In a virtual seminar title “National budget 2020-2021, embankment and protection of coastal population” have held organized by COAST Trust an NGO and CSRL (Campaign for Sustainable Rural Livelihood) a NGO network.
The webinar chaired by Dr Qazi Kholliquzzaman, Chairman PKSF (Polli Karma Sohayak Foundation) and chief guest were Mr Saber Hossain Chowdhury MP (Member of Parliament) and the Chair Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Forest Environment and Climate Change, special guest was Mr Aktheruzzaman Babu MP Khulna.
The webinar was moderated by Mr Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of COAST.
Six Union Parishad Chairmen, from Sathkira, Khulna, Golachipa, Charfassion and Kutubdia upazilas have spoken in the session.
Other prominent speakers are Mr. Ziaul Haque Mukta CSRL, Mr. Shameem Arefin AOSED, Mr. Shamsuddoha CPRD, Mr Rafiqul Islam DUS, Dr Mahbuba Nasreen Dean Dhaka University spoken in the session.
Key note presentation was made by Mr. Arif Dewan of COAST said that despite having a devastation by recent cyclone Amphan, government hardly allocated incremental financial allocation for embankment construction for coastal protection and to save next economic activities or any stimulus to save coastal farmers, which will result increased no of poor population in the coastal belt.
Key note presentations and participants of the webinar have made following demands;
(1) Allocate adequate budget at least BDT 120 billion per year only for embankment construction
(2) Local governments should be given mandate and budget for embankment construction and maintenance while WDB ( Water Development Board) role should only be limited to design, monitoring and technical support.
(3) Army should be deployed immediately to reconstruct the embankment in worse affected areas like Kutubdia, Koyra
(4) Plan to construct embankment in remote coastal char areas especially in Bhola district where poor people living in risk to disaster
(5) Consider other socio-economic issues like salinity management, appropriate dredging and viable economic activities alongside embankment to make coastal areas as climate resilient.
Md. Akhteruzzaman Babu MP said that due to lack of appropriate design and construction by WDB since cyclone Aila, now Khulna and Satkhira area are fully unprotected. Emergency embankment have to done in the area.
Mr. Saber Hossain Chowdhury MP said that, there were pre Apmhan activity that’s why we have saved the live but we have to go for long term plan on construction and sustainable management of embankment. These should be a priority issue for “Eight Five Year Plan”. Such activities have to be done with leading role of local government with the participation of local people.
Mr. Rezaul Karim Chowdhury said government need to follow the Sri Lankan model i.e, coastal afforestation in both the side of embankment. Which is beneficial for protection of the embankment and also beneficial for riverine and brackish water fishery resources.
Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman advised to government to make priority of coastal embankement construction, local government leaded, and to make the construction corruption free.
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