PM asks to watch polluting industries; tells top bureaucrats not to bother about influences; demands sincerity, honesty, skill from them
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday directed the administration to free rivers, canals and wetlands from the grabbers' clutches and take legal actions no matter how influential the encroachers are.
Addressing secretaries of different ministries, she also said, “Once the waterbodies are recovered, stay vigilant so the grabbers cannot reoccupy those.”
She observed that land-grabbing was encouraged in the past because the authorities took no action against the offenders.
“The narrowing of rivers, canals and beels not only hampers the livelihood of the people but also degrade the environment.”
The prime minister instructed the officials to bring legal proceedings against the industries that dump waste into rivers and contribute to water pollution, said a release.
Noting that the subsoil water level has been going down alarmingly in the capital, she asked them to pay close attention to the issue.
She warned that those failing to deliver would face the axe. "Some of you may consider yourselves very close to the government high-ups and think you can do anything. If that is so, you are living in a fool's paradise."
Hasina said, "As a chief executive of the country, I must keep watch on everything concerning public interests. I observe what you are doing too. And I demand sincerity, honesty and skills."
Reiterating her commitment to rewards for good work and rebukes for bad, she said stern measures would be taken if anyone is found involved in attempts to sabotage the government's development campaigns.
She said the administration must take advantage of the winter months to carry out development work like construction of roads, bridges and culverts.
She asked the secretaries to formulate a five-year plan, implement development projects in time, fight graft and money-laundering, improve law and order and work to ease power and gas crises.
She requested them to fully appreciate the government policy and help implement electoral pledges that include strengthening rural economy, generating employment opportunities, eradicating poverty, increasing people's purchase capacity and raising domestic production.
Forty secretaries were present at the three-hour long meeting at the secretariat. Of them, 16 apprised the prime minister of their ministries' activities.
Cabinet Secretary Abdul Aziz briefed the newsmen about the discussions.
He said the prime minister had asked them to step up the pace of work and ensure transparency and accountability.
Referring to the government's priorities that include containing the prices of essentials, promoting good governance and developing the power sector, she directed the officials to work sincerely, rising above fear and temptation.
Hasina described their role as crucial to implementation of the annual development programmes. “Implementation of these programmes is a challenge we must see off.”
She asked the officials to directly communicate with her and discuss problems they may face in discharging duties.
“Monitor funds allocation and progress of the projects and ensure government money is used properly for the welfare of the people.”
She also advised them to get the field-level administration work sincerely.
The prime minister expressed disappointment that some departments and agencies had failed to inform her immediately about significant developments of late.
Referring to reports on the felling of 30,000 jhau (tamarisk) trees in Teknaf, she said she has to know many things from the newspapers, a secretary told The Daily Star in return for anonymity.
"Thousands of trees that shield our coastal belt were cut down, and I had to learn it from newspapers. The forest department should have briefed me on the incident right away," he quoted her as saying.
On September 14, The Daily Star reported that some locals with clout had chopped down at least 30,000 jhau trees in a week in Teknaf as the forest department looked on.