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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2678

Bangladesh proposes to spend TK 450 crores on forestation program to shield the coastline from cyclones

M.A. Qader-Our Correspondent in Bangladesh

Dhaka, 01 June, ( Prime minister Sheikh Hasina has said her government will spend Tk 450 crore (4500 million) on a forestation programme that includes restoring mangrove forests along the coast to shield from cyclones, tidal waves and rising sea levels.

Speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the three-month long National Tree Plantation Movement and a month-long Tree Fair 2009 on Sunday the prime minister said "Forest resources are decreasing as the population increases." That’s why, she said, "Bangladesh is losing its natural beauty and environment."

Hasina formally launched the tree plantation drive by planting a Nageshwar sapling at the Bangladesh China Friendship Conference Centre in Dhaka.

She said the nation and its people faced annual disasters, especially in the coastal regions where cyclones, tidal bores, floods and rising sea levels were causing losses of lives and property each year.

The impact of global warming, causing annual temperature rises of 0.4 degrees Celsius in Bangladesh, was resulting in greater frequency and intensity of cyclonic storms, said the prime minister.

The sea level was also rising by 4 millimeters every year, more than the global rate, she said.

Hasina stressed the need to create and protect mangrove forests to shield the coastal regions.

She also urged people to plant more domestic tree species for timber, herbal and fruit to save the country's bio-diversity.

"We have to integrate our vast population into the programme to turn tree plantation into a social movement," she said.

"The government has turned the tree plantation into a social afforestation project."

State minister for forests and environment Mostafizur Rahman presided over the inauguration, also addressed by forests and environment secretary Mihir Kanti Majumder and chief conservator of forests M Abdul Motaleb.

Hasina said the present government's project, the Community-based Adaptation to Climate Change Through Coastal Afforestation in Bangladesh, would ensure participation of mass people in environmental protection.

The prime minister also handed out crests and cheques among the award winners of 2008's National Tree Plantation Movement.

The award was introduced in 1993 for tree plantation by individuals and organisations in 16 categories, and includes a first prize of Tk 20,000, second prize of Tk 15,000, third prize of Tk 10,000 along with a certificate for each winner.

The beneficiaries of the government's social forestation programmes also received cheques from the prime minister.

-Asian Tribune-

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