Dhaka, Jul 27 (UNB) – Barely 20 months ago when Uber cars hit the city streets, many had the expectation that the ridesharing service would bring about a cultural change here where auto-rickshaw drivers are always awful, but now Uber looks to have surrendered to Dhaka’s bad traffic culture to the dismay of commuters.
Urban experts think the Uber authorities should properly train and motivate the drivers registered with the company alongside ensuring its strong monitoring to bring about a cultural and behavioural change among them and thus maintain the international standards of its service.
They also said the government should have strong monitoring and rules and regulations in place so that Uber and other on-demand ride-sharing companies are forced to ensure safe and smooth services for commuters with better facilities.
Uber, the world’s largest on-demand ride-sharing company, launched its service in Dhaka on November, 22, 2016 promising to bring about a change in the commuting experience in one of the world’s largest metropolises.
Talking to UNB, a number of Uber riders voiced their dissatisfaction bringing various allegations against Uber drivers.
Their allegations include many Uber drivers want to know the destination first, sometimes refuse to go to the desired destination of commuters, request commuters to cancel the trip after wasting a plenty of time, demand extra money, misbehave with passengers, and sometimes they do not use the phone number which is registered with Uber.
“Most drivers use the apps of different ride-sharing companies simultaneously, and they chose the trip which is favourable to them,” Mostafa Kamal, a private company executive, told UNB.
Another Uber user Jahanagir Alam said some Uber vehicles are not enough fit for ride-sharing which go out of order halfway through while drivers sometimes refused to run the AC. “Sometimes drivers neither call the passengers nor receive the phone call from the ride-sharers.”
Even, transport expert Prof Shamsul Haque of Buet, who often uses Uber, said most drivers lack navigation knowledge which is a serious problem to rightly pick and drop the commuters. “Uber authorities should look into the matter and train their drivers properly to solve the problem.”
He, however, thinks Uber drivers cannot misbehave with passengers as there are options to rank them and lodge complaints against them with the company. “The commuters must be conscious and know the options of punishing the errant drivers to force them to maintain discipline.”
Talking to UNB, another urban expert and former UGC Chairman Prof Nazrul Islam said Uber started its service with a positive impression, but it seems the company is losing its reputation due to some unchangeable attitudes of some drivers enlisted with it.
“The Uber drivers sometimes behave like other traditional drivers and create some sort of problems with ride-sharers which the company should strongly monitor and resolve. The drivers should be properly trained and motivated for bringing about a change in their behaviour before they’re registered with Uber.”
Besides, he said, the traffic department and other government agencies should also properly enforce law and monitor the drivers of the ride-sharing companies so that commuters can avail of quality service from them.
Prof Sarwar Jahan of Buet's Urban and Regional Planning department said Uber in Bangladesh is completely dependent on professional drivers who are not well-behaved and educated which is contrary to the concept of the international ride-sharing company.
“The concept of Uber is sharing ride with someone else going to the same direction to share the cost of the trip and thus save money. But, in our country it’s a means of business. Car owners here usually don’t share ride when they drive. They appoint drivers to do the job. So, it’s difficult to change the behaviour and nature of drivers and ensure international standard service by Uber,” he said.
He said the Uber authorities should strictly enforce their rules and take strong action if any driver violates those to maintain their reputation. “The Uber authorities should also have motivational training so that drivers do not flout its rules.
Contacted through email, the Uber spokesman without mentioning name said they are committed to offering riders a hassle-free transportation option and the company has already witnessed double digit increase in the number of riders and driver partners benefitting from Uber.
“However, in case of isolated incidents like this, of driver induced cancellations and mentioned above, we would like to urge riders to use the app in support options (GIF here) to report this behaviour. This will help us look into the matter and take appropriate action,” the official said.
Bagerhat, Jul 28 (UNB) – With the decrease in the activities of forest robbers and poachers in the Sundarbans, experts and Forest Department officials expect an increase in the number of tigers in the world’s largest mangrove forest.
They think the tigers of the Sundarbans, the world’s largest abode of the big majestic cat, are now well-protected and their movement is safe as the activities of forest robbers and poachers have decreased to a large extent following smart patrolling in the forest.
As the Sundarbans tigers survive combating various natural disasters, there is no chance of their disappearance from the mangrove forest even if all the tigers get extinct from the rest of the world, said a wildlife expert.
According to sources, the number of tigers in the world's forests has dwindled to only 4,000 from 1 lakh over the last 100 years. Three sub-species of tiger out of total eight have already become extinct from the world.
Striped big cats used to be found in 13 countries even one year ago but the number of the countries has now stood at 12 with the majestic cat going out of existence.
The tiger is categorised as the critically endangered species due to deforestation, piracy and poaching worldwide.
As part of the government’s efforts to engage people around the Sundarbans, a Unesco World Heritage Site, in protecting the tigers, the 'Tiger Day' is being observed nationally outside Dhaka for the last two years.
This year, the ‘Tiger Day’ will be observed on Sunday (July 29). This day will be observed in Khulna nationally after Bagerhat district. The theme of this year’s day is: ‘Save the tiger, save the forest, protect the Sundarbans’.
According to Forest Department officials, tigers are being surveyed in the Sundarbans through 'camera trapping' for the second time.
In 2017-2018, the images of tigers were captured installing cameras in different places under four ranges of the Sundarbans. Now, the work to analyse the captured images is underway.
According to the survey conducted in the Sundarbans through the ‘camera trapping' in 2013-2015, the number of tigers in the Bangladesh part of the Sundarbans is 106.
In the Sunbarbans, every tiger, known as flagship species of the forest, identifies a 14-16 sqkm area as its home range for living and tigers roam almost throughout the forest.
Forest officials said the activities of bandits and poachers have seen a decline in recent times following the introduction of smart patrolling which has ensured the safe movement of the tigers.
However, the tigers have to face different climate-related phenomena like salinity, storm-tidal surge and river waves, they said. For this, tigers sometimes invade locality.
On January 23 last, a tiger, which entered Gulishakhali village in Morelganj upazila, was beaten to death by locals.
Md Amir Hossain Chowdhury, forest conservator of Khulna region, said the forest robbers have started returning to normal life following regular drives of the Forest Department and law enforcement agencies. “As a result, the tiger is much safer in the Sundarbans now. No tiger was killed by any poacher in the Sundarbans in the last two years,” he said.
For the second time, the images of tigers have been captured through the ‘camera trapping’ method, he said. “Now, the analysis work is underway. On completion of the analysis, the number of tigers could be known,” he said.
Prof Md Anwarul Islam, WildTeam chief executive and a teacher of Zoology department at Dhaka University, said if all the tigers are lost from the rest of the world, there is a least chance that they become extinct from the Sundarbans as they have to survive there combating various natural disasters. “The Sundarbans won’t survive if the tigers don’t survive,” he said.
He, however, underscored the need for ensuring food for tigers in the mangrove forest for their survival.
The wildlife expert called for protecting deer in the Sundarbans and reducing the movement of people in it, suggesting building a forest-centric information centre for tourists.
Dr Anwar said an adult tiger generally gives birth to 3-4 cubs a year. “If these tiger cubs can be protected, the number of tigers in the Sundarbans will be increased,” he said, underlining the need for involving all to protect the majestic big cat.
Mahmudul Hasan, divisional forest officer (DFO) of the Sundarbans East Division, said no tiger was killed by miscreants in the mangrove forest after 2015. “There’s no activity of any poaching gang in the Sundarbans as the Forest Department increased vigilance at the entries through which the poachers used to enter the forest.”
He said they installed cameras in every 5 sqkm during the first survey and they took images of tigers this time installing cameras in every 2 sqkm.
Asaduzzaman Milon, former president of Sundarbans Management Committee and chairman of Rayanda union parishad in Sharankhola upazila, said several gangs of tiger poachers were active in several villages surrounding the Sunbarbans. “However, there’s no activity of the gangs right now,” he said.
He said people are now much aware about the conservation of forest resources which led an end to the killing of tigers.
Satkhira, July 26 (UNB) – Cattle traders in the district are now awfully busy fattening their cattle using harmful steroid in a bid to make quick buck during the Eid-ul-Azha, a festival when Muslims sacrifice millions of cattle across the country.
Although the use of steroids and harmful drugs for fattening cattle was prohibited by the Fisheries and Livestock Act 2010, dishonest cattle farmers are still using those to make their animals attractive to customers and thus make some extra money.
As farmers often use higher doses of antibiotics and steroids, meat of these animals contains remnants of the chemicals which harms kidney, liver, heart and other organs of consumers, according to experts.
Officials at the Department of Livestock Services, however, claimed that farm owners received training from the department and are bringing up their cattle maintaining the healthy and normal process without using harmful chemicals.
They said several hundred cattle farms were set up in the district to supply sacrificial animals to different parts of the country. Some unemployed people chose to get involved in the business to earn money and support their families while some others are there out of their natural interest.
This year, some 78,686 animals including cattle, goats and buffalos are ready for the Eid-ul-Azha in seven upazilas of the district, according to the Department of Livestock Services.
Following the high demand of ‘shankar’ breed and country breed cows, the farmers are nurturing such varieties of cattle in their farms for around a year.
Officials at the department said farmers have prepared some 3,692 animals in Sadar upazila, 9,607 in Kalaroa, 13,439 in Tala, 1975 in Ashashuni, 1467 in Debhata, 4310 in Kaliganj, 4975 in Shyamnagar upazilas of the district. Of those, cows account for 39,198, while goats 25,227 and sheep 5501.
Due to the rise in the meat price, people tend to start growing cattle by making small farms and most people in the district rear cattle in their houses, too.
As per official statistics, there are some 10,552 cattle farmers, but unofficial sources claim that the actual number will be much higher.
Rabiul Islam, a farm owner of Nalta village in Tala upazila, said he had nurtured 12 cows last year and made good money by selling those. “This year, I’ve 15 cows in my shed and expecting a better profit,” he said.
Abdus Samad, another farmer of the village, said, “I’ve kept six cows ready for sale. I usually feed oilcake and other fodder items. Although the price of fodder is higher than the previous year, I maintain those.”
Ranjit Kumar Mandal, an official at Kaliganj Agricultural office, said some 76 percent demand of protein in the country is met from animal resources. “Cattle nurtured here can meet the demand of the district,” he added.
He also said if the government takes necessary steps to check the entrance of Indian cattle, the farmers of the district will be benefited by selling their own cattle during Eid.
Samaresh Chandra Das, an official of Satkhira DLS, said the farmers are given necessary advice how to bring up their animals in addition to providing medicines.
Dhaka, Jun 25 (UNB) – Amid the growing road fatalities, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday gave a number of directives to the authorities concerned to take necessary steps to reduce road accidents in the country.
The directives include making arrangements to provide training to drivers and their assistants, having alternative drivers in case of long-distance drive, setting up roadside restrooms for long-route drivers and stopping jaywalking by pedestrians.
The directives came from the weekly cabinet meeting held at the Secretariat with the Prime Minister in the chair.
"At the beginning of the meeting, there was a discussion on road transport management and the Prime Minister gave some directives to bring down road accidents," Cabinet Secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam said while briefing reporters after the meeting.
The directives also include setting up of roadside service centres or restrooms where drivers can take rest; maintaining signal system on the streets, making sure that pedestrians follow the signal and using zebra-crossing; while passengers and drivers fasten seatbelts unfailingly," he said.
The Prime Minister also asked three ministers - The Road Transport and Bridge Minister, the Home Minister and the Shipping Minister- to sit in a meeting regularly to oversee the implementation of the directives.
In reply to a question, the Cabinet Secretary said the unscheduled discussion was held as a good number of people were killed in road accidents after the Eid-ul Fitr.
On Saturday last, at least 37 people were killed and 108 others injured in road accidents in nine districts. Among the victims, 18 were killed in Gaibandha, six in Rangpur, three in Gopalganj, two each in Natore, Sirajganj, Faridpur, Laxmipur districts and one each in Narsingdi and Savar of Dhaka district