Don’t dump sand on farmland
The Mongla Port authorities must withdrew its decision to dump sand on 300 acres of farmlands in Khulna's Banishanta union, said speakers at an event yesterday.
Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association, Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon and seven more environmental and rights organisations organised the event at Jatiya Press Club.
In the pretext of increasing navigability and capacity, the Mongla Port authorities are dredging the Pashur river.
The speakers said the recent plan of the port authorities to dump sands on over 300 acres of cropland in Banishanta union of Dacope upazila will have a disastrous impact on the environment and displace at least 5,000 farmers of 1,500 families.
Despite having space to dump the sand in the port area, they are planning to waste agricultural land to cut costs, alleged Md Nur Alam Sheikh, convener of Bapa Mongla unit.
While talking at the programme, farmers of Banishanta union claimed that croplands where sands are dumped can't be harvested for 8-10 years. They demanded that the authorities find alternative ways to dump sand.
Syeza Rizwana Hasan, chief executive of Bela, said the authorities should consider the locals' demand and find an alternative place to dump and, if it really was an issue to only dredge the river.Advocate Sultana Kamal said, "Development can't be a goal of a country. The aim should be improving the people's living standards."
"But the government only emphasised on development, ignoring people. The same situation is prevailing in Banishanta," she added.
She demanded the Mongla Port chairman's removal for defying the prime minister's instructions to "not waste any farmland".
Prothom Alo joint editor Sohrab Hossain also spoke at the event.