Dhaka, Oct 18 (UNB) - The government has initiated a move to declare a roadmap for replacing diesel-run irrigation pumps with solar-powered ones across the country.
Under the roadmap, some 100,000 diesel-operated irrigation pumps will be replaced with solar-powered ones, according to official sources.
They said Solar and Renewable Energy Development Authority (Sreda) has been working on preparing the roadmap.
“We’ve already accommodated the views of stakeholders on the issue through organising a national workshop,” Siddique Zobair, member of Sreda and additional secretary of Power Division, told UNB.
He said Sreda is currently implementing a pilot project in Kustia in this regard.
“Once the project is completed and all the data on the pilot projects for technical and financial analysis are available, we’ll go for finalising the roadmap,” he said adding, “Hopefully, the roadmap will be declared by early next year.”
Zobair said irrigation through solar-powered pumps initially seemed to be costlier. “But in the final calculation, it was found to be cost effective and more economic than diesel-run ones,” he mentioned.
Other officials said it was found in different studies that if the diesel-run pumps are replaced with solar irrigation ones, it will bring huge benefits for the country.
Specially, they said, solar pumps will reduce the use of about 50 percent of water now the farmers are lifting for irrigation.
Explaining the matter, they said, when farmers use a solar pump for irrigation, they normally try to lift 20 percent less waster compared to the diesel-pump use.
In the solar irrigation process, the water supply to the field will be through underground plastic pipes instead of conventional use of open canals, they mentioned.
According to them, such a process will reduce another 30 percent as there will be no evaporation and sucking of water by soil.
Zobair said it was found in the study that when an open canal is used for irrigation, some 30 percent water is misused due to evaporation and sucking by soil.
So, he said, when all the positive things are considered, irrigation pumps are cost-effective and economic ones.
The Sreda officials also said one solar-run irrigation pump normally covers an area equivalent to one covered by four diesel-run irrigation pumps.
“So, if we install 100,000 solar-run irrigation pumps, it’ll ultimately replace 400,000 diesel-run irrigation pumps,” said one of the officials preferring not to be named.
He said there were 1.35 million diesel-run irrigation pumps across the country and 1,350 have been replaced with solar-run ones.
Cumilla, Oct 1 (UNB) - After selling off sand and earth from the vicinity of the Gomti River, now encroachers have started selling off its land illegally, posing a serious threat to its protection dam and destroying its beauty.
Local people alleged that powerful people are now selling government land at Tk 1 lakh per decimal among the poor through stamped papers.
During a recent visit from Alekharchar Amtali Bridge area to Tikkarchar Bridge, the UNB correspondent found over a hundred houses, shops on both sides of the river and on the dam.
Talking to the correspondent, the so-called owners of the houses and shops said they bought the lands from some local influential people through stamped papers where there is a mention that nobody will claim the ownership of the land property but they will have to go away if the government wants them to do so.
Rafiqul Islam of Shahartali Chanpur area said six people, including Rafique himself, bought a land from Raja Mia at Tk 1 lakh per decimal a year back, and they have settled over there.
Mizanur Rahman also bought a piece of land from a man in Pachthubi union at Tk 1.5 lakh per decimal and set up a grocery shop over there.
Md Abdul Latif, executive engineer of Cumilla Water Development Board, said they prepared a list to evict establishments set up on the riverbank protection embankment after visiting the area and the list of 317 illegal structures was submitted to the Deputy Commissioner on September 22.
“If the land cannot be reclaimed from the encroachers right now, the embankment will be at stake,” he said adding that they will soon start the eviction drive as a letter in this regard has already been sent to the Deputy Commissioner.
Deputy Commissioner of Cumilla Abul Fazal Mir said they have got the list of illegal structures on government land from the Water Development Board (WDB) and the magistrate and police force are ready to assist the WDB in this regard whenever they want.
He said it has become difficult to save the country's many rivers due to illegal sand dredging and large-scale industrial pollution.
On Jul 1, 2019, the High Court declared the country's rivers as ‘living entities’, aiming to save them from encroachment.
The court appointed the country's River Conservation Commission as the legal guardian of all the waterways and directed other state agencies to fully assist them.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC) carried out a massive eviction drive along the banks of the rivers around capital Dhaka, demolishing over 4,000 illegal structures.
Dhaka, Sept 30 (UNB) – Though the number of cancer patients is growing alarmingly in the country, treatment facilities and specialist doctors are very scanty here for lack of a comprehensive oncology education programme, said experts.
As a result, they said, nearly 50 percent cancer patients have to go abroad spending huge money for the treatment of the deadly diseases while many others either stop continuing treatment halfway through or die without treatment or getting maltreated.
According to officials at the National Institute of Cancer Research and Hospital (NICRH), there are only 16 medical oncologists in Bangladesh against the requirement of at least 2,000-2,500.
Besides, they said, the country requires at least 5,000 hospital beds for cancer patients but now it has only 500.
Talking to UNB, Prof Dr M A Hai, the Chief Patron of Medical Oncology Society in Bangladesh, said it is estimated that about 200,000 people are affected with cancer in Bangladesh every year.
“Our existing treatment facilities can serve hardly 70,000-75,000 patients. The vast majority of patients either go abroad or remain undetected, and possibly die untreated or maltreated,” he said.
He said it is urgent to develop infrastructure and increase equipment and adequate skilled manpower to ensure cancer treatment facilities at least in every division to alleviate the sufferings of people affected with the fatal disease.
Dr Muhammad Rafiqul Islam, an assistant professor at the National Institute of Cancer Research and Hospital (NICRH), said the number of cancer patients is increasing in the country for various reasons, including food adulteration, environment pollution, smoking and genetic problems.
He said there are now around 15 to 20 lakh cancer patients in Bangladesh while around 2, 00,000 more such patients are added every year. “Of them, 1.2 lakh die each year.”
Rafiqul said more than 50 percent cancer patients go abroad for treatment for lack of healthcare facilities and skilled manpower in the country and thus it is losing huge foreign currency.
“We’ve only 16 oncologists in the country while only four students in oncology department get chance in medical colleges every year. So, how will we get enough doctors?” he observed.
The NICRH professor said there is a severe shortage of efficient manpower in specialised cancer treatment for lack of a comprehensive oncology education programme. “We want medical oncology subject to be included in most of the medical colleges to increase doctors to take care cancer patients.”
Maruf Al Hasan, a blood cancer specialist of Apollo Hospitals Dhaka, said cancer institution is needed in every division as cancer patient is increasing sharply in the country.
“Around 500 cancer patients are getting admitted to our hospital every month while a huge number of adults are getting affected with blood cancer. Besides, youth and children are also increasingly affected with it,” he added.
Dr Maruf said huge cancer patients, mainly middle-income ones, go to India from Bangladesh for treatment. “But the rich ones go to Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, the USA and the UK. So, we need to improve cancer treatment facilities in our country. If a cancer institute is set up in every division, then patients will be able to receive treatment there instead of going abroad.”
Prof Dr Kanak Kanti Barua, Vice-Chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), said cancer is now a major challenge for the country.
“Concentrations and patterns of pollution in developing country like Bangladesh have altered dramatically with the rapid economic development and urbanization over the past decade which is associated with cancer incident or mortality, especially for high pollution ranges and lifestyle factors. So, we need adequate skilled manpower to address the problem,” he observed.
Prof Parveen Shahida Akhter, chairperson of Medical Oncology Society in Bangladesh, said cancer treatment is a multidisciplinary approach and medical oncologists are the part and parcel of comprehensive cancer management.
“We’ve a few medical oncologists which is very much in sufficient with respect to the need of Bangladesh till today. Seats are limited at the entry point and also scarcity of posts to deploy existing postgraduate faculties. Besides, there’s no medical oncology department in medical colleges hospitals in our country, except the NICRH, Suhrawardy Medical College and Hospital, Cancer Centre and Combined Military Hospital (CMH),” she said.
Parveen said all these centres are Dhaka-based ones and overburdened with huge cancer patients. “This situation frequently hampers the quality of cancer management and increases the treatment costs and sufferings of the patients.”
To overcome the problem, the country needs to decentralise cancer care and ensure modern and well-managed cancer facilities in the peripheries as soon as possible.
Brahmanbaria, Sept 30 (UNB) – A school playground is a place from where students return to their classes with a fresh zeal after recess, but the students of a government primary school in Sarail upazila have a different experience.
They are not as lucky as other students of many schools in the country as a section of people have turned their playground into a fish enclosure obstructing the discharge of rainwater into the nearby canal.
The students of Shahzadpur East Government Primary School are being deprived of plying games or sports or arranging cultural progammes on their playground due to stagnant water.
Talking to the UNB correspondent during a recent visit to the school, some students and local people said rainwater used to get drained out from the field within 1-2 hours of rain through an adjacent canal but now that way-out for rainwater has been blocked and it remains waterlogged always.
Students of the school said now they cannot play during their tiffin break or sing the national anthem together as the playground remains waterlogged all the time.
There are four teachers and 187 students in the school, and its classes are held on the first floor of the school building while the ground floor is used for meeting with guardians.
Now the meetings of guardians cannot be arranged on the ground floor for the stagnant water, locals alleged.
As the schoolground is 3-feet lower than the road it gets waterlogged during monsoon, causing immense sufferings to its students and teachers, and guardians.
Some influential people have started cultivating fish blocking the path of rainwater discharge ignoring the children’s need and inconveniences of teachers and guardians, the locals complained.
Once the schoolground was used for many purposes, including holding cultural programmes or namaz-e-janzas of deceased, but now all have been stopped, they said.
They demanded the authorities concerned take immediate steps to drain out the stagnant water from schoolground and make it useful to school children.
Yasmin Begum, headteacher of the school, said Aziz, a relative of school committee president Dulalur Rahman, is involved in fish farming in the schoolground.
Abdul Aziz, Upazila Education Officer, said a probe committee has been formed in this regard and action will be taken once the probe report is available.
Dhaka, Sep 29 (UNB) – The Local Government Division (LGD) is going for a Waste-to-Energy project in coordination with the Power Division to manage solid municipal waste (SMW) to be collected from city corporation areas of Dhaka and Chattogram.
Official sources in the LGD and Power Division said the project will be implemented in the private sector. The Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) will purchase the electricity.
There will be no tipping fee for the project sponsor while the city corporations will ensure adequate supply of waste to the project as per agreement, said the sources.
Heat generated from burning the waste will be used to produce power, officials said, adding that such project is available in China and many Asian countries.
They said the first project will be implemented in Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) area on a pilot basis.
“If it’s successful, then more projects will be implemented in other areas,” said Mohammad Alauddin, joint secretary (renewable energy) of the Power Division, who is also a member of the high-powered working group formed by LGD.
Officials said initiatives to generate power from SMW were taken several times in the last 20 years.
“But none of them succeeded because of a lack of coordination among government agencies, absence of policy support and cost effectiveness,” said a top BPDB official working closely with renewable energy projects.
“This time we hope things will move positively as all relevant agencies, stakeholders and the Prime Minister’s Office are serious about successful implementation of the project,” he told UNB, declining to be named.
He mentioned that a Waste-to-Energy project, recently undertaken by PDB in Keraniganj municipal area, was cancelled because of high cost of electricity tariff – Tk40 per kilowatt hour – offered by the interested private firm.
The deficiency of solid waste was another reason for the cancellation of the project.
Official sources said the new project plan came into the forefront as the two dumping stations of DNCC and Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) at Aminbazar and Matuaile are going to be filled within two years.
The Department of Environment also raised concerns about the existing waste management system which creates environmental risks.
The LGD convened a meeting on April 25 this year and formed a seven-member working group headed by additional secretary of the ministry.
The other members of the working group are – BPDB chairman, member of Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority (Sreda), chief executive officers of DNCC and DSCC, a joint secretary of Power Division and a representative of DoE.
During discussion, it found that the Prime Minister had instructed the authorities concerned during an Ecnec meeting on December 1, 2015 to introduce incineration system for waste management.
Official sources said the working group set a detailed coordinated working process to implement incineration-based Waste-to-Energy project for garbage management.
As part of the detail process, DNCC received 17 proposals from international firms. The Power Division scrutinised the proposals and initially selected four of them, said a top official.
The proposals were sent to BPDB for a final scrutiny where they will be shortlisted and asked to submit financial proposals.
A BPDB official said the working group has recommended implementing the project on unsolicited basis under the Increase of Speedy Supply of Power and Energy Act 2010 to implement it swiftly.
Four agreements will be signed with a firm once it is selected. They are – Implementation Agreement, Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), Land Lease Agreement and Waste Supply Agreement.