Dhaka, 4th June 2016. Today 28 civil society, labour and farmers organizations in a joint rally and human chain, today in front of national press club, criticize the Finance Minister and the govt. that the proposed national budget 2016 – 17 was blind to the 40 millions coastal people and their 24 districts. They said that there was no mentioning of climate change impact especially the impact of last 23rd May cyclone Roanu which have had devastating impact in 19 costal districts, taken 23 lives and around 20 millions of people living open sky and with little drinking water now, especially the Kutubdia Island in the verge of extinction. They have demanded, government must consider sustainable infrastructure like concrete block embankment and dike to protect coastal lands and people from cyclone and monsoon tidal surge as another one priority project in the budget 2016-17.
The position paper of the group was read out by Sayed Aminul Haque of EquityBD, where they have given specific eight demands in this regard, where major demands are (i) allocation of taka 6.5 thousand corore to protect Coxsbazar coastal area including Kutubdia island from cyclone and tidal surge, (ii) allocation of taka 6 thousand corore to protect the Bhola island districts from river erosion, (iii) reformation of water dev board to make it officials accountable to local upazila and zila parishad, ensure transparency and people participation in their work, (iv) engage armed forces for critical construction especially in Kutubdia and Bhola island, (v) undertaking protection infrastructure of coastal people and land as one priority mega project from this fiscal year of 2016-17.
The rally was moderated by Mostafa Kamal Akhanda of EquityBD, speakers of the rally were Advocate Shafiqul Islam Swapan of Bangladesh Krishok Federation, Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of COAST Trust, Mrs Jahanara Begum of Bangladesh Kishani Shoba, Mr Abdul Majid of Bangladesh Farm Labour Federation, Mr Mihir Biswas of Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon, Mr Subol Sarkar of Bangladesh Bhumihin Somity, Mr Aminur Rasul Babul of Unnayan Dhara Trust, and Mr Muhin Howladar of Jubo Krishok Union. Leaded by COAST Trust co organizers of the rally were Online Knowledge Society, Arpon, Uddipan, Udyan Bangladesh, Unnayan Dhara Trust, SDS, Krishasni Shova, Grameen Jono Unnayan Sangsta, Jatiya Krishani Sromik Shomiti, Jatiya Sramik Jote, Dak Diye Jai, Docap, Dwip Unnayan Sangsta, Nolcity Model Society, Phals, Pirojpur Gono Unnayan Shomity, PRAN, Prantojon, PSI Bangladesh, Bangladesh Krishok Federation, Bangladesh Bhumihin Shomity, Bangladesh Agriculture Labor Farm Association, Labor Resource Centre, Sangkalpa Trust, Songram, CDP and Humanity Watch.
In conclusion of the rally Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of COAST said that government must concede the future climate change problem and take protection and adaptation measures now, otherwise even infrastructure for growth will be jeopardy.