Fresh assault on Yunus for WB stopping Padma Bridge fund

Fresh assault on Yunus for WB stopping Padma Bridge fund

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Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal on Wednesday urged Nobel Laureate Dr Muhammad Yunus to clear his position on the allegation of his role in having the fund for the Padma Bridge project cancelled by the World Bank.
“I would like to request Dr Muhammad Yunus to clarify his position on the issue (Padma Bridge) which would be helpful for all,” he said replying to a question during his ‘Meet-the-Press’ programme at the NEC conference room in the city’s Sher-e-Bangla Nagar area.
According to media reports, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the Ecnec meeting on Tuesday said Dr Muhammad Yunus at one point had influenced former US First Lady Hillary Clinton to phone World Bank for cancelling the fund for the Padma Bridge project.“Since there’s a controversy over his (Dr Yunus’) role, why he (Yunus) is not coming up and clarifying his position,” the Planning Minister added.
Mustafa Kamal went on saying, “He (Yunus) should make things clear to everybody. Let the whole world know why such allegations are coming against him.”
He said although there were alleged allegations of corruption over the Padma Bridge project, the World Bank could not prove anyone of these allegations. “But, why was the funding cancelled? All should know it,” he said.
Lauding Dr Yunus as an eminent and enlightened personality having the rare honour of winning Nobel Prize, the Planning Minister said the former Grameen Bank chairman should clarify each and every point over the issue before the nation to bury the controversies.
“As there’re allegations against him (Yunus), let him clarify,” added the Planning Minister.
Asked about the Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Division (IMED) report on the ‘Neemgachhi Society-based aquaculture project’ submitted to a meeting of the Ecnec on Tuesday chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Mustafa Kamal said the findings of the impact study was not satisfactory.
He said the Prime Minster directed the authorities concerned to conduct a detailed study on the project to make a comprehensive report.
The government through the IMED report raised questions over Grameen Fisheries & Livestock Foundation’s methods in the running of a huge fisheries project in Sirajganj and Pabna.
The IMED under the planning ministry said the project failed to help the poor in the two districts enhance their livelihoods because of weaknesses in the lease agreement and the foundation’s commercial mentality.
The foundation had neither the capacity nor the intention to raise production through the proper use of the 783 ponds and other facilities under the project and subsequently increase the income of the poor through fair distribution of profits, the report said.
Besides, the report also said, the Grameen Fisheries Foundation have failed to make significant contributions to the development of that area as well as in national development.
During the meeting, the IMED apprised Ecnec of the latest condition of the project and its justification for not renewing the agreement with the foundation.
With the help of the UK, the government implemented the Neemgachhi Aquaculture Development Project (NADP) in 1980-1985 in Raiganj and Tarash upazilas in Sirajganj, and Chatmohar and Bhangura upazilas in Pabna.
The project was leased out to Grameen Fisheries for 25 years. However, the control of the project was handed over to the Fisheries Department in January 2011 after the lease tenure expired.
In September last year, Ecnec asked the IMED to enquire about the project and submit a report on it. – UNB

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