Political unrest: Sundarbans become touristless

Bagerhat Correspondent :
The world heritage Sundarbans has become almost touristless in this winter season due to the political unrest prevailing in the country.
Innumerable tourists of both home and abroad are very much interested to pay a visit to the tourist spot Sundarban forest every year, particularly in the winter season. But the picture of this year is quite different. Just with the beginning of the current financial (2013-14) year political unrest, hartal and blockade progrmmes created lacking of interest in traveling among the travel loving people to make a pleasure trip to Sundarban forest. In spite of that a good number of tourists are interested to travel the forest. But they cannot translate their desire into practice for the above mentioned reasons. As a result, those who are involved in Sundarban forest tourism business will have to incur a loss of Tk.15 crores. On the other hand, the Govt. may loss a sum of Tk.1.5 crores as revenue.
Various tourist agencies and other concerned sources said , a good number of tourists contacted with the different tourist agencies and reserved their bookings. But for the prevailing political unrest, hartal and blockade they cancelled their bookings.
It is also learnt from various sources that the tourists of both home and abroad visit Sundarban forest throughout the year. But the maximum numbers of tourists visit the forest during the period from November to February. Huge gathering of the visitors was noticed in the Sundarban forest during the last two years, particularly in the months of December and January. At that time the forest department was in great trouble to give the security and protections to the visitors. But in the current season it can be said that here is no presence of the tourists on Katka, Kachikhal, Harbaria, Heronpoint, Karamjal and other tourist points of Sundarban forest due to political violence, unrest, Hartal, blockades etc. Forest department is in suspicion tht when the present situation will be overcome and the tourists will tour the forest once again. According to the counting of the Eastern Division of the forest, some 1.20 lakh 4 hundred 14 tourists visited Sundarban forest in the fiscal year of 2012-13. Out of them 1.16 lakh 5 hundred 60 were natives and 3 thousand 8 hundred 54 foreigners. At that time forest department realized a sum of Tk.49.15 lakh 1 hundred 90 from the native tourists while Tk.54,53 lakh 7 hundred from the foreign tourists as revenue. Some 5 thousand 9 hundred 2 native tourists visited the forest up to the month of and 6 hundred 10 foreign tourists visited the forest up to November during the prsent fiscal (2013-14). At that time forest department realized a sum of Tk,3.11 lakh 2 hundred 70 from the native tourists while a sum of Tk.7.67 lakh 5 hundred from the foreig tourists. Apart this it is found that the collection of the revenue of Sundarban forest from the tourists in the present fiscal year has fallen short abnormally in comparison with the the revenue of the last financial year.
Md. Amir Hossain Chowdhyry, DFO of the Eastern Division of Sundarban forest tells the newsmen that it is the high time for both native and foreign tourists to visit Sundarban forest But they are no twilling to visit the forest in the face of political unrest and hartal and blockade programmes.