Speakers at a virtual seminar on Saturday urged the government to allocate the resources for constructing an embankment to protect the coastal population.
The virtual seminar titled “National budget 2020-2021, embankment and protection of coastal population” was jointly organized by NGO network Campaign for Sustainable Rural Livelihood(CSRL), and COAST Trust, an NGO.
Saber Hossain Chowdhury, MP, Chairman of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Forest Environment and Climate Change Ministry and Aktheruzzaman Babu, MP, took part as the chief guest and special guest respectively.. Chaired by Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, chairman of Polli Karma Sahayak Foundation(PKSF) and one of the country’s most renowned economists, the seminar was moderated by Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of COAST Trust.
Six Union Parishad Chairmen, from Sathkira, Khulna, Golachipa, Charfassion and Kutubdia upazilas have spoken in the session. Other prominent speakers were Ziaul Haque Mukta of CSRL, Shameem Arefin of AOSED, Shamsuddoha of CPRD, Rafiqul Islam of DUS and Dr Mahbuba Nasreen, Dean of Dhaka University.
In his speech, Md. Akhteruzzaman Babu, MP, said that due to lack of appropriate design and construction by Water Development Board (WDB) since cyclone Aila, today Khulna and Satkhira area are fully unprotected. Emergency embankments have to be built in those areas, he added.
Saber Hossain Chowdhury, MP, said the country has to go for long term plan on construction and sustainable management of embankment. This should be a priority issue for the “Eighth Five Year Plan”. Such activities have to be done with leading role of local government and the participation of local people, he said.
In his Keynote presentation, Arif Dewan of COAST said that despite devastation by recent cyclone Amphan, government hardly allocated incremental financial allocation for embankment construction for coastal protection and to save next economic activities or any stimulus to save coastal farmers.
The neglect will result in increasing poverty in the coastal belt, he concluded.
Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman advised the government to prioritise the embankment construction, led by local governments in a process free of corruption.UNB