Dhaka, Sept 18 (UNB) - Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday said she looks forward to continued support from India for the development of Bangladesh.
"I look forward to continued support from the government of India in our development pursuit. I’m quite sure we’ll get such many happy events in the days ahead for the welfare of our people," she said.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi were jointly inaugurating the construction of 130-km Bangladesh-India Friendship Pipeline between Siliguri in West Bengal and Parbatipur in Dinajpur.
They opened the work on the oil pipeline through videoconferencing.
Sheikh Hasina attended the videoconference from her official residence Ganobhaban while Narendra Modi from his office in New Delhi.
The two leaders also inaugurated the construction of the third and fourth dual gauge rail lines of Dhaka-Tongi and Tongi-Joydevpur sections of Bangladesh Railway.
Hasina said the economic development is the biggest challenge for South Asian countries. "The prospects for economic development will substantially be enhanced through undertaking bilateral projects like this," she said.
She mentioned that the bilateral cooperation between Bangladesh and India has reached a new height over the past few years.
"We’re working and will work collectively for the development and prosperity for the people of both countries in the new areas, including energy, power, road and rail communications," she said.
The Prime Minister said the people of Bangladesh and India have always been good neighbours.
She recalled the cooperation of the government of India and its people during the War of Liberation in 1971, led by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Referring to her inauguration together with Modi of the supply of 500MW electricity and two railway projects on September 10 and today’s joint projects, the Prime Minister said, "This intermittent contact between us, I believe, will further cement the ties of cooperation between Bangladesh and India."
Hasina mentioned that an excellent environment of bilateral cooperation prevails between the two neighbouring countries since she assumed office in 2009.
"The mutual cooperation between the two countries enhanced many folds in the fields of security, power and energy, trade, communication, infrastructure development, environment, renewable energy, education, culture, people-to-people contact and health during the last nine and a half years," she said.
Hasina said the train communication in the south-western region through Padma Bridge and in the northern region through Bangabandhu Jamuna Bridge, and on Chattogram-Sylhet routes from Dhaka will be easier and faster once the work on the 3rd and 4th Dual Gauge Line on Dhaka-Tongi section and Double Line on Dhaka-Joydevpur section is completed.
She also mentioned that a total of 96 kms of dual-gauge tracks along with other necessary infrastructures will be constructed under the project that stretches from Kamalapur to Joydevpur railway station.
About the pipeline, the Prime Minister said the 130-km India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline from Shiliguri to Parbatipur in Bangladesh is a new milestone in the history of cooperation between the two countries.
"This will be the first such pipeline through which refined diesel will be supplied to Parbatipur depot from Numaligarh of Assam in India," she said.
The Prime Minister mentioned that Bangladesh will initially receive 2.5 lakh tonnes of diesel per annum and it will gradually be increased to 4 lakh tonnes.
She also said the first consignment of diesel from India reached Bangladesh in March 2016 through rail wagons.
Hasina expressed her gratitude to her Indian counterpart for his active role in implementing these projects.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the two countries implemented a number of projects within a short time which are the symbols of good relations between the two countries.
"We’re not only neighbours, we’re also a family. We always extend our hands in our happiness and sorrow. We’ve proved that we could solve problems if we wish,” he said.
Modi said these projects have initiated a new chapter in the bilateral relations between Bangladesh and India. "It’ll play a significant role in Bangladesh's development as fuel oil could be supplied to the northern region at a low cost," he said.
About the railway projects, he said the schemes will not only help carry passengers, but also transport goods.
Highly appreciating Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's leadership, the Indian PM said these projects could not be implemented without her dynamic leadership.
"These projects are very important for people-to-people contact between the two countries. I hope such cooperation between Bangladesh and India will continue," he said.
During their speeches, the two Prime Ministers greeted each other on the occasion of their birthdays.
The birthday of Modi was celebrated on September 17 while that of Sheikh Hasina will be celebrated on September 28.
Currently, imported oil is stored in Chattogram depot after unloading it from the ship at Chattogram Port. Later, the oil is brought to Khulna Doulatpur depot through coastal tanks and carried to Parbatipur again through rail wagons.
This requires additional time and money as well as transport. The pipeline will solve these problems.
Through the cross-border pipeline, India will supply fuel oil from its Numaligarh Refinery Ltd (NRL), located at Golaghat in the northeastern state of Assam, while Bangladesh will receive the oil at Parbatipur depot of Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) in Dinajpur. India will supply 2.5 lakh tonnes of diesel in the first three years.
The import of fuel through the pipeline will be raised further as per the requirements of Bangladesh. The NRL will distribute diesel for 15 years through the pipeline and the time could be expanded following the consent of both sides.
To implement the construction work on the two rail projects, over Tk 1,106 crore under Indian Line of Credit (LoC) would be spent.
Under the two projects, 48.80 kms of two new dual gauge rail lines would be constructed on Dhaka-Tongi route, while a 12.28-km new dual gauge railway double line on Tongi-Joydevpur route, in parallel with the existing rail tracks.
On completion of the schemes, rail communication of Gazipur, Tangail, Narsingdi, Brahmanbaria, Cumilla, Mymensingh and Jamalpur with Dhaka will improve.
As a result, the travel time will be reduced on these routes, while trains can run maintaining schedule set by the railway authorities.
Bangladesh's Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali, Indian External Affairs Minister Sushama Swaraj and Indian Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Prodhan also spoke on the occasion.
Dhaka, Sept 15 (UNB) - Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday said it is her duty to unchain people from deprivation and a plan is underway to provide urban facilities to villagers.
"So many years have been wasted…we have lost times from 1975-96… we didn’t see any development in those 21 years, a handful of people managed to make their own fortune, while the rest were deprived…it’s my duty to free these people from their deprivation," she said.
The Prime Minister said this while speaking at the inaugural session of the three-day 22nd National Council of the Institution of Diploma Engineers Bangladesh (IDEB) at Ganobhaban with the theme 'Global Competitive TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) for Challenges of IR (Industrial Revolution) 4.0'.
She said her politics is for the people of Bangladesh and she utilises every second of her life for the country’s development. "I’m not here to make my own fortune, I’m here to build the fortune of the common people. As a result, the country is making progress.”
The Prime Minister said her government wants to develop villages further aiming to reduce the tremendous pressure of people on the capital city.
Sheikh Hasina said the government wants to provide urban facilities to rural people so that they can live a decent life. "We’re taking a plan to build the villages as townships and ensure all sorts of job in rural areas."
She said the government has given a special attention to rural areas so that people living there could build their houses as they like. “Special loan facility is there to this end.”
The Prime Minister said the government has taken a plan to construct multi-storey buildings at the upazila and union levels.
Briefly listing the programmes taken by her government to improve the vocational education, Hasina said the government always gives importance to vocational and science and technology-based education.
Hasina asked the diploma engineers not to indulge in the calculation what they get and what they did not. "You have to build the country so the future general can get a beautiful life… I’m urging you all to devote yourselves to that purpose."
She said it is the duty of the diploma engineers to implement the development programmes and maintain its quality at the field level.
The Prime Minister said the government has taken a programme to establish one technical school and college in each upazila. "The work to construct 100 technical schools and colleges has already started."
She mentioned that the Education Ministry is working to set up 23 world-class new polytechnic institutes in the country.
Chaired by Central Executive Committee President of the IDEB AKMA Hamid, the function was also addressed by its General Secretary Shamshur Rahman.
A robot, TVET, manufactured by diploma engineers, welcomed the Prime Minister at the stage and had a parley with her.
Earlier, the Prime Minister inaugurated the council by hoisting the national flag and releasing doves and balloons.
Dhaka, Sept 12 (UNB) – Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday told Parliament that the government is actively considering the formation of a commission to identify other conspirators behind the killing of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
“The matter of formation of a commission to identify other masterminds of the assassination of the Father of the Nation is now under government’s active consideration,” she said replying to a starred question from Awami League MP Mohd Abdullah (Laxmipur-4).
The Prime Minister said many information regarding the conspiracy behind the killing of the Father of the Nation got exposed during the two consecutive terms of the Awami League government.
“According to the information, some people and organisations from both home and abroad had indirectly been involved in the conspiracy,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said efforts are on to bring the killers of the Father of Nation, who are now hiding abroad, back home.
An inter-ministerial committee formed in this regard comprising the Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Foreign Affairs and Home Ministry is working in a coordinated way over the issue, she said.
A petition has been placed before the Canadian Federal Court of Justice for providing information about how fugitive convicted killer Noor Chowdhury is living in Canada, the Prime Minister added.
Diplomatic and legal measures have been taken to bring another fugitive convict, Rashed Chowdhury, back from the USA, she said, adding that lawyers have been appointed there for taking the legal measures.
Besides, the taskforce is working to bring other fugitive convicts back home and red alert has been issued through the Interpol to arrest them, Hasina added.
Dhaka, Sept 9 (UNB) – President of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Dr Bandar MH Hajjar on Sunday assured Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of his bank’s continued support to Bangladesh in its development efforts.
“The IsDB will always remain proactive over Bangladesh. Dhaka will be its first Regional Hub as the bank has decided to set up such hubs in different countries," he said.
The IsDB President met Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at Hotel Radisson after the inaugural ceremony of IsDB Regional Hub.
PM’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim briefed reporters after the meeting.
Dr Hajjar appreciated the economic development of Bangladesh and said its high successes in all indicators should be replicated in other member countries, particularly Africa.
The IsDB President also appreciated the financial management system of Bangladesh as it is successfully improving the social aspects along with economic development.
He mentioned that IsDB will work for improving the lifestyle of people and committed to continuing its support to Bangladesh.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina extended her thanks to IsDB for its continued support to Bangladesh keeping it on the top of the list. “The IsDB support is very crucial for development,” the PM was quoted as saying.
She said the government has attached importance to development of the country from rural level.
“We’ve already ensured food security and reduced poverty to 22 percent, which would be further declined,” she said.
She sought more IsDB investment in various sectors, particularly in agro and food-processing industries, and hoped that the IsDB regional hub would help strengthen mutual cooperation.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith, State Minister for Finance MA Mannan, Principal Secretary M Nojibur Rahman, Chief Coordinator in PMO on SDG Affairs Abul Kalam Azad, ERD Secretary Kazi Shofiqul Azam and PMO Secretary Sajjadul Hassan attended the meeting.
CEO of International Trade and Finance Corporation Engineer Hanisalem Sanbol, Lead Executive Coordinator of IsDB in Asia Dr Jafor Iqbal and Director, CRS Asia Ifran Bukhari accompanied the IsDB President.
Dhaka, Sept 8 (UNB) - Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday said the common people are now getting the benefits of her government’s development programmes as it has been able to lower the inflation rate with sustainable GDP growth.
"Bangladesh economy has made a good progress...we’ve been able to lower the inflation rate…it’s now 5.4 to 5.6 percent, and the economy is strong as we’re maintaining 7.78 percent GDP growth. Now the grassroots are getting the benefits," she said.
The Prime Minister was speaking at the 6th National Convention of Krishibid Institution Bangladesh (KIB) its premises here.
Agriculture Minister MatiaChowdhury was present as a special guest at the programme held with KIB President AMM Salehin the chair. KIB Secretary General MdKhairulAlam delivered the welcome speech.
Returning to power in 2009, Sheikh Hasina said, the Awami League government has taken long-, mid-, and short-term programmes to take the country forward. "We’re now marching ahead with the programmes."
She said the government wants to lead the country towards prosperity as Bangladesh is now the third largest vegetable-producing country, while 8th in potato, 7th in mango and third in fish production.
"Our country is now totally self-reliant…now we’ve to go for value addition to our products…we’ve to go for food processing as well," the Prime Minister said.
Hasina said the socioeconomic status of people is improving while the local market is expanding. "We can sell our processed foods within the country as well as export those after fulfilling the local demand and earn foreign exchange."
Hasina said the government has given a special attention to food processing and encourage investment in this sector. "We’ll produce more foods, process those, meet our own local demand and export the surplus ones to fetch foreign currencies."
The Prime Minister said the government has also given importance to research to enhance production. “Through research, the government has improved the production of rice, fish and vegetable. We also decoded the jute genome," she added.
Hasina said the government is providing all-out support to farmers through investing in research and giving all agri-related facilities.
Describing irrigation as the important component of agriculture, she said the government wants to encourage the use of renewable energy for this purpose.
Hasina said she requested the Agriculture Minister to encourage cooperative system for using solar panel in irrigation as its use by a single person is costlier.
The Prime Minister said the Awami League government is in power for the two consecutive times. "If people cast their votes for us, we’ll be in power again, if they don’t we won’t be there in power," she said.
Referring to some natural disasters like floods in the past, Sheikh Hasina said the agriculture sector is first affected by various calamities like early and long-lasting floods, draughts, landslides, tidal upsurge and earthquakes.
Keeping these in mind, she said, the government has been developing modern food storages and silos in the county to ensure up to 22 lakh metric tons of food storage to meet crisis during any crisis.
She sharply criticised the post-75 governments like of Zia, Ershad and Khaleda who never wanted Bangladesh to be self-sufficient in food.
Governments after 1975 violated the agriculture policy framed by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and they never wanted development of the farmers and improvement of the lifestyle of the common people.
They destroyed institutions like BADC for which the country could not achieve desired development in the agriculture sector, she added.
Earlier, the Prime Minister inaugurated the convention by hoisting the national flag and releasing doves and balloons.
President and CEO of IFDC Scot J Angel also spoke on the occasion.