Dhaka, July 18 (UNB) – The first-ever cargo ship, carrying stone aggregates from Bhutan through the Indo-Bangladesh Protocol route, was formally received at Narayanganj on Thursday.
Indian High Commissioner Riva Ganguly Das and Bhutanese Ambassador Sonam T Rabgye, along with the Vice-Chairman of Bashundhara Group Safwan Sobhan, received the consignment.
‘MV AAI’ of the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) was digitally flagged off on July 12 by Mansukh Mandaviya, the Indian State Minister for Shipping. It is carrying 1000 metric tonnes of stones of stone aggregates which would have required more than 50 trucks to transport by road.
The ship sailed from Assam’s Dhubri, which was declared a port of call in October 2018, and travelled to Narayanganj through Brahmaputra River.
This is the first time an Indian waterway is being used as a channel for transport of cargo between the two countries, using India for transit, said the Indian High Commission in Dhaka.
Bhutan has been exporting significant quantities of stone aggregates to Bangladesh through the land route.
This time, the stone aggregates were transported by trucks from Phuentsholing in Bhutan, which is 160km from IWAI’s Dhubri jetty, before they were loaded on to the vessel.
Mandaviya noted that it will be beneficial to India, Bhutan and Bangladesh and help strengthen relations among the neighbours.
“Transport of cargo through this route will cut travel time by 8 to 10 days, and reduce transportation cost by 30%,” Mandaviya said, hailing it as a historic development.
Dhaka, July 18 (UNB) – A group of Dhaka University (DU) students blocked the key Shahbagh intersection for the second consecutive day on Thursday demanding an end to the university’s affiliation with seven colleges.
Imdadul Haque, a first-year student of DU, said they will continue the movement until the university accepts their demand.
The affiliated colleges are Dhaka College, Eden Mohila College, Government Shaheed Suhrawardy College, Kabi Nazrul Government College, Begum Badrunnesa Government Women's College, Mirpur Government Bangla College and Government Titumir College.
About 500 students kept the key intersection blocked from 11am-2pm, causing severe traffic congestion.
Traffic movement from New Market to Matshya Bhaban and Shahbagh to Farmgate remained halted during this period.
The protesters urged DU authorities to accept their demands that include publishing results within two months of the exam and banning mass-transport on the campus.
Dhaka, July 18 (UNB)— Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal on Thursday directed the deputy commissioners (DCs) to stand strong against drugs, militancy, terrorism and extremism.
He said this at the second session of the fifth day’s annual conference of DCs at the Secretariat.
“Our ongoing drive against drugs will continue. The DCs will work with everyone to raise awareness,” the minister said.
Kamal told journalists that they have discussed problems the DCs have been facing and ways to resolve those.
“The DCs have raised some points which are logical and in the meantime, we’ve been working to implement those,” he said.
Gaibandha, July 18 (UNB) – The normal life came to grinding halt after the district town went under water on Thursday night, causing untold sufferings to thousands of its residents.
The town was inundated after gushing water breached 20 points of the city embankment.
Roksana Begum, the acting deputy commissioner of the district, said the administration is trying to repair the damaged parts.
At the confluence of the Jamuna and Brahmaputra rivers, the water was flowing nearly six feet (191cm) above the danger level at Fulchhari point, said Mokhlesur Rahman, executive engineer of the Water Development Board.
The water of the Ghaghot River has risen 91cm above the danger level.
People in the town were mostly forced to stay indoors. The district’s rail communications with the northern parts remained suspended for the second consecutive day.
More than 700 schools across the district have been shut down. Some of them are being used as shelters but they lack food, drinking water and sanitation facility.
In rural areas, people are sharing shelters with their precious livestock but the shortage of fodder is turning out to be a headache for them. Many people have taken shelter on boats in Char areas.
Municipality Mayor Syed Jahangir Kabir Milon said they are trying to protect the town and its residents. The municipality is providing one meal a day to people in dire need, he said.
The administration said it is distributing relief materials but many affected people said they did not receive anything. “We’re having a very hard time. Let alone relief, nobody even contacted us,” one of them said.
Although the situation shows no sign of improvement, WDB official Mokhlesur is optimistic that the floodwater will start receding at night as there is no rain now.
Cox’s Bazar, July 18 (UNB) — International Organization for Migration (IOM) has been teaching locals communities and Rohingya people to be prepared for natural and man-made disasters.
Liba Akter, a Bangladeshi woman witnesses several disasters and death in the area. She saw a boy who was swept by flood water last year.
Since then, Liba was active in programs organized by IOM aimed at teaching local communities and Rohingya people disaster-risk-reduction skills and mobilizing people to spread the word.
“Severe winds and rains come out of nowhere and destroy homes and kill people. We can’t change the weather, but we can be prepared,” she explained.
In 2018 IOM specialists began training groups of 18-20 people – teaching them official warning signals and flags indicating approaching cyclones and tropical storms. Participants also learned how to identify and maintain emergency shelters, and how to avoid the waterborne illnesses that follow disasters.
Last week, as heavy monsoon rains again struck Cox’s Bazar, 200 people took part in the latest training. Since March 2018, a total 13,446 local people from Ukhiya and Teknaf attended disaster risks sessions.
“Human traffickers take advantage of disasters. Disasters cause hardship and make people vulnerable, which allow traffickers prey on them,” said IOM disaster risk reduction specialist Mohammed Ahsan Ullah.
He further said that Cox’s Bazar district faces numerous socio-economic challenges, and this makes residents particularly vulnerable to human traffickers posing as brokers.
When victims arrive in the destination, their passports are often confiscated, and they are held in prison-like conditions. Men can be forced to work long hours on construction sites for little or no pay, and women may be sent into forced abuse and sexual exploitation, he added.