Crisis in Haors: 3 WDB engineers suspended over dam corruption
12:00 AM, May 03, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 04:02 AM, May 03, 2017

Crisis in Haors: 3 WDB engineers suspended over dam corruption

Three engineers of Water Development Board (WDB) were suspended yesterday over allegations of corruption in building and repairing embankments in the haor region.

They are: Chief Engineer (Sylhet) Abdul Hai, Superintending Engineer (Sylhet) Nurul Islam Sarkar and Executive Engineer (Sunamganj) Afsar Uddin.

The water resources ministry reconstituted a committee investigating the allegation of corruption reportedly committed by its officials.

"They will remain suspended until the end of the investigation," Jafor Ahmed Khan, senior secretary of the ministry, told The Daily Star, adding that the decision was made so that the officials involved in the alleged corruption would not be able to influence the probe.

Earlier, Executive Engineer Afsar was withdrawn from Sunamganj for his alleged involvement in corruption related to repairs to an embankment.

After flashfloods washed away crops on thousands of hectares of land in the haors due to damage to embankments, farmers brought allegations that the WDB did not repair them in time. The floodwater damaged Boro crops and caused subsequent loss of livelihood, fish and livestock.

The Anti-Corruption Commission is also investigating to find out whether there were any irregularities and corruption in building and mending embankments in the haor belt.

'CORRUPTION IN VGF PROGRAMME'

Affected farmers alleged that they did not get VGF (Vulnerable Group Feeding) rice in Mokrompur union in Habiganj's Baniachang upazila, while many relatives of the union parishad chairman collected VGF rice and sold it in the markets, our Moulvibazar correspondent reports. 

Monjer Ahmed, a farmer in Mokrompur village of Baniachang, said his land went under water, but he did not get a VGF card.

Suma Begum, 45, wife of another farmer of the same village, alleged that she went to the house of UP Chairman Ahad Mia and his office for a VGF card several times, but failed to get it.

It was also alleged that the chairman distributed VGF cards among his relatives, depriving many affected farmers.

Azman Ali, ward-6 member of Mokrompur Union Parishad, said standing in line for hours, affected farmers of his area were not getting the VGF rice, but it was being sold at many shops at a high price.

The UP member said he and his seven other fellows submitted a petition to deputy commissioner of Habiganj against the alleged corruption of Ahad.

Contacted, Ahad termed the allegations false.

Meanwhile, a boat with 360 bags of rice meant for relief capsized in the Surma river during a storm in Sunamganj Sadar upazila early Monday.

Sheikh Rafiqul Islam, deputy commissioner of Sunamganj, said the government had allocated the rice for the flood-affected people of Rangarchar union in the upazila.

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