Sherpur, Oct 12 (UNB) – The government’s recent move to excavate the Brahmapura River aiming to improve its navigability and reclaim its lost parts from the clutches of encroaches has raised hope among the residents of the district and others living in its vicinity.
On October 2, the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) approved 15 projects involving Tk 13,218.31 crore, including Tk-4,371 crore ‘Navigability development and reclamation of Old Brahmaputra, Dharla, Tulai and Punorbhoba Rivers’ project.
Brahmapurta, once a river with strong current, turned into a narrow canal, thanks to illegal encroachment by local influential people.
Only a few years back it was a busy waterway as the vicinity of the river was abuzz with traders and fishermen amid widespread use of boats and trawlers.
But the scenario has changed soon as the river here has turned into a canal, leaving people living on the river banks unemployed. Several thousand hectares of agricultural lands have turned barren as the farmers failed to pump water into their croplands due to water crisis.
Kutub Uddin, a resident of Dakpara village in Charpokkhimari union in Sadar upazila, said people used to carry their goods to Mymensingh, Dhaka and Narayanganj through the river routes from Roumari but the river has dried up and transportation of goods has stopped.
“When the river water used to swell, croplands and dwelling houses would have inundated, but now the river has turned into a cannel,” he said.
Under the new project, around 227 kilometres of the Old Brahmaputra River would be dredged up to 100 metres of width and 3 metres of depth to upgrade it to a class-II navigational route to ensure the transportation of passengers and goods at ease and lower costs.
Besides, Shipping Secretary Abdus Samad Faruk, who visited Sherpur recently, said the soil lifted from the river will be used in different development works, including road, school and colleges renovation activities, he said.
Besides, a waterbody will be built on the river bank to help farmers use the water in their croplands during the dry season.
Md Abul Kalam Azad, convener of Publicity Sherpur District committee, said,” We welcome the government move to improve the navigability of the Brahmmaputra River as it is a long-cherished demand of the people of Sherpur. We want implementation of the development project as soon as possible.”
Anar Koli Mahbub, deputy commissioner of Sherpur, said, “Once this river dredging project is implemented, the communications system of the region will have different look, expanding tourism and business.”
Dhaka, Oct 12 (UNB)- Getting enrolled at a renowned public university like Dhaka University (DU) is the most important and difficult challenge for any student of his or her entire life.
This year, a total of 8,58,801 examinees, out of 12,88,757, passed the Higher Secondary Examination (HSC) in all the 10 education boards of the country.
Among the successful students, 25,562 achieved the highest grade, GPA 5, under eight general education boards in addition to 1,244 under the Madrassah Education Board and 2,456 under the Technical and Vocational Education Board.
But the total number of seats at DU for the first year honours admission seekers is only 7,128 under five faculties.
According to the DU central admissions office this year, some 38 admission seekers vied for each seat, while a total of 272,512 admission-seekers have applied against 7,128 seats for the admissions into the university.
A total of 82,970 admission-seekers vied for 1,750 seats under ‘Ka (A)’ unit while 36,250 for 2,378 seats under ‘Kha (B)’ unit, 27,534 for 1,250 seats under ‘Ga (C)’ unit, 100,614 for 1,615 seats under ‘Gha (D)’ unit and 25,144 for 135 seats under ‘Cha (F)’ unit.
It was shown that many admission seekers did not obtain pass marks in DU admission test, though they obtained GPA 5 in both Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) and Secondary School Certificate (SSC) exams.
Miazi Saleh bin Hasan, an admission-seeker who passed HSC from Dhaka Board sat for the DU admission under ‘Kha Unit’ and scored pass marks but still he could not be sure about his admission to this University. His serial number is 4390 where the total number of seats available in this unit is just 2,378. Now he is preparing for other universities.
Expressing his disappointment at not getting a chance at DU, Miazi told UNB, “I always dreamt of studying at DU because getting admitted to this university can change one’s future life and career.”
Iqbal Biswas, a master’s degree student of Population Science department told UNB, “The best achievement of my entire life is getting a chance at DU. The four-year experience at this university has been amazing. The joy of being a student can only truly be realised on a beautiful and large campus like of DU, where creativity floats in the air and spirit of freedom is evident everywhere.”
Vice Chancellor of Dhaka University Prof Dr. Md Akhtaruzzaman admitted the seat crisis at the DU and said, “It’s true that our university can’t provide enough seats for the admission seekers. But I think it’s not a major problem as they can have admission to other public and private universities.”
“As the DU admission process is totally fair, there is no opportunity to get enrolled here adopting unfair means. We’ve no plan to increase the number of seats or open any new department in near future,” he added.
Thakurgaon, Oct 11 (UNB) – The upgradation of Thakurgaon Sugar Mills still reamins a distant dream though five years have elapsed since the approval of the development project.
One of the reasons behind it is complexities in appointing a contracting farm for the construction works, according to sources at the sugar mills, five kilometers off the district town.
Bangladesh Sugar and Food Industries Corporation (BSFIC) under the Ministry of Industries was supposed to implement the project at a cost of Tk 101.53 crore by June 2016, Engineer SM Abdur Rashid, director of the project, told UNB.
The project was approved by the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) in 2013-2014 fiscal year, aiming to boost the production capacity of the mill.
Later, the deadline of the project was extended by two years till June 2018.
At the beginning of the current fiscal year, the project was extended by another year till June 2019 for the third time, raising the project cost to Tk 411.10 crore from Tk 101.54 crore.
BSFIC sources said two tenders were floated in September and November 2017 for appointing a contracting firm, but there has been no progress either.
BSFIC, the project implementation organisation, preferred to upgrade the factory’s capacity using machinery from any European country instead of using India or China-made products, but there has been no response yet since the tender was floated.
Under the project, an initiative was taken to produce refined sugar alongside normal onec through diversification and turn the mill into a profitable company by producing beet sugar, rectified spirit, biogas, and bio-compost.
It also includes power generation from renewable energy through co-generation to supply to the national grid after meeting the demand of the mill.
Ramesh Chandra Sen, the MP of Thakurgaon-1 constituency, said, “Once the project is implemented, the income of the mill will go up substantially reducing the sugar production expenditure by producing refined sugar.”
Set up in 1958, Thakurgaon Sugar Mill is now in a bad shape for widespread 'mismanagement'.
Thakurgaon, Oct 9 (UNB) – Reported mismanagement and other irregularities in the government-run poultry farm in the district town have brought it to its knees, putting its existence at stake.
The farm was set up on a 3.17-acre land in front of Sadar Hospital here in 1982-83 fiscal year for ensuring the supply of chickens and poultry, aiming to meet the poultry demand of the people living in Thakurgaon, Panchagarh and Nilphamari districts.
Despite having prospects, the poultry farm could not play any effective role due to ‘mismanagement and negligence’ of its officials and employees, according to sources at the farm.
The farm has neither any regular manager nor has any essential machinery like incubator (a device for maintaining the eggs of birds or reptiles to allow them to hatch) and brooder house, some officials told UNB wishing anonymity.
Although Upazila Livestock Officer Dr Abdur Rahim has been in-charge of the farm as its manager, he hardly visits the farm.
More worrying is that medical wastes are dumped into the pond of the farm, contaminating its water as there is no one to monitor it.
Contacted, Dr Abdur Rahim told UNB that there are 14 posts, including that of manager and poultry development officer, in the farm.
Of the positions, he said, 12 have been lying vacant for a long time.
While visiting the farm, the UNB correspondent found that the farm is in very bad shape due to ‘mismanagement and negligence’ as the doors and windows of the building have broken down by the time. “The building is totally unfit for use,” said a staff of the farm preferring to remain unnamed.
The farm authorities said there are three shades in the farm for farming chicks, and one of those is totally empty.
As there is no any brooder house in the farm, they said, it is not possible to control its temperature for the proper growth of the chicks.
Locals alleged that the environment of the area is being polluted seriously as nearby hospitals and clinics are regularly dumping their medical wastes into the pond of the farm defying the repeated requests of the farm staff not to do so.
Dr Abdur Rahim said construction of new shades, renovation of its staff quarter, setting up an incubator, a brooder house and hatchery machines are necessary to revive the farm. “What’s more important is to fill the vacancies as soon as possible,” he insisted.
Dhaka, Oct 9 (UNB) - Patients, the physically-challenged, women, the elderly and children often fail to avail themselves of overbridges (or ‘footbridges’) to cross roads as the initial climb-up the flight of stairs -- often to a height of two storeys --leaves them severely depleted in terms of energy, besides being time-consuming.
While visiting different areas of capital Dhaka, the UNB correspondent came across a number of such people.
All of them who braved the road shared one common calculation: the risk associated with crossing the road at ground level, snaking one’s way around stationary vehicles or even scrambling at the sight of speeding ones, was outweighed by the physical exertion and time it would take to cross overhead.
By far the more physically challenging part comes first, that is, in the very act of climbing up the stairs to get on the bridge.
There are three foot overbridges in the city’s Shahbagh area, all of them lacking any sort of special arrangement for people who may not be in an ideal shape to attempt the pretty steep (unlike stairs in most houses, they tend to rise up in one steep incline) climb, very often in sapping conditions brought on by the heat and humidity. And it is even worse for those nursing any disabilities.
One way around the problem that has been tried abroad could be to provide escalators on the side used to climb onto the overbridge.
Some very important institutions such as Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Medical University, Ibrahim Cardiac Medical College and BIRDEM Hospital are located in the area.
During a recent visit to the area, the UNB correspondent spoke to a number of pedestrians who expressed their frustration and distress at the risks they were forced to take, just to cross the road.
Rabbi Bhuiyan, a second-year student of Dhaka University said, “I feel sorry but nothing to do for the patients, physically challenged people, women, and children who struggle to cross the road.”
Suman came to the PG hospital with his mother who was not able to walk. But he was seen crossing the road using the foot overbridge carrying his mother in his arms.
Coming down the other side, clearly exhausted, he laments how much easier it would have been had there only been a lift or escalator to get on the bridge -- as some cities in southeast Asia do it.
Dhaka’s two city corporations have so far built over 80 such overbridges in the city, with 32 in South City Corporation and 49 in North City Corporation. But only two of them -- one at Banani and another near the Airport -- have the escalator facility.
Though it was planned to provide the escalator at one end of every overbridge, there has been no progress so far.
Contacted, DSCC Chief Engineer Al Ahmed said, “One of the key functions of the Engineering department of the city corporation is to construct the footbridges and underpasses, but we didn’t think too much for the patients, the physically-challenged, women, the elderly and children in the design.”
He further said, “But we’re planning to provide special services making the best use of technology soon. We’ve launched a feasibility test in six places for setting up escalators.”
Joint Secretary of 'Bangladesh Environment Movement' and architect Iqbal Habib also expressed frustration and said all the infrastructure projects are taken to serve the purpose of businesspeople, not the common people.
Stressing the big change in the current system of traffic management, he also said the city corporations should design their works aiming to serve the people. All possible things should be addressed for making it user-friendly ones before finalising any project.