Teletalk proposes BTS towers at 22 points in Sundarbans

Green groups oppose the move

Shamim Jahangir

27 February, 2019 12:00 AM printer

Teletalk, the state-owned telecom operator, has proposed for construction of a series of Base Transceiver Station (BTS) at 22 important points inside the Sundarbans despite opposition from the environmentalists.

The telecom operator submitted the proposal to the chief conservator of the world’s largest mangrove forest in the middle of this month.

Earlier in 2014-15, the operator already installed four towers at Hiran Point, Dublar Char, Alur Khul and Katka inside the forest to ensure security of fishermen as well as tourists there.

In the proposal, the company has suggested to install BTS towers at six points including Kokil Moni, Pashakhali, Harbaria, Dubaki, Notabaki and Puspakhati areas of the forest on an emergency basis. 

“We have already submitted a series of Demi Official (DO) letters to the chief conservator of the forest for installation of the towers in the areas,” said Teletalk Managing Director (MD) Md. Shahab Uddin.

In this regard, four ministries and concerned divisions also requested to install the towers at 16 other  points inside the forest for expansion of the company’s network, the MD said.

The BTSs are necessary for exploration of mineral resources there and to ensure proper vigilance for keeping the law and order situation under control, he also said.

These sixteen other points are: Charduari, Kabikhali, Kubadhak, Chunkhuri, Patakusta, Kakadukabi, Adachai, Kalabugh, Charaputia, Kachikhali, Harintana, Supti, Mandarbaria, Haldibunia, Pathakata and Juapshi areas of the forest.

“We have already requested to the forest authorities for permission in this regard so that we can use the network to monitor the possible criminal activities in the areas and ensure safety of the fishermen as well as the forest’s resources,” an official said seeking anonymity.

The BTSs will be operated using solar panels instead of captive power plants. So the operation of the BTSs will not harm the environment and affect the ecology of the forest, the official said.

Monirul H Khan, professor of Zoology Department of Jahangirnagar University told daily sun Tuesday, “I think we do not require construction of more BTSs at 22 points inside Sundarbans.”

The government can enhance network capacity of the existing BTS towers in the areas so that it can ensure safety of fishermen there, the professor suggested.

“Unnatural activities in Sundarbans can affect the biodiversity in the forest and its adjacent areas,” the zoologist pointed out.

Prof Anu Muhammed, a vocal to protect Sundarbans, told daily sun on Tuesday, “It’s a move to destroy the Sundarbans by allowing a section of people to benefit from the tower project.”

The ministry should drop ‘Sundarbans destroying’ project, he also said.