Dhaka, 17th September. Today sixteen civil society organizations leaded by EquityBD organized a human chain in front of national press club to raise citizen concern on the eve of upcoming UN MDG summit to be held in New York during 20 to 22nd September. They demand cancellation of foreign debt which is now per head $ 159 and which would be around $ 250 in 2015 to finance millennium development goal in Bangladesh, as they claimed that most of the debt are illegitimate and spent to promote elite and ruler class in this country. They blamed the developed countries as responsible for climate change thus also in most respect responsible for poverty in Bangladesh. The group also criticized the government expenditure, they demanded accountability and justice in this regard, in their written statement, and they expressed frustration on rampant corruption and lack of decentralization. They mentioned that government must bring justice in their expenditure while they urging people for taxes. The program was moderated by Mustafa Kamal Akanda of EquityBD, was spoken by Shamima Akhter of Asow, Fakhrul Ferdous of DCI, Subol Sarkar of Bhumihin Somiti, Mahbub Hasan of CDP, Badrul Alam of BKF, Zaid Iqbal of Bangladesh Krishok Federation, Sahadat Islam Chowdhury of Pradip and Rezaul Karim Chowdury of EquityBD.
The sixteen organizations consists Arpon, Asow, BKF, Bangladesh Krishok Federation, CDP, DCI, DORA, EquityBD, Krishani Shova, Lead Trust, On line knowledge Center, Protikrit, Prodip, Prantik, Purbasha, Sirjganj Flood Forum and United People Trust.
Shamima Akhter of Asow criticizes some of the CSO activities in this regard, she mentioned that poverty is not the matter of celebration and fan fare activities, they must avoid lavish expenditure. Fakrul Ferdous of DCI condemned them as a poverty industry syndrome, he mentioned that as still 40 % population are in poverty and 25 % are hard core poor, then there should not be a matter of complacence. Subol Sarkar of Bhumihin Somitee demanded state mechanism to redistribute means of production and asset transfer to landless poor farmers.
Mahbub Hasan of CDP raise question on role of big government delegation in UN MDG summit. He mentioned the useless role of same sort of big delegation during Copenhagen climate summit. Badrul Alam of BKF also demanded cancellation of foreign debt as those money mostly used and abused by elite and ruler class of the country. Zaid Iqbal of Krishok Federation echoed the same tone he demanded independent audit commission of all foreign debt.
Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of EquityBD has also criticized the big government delegation for UN summit; he also criticized tax free high salary and facilities for parliament members, which is as he claimed as injustice and an expression of unaccountability to the people. Without justice and accountability in public expenditure MDG and poverty eradication is hardly possible and we can not justify our demand for more foreign aid.