The parliamentary committee on Environment Ministry has asked why Tk500 crore from the climate fund was put in the low-rated Farmers Bank.
The question was raised at the committee's meeting in the parliament complex yesterday, committee chair Hasan Mahmud told journalists at a press briefing, after the meeting.
“The committee has asked why Tk500 crore from the climate fund was put in the Farmers Bank, which has such a low-rating,” he said.
“The fund authority replied to the committee saying the bank has asked for some time to return the deposit.
“This committee has recommended that in the future the bank's status rather than the interest rate be considered when putting money away.”
Hasan said: “The entire size of the Climate Trust Fund is Tk3,200 crore. Of this Tk1,191 crore has been put in fixed deposit, against which the government has received an interest of Tk871 crore.”
“Of the interest, Tk644 crore have not been utilized.”
Sources at the meeting said over Tk1,321 crore from the climate fund is kept at the five state-owned banks.
Another Tk499.633 crore is being kept at Farmers Bank Gulshan, Motijheel and Gulshan South branches. Farmers Bank had promised the highest interest rates. Their lowest interest rate is 9%.
The deposits have matured, but the bank has not been able to renew them or return the money.
On another note, the parliamentary committee chair, while discussing the expansion of Jessore, said: “The committee has recommended that the trees lining Jessore Road be preserved while expanding the road, and consider the same while expanding any other road.”
Sources from the meeting said the Environment Ministry's clearance was not sought to cut down the hundred-year-old trees lining the historic Jessore Road at India-Bangladesh border.
Under the National Environment Policy, regional, national and international roads are red class projects, for which environmental survey and impact assessment survey is mandatory.
The committee has also expressed grave concern on the declining number of Royal Bengal Tigers in the Sundarbans.
“According to the 2015 survey, the number of tigers in the Sundarbans is 105. We have recommended that an expert panel be formed to determine ways to increase their numbers,” he said.
Environment Minister Anisul Islam Mahmud, Deputy Minister Abdullah Al Islam Jacob, and MPs Nobi Newaz and Md Yasin Ali were present at the meeting.