:: Sajedur Rahman::
Allegations have been made against the implementation of different projects using the Climate Change Trust Funds in different parts of Gaibandha district. Investigations have found that the localities under the highest risky areas like Jalal Tair, Tingurpur, Chakuli and Vangabari are out of any projects. But these four villages are under severe risks of flood and other natural disasters. Investigations have also found that among the 28 villages under Kamalpara Union, 19 of them are under flood threat. And the government has taken a project worth Tk 12 crores while the fund is received from the Climate Change Fund. And the Water Development Board (WDB) was responsible to implement the project.
The project aimed to set embankments in the bank of Katakhali River (formerly known as Bangali River) but there have been huge irregularities in implementation of the project. Minar Ahmed, a member of Kamalpar Union no 1 said that the developments are done based on the leaders. The localities of reputed leaders get the larger share of the development projects, he alleged. And he also said that there have been no development activities in his area as he is not a very big leader. The chairman of the Union said that the project has been implemented remarkably in the areas but some other regions needed more attention.
He also said that, “The damages in Jalal Tair and Tingarpur villages are more. They need more support and have the chances to be affected in future.” Water Development Body, the government body, is responsible to implement the project but allegations have been made that the irregularities are prevailing in other parts of the country as well. And Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) has published a research report on the issue titled “Climate Funding and Good Governance in Implementation: Case Bangladesh Water Development Board”. The report says that the project suffered corruption with the association of political influence and stakeholders.
The study has been made based on six projects implemented by the WDB. The report reads that allotment has been done more on the less risky areas that high risk-prone areas and contractors have been selected based on political consideration.
In fact, the issue of good governance is absent in the overall activities of WDB. Information has been gathered that among the six projects, four of them have been influenced by the political leaders and their associates which resulted in the inconsistency in the allotment and risk-prone areas.
Mizanur Rahman Bijoy, Coordinator, Network on Climate Change Bangladesh (NCCB) said that Bangladesh is under great risk of climate change. And the misuse of the fund is undesirable indeed. He also opined, “Regional disparity is seen and we expect that the government will address the matter and punish the violators”.
When asked, the WDB DG Engineer A K M Momtaz Uddin declined commenting on the issue as he joined on the position recently. And he said that he would look into the matter.