The country's tourist sites are being destroyed due to lack of a coordinated policy as businessmen and opportunists are cashing in on the unrestricted sites, speakers said at a programme yesterday.
“Mass people are deprived of the opportunity to visit the tourist sites, something only the well-off can avail themselves of. But we should make it reachable for common people and the private sector should play the leading role here,” said Special Assistant to the Chief Adviser Raja Devasish Roy.
“All the actors like locals, tourists, NGO workers and students must be engaged in this process along with the government,” he added in his speech as the chief guest.
The programme titled 'International Year of The Reef (IYOR)' organised jointly by the environment and forests ministry and UNDP at Shilpakala Academy in the city was arranged to observe the IYOR 2008.
“We do not have coordinated laws to maintain tourist sites and preserve ecology. It is really a paradox that land ministry leases out places in tourist spots while environment ministry call for protection of the site,” said AHM Mostayeem Billah, joint secretary of environment and forests ministry.
“Tourist sites and ecology cannot be preserved if people continue to use the sites only for business purposes,” he added.
As a part of the celebrations, 'Coastal and wetland biodiversity management project', a project of Department of Environment (DoE), has also organised a three-day photo exhibition that began at Shilpakala Academy yesterday.
IUCN Country Representative Dr Ainun Nishat, eminent bird expert Inam-ul-Haque and AHM Rezaul Kabir, secretary to environment and forests ministry, were also present.
DoE Director General Khandaker Rashedul Haque presided over the meeting.
The International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) announced the IYOR that is a worldwide campaign to raise awareness among people about reef and make them work to protect reef.
The 46 specimens of corals on display along with the photographs at the exhibition were stolen away by tourists from Saint Martin's Island and later collected by the organisers. They are being kept at the Zoology Department of Dhaka University for further study, organisers said.
The 70 photographs on display were taken from Saint Martin's, Teknaf, Hakaluki Haor and Sonadia Island.