Thirteen citizens from different professions on Wednesday demanded an end to irregularities and corruption in the regular removal of silt to keep the navigability on inland waterways for plying water vessels normally throughout the year.
They also demanded transparency and accountability in the ongoing river digging projects to rescue extinct rivers and waterways and to stop wastage of hundreds of crores of the state fund.
They made this demand to authorities concerned in a joint statement.
The government has been providing sufficient allocation to BIWTA every year for regular silt removal of waterways, the statement said. However, due to navigability crisis, the movement of passenger and cargo ships on important waterways including Dhaka-Barishal is severely disrupted.
As a result, some launch owners have already closed their business. Besides, many more vessel owners are thinking to close their business due to anger and frustration, it said.
Citizens complain that several mega projects have been undertaken to dig large rivers to restore extinct waterways and rivers by the direction of the Prime Minister, ‘But, in most cases, the desired success has not been achieved,’ they said.
According to the statement, the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) on October 2, 2018, approved the ``Navigability Development and Restoration of the Old Brahmaputra, Dharla, Tulai and Punarbhaba Rivers'' project at a cost of Tk 4,371 crore.
Although 70 percent of the allocated money has already been spent, only 50 percent of the project work has been completed in four long years.
In the statement, 13 citizens complained that public money is being wasted due to lack of transparency and accountability. In order to stop these irregularities and corruption, they strongly demanded that information on silt removal in capital and maintenance dredging and river digging through mega project be regularly published in the media.
The signatories of the statement are- the former director general of water resources planning organisation and prominent environmentalist engineer M. Inamul Haque, Vice President of Consumer Association of Bangladesh (CAB) SM Najer Hossain, prominent children's organiser and heroic freedom fighter Nurur Rahman Selim, Chief Executive of Nagorik Uddog Zakir Hossain, General Secretary of Udichi Shilpi Gosthi Amit Ranjan Dey, Senior Vice President of Begombazar-Moulbhibazar Bonik Samity Haji Mohammad Shahid Mia, Member Secretary of Safe Waterway Implementation Movement Aminur Rasul Babul, Senior marine engineer Abdul Hamid, the executive director of Dwip Unnayan Sangstha the heroic freedom fighter Rafiqul Alam, the executive director of Poverty Immunisation Assistance Center for Everywhere (PEACE) Ifma Hussain, the president of Alokit Garments Sramik Federation Bappidev Borman, central coordinator of Janalok Rafiqul Islam Sujan and Purana Dhaka Nagorik Uddog president Nazim Uddin.