Three United Nations (UN) agencies along with the government of Bangladesh on Sunday launched the Safe Access to Fuel and Energy Plus Livelihoods (SAFE Plus) project to mitigate deforestation and improve livelihood opportunities in Cox’s Bazar.
SAFE Plus is a joint project among the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and the World Food Programme (WFP) to address environmental degradation through avenues such as distribution of Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) and stoves, reforestation, and improved access to food production through livelihoods programming.
The LPG stove and gas distributions lessen the need for people to collect firewood, causing further damage to the environment, said the UN agencies mentioning that the reforestation activities rehabilitate unique forest reserves and protect natural resources.
The livelihoods and self-reliance programming bolsters food production and business opportunities for the host community through which they can benefit economically.
The three-year project was designed in partnership with government agencies to increase collaboration between several sectors.
“My ministry is delighted to be working with the UN to address the environmental issues in Cox’s Bazar, and we urge development partners to further support this,” said Senior Secretary at Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief Md Shah Kamal.
At the agreement signing ceremony, the Additional Secretary and UN Wing Chief at the Economic Relations Division (ERD) Sultana Afroz reconfirmed the support of the government for the SAFEPlus project as it addresses the priorities of the government in Cox’s Bazar.
Additional Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner (RRRC) Md. Mizanur Rahman stressed, “SAFEPlus programme should continue as long as Rohingyas are residing in Cox’s Bazar.”
FAO Representative in Bangladesh Robert Simpson said SAFEPlus capitalises on the technical capacities of the three UN agencies and government partners to meet the evolving needs of the people of Cox’s Bazar.
“It’s expected to have significant multiplier effects -- from improved food and nutrition security, to sustainable management of natural resources, increased livelihood opportunities, and strengthened social cohesion.”
Chief of Mission of IOM Bangladesh Giorgi Gigauri said they are delighted to announce SAFEPlus as a programme that addresses both the human and the environmental needs of the refugees and host community. “In addition to cutting household expenditures, SAFEPlus promotes smokeless homes, making them healthier and safer.”
Country Representative for WFP Richard Ragan said protecting the environment and improving livelihood opportunities are keys to ensuring food security for people in Cox’s Bazar.
“By working together with other UN agencies, we’re ensuring we’ve a comprehensive and well-rounded programme that addresses the underlying causes of environmental degradation whilst simultaneously improving livelihoods opportunities for people in Cox’s Bazar.”
Throughout this year, SAFEPlus will reach households in the host community with a livelihood programme while technical support will be provided to farmers to increase the production of high-demand vegetables, and reforestation activities will continue.
A tribunal here on Sunday sentenced nine people to life term imprisonment each for killing a man in 1996.
The lifers are Mohammad Nasim, Abdul Malek, Joynal Abedin, Iqbal Hossain, Zohra Haque, Yeasin, Abul Hashem, Dulal and Selim.
The tribunal also fined them Tk 20,000 each, in default, to suffer three months more rigorous imprisonment.
According to the prosecution, Kamal Pasha alias Dipu, 23, was hacked to death by the convicts following enmity over controlling cable service business in city’s Mirpur Mazar Road area on January 13, 1996.
Victim’s father Dewan Abdur Rahman filed a case with Mirpur Police Station.
Mohammad Nasiruddin, inspector of CID, submitted a chargesheet against them on October 10, 2013.
After examining the records and 15 witnesses, Dhaka Speedy Trial Tribunal Judge Manir Kamal handed down the verdict.
Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader on Sunday said nothing is happening behind the scene over Khaleda Zia's release from jail.
“There’s nothing secret,” said Quader when asked whether there is any secret understanding between the government and BNP over its chief Khaleda Zia’s release on parole.
Replying to a query from reporters about BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir’s phone call, he said the BNP leader asked him over phone to inform Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina about Khaleda’s release on parole.
“There’s nothing wrong in it. He asked me to tell the Prime Minister. But the Prime Minister didn’t inform him anything yet,” he said.
Quader, also the Road, Transport and Bridges minister, further said, “I repeatedly tried to say it’s a matter of the court…she’s in jail in corruption cases…it’s not a political case.”
Replying to another query, he said BNP did not file any appeal for Khaleda’s release on parole. “If they submit any appeal, then we’ll see whether there’s any logic in it.”
Khaleda Zia, a former prime minister, has been in jail since February 8, 2018. She was convicted in two corruption cases. Her party insists that the cases are politically motivated but the government denies the charges.
The BNP chief has been receiving treatment at the BSMMU since April 1 last year.
Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Chairman Iqbal Mahmood on Sunday asked the officials of the National Board of Revenue (NBR) to ‘catch’ the identified tax-dodging foreign nationals working in Bangladesh.
He came up with the call at a training progrmame of the ACC and NBR officials at BCS Tax Academy auditorium in the capital.
Iqbal Mahmood also asked the NBR officials to strengthen connection with Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) and Immigration and Passports Department concerned so that nobody can evade taxes and misappropriate public money.
“Don’t harass any honest businessman during tax collection. We want to widen the tax net, not to raise the tax rate. You (ACC and NBR officials) will work with transparency to achieve the vision of Bangladesh,” he added.
BCS Tax Academy Director General Md Lutful Azim delivered the welcome speech at the event.
Earlier on February 5, Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) said foreign nationals working in Bangladesh are taking away Tk 26,400 crore annually by evading Tk 12,000 crore in taxes.
According to a TIB survey conducted from April 2018 till December 2019, it is found that some 250,000 foreigners (legal and illegal) are working in Bangladesh.
One new dengue patient was hospitalised in the last 24 hours until 8am on Sunday, said the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).
According to the daily update from DGHS, eight dengue patients, including seven in the capital, are being treated at hospitals across the country.
Bangladesh experienced a massive dengue outbreak last year.
The government confirmed that dengue had claimed the lives of 164 people in 2019.The Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) confirmed the number after reviewing 263 out of 266 reports of dengue-related deaths.
Last year, 101,354 people were hospitalised with dengue in the country. Of them, 101,037 made full recovery.
Since the beginning of this year, 231 dengue cases were reported. Of them, 223 had been discharged from hospitals.