Water Board Need to Be Oriented on People Participation

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Dhaka, 13th February 2012. Today in a seminar organized by EquityBD and Campaign for Sustainable Rural Livelihood (CSRL), two network of right based civil societies, urged Water Development Board must be reform to accommodate people participation in all level of project cycle as climate change adaptation have to be appropriate and low cost. The seminar title “Infrastructure Development and People Participation in Climate Change Planning” was moderated by Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of EquityBD, among other key speakers of the seminar were, ex Minister KM Jahangir, Member of Parliament Sohrab Ali Sana and AKM Fazlul Haque, they are also member of parliamentary standing committee related to ministry on water resource and ministry on environment and forest; Monisha Biswas of CSRL, Zakir Hossain of Transparency International Bangladesh, Jahangir Hossain Masum of CDP. Three case studies and paper were presented by Sayed Aminul Haque of EquityBD, Hasan Mehedi of Humanity Watch, and Dr. Khurshid Alam an expert consultant on Water Development Board study.

Dr Khurshid in his presentation urged to take social approach integrated to technical approach, Water Board have to be oriented to work with people rather then working for people, he urged water board must not follow top down one size fit all embankment, there must be separate board for coastal development and haor development, he also urged to utilize labor contracting group and canal maintenance group, as he mentioned that it will reduce implementation cost too.

KM Jahagir the ex Minister as he is from coastal area and experienced he proposed three steps, i.e., in respect of embankment construction it should be considered to save the soul, not to take cost effectively, there must be cost audit on each of the estimate of water board, and he also urged from local level participation. Sohrab Ali Sana and AKM Fazlul Haque the two MP has also echoed the same voice to ensure people participation from project preparation to project implementation on top of bureaucrats domination.

Zakir Hossain of TIB proposed that there must be change in public procurement policy so that there should be local level participation. He observed that there are hardly any environmental impact assessment in already disbursed projects under trust and resilience funds, where water development board has got around 33 % of the allocation which is around taka 2500 millions.

Monisha Biswas of CSRL draw attention to give importance to women and child issue in all infrastructure planning. Niamat Ullah from Bhola urged to give usufruct right to all the settlers in embankment land in coastal areas, they should be trained how to maintain the embankment lands and also how to generate income from those lands, so that they will also be maintainer and protector of the embankment. Hasan Mehedi and Zahangir Masum give importance to follow Tidal River Management in river management planning.

Download Related Paper [Bangla Press] [English Press] [FGD Report] [Divisional Workshop Findings] [Presentation Infrastructure & WDB] [Presentation_ Infrastructure & Peoples’ Experience] [Presentation_Infrastructure_13 Feb-2012]

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