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Tk 8.60 cr Japanese grant for arsenic mitigation project - 16 Dec 02

The Government of Japan will provide 184 million yen equivalent to Tk 8.60 crore for a UNICEF-funded arsenic mitigation project in Bangladesh.

The project is designed to ensure the supply of safe drinking water to some 2,000 communities directly benefiting some 4 million people.

A memorandum of understanding to this effect was signed here today (Sunday) at the conference room of Local Government Division of LGRD Ministry.

State Minister for LGRD Ziaul Haq Zia was present during the signing of the MOU.

Japanese Ambassador in Dhaka Jiro Kobayeshi and UNICEF representative in Bangladesh Morten Giersing signed the agreement, said an official release.

Local Government Secretary AYBI Siddiqui, Chief Engineer of Department of Public Health Engineering Ishaq Ali and other high officials concerned were present.

Speaking on the occasion, Ziaul Haq Zia thanked the Japanese government for providing the timely assistance.

He said the grant will help complete the work of blanket testing, patient identification and provision for safe drinking water options in 14 upazilas of 8 districts.

The Department of Public Health Engineering is working to implement the project with technical assistance from UNICEF.

Referring to two Japanese projects on arsenic in Bangladesh, Japanese Ambassador Jiro Kobayashi called for urgent, concerted and coordinated action in this regard.

The stressed on multi-sectoral approach involving relevant government ministries, NGOs and development partners to thwart the challenges of arsenic contamination in groundwater.

Commending Japanese support to arsenic mitigation, Morten Giersing called for complete testing of wells to save people from the ill affects of arsenic contaminated water.

He said the Japanese grant-in-aid is a practical demonstration of the Japanese Government's support for children and women in Bangladesh.

UNICEF is actively engaged in arsenic mitigation and by the end of this month blanket test of more than a million tube-wells in 45 upazillas would be completed.

UNICEF's four-pronged strategy for arsenic mitigation programme includes blanket testing, awareness creation through communication, patient identification & management and development of alternative sources of drinking water. - UNB

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