BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Monday said businesspeople are going through a very tough time due to the economic crisis, mainly caused by widespread plundering and siphoning off money abroad. “Every big businessman is now saying one thing that they’re facing a very bad time and their businesses and factories are shutting down. They are also now in a situation that they even don’t have money to pay the wages of their workers,” he said. Speaking at a discussion, the BNP leader also said the government has been blaming the Russia-Ukraine war for the economic crisis. “Maybe there are some reasons behind it. But TK86 lakh crores were laundered in the last 10 years, including Tk,78,000 crores in the last one year. Can the economy of a country exist where people belonging to the ruling party indulges in widespread plundering and money laundering?” Uttar Banga Chhatra forum and Bangladesh Chhatra Forum jointly arranged the programme at the Jatiya Press Club, marking BNP acting Chairman Tarique Rahman’s 58th birthday. Fakhrul said the businesses now need incentives and facilities from the central bank at this time to overcome the situation. Read: Successful divisional rallies show people turning around: Mirza Fakhrul “But the banks are refusing to open new LCs due to dollar shortage while huge money from the reserves was plundered earlier. The common people, including the rickshaw pullers and hawkers now say this government is a thief," he said. The BNP leader said people have woken up to get rid of the current situation and oust the government. “A struggle has already begun as people have taken to the streets. I’m getting encouraged in this old age from our every rally to wage another Liberation War to defeat the current regime.” Govt must pay price for taking 7 lives: Fakhrul alleged that police shot dead Bancharampur’s Sonarampur Union Parishad unit JCD leader Nayon Miah on Saturday without any provocation and reason. What kind of a country it is. You have to face trial in the people’s court.” He said their party’s seven leaders and activists, including Nayon Miah, were killed in their ongoing movement for the restoration of democracy and people’s voting rights. “We lost our seven warriors and you (govt) must pay a heavy price for it.” Read: BNP’s ideology stands poles apart from Jamaat, it sees India as a special friend, says Mirza Fakhrul in an exclusive interview with UNB Fakhrul also asked the government to quit power safely before time runs out. “Otherwise, the turbulent mass wave that has already been created will sweep you away like a tsunami.” Accusing the government of implicating the BNP leaders and activists in false cases, he urged the judiciary to ensure justice.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday said the only aim of her government is to establish a welfare-oriented local government for the betterment of the people. “We want to establish a public welfare-oriented local government. That’s our sole objective,” the premier said while speaking at the oath taking ceremony of the newly elected Chairmen and members of the 59 Zila Parishads of the country. Sheikh Hasina administered the oath to the newly elected 59 Chairmen of the Zila Parishods at a ceremony at Bangabandhu International Conference Center (BICC) in Dhaka. On the other hand, LGRD Minister Md Tajul Islam administered the oath to the newly elected 623 members of the Zila Parishads. The PM asked the Zila Parishad chairmen and members to identify the problems of their respective areas and solve those. “You have to think about the ways and process to improve the fate of the people of the country,” she said. She said although the elected representatives belong to different political parties, they must all work for the entire population of their constituencies. The elections have been held in a free and fair manner, she said. Read: PM on forex reserves: Better to spend on people's welfare than keep it idle “You are the elected representatives and you are not for enjoyment and resort to luxury. You are here to serve the people,” she said. She said that if the elected representatives can win the hearts of the people only through dedicated service to them. If the public representatives, she said, prefer plundering people’s wealth to serving them “that will be the end of their political career,” she warned. The prime minister said that she wants to see the elected representatives to pay back the trust their voters reposed on them through selfless service. She also asked them to take special care in keeping their areas clean to prevent spread of dengue, the mosquito-borne disease now on the rise in the country. Recalling the steps taken by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman for decentralisation of state power, the PM said the great leader had upgraded all the subdivisions to districts. In light of the initiatives of Bangabandhu, she said, the government has been working to fulfill all the basic needs of the people, including healthcare, education, housing, food and clothes. She mentioned that steps have been taken to ensure food security for all and the government is working to provide housing for every single homeless person. Read: Awami League never wasted a single taka of Bangladesh’s money: PM She directed the chairmen, members and representatives of other local government bodies to find out whether anyone left homeless in their localities and come forward to help them get houses. Hasina said the Awami League government has created scopes for all the elected representatives, irrespective of their political affiliation, to work for the development of their respective areas. She said that her government has been working to reach the cherished goal of building a hunger-and-poverty-free 'Sonar Bangla' dreamt by Bangabandhu. She said the elected officials have now greater responsibilities in serving the people who have chosen them through ballots.
LGRD Minister Md Tazul Islam has said public-private partnerships can be the catalyst for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 in Bangladesh, as the private sector has been identified as a key financing source by the country. "Financing is a key aspect of continuing momentum on delivering the SDGs at the local level. While the government emphasises financing development activities at the grassroots level, we need to work more to ensure that the resources of the government can bring the best possible outcome in achieving SDGs," he added. The minister was speaking as the chief guest in a national-level workshop organised jointly by the government and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the key integrator of SDGs in the UN system, at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre Thursday. The workshop, "SDG Localisation in Nine Lagging Districts: Findings and way forward" was organised to share the results of the efforts in nine lagging districts: Sunamganj, Kurigram, Natore, Cox's Bazar, Patuakhali, Satkhira, Gopalganj, Sherpur and Feni. "The SDG Implementation Review Report shows that Bangladesh has not only adopted the SDGs in the development agenda but also has started the process of translating the goals according to local priorities, which is termed as SDG localization," Tazul said. Read: LGRD minister urges public representatives to build 'creative society' Zuena Aziz, principal coordinator for SDGs at the Prime Minister's Office, said: "We partnered with the UN to pilot and define the approach in nine lagging districts across Bangladesh, with at least one district from each of the eight divisions." "For that, we ask not only development partners but also the private sector and civil society to come forward with their resources, knowledge, and solutions." "Bangladesh government has given more emphasis on SDG localisation. The country has identified 39+1 national priority indicators and took significant steps towards setting the framework for institutionalising the SDGs at different levels," said Gwyn Lewis, UN resident coordinator in Bangladesh. UNDP Resident Representative Stefan Liller said: "There is an important funding gap to achieve the SDGs both at the national and local levels. An estimation from 2017 shows that an additional $928 billion are needed only in Bangladesh." "So, we need to think and act on how to generate new financing instruments and new financing streams to bridge that gap – in this case, for local priorities. We also need to explore innovative solutions of how funding for local priorities can be channelled, allocated, coordinated, spent and reported in more efficient ways." Read: People from all religions must be united to stop conspiracy: LGRD Minister "Sweden is a strong promoter of democratic governance, and we are happy to have been a development part in this process," said Maria Stridsman, head of cooperation at the Embassy of Sweden. "It's quite obvious, with local involvement, you are much more likely to develop a solution which will fit local problems. And that is also the case for Bangladesh."
Agriculture Minister Dr Muhammad Abdur Razzaque on Wednesday said it is necessary to strengthen the tobacco control law to achieve the goal of a tobacco-free Bangladesh. He also said the initiative to fortify the tobacco control law to curb tobacco use is a timely one. The minister came up with the comments during a meeting with a delegation from research and advocacy organization PROGGA and ATMA (Anti-Tobacco Media Alliance) at the Secretariat, said a press release. Read: Fallow lands to be brought under cultivation: Agriculture Minister The meeting was organised to inform the minister about the progress made by the Health Ministry in amending the tobacco control law and the potential role that the Agriculture Ministry can play in the process. Dr Abdur Razzaque said his ministry has full support for the Health Ministry's proposals for tobacco control law amendment. The delegation of PROGGA and ATMA informed the minister that currently the prevalence of tobacco use stands at 35.3 percent (37.8 million) of the adult population (15 y/o and above). They said the tobacco-induced deaths and diseases cost the economy dearly since the financial toll is much higher than the revenue generated from tobacco sector. Read: No famine risk in Bangladesh right now: Agriculture Minister Realizing the extent of tobacco’s devastation, the Prime Minister voiced her commitment to build a tobacco-free country by 2040 and accordingly provided the directive to bring time-fitting changes to the tobacco control law, they observed. Following clear directive from the PM, the Health Ministry took the initiative to amend the law.
Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni has said that measures will be taken if anyone tries to leak questions of the ongoing Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) exams of 2022. The Minister said this while talking to reporters after visiting Begum Badrunnesa Government Women’s College exam center in the capital on Sunday. “We’ve taken action against some people who had tried to leak questions of this year’s Secondary School Certificate (SSC) exams in Kurigram’s Bhurungamari upazila. We’ll collectively prevent such attempts this time too by punishing those who’ll commit such offence,” Dipu said. The Minister also urged the parents not to stay outside the exam centers as this makes entrance of the examinees difficult. Replying to a question about coaching centers, she said Coaching centers are needed as it’s impossible for teachers to pay attention to each and every student in the classrooms. Read: June 25 SSC exam rescheduled to June 24: Education Minister “We hope that the need for coaching centers will decrease once the new curriculum is introduced. However, we’ve given directives to shut coaching centers during public exams. To implement this directive, we need help from the local administrations,” Dipu added. It was planned to hold this year’s HSC exams in July-August period but couldn’t do so due to flooding in the country’s northeast, she said adding, “If natural disasters hit any part of the country in the future, we’ll postpone exams in that area and hold exams in other areas as per schedule. Later, we’ll hold exams in the disaster-hit area within the quickest possible time.”
PM’s ICT Affairs Adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy said on Saturday that BNP standing committee member Mirza Abbas was one of the four MPs of Dhaka under the BNP-Jamaat coalition government who maintained regular contact with top terrorists on behalf of Tarique Rahman. “It was Abbas who fraudulently made the deeds of land worth Tk 800 crore in the name of the relatives, including brother and nephew, of the then Prime Minister and BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia and her close aide Mosaddak Ali Falu,” Joy said in a Facebook post. In his Facebook post headlined “BNP's regime 2001-2006: Unbridled corruption and reckless coercion-terror by Mirza Abbas” Joy claimed that during the last days of the BNP-Jamaat coalition government, the then Public Works Affairs Minister Mirza Abbas illegally leased two acres of railway land worth Tk 51 crores then, to an unnamed and fake association without tendering. Abbas completed the entire process in just 14 days on instructions from Hawa Bhaban, Joy said. But the railway land is not under the Ministry of Public Works and it has no legal right to do so, he said. In its list, the cooperative office could not find the name of the association that got the lease for 99 years, he said, quoting a report published by the daily Janakantha on July 28, 2007. Read: BNP-Jamaat fielded '300 cadres' as local government election officers ahead of 2007 polls: Joy The issue drew the attention of the Anti-Corruption Commission when the Railway authorities demanded to get the rightful possession of the land after the caretaker government came to power, he mentioned. “It is known to be the last corruption of Mirza Abbas before BNP-Jamaat left power in October 2006. In just 14 days, possession of the land was confirmed with a cash deposit of Tk 1.46 crore from the fake association called Purbachal Cooperative Society,” Joy wrote in his verified Facebook page. “The company that legally took the lease and was doing business on a portion of the railway land, was also uprooted by muscle power. The railway authorities protested the incident, but in vain due to the pressure from the cadres of Mirza Abbas,” the Facebook post reads. Joy said it is an example of how the power of the terrorists bypassed the rules and regulations everywhere during the BNP regime. “BNP-Jamaat MPs and ministers continued to threaten and terrorise even government employees.”
Dr Kamal Hossain, one of the leading authors of the Bangladesh constitution and eminent lawyer, said on Thursday that it is a matter of sorrow that parliamentary democracy has not been established effectively in the country. “We’ve seen how religion was misused during the pre-independence period. That’s why we tried to create a secular constitution. It’s a matter of sorrow that we couldn’t make parliamentary democracy effective in our country,” Dr Kamal said. He made the remarks as Chief Guest at a programme organised by the Department of Government and Politics of Jahangirnagar University to mark 50 years of the Bangladesh constitution on Thursday. Read: No step to ease public sufferings: Dr Kamal Kamal also talked about various aspects of the constitution and the role that the young generation should play, saying that people have to take part in the governance process. Later, he attended a views exchange meeting with journalists where he avoided answering questions regarding alleged laundering of money abroad and “anti-Bangladesh activities” of his son-in-law David Bergman.
Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder on Thursday urged the people to stop eating polished rice and start eating nutrient-rich rice. The minister made the comment while speaking as Chief Guest at a programme titled “The Commercial Journey of Fortified Rice in Bangladesh.” “The government has decided to ensure nutrition in every food. Securing nutrition has been included in all the government’s policies, including 8th Five Year plan,” said Sadhan. He said that the country has achieved food sufficiency thanks to the invention of new varieties of rice by researchers. “There was a time when the country’s rice was nutritious. We’ve to think why this isn’t the case anymore. People are becoming malnourished through eating polished rice. Public awareness is a must to prevent the consumption of polished rice,” Sadhan added. Read: Govt to procure 3 lakh mts Aman paddy at Tk 28 per kg: Food Minister The minister further said that the government faces a shortage of 16-17 lakh tonnes of rice every year due to the polishing process. “Without the initiative and investment by rice traders and rice mill owners, making nutritious rice available to the consumers will be impossible. I urge the traders and the rice mill owners to keep the prices of nutritious rice within the purchasing capacity of the common people,” Sadhan said. Iron, Zinc, Vitamin A, Vitamin B1 and Folic Acid have been added to the nutritious rice. Five companies have taken the initiative to supply the rice to the markets of Dhaka, Chattogram, Khulna and Rajshahi. Among the places where nutritious rice has been marketed experimentally are Dhaka’s Mohammadpur Krishi Market, Karwan Bazar, Shwapno and Agora super shops and Chaldal and Matrix Bazar online shops. Read: ‘We lose 5MT nutrition-enriched rice when 100MT are polished’ says Food Minister The programme was presided over by Secretary of the Food Ministry Md Ismail Hossain. Md Atiur Rahman Atik, Member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Food Ministry, Md Shakhawat Hossain, Director General (DG) of the Food Directorate and Dom Scalpelli, Country Director of World Food Programme (WFP), among others, spoke as special guests.
Jatiya Party Chairman GM Quader on Wednesday alleged that the nation is being deceived in the name of development before democracy. “Acceptable elections are the gateway to democracy. Democracy cannot be practised without free, fair and acceptable elections,” he said. Speaking at a programme at Jatiya Party Chairman’s Banani office, GM Quader also said the main objective of their party’s politics is to establish democracy and ensure people’s rights. He alleged that some people want to misinterpret democracy in the name of development as they say development should be given the priority over democracy. “In fact, there is no such thing as developmental democracy. The nation is being cheated in the name of such democracy,” the Jatiya Party chief observed. He said that the country's development and good governance will be ensured if democracy is established. “All the rights of people will be ensured only if democracy is guaranteed.” Read: Bangladeshis burning in hell, says GM Quader At the programme, renowned physician Manjur-A-Khoda joined Jatiya Party by presenting a bouquet to the party chairman. GM Quader welcomed the physician and urged him to play a role in strengthening the organisational capacity of Jatiya Party. Jatiya Party presidium members Advocate Md Rezaul Islam Bhuiyan, Mostafa Al Mahmud and Office Secretary-2 MA Razzak Khan, among others, were present at the programme.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Hasan Mahmud has said that the government may have to send BNP leader Khaleda Zia back to jail unless her party leaders stop dreaming about grabbing power. The minister said this during a views-exchange meeting with journalists at his ministry’s meeting room on Monday noon. “I think Amanullah Aman has seen a dream that Khaleda Zia will rule the country from December 10. The reality is that Khaleda is currently outside jail because of the benevolence of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina,” said Hasan. Replying to a question, the minister said that although he himself doesn’t agree with noted human rights activist Sultana Kamal’s views, attacking her verbally was a violation of basic human courtesy. “We may criticize what people like Kamal say, but no one can attack them personally. The way Ruhul Kabir Rizvi has tagged Kamal as a collaborator of Awami League (AL), I wonder, someday he may do the same with his leader Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir,” Hasan said. Read: Diplomats are welcome to advise on polls, but no meddling with internal matters: Info Minister Asked about Mirza Fakhrul’s recent statement that people were better off under Pakistan, Hasan, also the Joint General Secretary of the ruling AL, said that the BNP leader has insulted the Liberation War and its martyrs through his comment. “By reminiscing about the Pakistan period, Fakhrul has meant that the formation of an independent Bangladesh was a mistake. What he has forgotten is that without the country’s liberation, his archangel Ziaur Rahman would never have become a Major General,” Hasan added. Fakhrul must be declared ‘unfit’ to do politics in this country as its existence is so bitter to him, Hasan further said.