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Formidable coastal wall to tackle climate vagaries

Published : 24 Oct 2020 09:26 PM | Updated : 26 Oct 2020 11:05 AM

A three-to-seven feet high embankment will be constructed across the coastal districts of the southwestern part of the country to protect the lives and property of the people in the areas.

In this regard, four projects at a cost of Tk 8,000 crore have already been undertaken to construct sustainable embankments.

Besides, the government is actively considering the formation of a Coastal Development Board like the Haor Development Board, to address the problems of the coastal areas.

The work on the projects is under implementation and expected to be completed by 2023. 

Apart from the embankment, special measures have also been taken to ensure development of the country’s coastal areas.

At a recent meeting of the parliamentary standing committee on the water resources ministry, detailed discussions were held in this connection. 

The JS watchdog also recommended expediting the construction and repairs of the badly affected dams across the coastal belts as per the Delta Plan.

The work plan has been outlined in the implementation paper of the parliamentary committee meeting.

In this case, the impact of climate change on sea level and sea-level rise has been taken into consideration. In addition, trees will be planted on the slopes of the dam, inside the polders, and on the acquired land to create a coastal green belt to counter the adverse effects of climate change.

Kabir Bin Anwar, Senior Secretary at the Ministry of Water Resources (MoWR), highlighted at the meeting that the dams built in the post-independence period were very low and small, which during natural calamities, caused rising tidal waters to flood various areas. 

Mentioning the hostile impact he said, especially the situation in Khulna, Satkhira and Bagerhat is very fragile. Cyclone Amphan broke embankments at least 39 points in the region and tidal waters flooded the areas.

According to the MoWr, coastal dams that were built in the 1960s to boost food grain production, were damaged by Cyclone Sidr in 2007 and Aila in 2009, most of which have not yet been properly repaired. The latest catastrophic cyclone, Amphan, on May 25 caused the 50,478-kilometer dam to split at 152 places on the coast.

And 210 km of dams at 583 places were partially damaged. Moreover, for those dams, a special action plan has been undertaken to repair and rebuild the embankments to make the entire coastal region risk-free.

In this regard, Deputy Minister for Water Resources Enamul Haque Shamim said after a long time, the government has taken initiative to repair the embankments on the coast. The plan will be implemented across the coast in phases.

In the first phase, the project will be implemented at 17 spots in Satkhira, Khulna, Bagerhat, Pirojpur, Barguna, and Patuakhali. The project worth Tk 3,280 crore with the assistance of the World Bank (WB) will be completed in June 2022, he added.