No new surface roads in haor areas
"If they find that the water flow gets obstructed because of the road, they can put bridges at a logical distance preferably on a half-kilometre distance."
The government has decided to not construct any more surface roads in Haor areas.
The decision came at the cabinet meeting yesterday, almost one-and-a-half years after the inauguration of a 29.7-kilometre-long road that connects Itna-Mithamoin-Austagram upazilas of Kishoreganj.
"Clear instructions have been given for not constructing any roads in Haor areas from now on," said Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam.
If necessary, there can be elevated roads so that the water flow is not obstructed, he said.
The directive came from Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina while taking part in the discussion on unscheduled agendas at the cabinet meeting.
Flash floods first hit the haors on April 1, submerging the Boro paddy worth about Tk 125 crore on 7,000 hectares. Then on April 17, another flood started inundating crops in a haor in Sunamganj.
The water flows downward to Austogram through the Surma river from Sylhet, Islam said, adding that instructions were sent out to check whether there is any damage on the road between Mithamoin and Austogram.
The Roads and Highways Department has also been asked to conduct a survey to check whether 150-200-meter-long bridges can be constructed in every half kilometre of the road, he said.
"If they find that the water flow gets obstructed because of the road, they can build bridges at a logical distance, preferably half a kilometre."
The agriculture minister has also been asked to develop a new variety of rice so that it can be harvested by the middle of April, Islam added.
At the meeting, Planning Minister MA Mannan requested an investigation on whether the levees constructed on the road are effective. If not, proper measures must be taken before the next rainy season.
Harvest is usually complete by April 30 in Haor. If no rain takes place in the next eight to ten days, there will be no problem, he said.
Last week at a press conference State Minister for Water Resource Ministry Zaheed Farooque said constructing permanent levees in the haors was not possible.
The government has taken projects to dredge 14 rivers in the Sylhet region. This will increase the capacity of the rivers holding rainwater from upstream, Farooque said.
"We have identified the problems and will start our work in November. Hopefully, there will be no problem next year."