Bangladesh calls UNFPA report `unauthorised meddling`

In its report, UNFPA revealed Bangladesh`s population is now 164.4 million.

Dhaka: Bangladesh is likely to launch a formal protest against a population report launched by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) calling it an "unauthorised meddling", officials said here on Monday.

"We are set to hold a meeting later today on the UNFPA report, which has been launched apparently without valid reference just months ahead of the launching of our National Census in March 2011", a senior planning ministry official said.

He said Finance Minister AMA Muhith, who yesterday termed the UNFPA`s report as "unauthorised meddling", called the inter-ministerial meeting, which is expected to take a decision for a formal protest.

"They (UNFPA) did not consult with the government and it was done in a peculiar way," Muhith told a seminar adding that the UN agency did it beyond their authority.

He also suspected some "evil quarters" were behind the report.

UNFPA on Thursday in its "State of the World Population 2010" report revealed that the population of Bangladesh is now 164.4 million, with a growth rate of 1.4 percent per thousand.

The report also predicted that country`s population would be 222.5 million by 2050.

Health Minister AFM Ruhul Haque earlier said they were unaware about the statistics of the country`s new population figure revealed by the UNFPA that claimed Bangladesh`s total population rose to 164.4 million in 2010, from 124.3 million in 2001.

"I have no knowledge about the UNFPA claim and I was not consulted before revealing such a report on Bangladesh," he earlier told the state run BSS news agency.

The UNFPA report came ahead of Bangladesh`s national population and household census scheduled for March 2011 while the last national population census was conducted in 2001.

The UNFPA report said Bangladesh`s population is increasing at a rate of 1.4 percent per year and predicted it to be 222.5 million by 2050.

Director of Family Planning Directorate Ganesh Chandra Sarker, who attended the report launching programme, contradicted the UNFPA claim and said the present size of population might be as high as 4.4 crore.

Senior Planning Ministry official Kazi Akhtar Uddin Ahmed said they examined the original UNFPA report and found it to be of without any "reference" to validate the claim.


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