roundtable on ‘Repeated Ship-Capsize, Unprotected Sundarbans and Rail Accident; Causes and Responsibilities’ organized by green group POBA (Save the Environment Movement) at its office on Thursday.
POBA said, at least 12 commercial ships carrying coal, oil and chemicals capsized in the Sundarbans water routes from 1994 to 2018 and in last five years 19 incidents of fire took place in the East Zone of the mangrove forest.
On August, 1994, a foreign oil-carrying cargo ship sank near Banisanta area of the forest and the oil spread over 20 kilometers radius severely affecting the aquatic creatures and trees as well. In 1998, two incidents of ship capsize happened and the eastern portion of the forest was affected by the harmful chemicals and diesel.
According to the speakers, in 2014 three major incidents of ship sinking affected the same portion of the forest and till then the number of accidents raised to twelve.
While discussing, BARCIK researcher Pavel Partho said, frequent incidents is harming seriously the flora and fauna and putting total eco-system at stake as well as breaking the food-cycle for the lives of the world’s largest mangrove forest, also the largest harbor of Iraboti Dolphin.
He said the eastern side of the forest has been declared as a World Heritage Site and the frequent incidents of fire and ship capsize are putting the heritage site in great danger.
Partho also feared that the river routes of Sundarbans will be busier with the start of Rampal Power Plant work, and the incidents of capsize might also increase.
POBA President Abu Naser Khan, alleged that there might be unseen hands who are intentionally causing these occurrences for getting insurance money or trying to demolish the flourishing Mongla Sea Port.
He also demanded for proper probe of the incidents and bring the culprits to book.
In the discussion, the speakers also raised the issue of mismanagement and lack in work force in rail sector, resulting in graft practices causing frequent rail accidents.
The speakers said at least 63 percent accidents in rail occurred for derailments and the main reason behind it is rail officials’ irresponsibility.
They also said there are only 26,000 workers in rail department.They asked for employing skilled workforce in rail to modernize the sector.