Bangladesh Poribesh Andolan (Bapa) has condemned the decision to build a safari park in the protected forest of Lathitila in Moulvibazar of Sylhet.
The organisation, in a statement on Thursday, urged the authorities to consider the risk of extreme biodiversity loss and the views of local people before deciding on the future of the only protected forest in the district.
In the statement, President of Bapa, Advocate Sultana Kamal, and General Secretary of the organization, Sharif Jamil, also said that tourism in the proposed area for the safari park can be expanded differently that would not involve the destruction of the forest.
Quoting the feasibility report for the safari park, Bapa said, the proposed park is supposed to be built, at an estimated cost of Tk980 crore. Every year at least 10 lakh tourists are estimated to visit the area which will highly disrupt the natural habitat of the forest and those whose livelihood depends on forest resources.
In the press statement, Bapa also condemned the actions of a local Upazila Chairman of Moulvibazar threatening a national daily journalist who reported on the proposed park on 28 July.
The organisation termed the action of the Upazila chairman as unacceptable and reprehensible in a democratic system and called for exemplary action against those who threaten the free flow of information which is essential for the country and its people.