Bangladesh: Cabinet okays draft law to conserve forests

The government is going for a tougher law to clamp down on rampant tree-felling in an effort to conserve forests.

The cabinet yesterday approved in principle the draft of Forest Act (Amendment) 2010, prescribing longer jail terms and heftier fines for illegal logging and other related offences.

When the first forest law was formulated during the British rule, forest was considered a means of collecting duties and levies. But things have changed over the years, observed Mihir Kanti Majumder, environment and forest secretary. “Now we want to preserve forest instead of collecting duties out of it.”

The amendment will raise the jail term for minor offence to three years from the existing six months and fine to Tk 50,000 from Tk 2,000.

For major forest plundering, the punishment is even tougher. The jail term is 10 years and fine Tk 100,000 if somebody denudes a vast tract of land.

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