• Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Op-Ed

Editorial

  • Editorial

    Tazreen two years on

    Some improvement, but a long way to go

    IT is reassuring to note that safety conditions of factories have improved since the devastating Tazreen Fashion fire incident back on November 24, 2012. The credit for this goes to diligent inspection efforts by the two buyer-sponsored agencies -- Accord and Alliance -- assisted by the government, labour rights organisations and BGMEA. But we have to bear in mind the fact that improvement work is still in its initial stage and a large number of factories remain beyond any form of oversight. Inspection of all factories and at the same time proper functioning of the already safe ones should be ensured to create a failsafe work condition in this vital export sector. Another relevant question is: how far will the oversight system be sustained? So far the oversight work has been done largely due to buyer pressure. The government and all the key stakeholders have to play a concerted role in continuing the oversight operations. In spite of the improvement, compensation remains a big issue for the victims. They are yet to get recompensed in line with ILO conventions and many injured workers are suffering due to lack of proper treatment. So far only a Dutch buyer...

Opinion

Saarc Summit: Hopes and fears

THE upcoming Saarc summit on November 26-27 in Nepal has already caught the spotlight in being one that will lead to “greater regional integration” in terms of connectivity. Although Saarc has been around for some three decades, it has until now failed to live up to expectations in being a driver for delivery on connectivity among its member countries. Perceptions have changed with the possibility of three major deals that may be signed during the summit. These include: (i)...

BANGLADESH Asia's new energy superpower?

IMAGINE you are a major energy magnate, poring over maps to find the world's next natural gas superpower. Where would you invest? Even though Bangladesh just hit an energy mother lode in July -- winning the rights to 20,000 square kilometers of natural gas-rich waters from India in a UN territorial arbitration, chances are you probably wouldn't think of it. To most, the territory still looks like a high-risk investment, given the political tensions, pervasive poverty, and highly subsidised economy ...

First clear the sidewalks

IN the 'Letters to the Editor' section of The Daily Star, one of the writers mentioned that the Chittagong Metropolitan Police has evicted all the makeshift shops from the sidewalks in the Chittagong EPZ area. The eviction has reduced the traffic congestion in the EPZ area because pedestrians are now able to walk safely and comfortably on the sidewalk instead of the road without jeopardising their safety and without disrupting traffic flow. Although about 20% of the people in Dhaka...

'It was essential and necessary to hold the general elections'

'It was essential and necessary to hold the general elections'

Veena Sikri, former Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh, talked to Rezaul Karim of The Daily Star about the January 5 Parliamentary election in Bangladesh and about issues of bilateral interest. The following are excerpts from the conversation:                                         Former Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Veena Sikri...

FINANCIAL INCLUSION OF THE POOREST

Street kids in Bangladesh get bank accounts!

MILLIONS of extremely poor Bangladeshis are living in our golden country seeking opportunities to participate in the economy to survive. They face barriers in attaining an education, job, health services, clean drinking water, or food. In desperation, they pray for a chance to do something, anything that will enable them to get onto...

KALEIDOSCOPE
DISCIPLINING JAYWALKERS

Published Date: November 24, 2014
We have little room for experiment

DHAKA Metropolitan police (DMP) has hit upon a novel idea to discourage jaywalking in the city. Part of a weeklong campaign at a pilot level, a mobile court will operate between Rupashi Bangla Hotel and Farmgate points of the city from Tuesday to control the illegal pedestrian habit to cross  streets in a...

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Letters

Letter To The Editor

Parochialism splits Bangladeshis in New York

The Bangladeshi community has been rapidly growing in the United States especially in New York, but unfortunately the community does not have any single platform to talk about the issues faced by Bangladeshi immigrants. If the community speaks its problems in one voice, then the mainstream political parties would listen to the issues and they would try to find the solutions. Instead of taking under a single banner, the community has hundreds of small and tiny associations, which are...

Letter To The Editor

The selfish affluent class

A few days back, a male friend of mine was wearing a traditional Moroccan dress. He told me that the dress was presented to him by a friend who owns a holiday home in Morocco and that he often goes there for holidays. That set me thinking. Wealth has become abundant in Bangladesh. Enormous amount of wealth has been amassed mostly by the business people, civil servants, lawyers, doctors, engineers, bankers, smugglers, etc. through dubious means. Many of our RMG...

Comments on news report

“He was no atheist,” published on November 22, 2014 Palm Springs Petanque “Those who killed him were purely an ignorant lot. They call him an atheist solely because they could not grasp the meaning of the path he followed to pray to God.”... “One cannot be called an atheist for choosing a path which does not conform to those followed by a certain group of people.” These statements concern me because they imply that if he was actually an atheist, then...

Letter To The Editor

Published Date: November 24, 2014
Marital laws biased against men

This refers to the report, "Redress for women divorced unjustly" (Nov.11). Even men get unjust divorces - does anyone talk of them or is bothered about them? For a husband to get maintenance, it is like reaching Mars. The wife may be working, but she gets maintenance for a certain period. There are laws which favour only women and are loaded against men. Laws have to be gender neutral. Globally, marital laws are against men. The United Nations should work...

Letter To The Editor

Published Date: November 24, 2014
Joining Int'l agri-journalists' network

IFAJ, the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists, is an international forum of agricultural journalists and communicators. One can become a member of IFAJ by joining a national association or guild. As far as my knowledge goes, once in our country, a national association was formed to get affiliated with IFAJ. But I am not aware if that guild still exists. Meanwhile, IFAJ is doing wonderful job in disseminating agricultural information and in binding together all the agricultural journalists of the...

Letter To The Editor

Published Date: November 24, 2014
Capital flight to Malaysia

Nowadays, flight of money from the country has gone beyond control. For the black money holders, Malaysia is one of the favourite places where our money finally lands. To settle in Malaysia under the MM2H programme, one needs to deposit liquid assets worth at least 500,000 ringgit (about Tk 1.22 crore) and show offshore income of 10,000 ringgit (about Tk 2.45 lakh) per month. This year, 285 Bangladeshis have applied for enrollment in the programme to get five years'...

Published Date: November 24, 2014
Comments on news report

“Road, rail, waterways to link entire South Asia,” published on November 20, 2014 Gulshan Dhaka The picture shows that it's India to India route; like all eggs in one basket. Why can't it be Myanmar to Bangladesh to India? We know our dependency on India because of geographical location but there must be a second way. Sayed Rahman It is undoubtedly a good initiative. For our greater interest, rail, road, water and air connectivity is a must. Such connectivity will boost our economic...

Letters to the editor

Published Date: November 23, 2014
Reduce train fare

It leaves no room for doubt that traffic jam is deteriorating the condition of our day to day life, especially in the capital. If government can popularise travelling by train, traffic jam in Dhaka would be less severe. Every day thousands of people commute by train but its service is not up to the mark. Train fare is higher than bus fare on some routes. For example, passengers have to pay tk 35 to travel from Kamalapur to Airport by...

Published Date: November 23, 2014
Rajuk officials' foreign trip

Rajuk officials' foreign trip

I was really shocked and disappointed to read in TDS a few days back about Rajuk personnel's pleasure trips abroad. The trips were supposed to be for gaining knowledge about other cosmopolitan cities. But instead it became pleasure trips. What have they learned from these so called trips and who is paying for...

Published Date: November 23, 2014
Graveyard for apartment complexes

Dhaka city has grown from a town into a mega city in course of time. Mega malls, broad roads, flyovers etc. are being built to ease public life. But unfortunately, we don't have graveyards. Government-sponsored residential projects such as Purbachal, Jhilmil etc. have no provision for setting up graveyards in the area for the residents. Developers like Bashundhara and others also have no provision for graveyards. The government should make it mandatory for all developers to keep sufficient space for...

Comments on news report

Published Date: November 23, 2014
“Rise of youth,” published on November 19, 2014

Sayed Rahman Young population is the greatest asset for any country. If this population is equipped with necessary education and skill, they will undoubtedly bring an enormous opportunity to transform the future.  

Comments on news report

Published Date: November 23, 2014
“No license without written test” (Nov. 19, 2014)

TruthnLie Hopefully written tests are conducted in-house and not online. Better if they are conducted using computer booth like the one we get to see in the western world. Snr Citizen This is just one of the things we need to implement with firmness. This will ensure quality control, something we are so allergic to.  

Comments on news report

Published Date: November 23, 2014
''Those who don't want to talk about things like impeachment bill are the ones killing democracy'' (Nov. 19, 2014)

Nds AL stands on the only non negotiable principle of 'duty toward the party and its supreme leader.' Dr. Kamal Hossain always speaks the truth but unfortunately very few in this country have any regard for the truth.  

Comments on news report

Published Date: November 23, 2014
Imam's last sermon (Nov. 17, 2014)

New Generation What the opposition could not do during last 6 years, Latif and Imam did.

Letters To The Editor

Published Date: November 22, 2014
Healthcare thwarted by corruption

Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) has recently released a research report showing the rampant corruption in our health sector which is very much shocking. If this corrupt practice goes on unabated, people won't have any trust left for the government health services and this sector will be stigmatized. Despite having some limiting factors, Bangladesh has made progress in healthcare services and all the health indicators are moving towards a positive direction. We want to keep them up. So, it would...

Letters To The Editor

Published Date: November 22, 2014
Thanks to CMP for freeing Ctg footpath

The recent initiative taken by Chittagong Metropolitan Police has reduced the horrendous traffic jam to a great extent in EPZ area. Earlier it took two to three hours to cross the Chittagong EPZ area but now it takes just a few minutes to pass the same area from Chittagong International Airport. The makeshift shops on the footpaths were solely responsible for the gridlock as a large number of garment workers used to buy things from these shops hindering the normal...

Letters To The Editor

Published Date: November 22, 2014
Treating stroke patients better

Recently I visited Kolkata in connection with the treatment of my younger sister, who is suffering from Lumber Spine disorder. She was admitted to a reputed hospital, Institute of Neurosciences, specialised in treating such patients. In the corridors of the hospital, an alarming piece of information was on display: “Every 6 seconds someone in the world suffers a brain stroke”. If a stroke patient can be rushed to an appropriate hospital within a few hours of the mishap, the...

Published Date: November 22, 2014
Comments on news report

“PM's adviser lies,” published on November 18, 2014 Touchstone Backpedalling is not the solution here, taking responsibility and resigning might be. **** “NIA hands over list of suspects” (Nov. 18, 2014) SM How about giving the list of BD criminals hiding in India? **** “Redesigning economics to redesign the world” (Nov. 18, 2014) Saiful Islam Thank you, sir. It's a very inspiring article. Hope it will motivate our young generation so that they can come out from their conventional career thinking. Habib Financing is the hurdle that many find most difficult...

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Editorial

Published Date: November 24, 2014
Chain of command in police under stress?

A latest intelligence report on police reveals a worrying picture of indiscipline in the country's largest law enforcing agency. Based on the intelligence findings, a prominent Bangla daily reported that in the last six months more than eight hundred orders of Dhaka Metropolitan police commissioner have been violated. In most of the cases, these occurred in the form of manipulating transfer orders to stay in the same station as if growing a stake in it. It is easily understandable...

Editorial

Published Date: November 24, 2014
Jaywalking has to be curbed

THERE can't be any second opinion that the way jaywalking has proliferated in the city it requires immediate and effective remedial measures as a cruicial part of traffic management. There is no alternative to enforcing discipline in the riotous form that pedestrian traffic has taken. Not only overall traffic is being obstructed but lives are put at risk, too. That said, we now turn to the impulsive decision to impose a fine of Taka 200 or have an offender serve...

PRAFUL BIDWAI COLUMN

Published Date: November 24, 2014
Does socialism have a future?

TWENTY-five years ago this month, the Berlin Wall was dismantled. Responding to a relaxation of travel restrictions, East Germans flocked to it, and were joined by West Berliners in tearing it down. The authorities had no will to stop them. With other uprisings in Europe's socialist countries, the Wall's fall precipitated a cataclysm in the entire Soviet bloc, leading to the USSR's disintegration. World Communism collapsed, and the capitalist West emerged victorious in the Cold War.   Was the collapse of...

Published Date: November 24, 2014
Will Obama sail or sink with his immigration policy?

THE result of the recent midterm election of the US Congress was a great debacle for President Barack Obama. Some analysts predicted that having lost control over the Congress, President Obama would be a lame-duck president for the remaining two years in office. One of the reasons of his unpopularity was his indecisiveness in several US policy issues. President Obama recently issued a presidential order on the US immigration to give parents of children who are US citizens or legal...

STRANGER THAN FICTION

Published Date: November 24, 2014
What should Bangladesh do with Jamaat?

AS media reports, the Bangladesh Government is going to proscribe the Jamaat-e-Islami as a political party. This move could be taken as early as December, or latest by January 2015. The High Court has already de-registered the party, which amounts to revoking its legitimacy. From the ongoing debates among politicians, analysts and members of the civil society in Bangladesh on proscribing the Jamaat it appears that the issue solely hinges on one particular premise, the party's opposition to the...

TAZREEN FIRE 2012

Published Date: November 24, 2014
Death by negligence and its normalisation

AFTER the Tazreen fire of November 24, 2012, which killed more than 119 workers, a few of us activists, anthropologists and photographers went to Nishchintapur, Ashulia where the factory was located. Immediately after the fire, we conducted a survey to collect information on the missing workers. We wanted to know how many families were searching for their loved ones, how many dead bodies had not been identified, which areas these workers came from, etc. We also spoke with the...

Published Date: November 24, 2014
Discouraging software piracy to protect intellectual wealth

THE issue of software piracy came into international discussion in the late '80s when personal computers with Internet connection started being used in offices and homes. In the '90s, a significant number of computer users in Bangladesh started using pirated software. Not only home users, but also businesses and government offices were run by unlicensed software. Most of them didn't realise that it was a crime. Software pirates, even in IDB Bhaban, the biggest computer market, don't feel guilty about...

Editorial

Published Date: November 23, 2014
Business climate improves

It is good to see that Bangladesh's position has improved by two points in the prestigious Economic Intelligence Unit's (EIU) 'Business Environment Rankings, South Asia.' Although Bangladesh trails other South Asian countries like India and Sri Lanka, it has now come up to the 69th position in 2014 in terms of 'investment friendly' destination in a survey that encompassed 82 nations. India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan have seen their rankings slip a few notches over this period. The EIU...

Editorial

Published Date: November 23, 2014
Decrepit memorials a great shame!

Our lead front page report yesterday titled “Memorials left to decay” with its heart-wrenching photographic illustrations should be an eye-opener to a side of our national character we must be deeply ashamed of. The story encapsulated years of neglect that our icons of patriotism, emblems of historic turning points have been subjected to as though they are being de-memorialised, the exact opposite of  the purpose they were intended to serve. This constitutes an appalling measure of disrespect to our history...

Published Date: November 23, 2014
Agro-economy of coastal Bangladesh

Agro-economy of coastal Bangladesh

Bangladesh is one of the promising economies in the world. Per capita gross income (PCGNI) of the country is $987 in 2014 (Bangladesh Economic Review, BER, 2014). In terms of Development Index, Bangladesh ranks 140 out of 177 countries (Human Development Index, HDI, UNDP 2007). According to latest SVRS estimation (Bangladesh Bureau of...

The Asian Century

Published Date: November 23, 2014
India's economic hotspots

India's economy could soon be on the move again. The new government is re-establishing fiscal discipline and energising the bureaucracy, fueling optimism that rising business confidence will reactivate investment, particularly in infrastructure. But India's overall growth prospects conceal a patchwork of economic opportunities that exist within states, districts, cities, and even towns -- opportunities that companies can uncover only with careful research. India's economic data are promising. Annual average GDP growth is forecast to range from 6.4% to 7.7% until...

Published Date: November 23, 2014
Accord with Russia

Whether or not the new defence pact between Russia and Pakistan is the 'milestone' described by the defence ministry, it does make eminent sense for the two countries to come closer as the Eurasian landmass and what Moscow calls its 'near abroad' undergo geopolitical convulsions. As in the past, more so now, Afghanistan remains the linchpin of Russia-Pakistan relations as the US prepares to withdraw from the war-ravaged country without having achieved a mission it never seemed very clear about. Now...

Published Date: November 23, 2014
The ever bleeding campus

Rajshahi University (RU) was one of the finest universities in the country. It produced some of the illustrious scholars who brought laurels for the nation. Then some thugs began dictating what should be taught, who will teach and who will not. They were called Islami Chhatra Shibir, the student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami, an organisation that has been termed as  a 'criminal organisation' by the International Crimes Tribunal in most of their judgments delivered against those who committed crimes against...

Published Date: November 23, 2014
I, too, vote for Wasfia Nazreen everyday!

I, too, vote for Wasfia Nazreen everyday!

Taking a cue from our pride, and Bangladesh's only Nobel Prize winner, Professor Muhammad Yunus, I, too, vote for mountaineer and human rights activist Wasfia Nazreen every day. Wasfia is up for the People's Choice Award for the National Geographic Adventurer of the Year, 2015.  There are ten candidates. The person receiving the most fan votes will win. Individuals can cast a vote for their favourite candidate once every day until January 31, 2015. Anyone can vote. The link is: http://adventure.nationalgeographic.com/adventure/adventurers-of-the-year/2015/vote/#/happy-summit-everest-bangladesh_85266_600x450.jpg We Bangladeshis are a small nation size-wise, but are packed with a lot of people.  If many of us vote for Wasfia every day, she will win. Whether Wasfia wins...

Published Date: November 23, 2014
U.S.-Bangladesh trade and investment ties: A partnership for sustained success

On my trip through Asia last week, I was thrilled to visit Bangladesh, whose economic development has impressed the world. I underscored the U. S. government's commitment to growing our trade and investment ties -- so we can help sustain Bangladesh's success and extend the wealth to more of the country's industrious and determined people.  This, in part, is what U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry means by our Shared Prosperity Agenda and, on my travels, I have spread this...

Editorial

Published Date: November 22, 2014
Punishment for fatal reckless driving

WE felicitate the High Court for reinstating the seven-year imprisonment term for reckless driving by striking out the nearly three-decade old amendments to the CrPC and the Penal Code. Those amendments had commuted the maximum punishment from seven to three years during Ershad era. Thus, the raising of the jail term from 3 to 7 years is an improvement from a retrograde measure but it does not go far enough. And as if to emphasise the point the court itself...

Editorial

Published Date: November 22, 2014
Women in low-skilled jobs

READYMADE garments (RMG) is by far the largest export sector earning an estimated $24 billion in the current fiscal and accounts for 13 per cent of the GDP. Nearly 80 per cent of the 4 million strong work-force is women. Yet when it comes to better paid skilled jobs women trail far behind their male counterparts. This was revealed by a joint study on gender equality and productivity in the garments sector. We find that although it is women...

STRAIGHT LINE

Published Date: November 22, 2014
The terror risk

WHETHER it is actual terrorist activities disrupting socio-economic activities or the potential of it threatening the social fabric, there is both positive and ominous news for the Bangladesh polity. The Institute for Economics and Peace, a Sydney based non-profit research organisation, has published a report that says that though not in conflict Bangladesh is at risk of higher levels of terrorism. The report has calculated various political, social, and violence factors to determine the risk. The report further says that...

Published Date: November 22, 2014
Empowering women: Smart approach to sustainable development

CHANGE is in the air: today women have better access to education, health services and jobs, as well as a greater voice in parliaments. Progress, however, in women's empowerment has been slow and uneven. Growth and development gains have not been shared equally, both across the globe and within regions, with development gaps wider for poor and ethnic groups and those at the lower end of the income strata. Violence, conflicts and climate adversities have disproportionately impacted women, magnifying...

Published Date: November 22, 2014
Uncharted territory

PERHAPS for the first time since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Pakistani options in global diplomatic ties are not completely polarised. A shake up of world power, a smattering of new conflict zones and a reshuffling of world leaders has presented a completely new picture for Pakistan to contemplate. On Thursday, the Russian defence minister arrived in Islamabad to discuss a more comprehensive bilateral defence partnership. This comes at the back of the recent Russian deputy foreign minister visit...

Published Date: November 22, 2014
Will God save us from a nuclear disaster?

LET me start with an old but interesting story. A clerical position became vacant in the office of a deputy commissioner in Bengal during the British period. As the number of Muslim employees in the administration was very small at that time, it was decided that the position would be filled up by a Muslim candidate. Finally, the deputy commissioner recruited a Hindu in that position. He later explained that no suitable Muslim candidate was available and accordingly he...

Climate Change - 2015 Regime

Published Date: November 22, 2014
Reframing adaptation finance

CLIMATE Finance (CF) stands at the core of UNFCCC negotiations for mitigation, adaptation, tech transfer and capacity building. But there is little progress yet from what was there in the fast start finance (FSF) during 2010-2012.  With so many question marks over donor community's claim of delivering around $33 billion, there was at least something on the table. Since then, there has been no progress on long term finance of pledged $100 billion a year by 2020. Now discussion...

Published Date: November 22, 2014
Why is Suu Kyi silent on Rohingyas?

RAKHINE state (formerly Arakan) in Myanmar has a diverse ethnic population. Official figures give the state's population as 40 lakhs (4 million) as of 2010. Rakhine state has a large Muslim minority, known as Rohingyas, of about 523,000, according to a 2009 UN estimate.  According to the UN, they are one of the most persecuted minorities in the world. In 1982, the military rulers in Myanmar passed the Citizenship Act, in which there is a provision which states that people...

Editorial

Published Date: November 21, 2014
Biman insiders in smuggling racket!

TUESDAY'S arrest of three high level Biman officials along with two private citizens in connection with 12 November's seizure of 2.6 kg smuggled gold at Shahjalal International Airport has been a real eye-opener. The incident has blasted the myth that it is only petty Biman employees who in collusion with outside syndicates are involved in the smuggling. It also sheds some light on how the crime has been continuing unabated despite apprehension of culprits in the act from time...