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Kaptai Lake dredging uncertain for inter-ministerial conflict

Published : Friday, 12 October, 2018 at 12:00 AM  Count : 149
Md Mostafa Kamal

RANGAMATI, Oct 11: Due to inter-ministerial conflict, the Kaptai Lake dredging work has become uncertain.
The matter of concern floated at the 34th Parliamentary Standing Committee meeting of the ministries concerned.
The matter of dredging was highlighted at the meeting. Besides, reduction of navigability caused by grabbing the lake, ensuring increased fish production through safe breeding, and possible start of cultivation on floating beds were also focused at the meeting.
Besides, at the yearly meeting of deputy commissioners, the ministries have been asked to take action in this connection.
At the parliamentary meeting, the representatives of different ministries expressed their personal views in this connection. They said the dredging is not the duty of Fisheries and Livestock Ministry. The representative of this ministry said the dredging work relies on the shoulder of Shipping Ministry and Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority. Meanwhile, the Shipping Ministry representative said they so far don't have any programme to dredge the lake.
Besides, there was no progress in the 16th and 17th meetings of the Standing Committee of Shipping Ministry. After all there seems to be no step in this connection due to the conflict between the ministries.
At the 34th meeting, President of the Parliamentary Standing Committee RAM Ubaidul Muktadir Chowdhury and State Minister for Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs Bir Bahadur expressed anger over the inaction of the concerned authority to dredge the lake. The president said when crores of taka are being wasted in other programmes, then there is no action to dredge the lake which is extremely necessary.
Minister Bir Bahadur said as the river communication between Rangamati Sadar Upazila and other upazilas is maintained by the Kaptai Lake, it is necessary to keep it navigable, and in this connection, it should be dredged.
At the 35th Parliamentary Standing Committee meeting to be held on October 14,  the secretary of Shipping Ministry is supposed to be invited to express his views on the issue.
It may be mentioned that the Kaptai Lake was formed on about 625 square miles following the construction of Kaptai embankment in 1960. A huge community of the district relies on the lake to earn their livelihood. But, no steps have been taken to improve the condition of the lake in last 58 years.
Due to random dumping of garbage and grabbing, the depth of the Kaptai Lake has decreased. As a result, the lake swells abnormally during rainy season, and the water level decreases in dry season when navigability suffers much, hampering naval

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