Dhaka, 18th June 2016. Today 28 civil society, labour and farmers organizations criticized the Finance Minister and the govt. as the proposed national budget 2016 – 17 has ignored the dire situation of the cyclone Roanu affected coastal people. They expressed their grievance on during a human chain and rally held today in front of the National Press Club. They said, the last 23rd May cyclone Roanu 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 extension. But the proposed budget has not proposed any curative measures to address the recent suffering of the coastal people. 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.
In the position paper of the group they have given specific nine 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 and (vi) Coastal areas must be protected with afforestation.
The rally was moderated by Mostafa Kamal Akhanda of COAST Trust, Mr. Subol Sarkar of Bangladesh Bhumihin Somity, Mr Aminur Rasul Babul of Unnayan Dhara Trust, Zayed Iqbal Khan of Bangladesh Krishak Federation, Mihir Biswas of Poribesh Bachao Andolon and Syed Aminul Haque of EquityBD.
Subol Sarkar said, embankment for the Roanu affected areas is must. Since it is not possible during this rainy season, affected families have to suffer till the August and so, they should be provided special ration. Aminur Rasul Babul said, after 60 and 70 decades there almost no action has been taken to build or reform the coastal embankments. Mega projects are being taken in the cities only. We demand mega projects to save the coastal areas too. Syed Aminul Haque said, Bangladesh is the one of the most vulnerable countries due to the climate change. Climate adaptation plan or poverty eradication plan can’t be successful without protecting the coastal people from their very common sufferings.
Led 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.