Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina believes coordinated action to protect and revive the rivers of Bangladesh is integral to the future economic development of the country.
The prime minister made the link while unveiling a new model at her office on Thursday morning called the “Comprehensive Plan for Stabilization of the Jamuna-Padma River and Pilot Intervention for Land Reclamation”.
“If we look at the history of the civilization, everything was raised on the banks of the rivers,” she said.
“There are many rivers in Bangladesh and the river routes are the best ways for trade and business. We have a tremendous scope to get benefits from them.”
Sheikh Hasina called for a proper river management system.
“The rivers are the country’s lifeline; they will have to be protected to save and develop the country,” she said.
“It sometimes brings sorrow for us if the dredging and training of the rivers are not done. So, we will have to make capital dredging first, then maintenance dredging every year.”
The premier said steps will have to be taken to maintain the depth of the mighty rivers. She stressed the importance of reclaiming land from the rivers, in addition to increasing their navigability.
“We have to give attention on how we can reap maximum benefits from the rivers (by) utilizing the silt and reclaiming more land,” she said.
“It will help increase investment and agriculture land, and remove poverty. Bangladesh will be prosperous from many sides…so this asset will have to be utilized.”
Pointing out Bangladesh’s booming population, Sheikh Hasina said the country’s population has increased to over 160 million from 70 million since independence. “We have to provide food and housing and manage communication for them,” she said.
She said Bangladesh will be developed further if the land of the rivers is reclaimed: “We can raise habitation if we can construct mills and factories through a planned urbanization.”
Water Resources Minister Anwar Hossain Manju also spoke at Thursday’s function, which was attended by Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan among others.