INTRODUCTION: The Bangladesh Government has launched a massive campaign for voluntary labour to help make the country self-sufficient in food grain, and to help reduce the annual hazard of flooding.
GV Excavation site in Ulashi, Bangladesh
SV & CU Volunteer workers selecting tools (2 shots)
LVs & CUs Volunteers digging and moving mud in head-carried baskets (4 shots)
SCU Army Corporal supervising work
LVs & CUs Digging and carrying continues (5 shots)
SV & CU Workers' food being prepared (2 shots)
TV & CU Workers eating (2 shots)
GV Work continues
Bangladesh is currently running an annual deficit of 1.7 million tons of food grain, which has to be made up by buying foreign grain costing 350 million U.S. dollars (205 pounds sterling). The Government hopes that the voluntary self-help campaign will recover enough land - previously unusable because of flooding or bad irrigation - that the food grain deficit will be wiped out. For instance, the land that will be made available for cultivation at Ulashi is expected to produce an extra 3,800 tons of grain.
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Background: INTRODUCTION: The Bangladesh Government has launched a massive campaign for voluntary labour to help make the country self-sufficient in food grain, and to help reduce the annual hazard of flooding.
SYNOPSIS: One project initiated by the campaign has been started at the village of Ulashi, which lies 18 miles from the border town of Jessore in northern Bangladesh. A two-and-a-half mile loop of canal is being excavated to straighten out the river Betna. Once it is completed the work will bring benefit to almost a million people in the area, and will create an extra 28 square miles of fertile land.
The work at Ulashi is expected to last for 160 days, and about three thousand people will work six hours each day on it. Each man in the area will be expected to work for two weeks on the project, and after a two week rest, will contribute another two weeks' work.
Throughout the country more than a million people from all walks of life are being involved in similar voluntary self-help schemes. They include doctors, engineers, teachers, writers, Army personnel, and farmers.
Many of the projects are aimed at improving irrigation, or else dredging rivers that have silted up, thereby reducing the flood risk. The project at Ulashi will bring new life to the Betna and allow flood waters to flow safely through to the sea.