About 70 percent of the government's current budget for safe water, sanitation and hygiene has been allocated for Dhaka, Khulna and Chittagong cities, discriminating against the rest of the country, said speakers at a workshop yesterday.
However, the rural areas, especially haors, chars and hilly villages, need more attention, they told the workshop organised by WaterAid, Simavi, and Development Organisation of the Rural Poor (DORP) in Cirdap auditorium in the capital.
As a large proportion of the population lives in villages, a project should be launched for hygienic sanitation in rural areas, said Head of Policy Advocacy of WaterAid Shamim Ahmed.
Chief of Research, Evaluation and Monitoring of DORP, Zobair Hasan, said due to bureaucratic tangles local government representatives get budgetary allocation near the end of a fiscal year, and failing to utilise the fund in a short time, they often return it to the ministry.
Tk 4,113 crore has been allocated for sanitation while around Tk 295.5 crore is being spent every year to treat diseases caused by a lack of hygiene, Zobair mentioned. He urged the authorities to increase the budget and ensure that it reaches every part of the country in time.
State Minister for LGRD and Cooperatives Moshiur Rahman Ranga, who was the chief guest, asked the event organisers to provide him a list of areas which need safe water and sanitation. “The ministry will address the issue soon,” he promised.
WaterAid Country Director Khairul Islam, and DORP Chief Executive Officer AHM Nouman also spoke among others.