Dhaka, 19th February 2017. Today a seminar title “Protecting Bangladesh Coast from Climate Catastrophes: Actions Prior to Next Monsoon” jointly organized by Office of the Dr Hasan Mahmud, Chairman, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Environment and Forest in cooperation with COAST Trust, speakers emphasized the protection of coastal land and people could be done from country’s own resources, and in this regard Water Development Board has to be restructured and must coordinate with other government ministries. The seminar was chaired by Dr Hasan Mahmud, moderated by Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of COAST Trust. Special Guest of the seminar was Mr Abduallah Al Islam MP Deputy Minister, other speakers are Dr Ainun Nishat Professor of Emirates BRAC University; Mr. Ponchanon Biswas MP; Mrs Zebunnesa Afroz MP, Mr Ponkaz Nath MP; Mr Shiekh Nurul Haque MP and Mr. Didarul Islam MP. Mr Mujibul Haque Munir of COAST Trust gave the key note presentation.
Mr Mujibul Haque Munir in his key note presentation, apart from the long term impact of climate change in Bangladeshi coastal area, he presented the gloomy experiences of embankment construction with emergency allocation which has given after cyclone Roanu i.e. after last moon soon. He said about discrepancies of original plan and actual work, hardly 50 % of the work has done so far, although there are lot of concern on quality. He express worries, if this sorry state will prevail then again coastal population will suffer tidal surge and related crisis again in next monsoon. Apart from long term solutions, he proposed (i) full transparency and accountability of the Water Development Board (WDB) officials to the local community and to local governments, (ii) there should be coordination of Local Government Engineering Department (LGED), Relief Ministry in this regard and (iii) there should be especial allocation to the Upazila Parishad for emergency work in next monsoon.
Mr Didarul Islam MP of Sitakundu, Mrs Zebunnesa MP of Barisal, Mr Pankaz Nath MP of Mehediganj, Mr Shiekh Nurul Haque MP of Koira, Mr Ponchanon Biswas of Khulna also narrated sorry state of their constituency which in fact still unprotected from river erosion and tidal surge, people are worried for incoming monsoon. They have emphasized sluice gate reactivation, canal revaccinations and dredging, river management in their area, drinking water crisis acute in their area too. They also said that presence of WDB officials in the field are found minimum.
Dr Ainun Nishat has said that, embankment height in coastal area have to be increased up to 7 meter, participation of local community, transparency and accountability to them should must in WDB work. He criticized the present preparation of Delta plan as proposed by donors. Dr Hasan Mahmud Chairman, Parliamentary Standing Committee said that, political leaders should come forward in suggesting that how the government can do their coastal protection work with country’s own local resource mobilization. He also said that the World Bank should not come forward with the proposal of giving loan to Bangladesh in this regard. He emphasized that, WDB has to restructure and there must be coordination with LGED, Relief Ministry and Shipping Ministry for protecting Bangladesh coast.
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