Turning down the results of local body elections held on Tuesday at different parts of the country, BNP on Wednesday demanded reelections, bringing various allegations of ‘vote fraud’.
“The ruling party cadres indulged in terrorism, captured voting centres, cast fake votes and stuffed ballots in local government elections yesterday (Tuesday) in different areas of the country,” said party leader Syed Emran Saleh Prince.
Prince has recently been given the charge of the party’s central office due to the absence of Ruhul Kabir Rizvi.
Speaking at a press conference, he said Awami League ‘cadres’ also resorted to all evil tactics, including driving out the agents of BNP candidates from polling stations and obstructing common voters, to unilaterally ensure the victory of Awami League candidates.
"BNP is rejecting the results of the local government elections held on Tuesday and demanded fair and neutral elections there by announcing a fresh schedule,” Prince added.
He alleged that the Election Commission and the local administration and law enforcers played a role of silent spectators when ‘ruling party men attacked pro-BNP voters and indulged in massive vote frauds’.
The BNP leader also said the returning officers did not take any action against the Awami League leaders and activists though various complaints were lodged with them.
He said the recent polls have exposed once again that the Election Commission has become the puppet of the government. “As always, the role of the Election Commission was very shameless in ensuring the victory of the ruling party candidates in Tuesday’s polls.”
Depicting the election scenario, Prince said the supporters of Awami League candidates captured all most all the voting centres in Dinajpur, Naogaon, Jessore, Khulna, Bagerhat, Madaripur, Comilla, Chandpur, Gazipur, Lalmonirhat, Rangpur, Barisal, Mymensingh, Sirajganj, Pabna, Chuadanga, Sylhet, Habiganj, Laxmipur, Chattogram and other areas during the balloting.
“The ruling party’s armed terrorists established a reign of terror in those electoral areas by attacking BNP supporters and voters. Common voters couldn’t go to the polling stations, let alone giving votes,” he said.
The BNP leader urged all to pray for the speedy recovery of their party's ailing senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi.
Also read: BNP to wage movement if energy bill passed
Amid countrywide strong protests against the deeply disturbing rape and violence against women, a housewife was raped at gunpoint in Chatkhil upazila of Noakhali on Wednesday.
Police arrested a former Jubo League leader in this connection.
The arrestee was identified as Mujibul Rahman Sharif, 32, Jubo League President of Noakholi union unit expired committee.
The victim, also the wife of an expatriate, was sleeping along with her children while Sharif entered her house at 5 am and raped her at gunpoint.
He also recorded video footage of the vile act and threatened to kill her if she discloses the matter.
Officer-in-Charge of Chatkhil Police Station Md Anowarul Islam said the victim has been sent to a hospital for medical test.
Sharif was wanted in eight more cases including of arms case, the OC said.
For the last few days, Bangladesh saw widespread protests in many districts against the appalling trend of rape incidents and the public fury mounted after the recent gang-rape incident at Sylhet MC College and housewife’s molestation in Begumganj of Noakhali district.
Protesters including students, leaders and activists of different organisations staged demonstrations over the last week over the growing incidents of rape, sexual harassment and violence against women.
According to Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK), a rights body, 975 women were raped, including 208 subjected to gang-rape, from January to September 30 this year.
Of them, 45 were killed after rape and 12 others killed themselves.
DCCI President Shams Mahmud has urged the newly appointed Chairman of Bangladesh's Financial Reporting Council (FRC), Dr Md Hamid Ullah Bhuiyan, to raise the threshold limit for financial reporting to such an extent so that the SMEs do not default on compliance norms.
Shams has also sought active cooperation from FRC to facilitate the country’s SME sector to be more competitive in the global market. On his part, Dr Md Hamid has assured to look into the issues and also promised to try to accommodate the requests "as much as possible".
During the discussions between the two on Wednesday, Shams also congratulated Dr Md Hamid on his appointment to the highest post of the council and highlighted various activities of DCCI, particularly in the area of the SME sector. DCCI Senior Vice President NKA Mobin was also present in the meeting.
However, as per the Financial Reporting Act, 2015, all entities with an annual sales or revenue of Tk5 crore and fulfilling any of the two conditions of either having employment of 50 people or having total property value of Tk3 crore or having a total liability of Tk1 crore, will be treated as Public Interest Entities (PIEs).
As per this Act, FRC will review and monitor the preparation, auditing and reporting of all financial statements of those PIEs. These thresholds are too strict and often make it difficult for organisations, mostly SMEs, to adhere to.
In general, SMEs with very low capital base are non-structured and non-technology-oriented organisations. SMEs can’t afford to maintain professional accounting personnel to prepare and maintain the financial statements for reporting as per International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and International Accounting Standards (IAS).
Bangladesh and Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Wednesday agreed to undertake a slew of 'special actions' in order to expedite the implementation of ADB-assisted projects in this country for promoting faster economic recovery and greater job creation.
The special actions for enhancing project performances include accelerating approval and paying mobilisation advance for large contracts, implementing health safety guidelines, and offering virtual training opportunities to the project staff and beneficiaries, the ADB said in a release.
The decision was taken at a tripartite portfolio review meeting (TPRM) co-chaired by Fatima Yasmin, Secretary of the Economic Relations Division (ERD), and Manmohan Parkash, the Country Director of ADB. Around 300 senior government officials and project directors, and ADB staff participated in the second such review meeting this year.
ADB Country Director Manmohan Parkash said that project implementation is the key to expediting the post-pandemic socio-economic recovery by delivering enhanced development benefits to the people early and quickly.
“As the economy shows early signs of recovery, concerted efforts and special measures by line ministries and the project executing agencies can help speed up the economic recovery and job creation,” he said.
Explaining the measures needed to further improve project implementation, Parkash said, "Expeditious procurement, engaging good consultants and contractors, effective contract management, proper management of land acquisition and resettlement, sound financial management, prudent project design, and speedy DPP/TPP approval/revision can help achieve better project outcomes."
“Today, we have agreed to implement special actions to ensure faster delivery of project results by maintaining the highest standards of health and safety protocols to avoid Covid-19 risks in project implementation,” he added.
ADB’s current portfolio has 52 projects with around USD 11 billion under its sovereign portfolio. ADB focuses its cooperation in Bangladesh in six sectors — energy; transport; water and urban/municipal infrastructure and services; education; finance; and agriculture, natural resources, and rural development.
ADB’s cumulative lending to Bangladesh stands at an estimated USD 36.6 billion in loans and grants, including co-financing.
The Cabinet Committee on Public Purchase on Wednesday approved seven procurement proposals worth of Tk 474.12 crore including 80,000 metric tons of urea fertilizer at Tk 174.09 crore.
Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal presided over the virtual meeting of the cabinet body.
The bulk fertilizers will be imported under three separate proposals. Of these, state-owned Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC) under the Ministry of Industries will import some 25,000 mts of bulk prilled (optional) urea fertilizer from Muntajat of Qatar at Tk 55.5891 crore.
The same quantity of bulk granular urea fertilizer will be imported by Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporttion (BCIC) from Saudi Arabia’s state-owned Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic) at the same price.
The BCIC will procure another 30,000 mts of bagged granular urea fertiliser from Bangladeshi Karnaphuli Fertilizer Company (Kafco) at Tk 62.1196 crore.
A proposal of Petrobangla under the Energy and Mineral Resources Division to appoint an international consultancy firm for a 2D seismic survey works received the Cabinet body’s approval.
Three firms won the contract under 7 lots at Tk 13.75 crore through unsolicited offer under the Power & Energy Prompt Supply Increase (Special) Act 2010.
The Cabinet body gave its nod to a cost extension proposal of Water Resources Ministry for its consultant Nippon Koei Co. Ltd., Japan for the Flood Management and Livelihood Improvement Project at Haor Area.
After the approval, the consultancy cost will go up by Tk 13.22 crore to Tk 101.55 crore from the existing Tk 88.32 crore.
A tender proposal of Roads & Highways Department to award contract for a road improvement work from Akota Bazar to Bangladesh Navy’s Sheikh Hasina Naval base at Cox’s Bazar under a project package No-WP-1 also received the approval of the Cabinet committee.
A joint venture of Jamil Iqbal, National Development Engineers Ltd., and Rana Builders (Pvt) Lt., won the contract at a contract value of Tk 135.92 crore.
The joint venture of Jamil Iqbal, National Development Engineers Ltd., and Hassan Techno Builders Ltd., obtained another works at the same area under the tender proposal package No-WP-2 at Tk 137.92 crore.
Dr Abu Saleh Mostafa Kamal, additional secretary to the Cabinet Division briefed reporters about the meeting outcomes.