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Article From News From Bangladesh archives


WB pressure on ministry hindering arsenic project

Public Health Engineering Department officials yesterday said World Bank's wrong policy and its unwarranted interference in internal affairs hindered implementation of the arsenic mitigation project.

They were highly critical of the World Bank's local representative for "unexpected pressure" on the ministry for reinstatement of a Project Director who was transferred.

The criticism of the World Bank official came at a review meeting on progress of the projects under the 2002-2003 Annual Development Programme (ADP) at the conference room of the Local Government Engineering Department.

State Minister Ziaul Huq Zia presided over the meeting. Poor management, irregularities, involving name-sake NGOs at various stages have caused financial loss to the government as well as deprived millions of people of arsenic-free safe water, the meeting observed. Started in July 1998, the Tk 179 crore Bangladesh Arsenic Mitigation and Water Supply Project (BAMWSP) was scheduled to be completed in three years. But so far only 22 percent work has been done and Tk 9 crore out of Tk 43 crore from the government share of the fund for the project was spent so far.

Although there was target to screen arsenic free tube well in 188 upazilas, it was done in only 42 upazilas, the meeting noted terming the progress totally 'dissatisfactory.'

The meeting also decided to replace faulty water supply system of Dhaka WASA with new pipelines in a bid to provide safe drinking water in the capital.

The meeting also asked the officials concerned to remove the abandoned girders of under-construction foot over-bridges in the capital to ease movement of pedestrians and vehicles.

The state minister expressed dissatisfaction over procrastination and enhancement of project expenditure in various projects under the Ministry, and asked the directed the officials to implement the projects with honesty, transparency and sincerity.

Dhaka and Chittagong WASA, LGED, Public Health Engineering Department, NILG, Urban Primary Health Care Project, Dhaka Chittagong, Khulna and Rajshahi City Corporation took part in the meeting.

Local Government Secretary AYBI Siddiqui and senior officials of other agencies were present. (UNB)



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