PM: No industry on farmland, forest

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said her government would not allow anyone to set up industries indiscriminately destroying farmlands and forests.

“Indiscriminately setting up industries by destroying our cultivable lands and forests will not be allowed anymore. Industries can be set up in the 100 special economic zones (SEZs) that the government is setting up across the country,” she said at a discussion at Krishibid Institution, Bangladesh (KIB) marking the 44th founding anniversary of Bangladesh Krishak League.

Hasina said the country would certainly go for industrialisation, but not at the cost of agriculture, UNB reported.

“If the arable lands keep getting destroyed, where are the raw material for the industries going to come from? What will the industries produce?” she questioned.

She went on: “Some people buy lands indiscriminately and set up industries. This is how farmlands and forests are getting affected seriously. To prevent this, we have decided to set up these [100] SEZs. We will provide all sorts of facilities there, but we will not allow industries to be set up in random places and then start asking for power and gas supplies.”

Terming Bangladesh an agriculture-dependent country, Hasina said the government is always ready to provide all kinds of assistance to the farmers.

She directed the leaders of Bangladesh Krishak League to further strengthen the organisation and visit villages across the country to project the government’s stance of giving all-out support to the farmers.

Stressing the need for giving emphasis on agriculture, she said it was essential to duly evaluate the farmers and show them the due honour. “No one should feel shy in touching their muddy hands.”

Hasina said the Awami League government over the last seven years had taken various pragmatic steps to ensure the development of farmers and the agriculture sector by providing fertilisers, seeds and machineries at subsidised rates.

Bangladesh is now in a remarkable position in terms of production of fish, vegetable and other agricultural products, ensuring food security of the country, Hasina said.

Despite worldwide economic turmoil, she said her government had been able to maintain over 6% GDP growth for the last seven years, with the growth of over 7% in the current fiscal year.

Hasina said this had been possible due to her government’s appropriate planning, taking steps as per the plans, patriotism and dutifulness towards the people and she differed with those who termed the achievements as miraculous.

The prime minister said people of this country would live with dignity and stand before the world with their heads held high.