• Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Op-Ed

Editorial

  • Editorial

    Financial irregularities hit spotlight

    CAG must be better equipped

    FINANCIAL irregularities to the tune of nearly Tk6,200 crore has been detected by the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG). In its first ever media presentation, the data was compiled from 17 different audit reports and made public. It is sad to see that Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (BTRC) has topped the list of defaulters. Not only has there been gross negligence involved in realising fines and fees, serious anomalies have been detected in the manner in which licenses have been handed out in the telecom industry. The state-run banking sector remains on the CAG radar as having indulged in malpractice on the question of rescheduling of loans and interest waivers. Ministries have been found to have meddled in unlawful practices when it came to tendering. Startling as the revelations may be, the problems associated with graft and abuse of power is an old one. The CAG is the sole authority that can check fraudulent practices in the State bodies. And although nearly Tk77 crore has been spent to carry out these audits, the CAG has for years been kept understaffed. Now why is that? The only plausible explanation would be to protect vested interest...

Opinion

KNOT SO TRUE

Dragon sees, dragon does

THERE was no Google and there was no gmail. It was -3 degrees in Beijing and your columnist hopelessly looked for access to the virtual space. A young man in his early 20's from Bangladesh studying Fine Arts in Beijing had answers to my problem: Baidu in place of Google and 123.com in place of Gmail. That was it! Though the English results from the Chinese Baidu were far from being close to Google's efficiency, it was still an...

Kathmandu Summit for regional integration

TODAY in Nepal, the 18th SAARC Summit kicks-off bringing together the leaders from Nepal, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. As regional leaders assemble for the summit, South Asia pulsates with optimism and hope, and looks forward towards an era of accelerated growth and well-being for the peoples inhabiting the sub-continent. In the three decades of its existence, SAARC has progressively emerged as an indissoluble ingredient in South Asia's identity and in its imagination. There...

Vacancy announcement: Enlightened citizen required

BANGLADESH is a country with great prospect; one of the fastest growing economies of the world which has transformed itself successfully over the last few decades from Kissinger's “Basket Case” to Ban Ki-moon's “...model for the world”.  This is a country which has prospered in spite of periodic natural calamities, political chaos, international crisis and many multifaceted challenges. As the country plans to take the next big leap towards becoming a more developed nation, both economically and politically, there...

Killings in the desert and the mirage of caliphate

THE name is now all too familiar, so are the violence and brutality associated with it. A caliphate, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIS, has been proclaimed.  A caliph, with a suitable name borrowed from the first caliph of Islam, has proclaimed himself as head of the Islamic State.  The evocative name of Baghdad of the glorious days of Islam has been duly affixed to the title. The caliphate has not been coy about its own...

Pneumonia: Deadly childhood disease

Nearly 1.7 million children under the age of five yeas died last year in WHO's South-East Asia Region, with pneumonia and diarrhea being among the major killers. The Region accounts for 27% of global deaths in this age group. These statistics are alarming and unfortunate as these deaths continue to occur despite availability of well-known evidence based interventions for prevention and treatment of diseases like pneumonia.  This is a warning that the Region is far from achieving the Millennium...

Gold galore comments galore

RABINDRANATH Tagore loved this land and wrote, “Amaar shonar Bangla, ami tomai bhalobashi…” (O my golden Bengal, I love thee so…). He used the Bangla word for 'golden' as a metaphor, to allude to the abundance of beauty of the pristine land. But, after so many decades of his death, our Biman people are trying to establish the fact that Tagore used the word in its pure literal sense. Hence they are hell-bent on flooding Bengal with real gold…gold...

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Letters

Letter To The Editor

Pedestrians' right of way

Dhaka metropolitan police recently said that mobile courts would jail or fine 'jaywalkers'. My question is, who are the jaywalkers? Aren't they pedestrians? In all civilised countries of the world, I have seen vehicles always stop to let the walkers pass. They have zebra crossings at road intersections with "walk/no walk" signs. What have we done to let the pedestrians walk across roads safely? Almost nothing. There are very valid reasons for the pedestrians not using the overhead or underground...

Letter To The Editor

Israel should accept responsibility

This refers to the above news item published in TDS on November 21, 2014. The news states that Israel said it would cooperate with a UN investigation into Israeli attacks on UN facilities during last summer's Gaza war after denying to cooperate with a separate UN Human Rights Council investigation. During the war, at least six UN-run facilities were hit by Israeli fire, killing twenty-four people. More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed during the war. It...

Letter To The Editor

DMP's laudable move to stop jaywalking

DMP's laudable move to stop jaywalking

I highly appreciate the DMP for their initiative to set up mobile courts to stop jaywalking from 25th November. I hope our public will respond very well and cooperate fully with the law enforcing agency to stop the jaywalking. Jamshaid Taher Banani, Dhaka

Comments on news report

“BCL blames it on outsiders!,” published on November 22, 2014 Mortuza Huq Doesn't matter who the BCL leader thinks is responsible. Ahmed Aziz The people of the country know the truth. **** “Modi and media: Critic is your best friend?”(Nov. 21, 2014) Biswanath Ghosh Read this piece and found it quite informative. In India, the foundation of democracy is deeply rooted and there have been a number of occasions when the electorates have proved their maturity. **** “The British didn't conquer India…” (Nov. 21, 2014) M. Emad I have all the...

Letter To The Editor

Published Date: November 25, 2014
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

Published Date: November 25, 2014
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...

Published Date: November 25, 2014
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.

More

Editorial

Published Date: November 25, 2014
Tazreen two years on

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...

Editorial

Published Date: November 25, 2014
We top mobile users' list in South Asia

ACCORDING to a report by an international mobile research and development body called mobiforge, Bangladesh tops the list of mobile users in South Asia followed by Pakistan and India. This has been unveiled by a report in a prominent Bangla daily. The research report further says that for the first time Bangladesh has been included in the 100 million users' club of fourteen countries. The sheer number of mobile users in Bangladesh, being 75% of its population, reflects a...

Published Date: November 25, 2014
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)...

Published Date: November 25, 2014
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 ...

Published Date: November 25, 2014
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...

Published Date: November 25, 2014
'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 said that India's stance during the January 5 elections was not to support the Awami League but to support continuation of constitutional and democratic process in Bangladesh.  “It is clear that if the elections were not held, there would have been a serious constitutional crisis and violence in Bangladesh,” she said. Sikri, who was the only female high...

FINANCIAL INCLUSION OF THE POOREST

Published Date: November 25, 2014
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 the bottom rung of the economic ladder so they can heave themselves out of poverty. Let's give them a chance to achieve prosperity. What will it...

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...

KALEIDOSCOPE
DISCIPLINING JAYWALKERS

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

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...

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...