Local’s objection to social forestry by Forest Department in Alikadam

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Hill Voice, 2nd June 2024, Bandarban: The Jumma-Bengali people of Sonaichari area in Chaikyong Mouza of Chaikyong Union in Alikadam Upazila under Bandarban District have objected to the initiative of social forestry by the forest department of the government.

On May 22, 2024, a written petition containing the public signatures of the Jumma and Bengali people in the area has been submitted to the Alikadam Upazila Executive Officer.

In the application, the land selected for the initiative are mentioned as the hilly areas of long-term cultivation and traditional Jum cultivation by the permanent people of various villages including Thonwai Para, Padui Para, Kairi Para under Sonaichari area.

It is stated in the application, ‘We, the undersigned the Mro community and are permanent residents of Thonwai Para, Padui Para, Kairi Para under Sonaichari area of Chaikyong mouza of Ward 5 of Chaikyong Union under Alikadam Upazila and law-abiding peaceful Mro community. In this sense, we request your kind notice and necessary measures to be taken that in our 3 villages, about 500 (five hundred) family members have been making family livelihood by cultivating Jum in the hilly area under Sonaichari area since the time of father and grandfather. At present, the forest department is taking steps to encroach on the hilly areas of our plantations and land for social afforestation. We don’t have any land other than that hilly place. If the only hilly place of our cultivation is lost, we will have no other option but to sit on the road.”

At present, it is said that the local people are spending their days in extreme uncertainty.

In the application form, it has been requested to take necessary measures to prevent the forest department from encroaching the area and doing social forestry out of kindness to the people of the area.

Padui Mro Karbari, Menleng Mro, Abhinagar Tripura (Acting Karbari), Jakoram Tripura (Karbari), Pubarang Tripura (Karbari), Kafil Uddin, Angsuiprue Karbari, Mahbul Alam members signed the petition.

Copies of the application have also been sent to Member of Parliament of Bandarban Hill Constituency, Deputy Commissioner Bandarban, Commander of Alikadam Army Zone, Divisional Forest Officer of Lama Forest Division, Officer-in-Charge of Alikadam Police Station.