Hossain Sohel

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Friday, March 04, 2011

Felling of Nipa Palm or ‘Gol Pata’ in the Sundarbans

The livelihood of a large number of people living in the south-western part of the country depends on various resources of the Sundarbans. They enter the forest endangering their own life just in quest of living. An influential quarter exploits them in destroying the natural balance of the mangrove forest. Here is Hosain Sohel’s 4th episode of the report revealing various unknown aspects of the Sundarbans…

Winter is the regular season for collecting Nipa Palm, locally known as Gol Pata in the Sundarbans. The Bawalis or the collectors of Gol Pata enter the mangrove forest during the season with “permit card” issued by forest authority for gathering raw materials. They sometimes have to face the appalling tigers, leaving their family members anxious back at home.

At least 120 Bawalis laid down their life in the jaws of tigers in the past 10 years. An unscrupulous quarter of businessmen push them forth to death in this way in the name of offering earnings.

After entering the forest, the Bawalis not only gather Gol Pata, but they also cut down a large number of Sundari trees and hunt spotted deer. In a single season, Bawalis collect double the estimated amount of Gol Pata.

Bangladesh Forest Department has very little to do in this regard with their limited manpower and lack of proper equipment. Therefore, the ecological balance of the Sundarbans is at stake. If things thus go on unbridled, the largest mangrove forest in the world will soon lose its existence.