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Safe water supply and sanitation in the tea gardens of the country is very poor, said the speakers at a consultation yesterday.
Moreover, the administrative barriers make it hard to carry out development programmes there, they added.
The stakeholder consultation on 'Promotion of total sanitation in tea gardens' was organised by NGO Forum for Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation at the conference room of the Department of Public Health and Engineering (DPHE) in the city.
The speakers urged both the government and the garden owners to carry out holistic approach for carrying out development programmes in tea gardens.
They said people of the tea gardens are living inhuman life due to lack of safe drinking water.
Speaking as chief guest Sheikh Khurshid Alam, secretary to Local Government Division, said water supply and sanitation in tea gardens is not that good, but it is not that the scenario cannot be improved by taking holistic approach.
"The owners employ workers in their gardens and it is their duty to provide them with safe drinking water and proper sanitation facilities. The government would help them if they undertake projects for the betterment of sanitation in the area," he added.
The secretary called for creating awareness among the people of tea gardens for taking safe water and using sanitary latrines.
Reeta Goshami, who resides in a tea garden, said they use the water of same Chhara (hilly stream) for drinking, bathing and defecation, and as a result the water becomes polluted and they fall sick very often.
In a paper Muhammad Zakaria, programme research coordinator of NGO Forum, said there is only 91 deep tube-wells for a population of about 3.60 lakh, and only 10 to 11 percent of them have been brought under the coverage of sanitation when the government vows for hundred percent sanitation by 2010.
Muhammad Lokman Hakim Talukder, joint secretary to LGED, Jan Mollar Hansen, counsellor of Royal Danish Embassy, and Glenn Pearce-Oroz, senior water and sanitation specialist of the World Bank, also addressed the programme.
Shyamol Dutta, editor of the Bhorer Kagaj, moderated the programme which was chaired by Muhammad Mustafizur Rahman, chief engineer of DPHE.