Chevron blamed for destroying natural forest in Bangladesh

June 27th, 2008 - 7:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, June 27 (DPA) Environmental groups in Bangladesh are up in arms against a US-based oil giant for allegedly destroying a natural forest while exploring for oil and gas near the north-eastern frontier with India, official sources said Friday. The seismic surveys conducted by Chevron oil company had caused irreparable damage to the Lawachhara forest, located near the tea terraces of Sylhet province, said Zillur Rahman Siddiqui of the Society for Environment and Human Development.

“Lawachhara is the home to several rare species, including the Holoock Gibbon (known locally as Ulluk), which is under serious threat also from poachers,” said former university teacher Siddiqui.

Another local environment activist, Anu Mohammad, blamed Chevron for carrying out explosions which blasted the serenity of the forests.

“Chevron has been stealing our forests indiscriminately,” Mohammad said.

The multinational has frequently been accused of harming the ecology of the lush valleys of Habiganj district looking for oil under a contract between Bangladesh’s Petrobangla and Chevron.

The Bangladesh Environment Association called on the interim government to cancel the agreements with Chevron and seek compensation from the oil company.

The Lawachhara forest, which is popular among nature lovers, is the habitat of 167 plant and animal species including birds.

The indigenous Khasia people are the dominant tribal community in the area.

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