October 5, 2023, 9:01 am

M Kamal Akand & Syed Aminul Hoque

2021-06-12 22:53:17 BdST

CSOs, MPs demand BDT 150bn for coastal embankment management

In a virtual seminar, coastal MPs [Member of the Parliament], CSOs and expert have demanded budget allocation of BDT 15000 crore at least from revenue for protection especially climate resilient embankment construction in proposed national budget 2021-22.

They also recommended government to integrated embankment maintenance strategy and include local government for maintenance as well.

The seminar is organized by a network of COAST foundation, CSRL [Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihood], CPRD [Center for Participatory Research & Development] and CLEAN [Coastal Livelihood and Environmental Action Network].

Mr. Saber Hossain Chowdhury MP (Member of Parliament) and the Chair of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Forest, Environment and Climate Change has participated as Chief Guest.

Seminar was moderated by Mr. Rezaul Karim Chowdhury from COAST and Ziaul Hoque Mukta of CSRL, where Mr. Narayon Chandra Chanda MP Khulna-5, Mr. Mir Mushtaque Ahmed Robi MP Satkhira-2, Mr. Nurunnabi Chowdhury MP Bhola-3, Mr. Nahim Razzaq MP Shariatpur-3, Mr. Asheq Ullah Rafiq MP Cox's Bazar-2, Mr. Shameem Haider Patwary MP Gaibandha-1, Mr. Zafar Alam MP Cox's Bazar-1, Dr. Ainun Nishat, Professor Emeritus BRAC University, Md Shamsuddoha of CPRD and Hasan Mehedi of CLEAN have participated and spoke. The key note was presented by Syed Aminul Hoque from COAST.

In a key note presentation, Aminul Hoque of COAST said that, every year cyclone and monsoon flood are damaging the livelihood structures and cause of suffering coastal people. But government has ignored and doing business as usual budget for embankment construction which is unfair.

He put three demands are (i) Government have to allocate at least BDT 150 billion [15000 crore] allocation every year as minimum requirement for embankment construction (ii) Local governments have to give mandate with budget for embankment maintenance and (iii) Govt. should have plan of alternatives for coastal protection especially natural protection, skill oriented education to facilitate employment for coastal population while they migrate and along with water & sewerage facilities develop in cities.

Saber Hossain Chowdhury MP said that a national risk assessment is needed that will support to appropriate resource allocation for government. He demand for a roadmap on this issue along with to prepare an embankment policy.

Dr.Ainun Nishat opined the political biasness should minimize for prioritization and budget allocation that is absent in embankment planning. The projects under “Delta Plan” have taken without consideration of local knowledge.

Mir Mushtaque Ahmed Robi MP opine the investment in coastal protection will return double. So budget must be increased.

Asheq Ullah Rafiq MP said, we are unable to tidal surge based forecasting. That’s why some areas of Cox’s Bazar district affected and damage happened. He demand district wise budget for embankment.

MP Nahim Razzaq said, comprehensive water management system and planning is very essential to reduce the effect of coastal disaster. This only possible ensuring inter-ministerial coordination. We can form a “Caucus” with coastal MPs to strengthen the advocacy on this issue.

MP Shameem Haider Patwary said that embankment construction strategy and approach will have to integrate with all sort of economic activities than it will get priority to government.

Rezaul Karim Chowdhury demanded for a long term integrated and eco-system based disaster risk reduction policy for coastal protection where migration facilitated education system for coastal population is a part.

Ziaul Hoque Mukta embankments will have classified and prioritized based on disaster effect and solution also sought following agro-ecological context. There should be a coordination in the planning and implementation where NGOs, people representatives also be a part of government.

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