Poribesh Bachao Andolon, an environmental advocacy group, has demanded greater budget allocation for environment-friendly development of the country.
POBA general secretary Abdus Sobhan raised the demand at a press conference on the proposed budget on Wednesday at its Kalabagan office in the capital.
He said, ‘Though the environment is related to activities of every ministry, in the proposed budget sectors like Bangladesh Climate Change Trust Fund, road and transport, agriculture, health and sea have been given preference. The environment department is in dire need of trained manpower and a laboratory with modern equipments to abide by 1995’s Bangladesh Environment Conservation Act properly,’
He urged the government to take immediate steps for solving this crisis and increase budget allocation for this purpose.
Sobhan said the ‘clean air and sustainable environment (case) plan’ of the World Bank has completely failed to play any role for the development of public health and environment. He urged the government to refrain from taking part in this kind of project designed by the World Bank.
‘Tax on raw materials of LPG cylinder has been reduced to 5% from 10% for minimizing the use of wood as fuel which would help to tackle the climate change and conserve the environment which is appreciable. 10% tax on solar power service which is helpful to prevent climate change is not justified.’
Informing that the groundwater was going down more and more, the environment activist said, ‘In the areas having scarcity in water supply, sufficient research should be done to increase the amount of harvest.’
He also suggested cultivating local verities of paddy instead of Irri in those areas.
‘The budgetary allocation for health sector should be 10 per cent of the total budget. General people are not getting expected service from this sector because of lack of doctors, nurses and technologists.
Sobhan said 2.5% surcharge has been imposed in the proposed budget on tobacco producers’ income which could be raised to 5%.
‘Government should increase price of tobacco products as well as discourage cultivators to cultivate this item,’ he added.
Observing that the country is not using the maritime resources properly, he said to address the need of an ever-increasing population; further pollution in the sea must be stopped.
‘If government wants to make Bangladesh a middle-income country by 2021 and a developed one by 2041, sea resources must be used appropriately.’
Observing that trained workers are needed for ETP management in every industry, Sobhan said, ‘The government should provide training and adequate budgetary allocation for this purpose.’
Among others, POBA secretary Shamim Khan Tito, president of Modern Club Abul Hasanat, and Barrister Nishat Mahmud were also present at the press conference.
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