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Make a Green Bangladesh: PM

by The Bangla Herald

Prime Minister and Awami League (AL) President Sheikh Hasina today called upon the countrymen to make a “Green Bangladesh” by planting trees in large numbers.

“We have to plant trees as much as we can across the country to make a “Green Bangladesh,” she said while inaugurating the three-month long tree plantation programme of Bangladesh Krishak League (BKL) at a function at her official residence Ganabhaban here.

At the function, the Prime Minister also awarded several BKL leaders for their contribution in pursuing the nationwide tree plantation campaign of the Awami League and distributed saplings among them.

The Prime Minister asked the leaders and activists to play a vital role in turning the country into “Green Bangladesh”.

She called upon the BKL leaders to plant saplings on the embankments of rivers, costal belts, roadside, on rooftop and houses to take the ‘Green movement’ forward.

The Prime Minister planted three saplings of trees at the Ganabhaban marking the programme.

“I have planted over 2000 trees in Ganabhaban since I assumed power,” she mentioned.

The Prime Minister said Bangladesh is an agriculture-based country and its economy depends on agriculture.

“We will go for industrialisation after developing the agriculture sector but not bypassing it,” she said.

But, she alerted all not to destroy arable lands while developing industries in a scattered way.

“By no means, the crop lands should not be destroyed in the name of industrialization,” she said.

Huge developments and urbanisation are being carried out across the country, she said.

BKL President Samir Chanda and Acting General Secretary Bishwanath Sarker Bitu, spoke on the occasion.

Joint General Secretary of the BKL Shamima Shahriar moderated the function.

Sheikh Hasina stressed the need for planned industrialisation, saying her government is building 100 economic zones across the country aimed at protecting the arable lands from unplanned industrialisation.

The Awami League chief said they have been carrying out the tree plantation programme since 1985 following the footsteps of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to protect Bangladesh from the adverse impacts of climate change.

BNP is a party which believes in felling down trees, she said, adding that Ziaur Rahman cut trees in the name of so-called development while his wife did the same thing in the name of anti-government movement in 2013.

This year, the Krishak League alone has set a target to plant 52 lakh saplings of trees across the country in their three-month long programme.

Sheikh Hasina said they wanted to bring the irrigation completely under solar power system.

“I want to bring irrigation completely under the solar power system. Initially it might require some investment but in the long run it would cut the overall costing,” she said.

The ruling Awami League chief said that the government has been giving subsidy in power and agriculture.

Sheikh Hasina said a vested quarter is still active in hatching conspiracy against the government to isolate it from the people and make an incident like August 1975.

Recalling the artificial famine in 1974, she said Bangladesh had a bitter experience in 1974 when food grains purchased with cash were blocked from entering the country.

“An artificial famine was created at that time to isolate Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman from the mass people. When they failed to do so they staged the incident of August 15, 1975,” she said.

The prime minister reiterated her call to grow more food by bringing every inch of lands under cultivation as Bangladesh never needs to depend on anyone for food.

The Premier said her government has been able to make Bangladesh self-sufficient in food production immediately after assuming power in 1996.

“We have achieved success in food production due to extensive research in this sector,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina said they are setting up silos having chilling system with various chambers across the country to preserve crops.

“At first we will build eight silos in eight divisions, then gradually in other areas across the country,” she continued.

The prime minister said that the main objective of this move is to make the country self-dependent in producing food grains.

She said that the government has built silos with capacities of 26,000 metric tons each in Shantahar and Mongla to store paddy.

“We will do so to make sure that during any natural calamity, we don’t become dependent on anyone,” she said.

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