Nilphamari, July 20 (UNB) - Despite having huge prospects, Chilahati landport is yet to start its operation even after eight years of announcement to do so.
The announcement for making the landport, which was shut during India-Pakistan war in 1965, functional remained limited only to the issuance of a gazette notification.
Besides, work on the project of broad-gauge rail connectivity from Chilahati to Holdibari in India is yet to start on Bangladesh side despite budget allocation for the project.
But the construction of railway up to Chilahati border on the Indian side has already been completed, said convenor of Nilphamari Unnyan Forum Wahed Sarker.
A project for establishing the rail link from Chilahati to Indian border, and upgradation of Chilahati Railway Statio is yet to see the light although it was approved by the Planning Commission a year ago, he said.
Local businessmen said Cilahati, located at Bhograburi union of Domar upazila, 45 km north off Nilphamari sadar, was a business hub during the British period.
Many institutions, including customs station and immigration check post, were established at that time in the interest of the business community.
Now direct inter-city trains run from Chilahati to Dhaka-Khulna and Rajshahi. There are many banks, government and non-government educational institutions, markets, business centres, a police investigation centre , a BGB camp in Chilahati. Besides, there are spinning mills, jute mills, ceramic factory and garment factories in different parts of the district.
According to businessmen, if Chilahati landport and rail link between Chilahati and India are established, the connectivity with India, Nepal, Bhutan and China will improve while the trade and commerce will see a rise in the days to come.
It will also help reduce the expenses of import and export. If the port’s operation starts, investors will show their interest to invest in Uttra EPZ there giving a boost to economic activity.
Convener of Chilahati landport implementation committee Abu Musa Mahmudul Haque said then Shipping Minister Shahjahan Khan at a public rally in 2011 had announced to make Chilahati landport operational.
It was discussed at a cabinet meeting in July, 2013 and a gazette was issued for establishing the landport in August.
As the landport work remained unimplemented, the businessmen of the northern region have to import and export goods through Darsana,Sonamasjid, Benapole, Hily and Burimari landports at high costs, said Wahed Sarker.
“Revenue from export and import of both Bangladesh and India governments would increase if the landport goes into operation. It also will help increase commerce and trade in the northern region, create jobs and bring socio-economic development,” he said.
Deputy Commissioner of the district Najia Shirin said the issue was raised during the DCs' conference in July last year when Shipping Secretary Ashok Madhab informed that a gazette was issued in this regard but the project is yet to be implemented.
Faridpur, July 19 (UNB)- Livestock farmers are now busy nurturing cattle in 5,000 cattle farms in nine upazilas of the district ahead of Eid-ul-Azha, the second largest festival of Muslims when over one crore cattle are sacrificed across the country.
Visiting Munshidangi, Munshi Bazar, Baitul Aman areas, the UNB correspondent found the farmers and their family members taking care of their cattle from dawn to dusk.
They were seen preparing grass, straw, mustard oil cake and fortified molasses for their cattle.
Officials at district Livestock Department said more than 50,000 sacrificial animals are ready in the district for the Eid-ul-Azha.
They are expecting to supply those to other districts after fulfilling the local demand, they said.
They claimed that farm owners received training from the department and were rearing their cattle without using harmful steroid and injection.
Mostafa Bepari of Munshidanga area said, “We've worked round the year to prepare cattle for this festival with the hope of earning a good profit.”
“We'll get the expected profit only if the Indian cattle are not smuggled into the country,” he added.
Mostafa further said they did not use any harmful chemical for fattening their cattle this year.
“We urge the authorities concerned to take steps to halt smuggling of cattle from India to ensure fair prices for local farmers,” he said.
District Livestock officer Dr Nurul Ahsan said cattle are being reared in 5,120 farms this year which was 3920 in the previous year.
Farmers reared 30,000 cattle and 18,000 ships and goats with an aim to put them on sale during Eid-ul-Azha , he added.
Dr Nurul further said the department has been assisting farmers from the beginning and will supervise till the cattle are sold.
“We suggested the farmers not to use harmful chemicals and steroid for fattening cattle.”
The farmers cultivate sufficient Napier grass which is suggested to be used as main cattle feed instead of harmful ingredients, he added.
According to the Animal Feed Act 2010, the use of antibiotics, growth hormones, steroids or other harmful chemicals in animal feed are strictly prohibited. For violating this law, a person might face up to one year's imprisonment or up to Tk 50,000 in fine or both.
Dhaka, July 19 (UNB)- Throughout the history of liberated Bangladesh, Jahanara Imam, founder of Ekattorer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee has remained at the forefront to preach the spirit of liberation to the young generation.
To preserve her memories as well as those of her eldest son, Shaheed Shafi Imam Rumi, the valiant guerrilla of Crack Platoon, Shaheed Janani Jahanara Imam Memorial Museum has been working silently since 2007.
Established in their family residence, Konika, located in capital’s old Elephant Road, the museum has a wide collection of artifacts, personal belongings of late Jahanara Imam and items used by her family alongside assorted furniture which include several awards; photographs; documents related to liberation war, personal items such as air-gun, tabla, telephone; letter written by Rumi to his uncle; important documents of Ekattorer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee and many more. The museum has an adjacent library section established in 2009 with a wide range of books on Liberation War and works of Jahanara Imam including Ekattorer Dinguli, Cancer er Sathe Boshobash, Of Blood and Fire and more.
Youngest son of Jahanara Imam and brother to Rumi, Saif Imam Jami established the museum on June 24, 2007, as a personal venture to introduce the young generation to the many aspects of Liberation War and its prevalence on liberated Bangladesh. He is the Chairman of the Museum.
While talking to UNB, M Abu Yousuf, Assistant Curator of the museum said Saif Imam Jami personally visits the museum once a year to keep everything in order.
“We have around 40-60 visitors every month. The museum commemorates days of special significance to the Imam family,” he said.
These days are --- the birth and death anniversary of Jahanara Imam and her husband Sharif Imam, the birth anniversary of Shaheed Shafi Imam Rumi and the day he was captured by Pakistan Army.
Abu Yousuf also mentioned that a trustee board has been formed to maintain the museum in the future.
While discussing the future programmes of the museum he told UNB that the museum authority is considering starting an outreach program.
“It will provide students of schools and colleges a guided tour every month to serve as a source to learn about our Liberation War and realize the contribution of the Imam family,” he said.
Another Assistant Curator of the museum Sohan Ahmed said, “Through the museum, we try our best to present the life and spirit of the selfless sacrifice done by Jahanara Imam and her family to the youth.”
He mentioned that the museum has targeted especially children to help them develop a sense of responsibility for their country while learning the history of the liberation war.
He further said although the museum is small in capacity yet it draws an audience from students, teachers, researchers and those who are interested in the true history of the liberation war.
Shaheed Janani Jahanara Imam stood bravely even after the liberation against the likes of anti-liberal force despite losing almost her entire family in the war. She formed Ekattoreer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee on January 19, 1992, to demand trial of war criminals whose essence guided the 2013 Shahbag Movement for the execution of convicted war criminals.
Cancer could not bring down her fight against opposing forces of Bangladesh’s independence. The museum serves as an inspirational tour for those in search of the true spirit of the Liberation War.
The free-for-all museum operates on each Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm. In Ramadan, it remains open till 3 pm.
Dhaka, July 18 (UNB)- Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) recently postponed the players’ transfer dates for the upcoming season of Bangladesh Premier League Football (BPL).
The federation also decided to pay up on the full participation fees due to BPL football clubs at a meeting of the BFF Professional Football League Committee in Motijheel on July 13.
The decision came after a strong ultimatum from the Bangladesh Football Clubs Association (BFCA), a platform of the country’s football clubs, which threatened to call an extraordinary general meeting, if the BFF executive committee failed to publish audit reports and hold an annual general meeting (AGM) soon.
On July 8, the President of BFCA and also Chairman of SAIF Sporting Club Tarafder Md Ruhul Amin called on the BFF to arrange its much-awaited AGM and publish financial audit report within 2 weeks at a BFCA coordination meeting at Hotel Purbani International Ltd.
The representatives of 46 clubs and former national footballers were also present in the BFCA’s coordination meeting and discussed the ‘present poor state’ of football in Bangladesh.
The association for clubs also made several demands for investigations against violation of rules of BPL, Bangladesh Championship League (BCL) and other leagues, as well as into match fixing and referees.
The meeting also took the decision not to take part in the upcoming players’ transfers for BCL and BPL until the promised participation money is paid to respective clubs.
Later, the General Secretary of BFCA and President of Arambagh KS AKM Mominul Hoque Sayeed added his club will not take part in the next transfer window in August, if the transfer window is not revised after discussing with the clubs.
“BPL is still going on and the early announcement of players’ transfer without taking consent of the clubs put the premier league clubs into trouble with the players making deals with other clubs silently and it has a big impact on the performance in the ongoing league,” Sayeed said.
However, BFF finally decided to freeze the players’ transfer dates for the upcoming season of Bangladesh Premier League and to pay Tk 20 Lac as participation fee to each BPL club.
After the BFF’s decision, Joint Secretary of BFCA Mazharul Islam Tuhin said that they are happy with the decision but they are waiting for the Annual General Meeting (AGM) and financial audit report.
“We are happy that the federation decided to freeze the players’ transfer dates for the upcoming season of Bangladesh Premier League. But our prime demands were Annual General Meeting (AGM) and financial audit report,” he said.
Asked about their next step, the joint secretary said, “We are going to hold a meeting soon. After the meeting we will send separate notices to BFF to publish audit report and to arrange AGM with 2-week ultimatum.”
“As per the BFF constitution, if two-thirds of the councillors want AGM, then federation is obliged to arrange it. We also have demanded to pay promised participation fee Tk 5 lac to each Bangladesh Championship League (BCL) club. The present executive committee of BFF has not said anything yet. We will also take a step in this regard,” said Tuhin, also general secretary of Victoria Sporting Club, one of the BCL Clubs.
The election of Bangladesh Football Federation executive committee is scheduled for April 2020.
It is notable that the Bangladesh Football Club Association (BFCA), formed on January 22 this year, has come into the spotlight with several sensational demands and serious accusations against present executive committee of BFF.
BFCA is expected to hold a grand conference of all the country’s football organisers with representatives of BFCA and Bangladesh District & Divisional Football Association in October-November this year.
It seems the battle between the two bickering groups -- BFCA and Executive committee of BFF -- will inflame the next BFF elections, due to be held next April.
Dhaka, July 18 (UNB) - Bangladesh needs to be serious to get the fourth pillar for its growing economy giving much importance to financial sector development to successfully make the country one of the top 20 economies of the world, says Asian Development Bank (ADB).
“Financial sector development can be the fourth pillar of the Bangladesh economy,” said ADB Country Director Manmohan Parkash in an interview with UNB noting that Bangladesh economy is largely driven by domestic consumption, remittance and trade.
He said preparing a 10-year roadmap for financial sector development based on three pillars of financial integration, fiscal transparency and financial resilience could help further catalyse Bangladesh economy, and financial markets.
“It’ll also protect the economy against external shocks,” ADB Country Director said adding that if there is a better financial integration any crisis can easily be dealt with because of the same standards and similar rules in place.
Citing the examples of Singapore and Hong Kong, he said their GDP is more than that of Bangladesh despite being very small countries because they have a very strong financial sector. “If you can have a strong financial sector, it can actually become another driver to the Bangladesh economy.”
Parkash, however, said developing a strong financial sector is not something that Bangladesh can achieve in six months or one year, and there are lots of international experiences that can be brought in.
“Probably, you need a 10-year roadmap that can help you take full advantage of the financial sector,” he said adding that the openness of information brings confidence among all.
Parkash, who joined the ADB in 2002, said Bangladesh is seen as a model for growth today even in difficult global economic outlook and Bangladesh will stand out by growing at record 8 percent in 2019 and 2020.
The growth is expected to moderate across most of the developing Asia at 5.7 percent in 2019 and 5.6 percent in 2020. However, according to the ADB, South Asia will buck this trend growing at 6.8 percent in 2019 and 6.9 percent in 2020.
“This is actually very good news (Bangladesh growth) - which also means that the continued political calm, sound macroeconomic policies of the government, pragmatic steps that have been taken and right development priorities are contributing to this whole thing,” said the ADB Country Director.
Taking Advantage of 3 Things
Parkash, who oversees the implementation of the ADB Country Partnership Strategy for Bangladesh (2016-2020), said the country’s GDP crossed $300 billion this year and the ADB wishes it reaches $1 trillion by 2030.
To achieve this, Parkash said, Bangladesh will have to take full advantage of its demographic dividend, exploit its locational advantage by enhancing its connectivity with east, west and north, and promote trade and investment by developing a resilient and strong financial sector.
“A strong financial sector helps regional and international market integrate, attract long-term investments, PPPs, and deepen and broaden economic integrations,” he said.
Domestically, Parkash said, it helps improve financial sector stability, increase the efficiency and liquidity of markets, and strengthen the regulatory environment.
Responding to a question, the ADB Country Director said Bangladesh has done very well as far as trade integration is concerned but one thing Bangladesh needs to do more is financial integration.
Talking about young population, Parkash laid emphasis on making them a skilled labour force and making them employable so that they can contribute to the economy.
The ADB Country Director said Bangladesh’s remittance inflow is currently on the low-end as its skill base is low.
He said almost 12 million Bangladeshis are living abroad and they are remitting US$ 15 billion annually. “With the same number of people by 2030, I hope, you can get almost US$ 100 billion worth of remittances.”
Parkash said Bangladesh capital market is developing after stocks market debacles in late 2010 and early 2011.
“Fortunately, after that, some good measures and actions have been taken,” he said recalling the time the government had requested the ADB to provide assistance.
Parkash said today not many people are coming from outside and investing because they do not know whether and how they will get the money back and whether the companies are adopting good corporate governance.
With better financial integration, there will be lower amount of remittances coming through informal channels, he said. “Also, the cost of doing business will go down. The cost will be largely dependent on how the financial structuring has been done.”
The ADB Country Director said financial literacy promotes sustainable market development.
He said more informed and rational individual decisions develop a more competitive and fair market. “It incentivises financial industries to be more innovative to develop new products and services to meet clients' new demand.”
Parkash said financial literacy helps create new wealth and benefits individual citizens who must manage longevity risk with better wealth management.
He said to gain a full advantage of new regulatory regimes, financial education is necessary to encourage people to change their behaviours and become more serious about their wealth management using these new financial instruments.
Parkash said financial education is critical for strong and effective investor protection. “Indeed, even financially literate individuals sometimes make mistakes.”
With financial sophistication, he said, the number of people deceived by fraudulent investment operations reminds us that financial education does not fully provide protection against fraud, and investor protection must be pursued under a better implementation framework by regulators.
He said financial literacy will teach people how to create new wealth and how to make the best use of opportunities that are available. “That’s why financial literacy goes hand in hand with investors’ protection.”