No alternative to collective plan to tackle cut in Rohingya aid: Experts
Experts and stakeholders Wednesday said there must be a collective plan to cope with the slashing of aid for Rohingyas. They made the call at a webinar organised by Cox's Bazar Civil Society and NGO Forum, a network of 60 local organisations. KM Tariqul Islam, director general NGO Affairs Bureau, said aid for Rohingya response is being slashed due to the global crisis. "So, the government and donors should find realistic ways to attract global donors." Shireen Huq, a member of Naripokkho, urged the government to announce a plan and redouble its global efforts on Rohingya repatriation. READ: Rohingyas: Dhaka asks Nay Pyi Taw to expedite verification for early repatriation Shireen and Disaster Forum Member Secretary Nayeem Gowhar Warha also called on the government to consider signing the Geneva Convention on Refugees. Ashis Damle of Oxfam requested the international non-governmental organisations to initiate a global campaign to facilitate the early repatriation of the displaced Myanmar citizens.
‘Louder than Words’ launched as part of youth activism to eliminate early, forced marriage
Stronger youth activism engaging traditional and religious leaders can eliminate Child, Early and Forced Marriage (CEFM), a global human rights issue disproportionately affecting girls, said Plan International on Wednesday. “Each story of grassroots redemption speaks louder than words. These are stories of actions that have led to many small yet significant victories in this perpetual battle of right against might. As we’re exploring these accounts of struggle, familiarity emerges of well-known settings, characters, plots and tensions – it’s how a story resolves and ends that we need to influence,” said Bhagyashri Dengle, Executive Director, Asia Pacific and Gender Transformative Policy & Practice, Plan International. “At first, the villagers didn’t take my initiative very well. They didn’t pay attention to my words. But I didn’t lose hope. I have continued advocating against child marriage whenever I find some free time in between my studies,” shared Sweeti from Bangladesh who is a passionate and influential advocate and vocal promoter of issues relating to child marriage and girls' health. Sweeti and several other girls and stakeholders across the region featured in 20 stories of this collection. They are bold change makers who do not back down but stand strong alongside Plan International in their fight against CEFM, demanding a better present and future for themselves and other youth. These stories of grassroots redemption prove that tales of tragedy can also become tales of survival and triumph. The international development organisation urged the use of digital technology, cyber platforms and online solutions, as well as promoting accessible and quality gender-responsive services that can be used to promote effective strategies to eliminate CEFM, as well as to prevent and reduce adolescent pregnancies in Asia-Pacific, including Bangladesh. Plan International came up with the urge as they launched a collection of testimonies titled “Louder than Words”. READ: 16 Days of Activism: USAID workshop highlights empowering women journalists It is a collection of testimonies reflecting girls’ and boys’ activism in collaboration with Plan International in tackling and challenging root-causes of CEFM to prevent this harmful practice and achieve girls’ empowerment and equality. The testimonies promote, celebrate and highlight the regional efforts to prevent and end CEFM that has evolved into a regional initiative called Time to Act! Child marriage frequently leads to serious negative consequences, denying millions of girls the opportunity to fulfil their potential. By 2030, globally more than 800 million women may have suffered the consequences of child marriage, up from more than 650 million today.
JICA to hold stakeholders meeting for energy-power master plan
The first ever stakeholders’ meeting on formulation of an integrated energy and power sector master plan is set to take place in a city hotel on Tuesday. According to official sources, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is holding the meeting to understand the current state of the sector and take opinion of different entities on framing the future plan. They said JICA, which is funding the entire project through its grant under a deal with the ministry of power, energy and mineral resources (MPEMR) will complete the formulation of the integrated energy and power master plan by December 2022 under a 30-month completion contract. READ: Desco’s underground cabling plan misses JICA deadline for its own fault Tokyo-based consulting firm Institute of Energy Economics, Japan (IEEJ), which has been appointed consultant for the project, has already started work following an agreement the Bangladesh government signed with JICA on March 15 this year in this regard. The JICA official website said the integrated energy and power master plan’s major focus will be on the "3E+S" concept. “We’ll pursue the "3E+S" concept of ensuring "Energy Security," "Economic Efficiency," and "Environment" while focusing on "Safety," said the JICA, adding, “In view of the need for a long-term low-carbon energy policy, we will support the formulation of the integrated energy and power master plan.” Prime Minister’s Energy Advisor Dr. Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury will inaugurate the first session of the meeting while State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid will address at the concluding session of the function. Earlier, JICA had provided financial and technical support for formulating all the previous power system master plans (PSMPs) until 2016. According to official sources at the MPEMR, for decades, Bangladesh had prepared two separate master plans—one for the energy sector and another for power sector—where there had been many missing links and lack of coordination resulting in imbalance between the energy and power sector’s growth. READ: JICA to implement Tk 882 cr food value chain dev project in Bangladesh "But for the first time, we’re going to formulate an integrated master plan putting equal emphasis on development of both the sectors in order to support the current robust economic growth,” said Mohammad Hossain, Director General of Power Cell. In the existing power system master plan (PSMP) 2016, about 60,000 MW of power generation was targeted by 2041 in which primary fuel mix set at 70 per cent coming from coal and gas while the remaining 30 per cent will be covered by liquid fuel, renewable, nuclear and other sources. Currently, the country's power generation capacity is over 21,000 MW, of which about 50 per cent of power is being generated from gas while less than 10 per cent is from coal. About 30 per cent of power is generated from imported liquid fuel.
Plan to shift city’s inter-district bus terminals makes slow progress
It has been a decade since the government conceived a plan to shift Dhaka’s four inter-district bus terminals to new locations to ease traffic congestions in the capital city’s entrances, but it has made little headway since then. Dhaka, the national capital which is already under pressure of heavy infrastructures, suffers from more traffic congestion than anywhere else in Bangladesh as most of its bus stops and terminals are located in its heart. In a city like Dhaka, bus terminals have to handle huge passenger transfers every day without offering any facility that can ensure the safety and comfort of passengers. According to experts, there are huge advantages in relocating terminals to areas away from the city centre with multimodal connectivity taking those closer to the under-construction metro-rail system which could speed up both trips and ensure passenger safety. A report on the feasibility of the much-sought plan to relocate the four bus terminals will take at least another three months to be finalized though there have been a few visits by the city mayors and government officials to the proposed sites. READ: Homebound people flock at launch and bus terminals dreading ‘lockdown’ The Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority (DTCA) will look after the relocation of four inter-district bus terminals at Gabtoli Mohakhali, Sayedabad and Fulbaria. Though the government had taken the plan in 2010, the work is yet to start for unknown reasons, sources at DTCA said. At least 8,000 buses that run daily between the capital city and other districts use the four terminals. Since they are now inside the city, traffic congestions even during the night are common. According to the decision, the Gabtoli terminal will be shifted to Savar, Mohakhali terminal to Tongi in Gazipur, Sayedabad terminal to Kanchpur and Fulbaria and Babubazar terminals to Keraniganj. On completion of relocation of the four bus-terminals, new intra-city bus terminals will be established at Gabtoli, Mohakhali, Sayedabad, Fulbaria, Mirpur Section-12, Basila of Mohammadpur and Sadarghat for the buses plying on the city streets. Additional Executive Director (AED) of the DTCA Engineer Rabiul Islam told UNB that the technical committee of the DTCA has proposed at least 10 sites for building new terminals and bus depots as part of the much-talked-about bus route rationalisation move. READ: 200 transport workers facing shutdown miseries at Jashore bus terminal The proposed sites, which are located on the entry points of the capital, included Batulia, Hemayetpur, Madanpur, Baipail, Bhulta, Kanchpur, Teghoria and Boro Monohoria of Keraniganj, Gazipur Chowrasta and Jhilmil. Mayors of Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) and Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC)-- Atiqul Islam and Barrister Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh respectively have already visited four selected spots- Batulia at Uttara near metro depot, Hemayetpur of Savar, Teghoria of Keraniganj and Kanchpur—several months back. Sources at the DTCA said Batulia site has been selected for the buses, which will come from Tangail, Mymensingh, Sirajganj, Pabna, Bogura, Natore, Rajshahi. Kanchpur site was selected for inter-district buses coming from Chattogram, Feni, Noakhali, Cumilla, Khagrachhari, Rangamati, Bandarban and Cox's Bazar. Hemayetpur has been selected for the buses coming from Manikganj, Faridpur, Gopalganj, and some northern and southern districts and Teghoria is selected for the buses from Shariatpur, Madaripur and all the districts under Barishal division. Rabiul Islam said the feasibility study report (FSR) for the relocation of the enter-district bus terminals is almost finalized and is being scrutinizing by the concerned authorities. Replying to a question, he said it may take 2-3 more months to finalize the FSR. After completion of the FSR, the relocation of bus terminals would be implemented through an investment project, he said. READ: Corona scare: Railway stations, launch and bus terminals left deserted Sources at the DTCA said the first inter-district bus terminal was established at Fulbaria near Gulistan in 1984. Later, the three other inter-district bus terminals were established at Gabtoli, Sayedabad and Mohakhali due to the expansion of the capital.