Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has asked the officials to expedite the process of removing the spilled furnace oil from Shela and Pashur rivers to protect Mangrove forest Sundarbans from further damage.
In a video conference with the officials of Gopalganj and Jessore districts and concerned Divisional Commissioners on Monday she asked them to monitor the matter of the Sundarbans safety more closely.
She also asked them to take steps for resumption of other alternate water routes to carry goods to and from Mongla port.
Sheikh Hasina said vessels now travel seven to eight kilometers more through Sundarbans to reach the Mongla port as the usual route remained closed due to siltation for a long time.
She said BNP government after taking office in 2001 made Mongla Port redundant. Since then the Ghashiya Khal, main route of travel remained without dredging.
Sheikh Hasina said the government has already asked the Shipping Ministry for dredging of the Ghashiya Khal and to clear the shrimp projects occupying the mouths of the watercourses of the canals obstructing the flow of the Ghashiya Khal.
The prime minister attended the video conference from cabinet room of the Bangladesh Secretariat after the weekly cabinet meeting. Offices of the Deputy Commissioners of Gopalganj and Jessore and offices of the Divisional Commissioner in Dhaka and Khulna remained connected with the cabinet room.
It was the second spell after Sheikh Hasina decided to go for videoconferencing with grassroots officials and local public representatives to exchange views.
During the conversation, the prime minister went for a detailed discussion with the officials on execution of the development projects, performance of the government, law and order, local problems, campus situation giving necessary guidelines and directives to bring dynamism in the activities of the local administration.
"Every district has separate and unique feature and prospect," Sheikh Hasina said urging the government officials to go beyond their mindset of remaining absorbed only with their traditional job, but come up with innovative thinking and suggestions for development of the area where they were deputed.
Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury, Railway Minister Md. Mazibul Haque, state minister for Ministry of Public Administration Ismat Ara Sadique and senior government officials were present. Cabinet Secretary M Musharraf hossain Bhuiyan conducted the videoconference.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said her government envisaged reducing poverty by at least 10 percent during the remaining time of the current tenure. So the government officials have to work for overall economic development of the country, she said.
Sheikh Hasina said her government has attached importance to equal development of every district. However, the neglected areas
should be given more importance, she said.
She said the rulers after 1975 neglected development of Gopalganj district as it was the homeland of the Father of the Nation. The military rulers had tried their best to send people to oblivion about the country's history. In the same way they deprived Gopalganj of due development despite being home of mostly poor, she said.
Sheikh Hasina said her government is striving for reducing the gap between the rich and poor. To make this happen, she said, the government has attached priority to the development of rural areas adding she said in this respect government officials have a
Laying importance on completion of the execution of all projects within specific timeframe, Sheikh Hasina said the government employees would be benefitted most from the country's economic opulence.
In this regard, the Prime Minister reiterated her firm resolves that no family in the country would remain without food and shelter and basic needs of every people would be ensured.
Sheikh Hasina said the government has started work for preparing the 7th Five-year Development Plan requesting the officials to make their contribution to the planning.
Deputy Commissioner of Gopalganj presented a brief on the development activities of the district after Prime Minister's introductory speech. Later, officials of the concerned departments of health, education, food, agriculture and police spoke.
The Prime Minister wanted to know about the progress of installation of solar home system (SHS) in the remote villages.
As well as she enquired about the functioning of the community clinics, present situation of primary and secondary education and
status of the school feeding programme.
Sheikh Hasina said all school students will get free textbook on January 1 for the next academic year. She asked the officials
to take all required measures to ensure that every student gets his books.
District agriculture officer informed the Prime Minister that a Danish team recently visited Gopalganj to see the success of
cultivating vegetables on floating seedbed which locally called as 'Dhap'. The team has shown immense interest in this rare
harvesting technique, she said.
Sheikh Hasina asked the agriculture officer to take a pilot project for production of heat-resistant maize in Gopalganj. She
also asked the fishery officials to take steps for baring the local traders from rampant harvesting of snails and oysters to protect the ecosystem.
She also asked the officials to give attention to the proper execution of the programmes taken under Social Safety Net (SSN).
In the videoconference with Jessore officials, the Prime Minister was informed of the outcome of the recent border conference with the officials of India.
The Prime Minister said smuggling of goods and drugs, human trafficking and movement of criminals along the border should be
She also asked the officials to remain careful about smuggling of adulterated fertilizer from India saying officials of the two countries should meet regularly for execution of the decisions of the border conference.
Sheikh Hasina asked the officials to explore the prospect of cultivation of cotton in the district.