Signed by BMD Director General Mohammad Zafar Ullah, the letter said an international standard geological museum will be built on that land
Bureau of Mineral Development (BMD), a government bureau responsible for the management and generation of revenue from mineral resources, plans to set up the country's first 'geological museum' at Jaflong in Gowainghat upazila of Sylhet to stop stone extraction in the Ecologically Critical Area (ECA).
Gowainghat Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Nazmus Shakib said BMD has already started the process.
The BMD informed the Gowainghat upazila administration about the plan recently in a letter in the wake of preparations to stop the illegal stone extraction by putting up signboards with the instructions of the High Court.
In 2012, the High Court directed Jaflong to be declared an ECA, in response to an application by the Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA), said Gowainghat upazila administration sources.
A notification was issued on 18 February, 2015, declaring Jaflong an ECA and on January 11, 2016, the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources conferred ‘geological heritage' status on Jaflong. In this, 22.59 acres of land in Jaflong was declared as a reserved area.
Meanwhile, an organization called M/S Jalalabad Lime Manufacturers and Trading Association, in a letter dated August 17, 2020 claimed that they took acquisition of the protected area in Jaflong in 1972.
An official letter on the establishment of a geological museum said that 25.59 acres of land have been declared a geological heritage in the national interest for the protection of open rock, limestone and for purposes of research.
Signed by BMD Director General Mohammad Zafar Ullah, the letter said an international standard geological museum will be built on that land.
Any other organization including Jalalabad Lime Manufacturers and Trading Association should refrain from quarrying in the area specified, it said.
A Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) outpost is likely to be damaged if stones are quarried in and around Sonatila in Jaflong.
In the interests of national security and towards implementing the development plan adopted by the government, BMD is also preparing to deal with any legal issues that may arise.
Jaflong is an attractive tourist destination of Sylhet, which is about 60 km far from Sylhet city. It is a two-hour drive from the city. It is situated beside the Piyain River and overshadowed by mountains and rain-forests at the border between Bangladesh and Meghalaya, India.
The river originates from the great Himalayas of India which brings millions of stone boulders. It is home to the Khasia tribe.
Apart from being a tourist destination, the region is very important for its geological history and heritage and to geologists, the area is already known as the ‘geological museum’ of the country.
On the banks of the Dauki River, there are layers of very old sedimentary rocks, including layers of limestone, which are found nowhere else in Bangladesh.