Smart cards for farmers
The government may introduce prepaid smart cards for farmers to get irrigation water from the Water Development Board pumps, said Water Resources Minister Anisul Islam Mahmud.
"The farmers used to get irrigation water free of cost. But now we are planning to introduce smart cards for farmers," he said at a programme in the capital yesterday while talking about scarcity of water in Bangladesh and proper management of the available resources.
The government has already distributed the cards in some areas on an experimental basis, he added.
The minister was speaking as the chief guest at a book launching programme at a city hotel yesterday.
The book -- People of Many Rivers: Tales from the Riverbanks -- jointly published by ActionAid Bangladesh and University Press Limited is a compilation of accounts of 32 people living on the banks of the Padma and the Teesta rivers in northern Bangladesh.
The book predominantly portrays the impacts of poor river policies adopted by the governments of Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan where dams were built, hydroelectric power stations developed and embankments constructed with "little or no consideration" of the natural flow of water and livelihoods, speakers said.
Bangladesh, in particular, bears the worst brunt of negligence in river management.
"If there is no water, there will be no farming, no fishing and no bathing either. How will we survive?" said Tahasen Ali, a fisherman from Godagari of Rajshahi, while sharing his experience.
Prof Sanjay Hazarika of Jamia Millia Islamia University of New Delhi, India, Dutch Ambassador in Dhaka Leoni Margaretha Cuelenaere and Prof Imtiaz Ahmed of Dhaka University too spoke at the programme moderated by Farah Kabir, country director of ActionAid Bangladesh.