Sundarbans 'Mawals' collecting honey

Sundarbans ‘Mawals’ collecting honey


The honey collectors who are locally known as ‘Mawals’ are now very busy in Sundarban forest for collection of honey.Honey collection started in the forest just with the beginning of the present (April) month and it will continue till the first week of May.
The Forest Department of the Eastern Division of Sundarbans fixed the target the collection of honey to 500 quintals while the target of wax to 140 quintals. But some 478 quintals of honey and 120 quintals of wax have so far been collected in the Eastern Division of the forest. On the other hand, same division of the forest has already earned a sum of Tk.4 lakh 79 thousand 6 hundred 20 as revenue from this (honey and wax) sector. It is expected that the target of honey and wax may be exceeded the target this year.
Sources said that honey wealth of Sundarban forest is now under threat for more than one reasons.  Mawals said,   the fishermen of the forest that there is a large numbers and big sized  honeycombs in the deep forest and those honeycombs contain honey more than sufficient. It is also learnt that where there are more and more Khalsi and Gewa plants there are large number and king sized honeycombs abundantly available and those honeycombs contain huge quantity of honey. Honey produced by the bee from the flowers of Gewa and Khlsi is more sweeter than honey produce from other flowers. Its quality is also better than that of other honey.
The honey is still collected from Sundarbans in most primitive and unscientific way. The Mawals collect the honey from the honeycombs with use of fire. As a result. several lakh of bees die every year and consequently, the honey wealth of the forest is gradually diminishing.
It is learnt from Bagerhat forest divisional office of the Eastern Division (of Sundarban) that some 220,52 quintals honey and 47.86 quintals wax were collected in 2010-11 fiscal year and 396 quintals honey and 100 quintals wax were collected in the fiscal year of 2011-12 from the Eastern Division of the forest. The same forest  division earned a sum of Tk.4 lakh 6 hundred 40 as revenue in the fiscal year of 2011-12 from this sector.
Sundarban forest was badly damaged by the devastating cyclone Sidr in the year  2007. So, no permit was issued by the forest department for the collection of honey and wax in the year of 2008 and consequently, forest department earned nothing as the revenue in the same year from this sectors.
The honey should be collected after the bees are driven out from the honeycombs with the use of smoke. But the honey is generally collected by the Mawals in Sundarban forest after setting fire on the honeycombs. As a result, a huge number of bees are burnt to death every year and on the other hand, a huge quantity of honey is wasted. Not only that but also very often the forest is caught fire from the fire left by the Mawlas after collecting honey. One Abdul Jobbar Hawladar, a Mawal of Southkhli area under Sharankhola Upazila in the district tells this correspondent that they collect honey from the forest risking their lives. Many Mawals were killed by the Royal Bengal tigers of the forest. Some times their all belongings are looted by the jungle pirates. He adds that they collect honey in the traditional sways. They want to collect honey in scientific way. But for want of training they are to collect honey in the primitive style. The Mawals want to be trained up for collecting honey in modern way. But no organization came forward to train them.
Md. Amir Hossain Chowdhury, DFO  of the Eastern Division of Sundarban forest told  the newsmen that the target for the collection of  honey  was increased for this year in comparison with the past. He admitted  that collection of honey from Sundarban forest is really a risky  job. He disclosed  that the revenue was fixed at  Tk.750,00 for per quintal of honey and Tk.1000,00 for per quintal of wax.
(Our Correspondent)


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