Tea Estate Expansion Threatens Bangladeshi Khasi People and Forest
March 15th, 2009
In early January 2009, the Zhimai Tea Estate Authority cut-down a number of trees in the Pan-zoom of Zhimai. Thousands of trees have been demarcated to be felled and construction of labor-quarters has begun in an expansion of the tea garden. This activity threatens displacement of the indigenous Khasi people of Zhimai Punji, and directly interferes with their livelihood, which depends on the betel plant which grows on tall trees. Apart from the destruction of the land & livelihood of the Khasi, the tree felling severely affects the bio-diversity, and overall environment of the hills & forest of Sylhet Division, Bangladesh.
Fr. Joseph Gomes, OMI has been working with the Khasi people and APRA (Adibashi Poribesh Roskhya Andolon), the movement administered by BAPA, a national Bangladeshi environmental organization, for the protection & conservation of Bangladeshi forests.