Dhaka 13 June 2020: A virtual seminar titled “National budget 2020-2021, embankment and protection of coastal population” is organized by COAST Trust and CSRL (Campaign for Sustainable Rural Livelihood) today. Dr Qazi Kholliquzzaman, Chairman of PKSF (Polli Karma Sohayak Foundation) chaired the seminar and Mr Saber Hossain Chowdhury MP (Member of Parliament) and the Chair Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Forest Environment and Climate Change was the Chief Guest. Mr Aktheruzzaman Babu MP of Khulna was the Special Guest of the seminar moderated by Mr Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of COAST. Six Union Parishad Chairmen from Sathkira, Khulna, Golachipa, Charfassion and Kutubdia upazilas also spoke in the online seminar. Other prominent speakers are Mr. Ziaul Haque Mukta of CSRL, Mr. Shameem Arefin of AOSED, Mr. Shamsuddoha of CPRD, Mr Rafiqul Islam of DUS, Dr Mahbuba Nasreen, Dean of Dhaka University.
Mr. Arif Dewan of COAST said in his Keynote presentation that despite of the destruction of cyclone Amphan, government hardly allocated incremental finance for embankment to save coastal people and their crops to promote coastal economy. This will increase further poverty in the coastal belt.
Keynote presentations and participants of the virtual seminar demanded the following; (1) Allocate 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) will provide design, monitoring and technical support. (3) Army should be deployed immediately to reconstruct the embankment in worst affected areas like Kutubdia and Koyra, (4) Plan to construct embankment in remote islands where poor people live and are exposed to disaster, (5) Consider other socio-economic issues like salinity management, appropriate dredging and viable economic activities alongside embankment to make coastal areas resilient to climate.
Md. Akhteruzzaman Babu MP said that due to lack of appropriate design and construction by WDB since cyclone Aila, Khulna and Satkhira area are fully unprotected now. Emergency embankment to be built in the area.
Mr. Saber Hossain Chowdhury MP said that, there were pre-Apmhan activities to save the lives but we must go for a long term plan on construction and sustainable management of embankment. These should be a priority issue for the “8th Five Year Plan”. He added, such activities should be led by 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 the either sides of embankments. This could be beneficial for both protection of the embankment and riverine and brackish water fishery resources.
Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman advised to government to make priority of coastal embankment construction led by local government and make it free from construction.
[Position Paper] [Presentation] [Bangla Press] [English Press] [Seminar Video]