Abu Hanif, Bagerhat Office:
Different species of fish are being caught in fishermen’s nets in the Bay of Bengal. The dry season is going on in the light of Dublar Char in the Sundarbans. In that case, there is no fear of revenue deficit this season, but the forest department claims that there is no fish in the sea.
Fishermen are currently busy with fishing, sorting, grading and processing. However, due to the lack of improved environment in the chars and mismanagement, it is not possible to produce quality dry goods. According to traders, the production of high quality dried fruits will increase government revenue many times over and it will be possible to export dried fruits abroad.
On the other hand, Forest Ranger Pralad Chandra Roy, the officer-in-charge of Dubla Patrol Farry, said that there were no fish in the sea to evade government revenue. This year, there are 75 houses for about 15,000 prisoners and 40 houses for moneylenders in Shutki Palli. The forest department has approved more than 100 boats with about 1,500 trawlers for fishing. Besides, there are rules for making each house according to the length of 26 feet and width of 12 feet, but there are various irregularities.
It has been found out that Dubla Shuntki Palli has been running for several decades in 5/6 chars including Dublar Char, Meher Ali Char, Alorkol, Shelar Char and Middle Fort under the Sharankhola Range of Eastern Sundarbans and at the mouth of Bay of Bengal. The dry season lasts for five months from October to February every year. Thousands of fishermen and traders from the coastal areas of Khulna, Satkhira, Sharankhola, Bagerhat, Mongla, Rampal, Patuakhali, Chittagong, Cox’s Bazar, Kutubdia, Banshkhali and other areas are busy making shuntki in these chars.
On condition of anonymity, some forest rangers including fishermen and moneylenders of Shutki village said that Pralad Chandra Roy, a forest officer working in Dubla, was trying to reduce government revenue by taking unethical benefits from fishermen and moneylenders. Even though there is no rule on the use of forest resources in the Sundarbans for temporary settlement, the fishermen and their moneylenders have broken it. Thousands of fishermen in the fishing villages are using various species of forest trees as fuel for their daily cooking. As a result, the Sundarbans is constantly being damaged. In addition to the government revenue, according to the business fund, the traders have to pay an additional 8/10 thousand rupees. Besides, the dishonest officials of the forest department are handing over the receipt of only 5/6 thousand rupees even though they have collected 14/15 thousand rupees from each trawler. Besides, Dublar (OC) Pralad Babu does not give receipts for any money collected from fishermen and their moneylenders. He is trying to reduce the government revenue on various pretexts with the responsibility of Dublar.
When asked about this, Pralad Chandra Roy, in-charge of Dubla Patrol, did not reply and said, “You have contacted the Sharankhola Range Officer (ACF).” He knows everything.