[Dhaka Correspondent] Khandaker Delwar Hossain-led faction of BNP Thursday slammed the government for absence of coordinated efforts in relief operations and rehabilitation of survivors in the cyclone-ravaged coastal areas. The faction renewed its call for withdrawal of the state of emergency in the cyclone-hit districts and release of the two top politicians, BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia and Awami League president Sheikh Hasina, even on bail, to enable them to stand by the distressed.
“The destruction wrecked by cyclone Sidr cannot be described in words. But there are still no concerted efforts on the part of the government to rehabilitate the survivors,” said Rizvi Ahmed, acting office secretary of BNP returning from the worst-affected Barguna district Thursday morning. “The past government’s [BNP-led alliance] concerted efforts helped overcome the aftermath of Manga [a famine-like situation] in the northern region but we did not see any such steps in the Sidr-ravaged areas.”
Gayeshwar Chandra Roy, chief of the party’s relief operation cell, described the situation in coastal region as grim and a humanitarian crisis and called for united efforts to help the survivors return to normal life, “If we can come forward in aid of the distressed humanity forgetting all political divisions and rivalries, the survivors would be able to return to normal life.”
Gayeshwar, also a joint-secretary general of the party, was critical of the government’s attitude accusing it of seeking foreign assistance instead of involving socio-political organizations and mobilizing local resources in relief efforts, “The government is talking tall in the media about relief and rehabilitation but there is a wide gap between their rhetoric and the reality.”
“Although we are not barred from carrying out relief operations, the state of emergency has crippled our efforts as we have to keep it in mind that gatherings are prohibited.” Gayeshwar urged the government to write off all agricultural loans and reschedule small loans in the region. He called for allocating fresh loans for the farmers and fish traders, “The people of the region, who are totally dependent on agriculture, fishing and dry fish business, have lost their means of livelihood.”
Both Gayeshwar and Rizvi called upon the government to release Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia, if necessary on bail, and let the two leaders stand by the cyclone survivors.