The Sundarban East Forest Division seized a drone from a tourist at Kotka area of Sharonkhola Range on Saturday. He had been operating it without permission.
According to the forest division said, tourist vessel namely MV Tanguar Haor entered the Sundarbans through Sharonkhola on Saturday morning with two days' permission,
A tourist began operating a drone from the vessel at Supti area. As soon as the drone too to the air, security personnel of the forest division brought the drone to the ground and took it into their custody.
A total of 35 Bangladeshi tourists, who travelled from Dhaka to Sundarbans through a tour operator called Tiger Tours Limited, were in the boat.
Sharonkhola Range Assistant Conservator of Forest (ACF) Joynal Abedin said, “We seized the drone from the vessel in Katka area. It is currently in the possession of forester Abul Kalam, the acting official of the Katka Sanctuary Center. Legal action will be taken against the tour operator and those involved in this regard.”
The man from whom the drone was recovered came to the Sundarbans with his family. An officer of a private bank, he claimed he knew nothing about the matter.
Earlier, the forest department seized two drones from the eastern forest area of the Sundarbans in January 2016 and December 2017. The owners of those drones were two foreign nationals.
Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) under Sundarban East Forest Division MD Belayet Hossain told Prothom Alo that “Sundarbans is a reserved forest. Drones are not allowed here without permission. Anyone who wants to record a video or use a drone for any purpose has to get approval from the ministry.”
He said “The forest division seized the drones as these were being operated without permission. The man who brought the drone works in a bank.”
Wakil Ahmed, a consultant for Tiger Tours Ltd, told Prothom Alo that they were not given any instructions from the authorities regarding drones. "That's why we didn't instruct the tourists anything about the matter,” he said.