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The Financial Express

Dam repair projects yield little for delayed implementation

Speakers tell national dialogue


| Updated: July 15, 2020 16:12:05


File photo used for representational purpose File photo used for representational purpose

Speakers at an event in the city on Tuesday observed that the projects undertaken for repair of the embankments are yielding little results as too much time is taken in their planning, application, approval and implementation.

They also alleged that massive irregularities took place with the fund allocated for repair of embankments in the aftermaths of cyclonic storms Sidr and Aila.

They expressed resentment over non-implementation of sustainable embankments despite the authorities' plans and budget allocation for their construction.

They made the observations at a national dialogue on 'What to be done on emergency basis to construct sustainable coastal embankments' at Dhaka Reporters' Unity (DRU).

'Sundarban O Upokul Surokkha Andolon' (Movement for safeguarding Sundarbans and coastal areas) organised the dialogue.

Deputy Minister for Water Resources AKM Enamul Haque Shamim was present as the chief guest.

Coordinator of the movement Nikhil Chandra Bhadra moderated the dialogue while member Aminur Rasul Babu presented the keynote paper.

Enamul Haque Shamim said the government has undertaken four projects to construct sustainable embankments in the Amphan-affected coastal areas at a cost of Tk80 billion. Work on the projects will begin this year and be completed within next three years.

The government is also actively considering forming a coastal area development board, he added.

Of the total money, more than Tk 9.57 billion was allocated for polder number 14 and Tk 12 billion for polder number 31 of Khulna, about Tk 37 billion for polder number 05 and about Tk 10 billion for polder number 15 of Satkhira, the deputy minister added.

The speakers at the dialogue placed a demand for construction of a permanent and strong embankment, having a height of 30 feet and a width of 100 feet on the ground and 30 feet on the top, considering climate change and natural calamities in the region.

They stressed the need for arranging emergency funds and engaging local government bodies in maintenance of the embankments.

They urged the government to enforce a ban immediately on making shrimp or crab enclosures within a 100-meter radius of the embankments and to take effective steps to ensure safe drinking water for the coastal people.

Coastal people's lives and livelihoods largely depend on embankments; so they want sustainable embankments rather than food support, the speakers viewed.

They alleged that massive irregularities took place in implementation of different projects taken to repair the damaged embankments in coastal areas.

Even a project undertaken with financial assistance of the World Bank to the tune of Tk250 billion to re-construct an embankment from Satkhira to Bhola in 1 to 54 polder was not implemented for mysterious reason.

The embankment construction and repair in disaster-prone coastal areas have an important part in the governments' Delta Plan.

The 27,738 sqkm coastal area is specialised and much bigger than other parts of the country.

It is mentioned in the Delta Plan that saline water intrusion, tidal surge and cyclones will be tackled through effective management of the polders in coastal areas.

The polder management will also reduce the risk of flood and enhance water pumping out capacity.

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