Govt Wants To Protect Country, People, Nature: PM

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Photo: Collected

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Photo: Collected

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said her government aims to protect the country, its people and the nature from the natural calamities, urging all to plant saplings at empty place of houses and offices to protect the environment. "Our target is to secure the country, its people and the nature from the natural calamities," she said.

The premier made the remarks while inaugurating the 'National Tree Plantation Campaign, Tree Fair 2024' and the 'Environment Fair 2024' at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) here marking the World Environment Day.

She also conferred Bangabandhu Award for Wildlife Conservation 2023 and 2024, the National Environment Award-2023 and Prime Minister's National Award for Plantation-2022 and 2023 on the winners.

Cheques were also distributed among the beneficiaries of social afforestation programme.

The prime minister said, "We have to protect the nature as it gives us everything. If we want to live healthy life, we need a beautiful environment and everyone should focus on it".

To protect the nature and the environment, she called upon all to plant saplings at empty places wherever they have either it is in the houses or on the roofs and offices.

"I request you all to plant saplings wherever you have bare places. You can have fruit, if you plant fruit bearing trees, you can get enough money by selling wood, if you plant wood trees while medicines are also produced from the herbal trees," she added.

Everyone should plant trees on the premises of offices, schools, colleges, mosques and madrashas and even on the rooftops along with houses.

"You can get shade for the trees which give you comfort. There is also self-satisfaction of eating fruits and vegetables from the own gardens," she remarked.

Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Saber Hossain Chowdhury, President of the ministry's Parliamentary Standing Committee Dipankar Talukder and Secretary Dr Farhina Ahmed, among others, spoke at the programme.

A video documentary on the overall activities of the Environment, Forest and Climate Change Ministry was screened on the occasion.

Sheikh Hasina briefly described her government's various measures like planting trees in large number, building cyclone centres and cyclone tolerant houses in the coastal areas alongside formulating a number of laws, policies and rules to protect the country and its people from the adverse impact of the climate change.

"We are working to protect the country and its people from the natural disasters alongside ensuring food security by growing more food," she said.

The prime minister said they have a target of planting 8.38 crore saplings during the monsoon season aimed at increasing country's afforestation.

Sheikh Hasina, also President of the Awami League, said her party had set a target to plant one crore saplings across the country marking the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

She said the target has already surpassed and her party men have been continuing planting saplings from the first day of Bangla month of Ashar since 1985. The prime minister said the Sundarbans protects the people and their assets from the devastating storm, flood and tidal surge.

"So, we have to ensure more protection for the Sundarbans," she added.

The head of the government described Bangladesh as one of the pioneers in the world regarding coastal afforestation.

"Some 261,570 hectares of land in the coastal areas have so far been brought under afforestation," she said, adding that a green belt was created on 89,853 hectares of lands since 2009.

The prime minister said her government has formed 28 self-management committees in 22 places to protect the biodiversity. She said her government has organised Wildlife Olympiad this year to encourage the youth to come forward in saving biodiversity.

The premier said they are encouraging the social afforestation among the beneficiaries of the programme. She said the beneficiaries of the social afforestation programme are now getting Tk 9 lakh, 8 lakh and 7 lakh as interest for looking after the trees as her government had increased the allowance to 70 percent from 30 percent.

"There is no scope to misappropriate their money which they did not get accordingly earlier," she added.

She also said they have formed a climate trust fund with own finances and formulated Mujib Climate Prosperity Plan 2022-2041 alongside the adaptation and mitigation plan to survive from the natural disasters. The prime minister said her government is also working to ensure food security.

Keeping in mind the natural calamities, she said her government is pursuing research to develop water-tolerant varieties of rice. The premier said drought-tolerant varieties of rice have developed, adding that more research is going on for its further improvement.

"We need more research on water and drought tolerant rice varieties for their commercial use," she said.

She asked all concerned not to excessive use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides in agriculture, suggesting producing agri products in natural ways._BSS

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