The Financial Express

Implementation of crop protection schemes

WDB to face delay due to water recession in Sunamganj haor areas

| Updated: October 31, 2017 15:46:34

Water still flowing in the haor protection embankment areas in Sunamganj. The photo was taken from Derai upazila on Monday. 	— FE Photo Water still flowing in the haor protection embankment areas in Sunamganj. The photo was taken from Derai upazila on Monday. — FE Photo

SYLHET, Oct 30: The Water Development Board (WDB) would face a little to implement the crop protection schemes under the new systems and time-frame, set by the government due to delay in water recession from the different haor in Sunamganj.

A number of locals from Dharampasha, Derai and Shulla upazilas said water is yet to recede from the haors and this why it is not possible to make field measurement for preparing new schemes.

Derai Upazila Nirbahi Officer and others saw the water flowing through the haors during a field visit to the upazilas on October 26. This is why it wasn't possible to take field measurement for preparing schemes, since the date for sending schemes to the approving authority was October 30.

Admitting the matter the WDB Executive engineer, Sunamganj, Abu Bakar Siddique said, "We are trying to follow the timeframe, but it has become troublesome due to delay in water recession."

Farmer Abdul Hakim of village Anwarpur in Derai said water is yet to recede from the Kaliargota haor and boats were plying on the crop protection embankment there. Bhatipara union parishad chairman Shahjahan Kazi said it will take weeks more to recede the waters from different haors.

WDB this year would do repair and reconstruction works on the crop protection schemes through the Project Implementation Committees (PIC), in place of contractors. The decision came in the pretext of last year's huge crop damage due to errant crop protection embankments by the contractors in connivance with officials.

Besides, timeframe has also been set for executing the schemes through PICs headed by Deputy Commissioner or the UNO. Also they would oversee everything.

It may be stated here that the government has sanctioned Tk 820 million for reconstruction of embankments for protecting crops inside 36 haors in Sunamganj.

On the basis of probe by high level committee of WDB the authorities made policy changes for executing projects, officials informed.

Under the new system a 12-men district committee is be headed by the Deputy Commissioner while the WDB's Executive Engineer would serve as the member-secretary while others department officers and NGOs would be members in addition to a locally important person.

PICs should be formed by November 30 to start schemewise works by December 15. Works should be completed by February 28, the official added.

Last year the WDB contractors were sanctioned Tk 460 million while the PICs were given Tk 207 million for the crop protection projects in Sunamganj. But due to the large-scale corruption the total Boro crop was damaged by early floods, affecting about 300,000 farmers.

Amid protests countrywide, several ministers, Prime minister as well as the president visited Sunamagnj. Different agencies as well as the WDB, district Bar Association and the ACC through separate investigations detected irregularities. Accordingly the ACC on 2 July filed a case accusing 61 persons and two officials and a contractor were arrested.

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