Planning Minister MA Mannan on Thursday said that his government is thinking in terms of ‘green development’ in the Haor regions of the country.
The minister said this while speaking at a discussion meeting on “Haor Economics: Possibility and Practice” organized by Bangladesh Agricultural Economists Association (BAEA) at the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council (BARC) Conference Room in the capital on Thursday.
“I am very cordial to work for development in the Haor regions. Our Prime Minister is also sincere in the development. We think of implementing different projects there,” Mannan said.
He further revealed that the government is looking to implement a big project in the haor areas – wetland ecosystems that are the result of bowl-shaped depressions in the landscape mostly within Sylhet division.
“We have already started the work of rail line system from Chhatak to Sunamganj. Modern switch gate and electricity are needed there. Roads should be made to maintain culverts there so that water can flow easily. We can think of green development there,” added the planning minister.
Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology Minister Mustafa Jabbar said the Haor regions’ development should be pursued through alternative models.
“A haor is not just haor residents’ asset. It is national asset so it must be tackled nationally. Mechanism is needed there. We mislay thousands of crores in money for no benefit,” he also said.
Mustafa Jabbar added that children in the haor regions do not get proper education due to lack of primary schools in adjacent areas. In line with his portfolio, he proposed the use of digital technology to take education to these children.
Environment expert Professor Ainun Nishat reminded everyone that the haor region has to be developed without harming their existing ecosystem, which is extremely rich.
“I urge the authorities concerned not to make road through haors. We should not stop water flow. We should look for canals there assisting locals to keep the water flowing properly,” he also said.
Ainun Nishat further said that we have to realize “the hydrology of the regions”. Haor is third vulnerable area in the country. A proper connectivity is needed in lake, Haor and river for water flow. Besides, the private sector should be encouraged to develop ecotourism there.
Professor M. Kamruzzaman, Secretary General of BAEA moderated the function while Sajjadul Hasan, President of the association presided over it. Executive Director of Institute of Water Modelling Dr M Monowar Hossain read a keynote paper about different situation of 373 Haors located in the seven districts of Sunamganj, Sylhet, Habiganj, Maulvibazar, Netrokona, Kishoreganj and Brahmanbaria, covering a combined area of about 858,460 hectares.