A passenger train will begin its operation between Dhaka and New Jalpaiguri of India on March 26, as part of the celebrations of the Golden Jubilee of Bangladesh’s independence.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi are expected to flag off the train service, also meant for celebrating the five decades of Indo-Bangla friendship, said a Railway Ministry handout.
Other details of the train, including its name, schedule, fare and immigration process, will be worked out through discussions between the Rail Ministries of the two countries.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to visit Tungipara in Gopalganj on March 26 to pay homage to Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
“It’s his (Modi) desire to visit Tungipara. It’s yet to be finalised,” Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen told reporters at his office at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on February 3.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi are scheduled to have Summit-level talks in Dhaka on March 27, taking forward the relations between the two countries keeping the celebratory year in focus.
Earlier in the December-17 virtual meeting, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina thanked her Indian counterpart for accepting her invitation to visit Bangladesh in person in March 2021 to join the celebrations on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Bangladesh's Independence and 50 years of Bangladesh-India diplomatic relations.
Bangladesh and India described the year 2021 as historic in their bilateral relations as they would be commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the Liberation War and the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Bangladesh.
Bangladesh recorded seven more Covid-19-related deaths and 515 new cases in the last 24 hours till Tuesday morning, registering a fall in its daily infection rate.
Some 894 people have recovered from the virus infections during the period, according to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).
With the updated figures, the Covid-19 fatalities climbed to 8,423, while the total infections to 547,316 in the country.
The daily infection rate today stood at 3.36 percent which was 4.31 percent on Monday.
The overall infection rate slightly fell to 13.44 percent, which was 13.48 percent on Monday.
The mortality rate remained steady at 1.54% for the past few days, the DGHS handout said.
So far, 496,691 patients (91.12%) have recovered from the Covid-19.
Authorities have so far tested 40,72,922 samples, including 15,325 in the past 24 hours.
Bangladesh reported its first cases on March 8 and the first death on March 18.
Vaccination drive in Bangladesh
Bangladesh launched its nationwide Covid-19 vaccination drive on February 7.
By Monday, 3,226,825 people had received the first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. The second dose has to be taken between 8 and 12 weeks of the first one.
The government is providing the vaccine for free. It signed an agreement with India's Serum Institute for 30 million doses of the vaccine.
The institute will provide five million doses every month between January and June.
People, who are 40 or above, can register for the vaccine at www.surokkha.gov.bd. The on-spot registration system has been revoked.
Global Covid-19 Situation
The global Covid-19 caseload surged past 114.4 million on Tuesday as infections jumped by the most in seven weeks.
The total case count and death toll now stand at 114,417,054 and 2,537,563, respectively, as per the latest data released by Johns Hopkins University (JHU).
The US remains the world's worst-hit country, with 28,659,784 Covid cases and 514,330 deaths to date, according to the university's tally.
The US death toll crossed 500,000 million on February 22.
Brazil ranks second worldwide after the United States in terms of the number of deaths from Covid and third in terms of the number of confirmed cases, after the United States and India.
The country has registered 10,587,001 cases and 255,720 deaths so far, as per the data.
Meanwhile, India’s total caseload reached 11,112,241 with 157,157 fatalities.
India has recorded 15,510 new infections with 106 more deaths in the past 24 hours, according to the latest official data.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday said the priority of the government in this Covid-19 pandemic is to ensure food and shelter for people alongside ensuring vaccine.
"We need to think about our priority. Our priority is to provide food and shelter. At this stage of the budget, I don’t think there’s any necessity for approving additional fund (for different ministries)," she said.
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The Prime Minister said this while approving the revised Annual Development Programme (ADP) for 2020-21 fiscal at the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting held at the NEC conference room.
She joined the programme virtually from her official residence Ganobhaban.
Sheikh Hasina said this is not the right time [due to pandemic] to place demands for additional allocations by ministries…but arrangements could be made for essential development and maintenance," she said.
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Describing the present situation as critical one due to the stagnant economic situation across the world due to the coronavirus, she said the big issue for the government is now to make sure people do not suffer due to the Covid-19, avoid the scarcity of food and medical treatment and ensure vaccine for all the eligible people. "They (mass people) could lead a better life and should not suffer economically, and our priority is to ensure that."
Sheikh Hasina said the government has procured Covid-19 vaccine and will procure more to ensure it for all the 17 crore people of the country.
Recalling the early days of Covid-19 pandemic, she said the government was worried what would happen next. "Ultimately, we took some timely steps so that we could maintain the pace of our progress. Those who’ve come up with proposals seeking additional fund need to keep in mind that we’re running our country in an unnatural situation," she said.
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The Prime Minister mentioned that the government has to give a special attention to rural areas so that villagers have the easy access to food, health, medical facilities and security.
To overcome the challenges and smooth transition of Bangladesh until 2026, Dhaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI) on Monday suggested the government to sign FTA, PTA with potential countries or RTA with economic blocs, take preparation to implement the terms and conditions of TRIPS agreements, establish high-value product design and innovation centres.
Alongside these DCCI also recommended necessary policy and institutional reforms to increase private and foreign investment, modernization, automation of revenue structure for higher Tax to GDP ratio and efficient supply chain and logistics infrastructure.
These are expected to leverage the country’s economic graduation and gain its dividends for the best interests of the country.
The United Nations Committee for Development Policy (UN CDP) has recommended Bangladesh's graduation from Least Developed Country (LDC). The decision came after the second triennial review of the LDC category of UN CDP recently. DCCI welcomes this endorsement of Bangladesh’s graduation from LDC.
Bangladesh has met, for the second time, all three eligibility criteria for graduation involving income per capita ($1,827 against the threshold $1,230), human assets index (75.3 points out of 66), and economic vulnerability index (27.3 point less than 32).
DCCI feels it as an honour for Bangladesh as we received this prestigious recognition in the glorious year of golden jubilee of independence of Bangladesh and birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. And, this recognition was achieved with the frontier and dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, through tremendous progress in all aspects of socio-economic state of the country during the last decade. Bangladesh, even in the tough time during the Covid-19, managed to sustain its economic growth and balance the live and livelihood to a large extent.
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The very timely initiative of the government to rescue the pandemic affected businesses through stimulus incentives was appreciated by all. The second review of UN CDP and their endorsement justify consistent economic development, firm resilience and commitment to the legacy of Bangabandhu’s Sonar Bangla aligning with various game-changing visions of the government, believed DCCI.
It is inevitable that every country that graduated from LDC status had to face some challenges with no exception to Bangladesh.
As an LDC, Bangladesh will enjoy duty free quota free access in the EU and other markets up to 2026 but after graduation, Bangladesh will face the challenges of industrial compliance and strong standard of IPR and TRIPS agreement.
Moreover, as a middle income country, Bangladesh will compete with other similar countries in the export market as well experience erosion of preferences and privileges in the export market, loss of subsidy in various home grown infant industries.
Despite having these challenges, graduation will generate ample opportunities. After the successful graduation, the credit rating and worthiness of Bangladesh will be elevated, private sector would be competitive, foreign investors’ confidence and foreign investment trend would soar considering strong IPR infrastructure above all streams of international borrowing at a competitive rate.
A Chittagong court has sentenced a driver and supervisor of Shyamoli Paribahan to 10 years and the helper to five years in prison respectively for transporting yaba in Chittagong. In the same verdict, each of them was sentenced to 6 months imprisonment for non-payment of a fine of Tk 5,000.
The court of Chittagong 4th Additional Metropolitan Sessions Judge Shariful Alam Bhunya passed the verdict on Monday (March 1) afternoon.
The convicts are: bus driver Md Sabuj (32), son of Abdul, Supervisor Palash Mandal (26), son of Sukumar Mandal and helper Nasir Hawladar (30), son of Rob Hawlader.
Although the driver and helper were present during the verdict, the supervisor was absconding following a bail from the High Court.
Additional Public Prosecutor Anupam Chakraborty of the Metropolitan Sessions Judge's Court said the court had sentenced the Shyamoli bus driver and supervisor to 10 years in prison and the helper to five years in prison and fined them Tk 5,000 each. Another 6 months imprisonment has been given for non-payment.
He added, "Charges were framed against the three on September 6, 2020." The court pronounced the verdict on Monday after a total of 10 witnesses were found guilty.
According to court sources, RAB signaled to stop the Shyamoli Business Class passenger bus (Dhaka Metro-B 14-974) leaving Cox's Bazar for Dhaka on June 29, 2016 at around 3 pm in front of the Kotwali Police Station Beach Hotel.
Seeing the RAB team, the driver, supervisor and helper left the bus and tried to escape, but RAB detained them. After searching the bus and bodies of the driver, supervisor and helper, 19,000 yaba were recovered. A case was filed against them under the Narcotics Act at Kotwali police station.