Hili (Dinajpur), Sept 15 (UNB) – The Indian government’s clampdown on onion export is causing a fair bit of upset across the border as well, with Bangladeshi businessmen at Hili land port between the two countries left agonising over a sharp increase in its prices.
They said the prices have gone up to $852 per metric tonne following two hikes in the last two months.
It is apprehended that the prices of imported onion might go up to Tk 80-90 per KG as further time is needed for the entry of its newly-priced fresh consignments into the country.
Meanwhile, no onion-laden truck came from India through Hili land port as of 3pm on Saturday.
According to businessmen, the Indian government has withdrawn “export price” regarding onion export to Bangladesh one year ago. Since then, the country’s traders had been importing onion through Hili land port for at least $150 to 200 dollars without any export price.
As a result, the businessmen of the port used to sell onion at Tk 15-20 at the wholesale market here.
Panna and Anil Thakur, an Indian businessman at Hili, said, “Onion production was hampered due to flood in various Indian states, including Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. Onion grows in plenty in these regions and so the prices go up whenever onion crisis is seen there. We came to know that the government has again decided to increase the onion price. Information is there that it has been raised to $852 dollars per MT.”
“It seems that the government has taken the step to discourage onion export to Bangladesh. Onion is selling at Rs 40-50 per KG at various places of India. We’re worried about its prices,” Thakur added.
Importer Mobarak Hossain at Hili land port said onion is imported from India at $350-400 per MT. So, different varieties of onion are selling at Tk 32-36 at the wholesale market here.
On Thursday last, onion was again sold at Tk 38 per KG, an increase by Tk 2. The price will be Tk 72 per KG if the new priced onion is imported. “So, we the businessmen are concerned regarding onion import... we don’t know what we’ll do.”
Morshedur Rahman, another importer, said the LC price of onion remained at $400 per MT as of Thursday and those onions were scheduled to enter the country on Saturday.
Narail, Sept 15 (UNB) - Although the construction of Baroipara bridge over the Nabaganga River in Kalia upazila was scheduled to be finished by June, it is now September and so far only 22 percent of the work has been completed.
The contractor has managed to put up just two pillars at the proposed site for the bridge in two years since the construction work began. The cost of the 651.83-metre bridge was fixed at Tk 65 crore.
The residents of 14 unions within the Kalia upazila are suffering immensely due to the lack of a bridge on the Nabaganga River as it cuts off the upazila from Narail district town. The movement of the locals and goods is hindered in the absence of a bridge on the river.
Amit Das, a trader from Kalia Bazar, said their suffering was immense. “We've to use a ferry to cross the river but it operates once every hour. So, we’re forced to wait with our goods to get to the market,” he said.
Syed Imtiaz Hossain Ratan, an official of the contractor agency, said the delay in construction is the result of complications about the bridge’s design.
“Already 22 percent of the construction work is finished. We are optimistic about finishing all the work within the extended timeline of one year,” he added.
Narail Roads and Highways Department Executive Engineer Md Farid Uddin said the time for the construction of a bridge over the Nabaganga River has been extended by a year, till next June.
Local MP (Narail-1 constituency) Kabirul Haq Mukti said, “Due to the negligence of the construction company (contractor), the work could not be completed within the stipulated time. I’ve spoken with the authorities to complete the bridge quickly.”
Dhaka, Sept 15 (UNB) – Uber, the world’s largest on-demand ride-sharing company, launched its service in capital Dhaka nearly three years back with many promises to bring about a change in commuting experience, but its service quality is falling gradually due to poor management and lack of monitoring by the authorities concerned, say experts.
They also said Uber is failing to ensure quality service as the company has apparently compromised with Dhaka’s bad traffic culture ignoring its brand value and international service standard.
As a result, various complaints like registering unfit and substandard vehicles, refusing passengers to go to their desired destination, telling them to cancel trip after wasting time, misbehaving with passengers, reckless driving and charging extra fare and violating traffic rules are growing against Uber and its driver partners.
On August 22, MM Golam Shawkat filed a General Diary (GD) with Darussalam Police Station against a driver-partner of Uber for not retuning his briefcase, having a cash of Tk, 1,73,000 and important documents, as he forgot to take it while getting off the vehicle.
Talking to UNB, Shawkat, a former upazila chairman of Rajbari’s Baliakandi, said he still did not get back his cash and valuables.
SI Mahbubur Rahman of Darus Salam Police Station, who has been investigation the matter, told UNB that they still could not track down the driver as they did not get quick response from the Uber authorities.
“I tried several times to contact the driver, but got his cellphone switched off. Then, I contacted Uber’s Uttara office and sought particular details of the driver, but I yet to get that,” he added.
Uber launched on-demand ridesharing service in Dhaka on November 22, 2016. Talking to UNB recently, many users of the Uber voiced frustration that the company is unable to ensure quality service as it is following the footsteps of local ridesharing companies.
Abdul Aziz, a private company employee, said some Uber vehicles are not enough fit for ride-sharing which go out of order halfway through while drivers sometimes refused to run the AC.
Mahbub Alam, a private university student, said Uber has made communication easier, but the company is gradually losing its image due to bad attitude of its driver-partners.
Tasmin Sultan, a housewife, said most drivers lack navigation skills which cause problem to commuters. ”Some drivers also misbehave with passengers and demands extra money. They behave like traditional drivers.”
Contacted, urban expert Professor Nazrul Islam said, “We expect quality and international-standard service from Uber. Initially, the company’s service was good, but it has gradually deteriorated. We often heard many allegations from the users about the frustrating services of the company.”
He said most drivers of the company are not trained enough to maintain the quality service while many of them misbehave with customers showing their traditional attitude. “The company should properly train its driver partners, strengthen its monitoring system and take steps for improving their behavior and attitude through motivation and punitive action.”
Nazrul said Uber’s fares often fluctuate during bad weather or rush hours which contribute to reducing customers’ confidence in the company.
He said the government should strongly monitor the activities of the ridesharing companies to force them to ensure better services to commuters.
Urban expert Iqbal Habib said Uber’s service quality has declined as it compromise with the culture in the country’s transport sector since the government has no monitoring and control on the ridesharing companies.
“When Uber authorities could realise that it’s possible to do anything as per their whims in Bangladesh, they started concentrating on only making money instead of ensuring quality services. So, the government must establish its control over the ridesharing companies by enforcing laws so that commuters can avail themselves of quality services from them,” he observed.
Habib also said the government should fix how many vehicles a ridesharing company can register under its apps.
Zulquar Quazi Islam, Lead, Uber Bangladesh, said, they usually register the vehicles which government allows to ply roads. “But, we’ve a mechanism to identify the poor quality vehicles and keep those out of our platform.”
He said they now register the vehicles of models from 1992 to onwards and will gradually improve the models.
Zulquar admitted that they still could not ensure international-standard services, but they are trying to improve it.
“We arrange training for our drive- partners to change their attitude and behaviour. We also contact them if we get complaints and try to motivate them. But those who don’t change their behaviour they will be forced to come out of the platform,” he added.
Dhaka, Sept 15 (UNB) - A one-of-a-kind meet and greet event held in the capital on Saturday with popular Bangladeshi-American Youtuber Nabela Noor turned into a celebration of positivity.
The beauty activist, who has been challenging beauty standards, urged everyone to have more confidence in themselves.
“I want everyone to feel beautiful in their skin. I’m challenging the mindset that you have to be one size to be beautiful,” she said at the event organised by Emerald Events at Hotel Lakeshore.
The event, celebrating beauty, confidence and self-love, drew a large crowd, mostly fans and admirers of Nabela and also industry influencers. It was dubbed a “homecoming” event for Nabela who said she was “really excited to be here” after a decade.
She has 7,25,000 subscribers on YouTube and 1.2 million followers on Instagram. She is also the founder and CEO of Zeba, a lifestyle and clothing brand named after her mother. “It’s a movement, first and foremost,” she clarified, which changes the way people talk about sizes.
Zeba, such as, ditches traditional words for describing clothing sizes and instead uses terms such ‘passionate’, ‘brave’, ‘inspiring’, ‘fearless’, ‘radiant’, ‘powerful’, ‘loved’ and ‘independent’.
“It’s amazing to know yourself as more than your size. Zeba is empowering people to rethink how we think about ourselves,” she said.
“Beauty is being kind, and warm and lovable and welcoming. Intelligence is beautiful,” she told the audience comprising women and girls of all ages. “Eyes are beauty and how someone carries themselves is also beautiful.”
Talking about Zeba, she said it is a movement, first and foremost, and a lifestyle and clothing brand named after her mother.
“It changed the way people talk about size. Zeba uses names that are empowering. For example, if you’re extra small, you’re passionate. And if you’re small, you’re not small with Zeba, you’re brave. If you’re medium, you’re inspiring,” she said.
Size names used by Zeba are – passionate, brave, inspiring, fearless, radiant, powerful, loved and independent.
“It’s amazing to know yourself as more than your size. Zeba is empowering people to rethink how we think about ourselves,” she said.
Bangladesh’s leading private news agency United News of Bangladesh (UNB) was the event’s media partner while Snapshot was its photography partner.
Brands that participated are - Inglot Cosmetics, Kona by Farnaz Alam, Gala cosmetics, La vie en rose, Sugar Rush Cupcakery, Powder Room, Hair Bar, and Miniso. Mariha Chowdhury, the CEO of Emerald Events, said 75 percent of the companies at the event are owned by women.
The event was divided into two sessions, and the participants got an opportunity to take pictures with Nabela.
Mariha said Nabela is a body positivity advocate fighting to redefine beauty standards.
In a question and answer session in the morning, Nabela said she is trying to teach people that they are beautiful the way they are – with or without makeup.
She suggested women and girls to challenge the existing beauty perceptions and celebrate who they are.
Speaking about beauty, she said in her eyes beauty is kindness. “Beauty is being kind, and warm and lovable and welcoming. Intelligence is beautiful,” she told the audience comprising women and girls of all ages.
For plus-sized girls in Bangladesh, her advice is to “love the skin you are in without apology”.
Meanwhile, Emerald Events gave part of the event's proceeds to Jaago Foundation.
Nabela reminded everyone to be happy. “I feel successful because I feel happy and grateful. If you are not happy, no amount of success is going to be enough for you,” she said, reminding everyone that they have two choices in their short, precious lives – waste time being unhappy or live unapologetically.
“Love yourself without apology. Life is too short and you are beautiful, no matter what size you are,” she said.
Dhaka, Sept 12 (UNB) — The new season of Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) was scheduled to be started from December 5 this year, but it is unlikely to happen now as the Bangladesh Cricket Board opted to not host a ‘regular’ BPL this year. They rather came up with a new idea to host a tournament that will be named after Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman- Bangabandhu BPL.
In this proposed tournament, BCB will take care of all the teams and there will be no franchisee this year, Nazmul Hasan, the president of BCB told the media during a sudden press-conference on Wednesday.
After a discussion for weeks with the franchisees who have played the last season of BPL, BCB came to the point of saying that they will not renew the contract with the franchise now and no regular BPL will be held this year. Instead of that, they will host a T20 tournament- the proposed Bangabandhu BPL.
It is understood that the BCB failed to come to a fruitful discussion with the franchisees who demanded to share revenue of BPL with them. But this is not the main reason behind BCB’s recent move to replace BPL with the franchise-free Bangabandhu BPL.
This baffling move might ruin the brand of BPL for good. In the last edition of this premium T20 league of the country, the players like AB de Villiers, Alex Hales, Chris Gayle, Shahid Afridi, Sikandar Raza, Brendan Taylor, Lasith Malinga took part, which helped BPL to step up to a higher standard.
“We have sat with the franchise who have played in the last edition of BPL. They came up with several demands. We found some of them are against our current model of BPL. We failed to adjust with them. At the same time, some franchisees wanted another season of BPL should not be hosted this year. However, we now have decided to host a BPL under our own sponsorship,” Nazmul told the media on Wednesday.
“At the same time, we have 100th birth anniversary of Bangabandhu next year. So we have decided to dedicate this tournament to Bangabandhu. The name of the teams will be the same and will arrange the accommodation of the players, transportation and everything. So those who wanted us to share revenue will be happy because they can now save money this year,” Nazmul added.
Nazmul’s remarks made it clear that BCB is reluctant to share revenue with the franchisees. At the same time, the board is not agreed with the franchise who don’t want any BPL this year as well.
However, Nazmul did not rule out the possibility of any changes to the names of the teams if any sponsor comes along the way. It has manifested BCB’s blurry vision about this year’s tournament.
While talking to UNB exclusively earlier, three high-officials of several franchises said that they want BCB to share revenue with them. They also said it is getting difficult for them to continue taking part in BPL without any financial reward from the authority.
However, BCB president ruled out any possible financial damage of the franchise who have participated in BPL previously. He rather said the franchisees bring the high-paid players from around the world because of BPL is financially lucrative for them.
As BCB opted to operate the whole tournament on their own, the tournament is going to lose its competitiveness as well as the attraction of the foreign players and coaches, which will surely create many obstacles for BCB to make them believe in the tournament again.
So, it might sound harsh but it is true that the latest move of BCB might ruin the brand of BPL for good, which was built in the last six years.