Daily Star

  • Afforestation along coasts can reduce disaster damage

    Speakers at a seminar held at Patuakhali Science and Technology University (PSTU) yesterday underscored the need for massive afforestation along the coastal belt to reduce damage in natural disasters like cyclone and tidal wave. Held at the conference room of the university, the seminar was presided by Prof Abdul Latif Masum while University Grants Commission (UGC) chairman Prof Nazrul Islam was present as chief guest. Speakers stressed on creation of a disaster management department or institute on the campus to build technical hands. They proposed short and long-term initiatives in this regard. Dhaka University (DU) Geography and Environment Department chairman Prof AQM Mahbub presented the key-note paper. Among others, DU Disaster Research Training and Management Centre director Dr AHM Abdul Bukee, DU Geography and Environment Department teacher Prof Nazrul Islam Nazem, Food and Disaster Management joint secretary Pranab Chakrabarty, Dr Mahumudul Islam, expert of Comprehensive Disaster Management Programme (CDMP), SPARRSO principal scientific officer Dr Jinnatul Islam and , PSTU Asstt Prof Golam Rabbani addressed.

  • Govt urged not to allow open pit coal mining

    The National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Electricity and Port yesterday called on the government not to allow open pit coal mining in Phulbari, saying that it would lead to environmental disasters in the area. Such a project would lead to the eviction of 4.7 lakh people from four upazilas and cause the groundwater level to go further down, the committee leaders said at a press conference at Dinajpur Press Club. The government should also review the draft coal policy and maintain neutrality regarding the Phulbari coalmine issue, they added. The leaders said that according to the proposal of the Asia Energy, it would extract coal for 30 years through open pit method and export two-thirds of coal. Extraction of coal through open pit mining would cause massive damage to agriculture and the environment and threaten the livelihoods of local people, they said. The leaders also said any agreements on open pit mining would go against the interest of the country. Prof Anu Muhammad, member secretary of the committee, said the open pit method would cause more damage to ecology than the extent of economic benefit from the coalmine if the draft coal policy is not reviewed. Open pit method is not suitable for densely populated countries like Bangladesh, he added. Dr Sheikh Mohammad Shahidullah and Prof Samsul Alam also spoke at the press conference.

  • $62.6m IDA aid to revitalise agri technology

    Bangladesh yesterday signed a loan agreement with International Development Association (IDA) under which it will receive 62.6 million US dollar to improve agricultural productivity and farm income by revitalising the national agricultural technology system. Additional ERD Secretary Mohammad Mesbahuddin and World Bank acting country director Mohamed Alhousseyni Toure signed the agreement for their respective sides at the NEC auditorium. The National Agricultural Technology Project (NATP) is designed to promote generation, dissemination, adoption and use of appropriate agricultural technologies through a number of policy reforms, institutional development and investment to support agricultural research, extension and supply chain development. The development of supply chains will focus on strengthening farmer-market linkages, knowledge management and human resources development. The credit from the IDA, the World Bank's concessionary arm, has 40 years to maturity with a 10-year grace period and carries a service charge of 0.75 percent.

  • 100 mango trees felled in Jhenidah

    Rivals felled down about 100 mango trees from a garden of a youth as a sequel to village feud at Bhatoi village in Shailkupa upazila Thursday night, locals said. Azizul planted Amropali and Mollika varieties of mango saplings on his one acre of land about three years ago, they said. This year buds grew in all the trees. Those were supposed to bear fruits this season. But Azizul's hopes dashed as miscreants fell down the trees. Azizul's father Akbar Sheikh who is at the death-bed are lamenting for the trees. He said the mango trees were the only hope for the poor family. Observing the tragic scene on Friday morning, Azizul's father lost sense. He did not regain sense since morning. When contacted, Azizul said his village rivals committed the heinous act. He informed the matter to Shailkupa police. When contacted, Shailkupa police station officer-in-charge (OC) Kazi Wased Ali assured proper action against the culprits after an investigation.

  • Dependence on forests to be reduced

    Three indigenous persons getting instructions to work as tourist guides at Lawachhara reserve forest in Moulvibazar district on Thursday as Forest Department's Nishorga programme arranged an 'eco-tour guide' training for 74 young men and women. The programme aims at protecting biodiversity by reducing local people's dependence on forests for living. Photo: STAR A sustainable eco-tourism programme has been developed in the protected forests areas to reduce local people's dependence on forests by creating alternative job opportunities for them. Forest Department's Protected Area Management Programme called Nishorgo developed the programme aiming at conservation of biodiversity through collaborative management with local stakeholders. Under the programme, economic incentives are being provided to locals living near Lawarchara National Park, Satchari National Park, Rema Kalenga Wildlife Sanctuary, Chunati Wildlife Sanctuary and Teknaf Game Reserve. As a part of the programme, Nishorgo has trained 74 young men and women to operate as Eco Tour Guides, developed trails for forest hiking and others. It has started professional Eco-tour Guide certification process at its five pilot sites to ensure quality eco-tour guiding facilities for nature tourists. The two-day certification course included written test and field examination. To evaluate and certify the trained eco tour guides, a board was formed consisting of Elisabeth Fahrni Mansur, CEO, Guide Tours and Mamun, CEO Green Tours, representing Tour Operator's Association of Bangladesh (TOAB), Modinul Ahsan and Kazi Nurul Karim, Assistant Conservator of Forests of Forest Department and Kazi M A Hashem of Nishorgo Support Project. The trained youths are now self-employed as Eco-tour guides who provide eco-tour guiding service at five pilot sites. The nature tourists are encouraged to hire a eco-tour guide. Guides are available at the entry areas of the parks. Tourists can also directly call a Eco-tour guide whose contact numbers are listed at Nishorgo Programme's website (www.nishorgo.org). Nishorgo Programme receives financial assistance from the USAID through Nishorgo Support Project (NSP).

  • Fertiliser crisis affects Boro in Kishoeganj

    Farmer Shamsul Huq said he went to Alongjury union of Itna upazila eight times but did not get any fertiliser. He lanted Boro in four acres of land in Dhuldia Beel in Itna upazila, which need fertiliser now. He did not get any fertiliser as he is not on the list in Alongjury union because he is a resident of nearby Karimganj upazila with lands in the Bhuldia Beel. Aminul Islam, a teacher of Alongjury Government Primary School in Itna said he got only 600 kilograms of urea against a requirement of 1100 kgs for his 12 acres of Boro land. He also needs at least 600 kg TSP but got only 60 kgs, he told this correspondent during a recent visit to Boro fields in Haor areas. Same is the situation in other haor areas in Kishoreganj district. This correspondent talked to at least 50 farmers who said they are not getting required quantities of fertiliser due to short supply and alleged mismanagement in distribution. They alleged that they may miss their production targets for the third consecutive year, mainly due to fertiliser crisis now. Boro is the lone food crop in Kishoreganj Haor areas. The crop was damaged in last two seasons due to flood and 'cold injury' during winter. In Bhairab upazila, farmers at a recent press conference at the local press expressed resentment over fertiliser crisis. They were cooled down by the Upazila Nirbahi Officer by assuring adequate supply of the input. About 500 farmers from Abdullahpur union in Austogram upazila in an application to Kishorganj Deputy Commissioner Sultan Ahmed alleged that they did not get any fetiliser in January and that their Boro crops are being affected now for this. Transplantation of Boro seedlings in Haor areas started in January but many farmers did not get any fetiliser till now, they alleged. Farmers alleged that the crisis was created mainly due to mismanagement in distribution process. Farmers who do not live in Haor areas have not been listed for fertiliser, they said. The Agriculture Extension Department (AED) made lists of farmers in Haor areas in May and June when landowners living elsewhere were not included, they said. During the visit, it was found that at least 407 acres of Boro land owned by Jirati farmers were deprived of fertiliser only in Alongjury union of Itna upazila. Farmers having land in Haor areas living elsewhere are locally called Jirati. AED block supervisor in Alongjury union Md. Pabon Ali also acknowledged that many farmers were not on the lists prepared in May and June. AED sources said that in last season Boro production target in six haor upazilas was 4,07,598 tonnes but the yielded was 3,02,558 tonnes. A total of 1, 58,567 hectors of land were brought under Boro cultivation in the district this year. Farmers said, they may not get the targeted production this year also if the fertiliser crisis is not resolved right now. Deputy Director Abdul Baten of Kishoreganj AED however said there was no crisis of fertilier in the district. Other AED sources said they got 38,422 tonnes of urea against the demand for 42,669 tonnes. They howver said Jirati farmers were being listed for fertiliser. There is no sanction for Jirati farmers but they are terying to manage fertiliser for them, the officials said.

  • 20 villagers fall sick from unknown diseases

    Panic gripped the people of two villages in Bera after at least 20 people fell sick from unknown diseases yesterday. They were rushed to Bera Upazila Health Complex and given treatment. Receiving information, Pabna civil surgeon and a medical team from the district headquarters rushed to the spot and treated the patients. They also visited the homes of the patients at Chakla and Panchuria villages, sources said. When contacted, an official of Bera Health Complex said some 10 or 12 patients were admitted to the hospital but the doctors could not diagnose the disease.

  • Hailstorm damages huge crops in Gaibandha

    A violent hailstorm, accompanied by rains, yesterday hit Sadar upazila of the district, leaving 13 people injured and over 200 houses damaged. Locals said the hailstorm that struck at about 6:30pm also damaged standing crops on a vast track of land during its fury. The 13 people, including five children, were injured as their thatched houses collapsed during the storm. Kamarjani, Kunderpara, Prodhaner Bazar, Jhakurer Bhita, Goghat, Kharjani, Dariapur, Karaibari, Counciler Bazar and Nayagai were among the worst affected 19 villages in the hailstorm.

  • Only 39 percent use improved sanitation system

    Although the country has attained 85 percent sanitation coverage, few people are using sanitary latrines, speakers at a view exchange meeting said yesterday.

  • Basic preventive measures can reduce Nipah virus attack

    Basic preventive measures like hand washing, not sharing beds or food, and minimizing the number of contacts can limit person to person transmission of Nipah virus.

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