Satkhira, June 19 (UNB)- Handmade, reusable shopping bags are all the rage from the latest fashion statement to a marker of conscientious consumerism.
By using one, you may think you’re saving the planet (from the single-use plastics that most bags tend to be). In Satkhira, you may be saving some lives as well.
More than a hundred disadvantaged rural women in the district, through the ‘Prerona Cooperative Samity’ in Kaliganj upazila, have been earning and supporting their families by stitching these bags.
Most notably, they are allowed to work from home, and that is what allows them to take advantage of the opportunity.
Rehana Parveen, one such artisan, said, “I cannot move normally due to an injury after a road accident six years ago. My husband left me alone with my disability three years back. ‘Prerona’ has given me hope of living in dignity again.”
School-going Mohima Parveen, another member of the cooperative said, “My parents weren’t able to bear my educational expenses. But now, I am working with Prerona and earning money to pay for my own educational expenses as well as helping my parents.”
Nasima Khatun another artisan of Prerona said, “My husband couldn’t afford the family’s expenses alone. Now I am also earning by making the shopping bags and that makes the difference for us to avoid extreme poverty.”
Manjuar Rahman of Rahimpur, a neighbouring union, said he was there to buy bag-making raw materials, for the women in his family who were busy stitching bags back home!
Shampa Goshwami, a school teacher and director of Prerona, said the women make the bags after getting order from shops in Satkhira district.
Prerona has been running the program under which they train the women to make bags since 2015. It was aimed at creating local employment opportunities, she added.
If the government, or an NGO, or some other donor would support them, Shwampa believes they have every potential for scaling up successfully.
She said that most of the local shops purchase Preronas shopping bags. Already they sell between 1.5 to 2 lakh bags every month.
Depending on their design, each of their handmade bags cost between Tk 2.8 to Tk 13.
Prerona already supplies the bags to more than 30 business establishments in their area, including Lake View, Vaggokul, Al-Baraka, Prio Gopal, Mawa Chinese, Nusrat Fashion, Jayhun, Adi Ghosh, and Sagor Sweets, Shwampa added.
Kaliganj upazila Women’s Affairs Officer Sharmin Akhter said, “Prerona is a voluntary women-led women’s development organization. Its work has been helping underprivileged women improve their lot in life and to save the planet!”
Faridpur, June 18 (UNB) – The district town of Faridpur is experiencing a building construction spree as elsewhere in the country, but over 75 percent of those have been built here flouting the building code.
Bangladesh National Building Code and certain rules of the Fire Service and Civil Defence, and the Department of Environment have to be followed for constructing a building. However, most of the owners are flouting these rules while constructing buildings in the district town.
During field visits, this correspondent found most of the buildings in many areas, including Niltuli, Jhiltuli, Janata Bank Mor, Khabaspur, Laxmipur and Alipur, were constructed violating the rules.
Most of the buildings do not follow the approved designs and they lack fire safety measures, putting the lives of inmates at risk.
Assistant director of Faridpur Fire Service and Civil Defence Mamtaz Uddin Ahmed said 75-80 percent of over 200 buildings in the district town have no proper approval.
Mentioning that they are capable of dealing with a fire upto maximum 5th floor, he said, “It’s hard to say what will happen if a fire strikes a floor above.”
Allegations are there that the municipality authorities do not monitor whether the due rules are followed while constructing structures.
Faridpur municipality mayor Sheikh Mahtab Ali Methu also admitted it, saying they cannot properly monitor the construction of buildings for lack of required manpower. “Even then, we’re trying to ensure so that all abide by the rules.”
Omar Ali Khan, owner of local Shah Farid Real Estate company, blamed the government officers concerned for this, saying, “Why won’t we follow the rules if they force us to do so?”
He also alleged that no file is approved in a government office without money.
Women leader Asma Akhter said even the owners face the risk if buildings are constructed flouting the rules.
Admitting it, Deputy Commissioner of the district Umme Salma Tanjia said action will be taken against the owners of illegally-constructed buildings.
She said work is underway to prepare a list of such buildings. “The decision will be taken after discussions with the owners,” she said, adding that all will be forced to abide by the rules.
Narayanganj, June 17 (UNB)- At first sight, it looks like a gorgeous imported sports car. At most, some may think it was assembled in the country after importing foreign materials.
But a youth named Akash, a resident of Narayanganj, actually built the car from scratch at a workshop here using completely domestic technology. This is a battery-driven car which can carry a passenger along with the driver at a maximum speed of 45 km per hour.
That may not say much for its prowess, but in a country lacking a domestic automobile industry, it is still a laudable achievement on the part of Akash, son of Nabi Hossain from Fatullah’s Lama Para.
From childhood, Akash had dreamt of building a car by himself.
The project of making the car was initiated one and a half years back when Akash’s father allowed him to proceed. He drew a design inspired by Italy’s famed Lamborghini sports car and started working as planned.
He purchased steering and wheels from the market. Apart from these, all the materials - including suspension, lights and gear - were prepared by cutting steel plates in his father’s auto-rickshaw workshop. YouTube tutorials helped him in some cases.
Five batteries have been installed in the car which can last up to 10 hours. These batteriesare fully charged within only5 hours.
The cost of building the car wasTK 3.5 lakhs. If carbon fiber is used in the body, the cost will be reduced to TK 3 lakhs, Akash said.
Having no experience, he faced numerous problems while building the vehicle. But he was determined to fulfill his mission.
Eventually, when he brought the car out of the workshop during Eid, he received an unexpectedly positive response from the people.
"My son built this car. But people are reluctant to believe it. That is up to them. But I request them not to be harmful to my son,’’ said Akash’s father.
Asked about the next step, Akash said he does not want to sell the blueprint to anyone. “I would like to request the government to allow me to sell the car in market,” he said.
He has already got more than 25 orders for the environmentally-friendly electric cars. If the vehicle is marketed, people can buy it at only Tk 4-4.5 lakhs, he added.
Jashore, June 17 (UNB) – The two buildings of Fire Service and Civil Defence (FSCD) station in the district town lie in a dilapidated state for lack of renovation for over 50 years since its establishment, putting the lives of the officials and firefighters themselves at risk.
There are cracks in different parts of the buildings, including walls and beams, while plaster has come off the ceiling in many places.
The officials fear that the two buildings comprising the fire station might come down crashing anytime, unless they are renovated.
The fire station was set up on two acres of land on Bhola Tank Road in the district town in 1964.
There are station officer’s office and parking lot for keeping the two vehicles used during rescue operations – themselves very old - on the ground floor of a two-storey building while senior officials reside on its first floor.
The other one-storey building is used as the barracks for other officials and employees. A total of 35 employees, including station officer, team leaders, firemen, drivers, cooks and conservancy workers, live in different rooms of the barracks.
Cracks have developed on different parts of the rooms as well as beams and parking lot of both buildings while the plaster has come off the ceiling in many places, exposing iron rods.
Besides, the bathrooms are in a worse condition as their doors are broken while commodes are unfit for use.
The electric lines are also in a shabby condition as the wiring was done a long ago.
Besides, the tower of the fire station is also very old.
Talking to this correspondent, a number of officials and employees said they are passing their time inside the buildings amid anxiety while they work outside taking risk.
They are compelled to use the buildings as there is no alternative, they said, adding that it becomes impossible to reach the spot hurriedly with the old vehicles in case of any fire incident.
The fire station also lacks the equipment to douse fires in high-rise buildings, said assistant director of the fire station Matiar Rahman.
He said they are capable of dealing with a fire upto maximum 2nd floor with the ladders they currently have.
Matiar said officials and employees have to use the risky buildings amid fear of accident as there is no alternative.
He said the station should be upgraded into a modern one through construction of new buildings and procuring modern equipment and vehicles so that they can be confident of dealing with any fire they are called in to fight effectively.
Dhaka, June 17 (UNB)- State run Bangladesh Shipping Corporation (BSC) has taken an initiative to induct 32 different types of vessels in its fleet by 2041, aiming to make it more profitable side by side improving the service standard for bringing back its past glory.
According to an official document obtained by UNB, the government has to pay Tk 2400 crore yearly for renting foreign vessels. For this reason, the government has taken the move to increase the number of Bangladeshi vessels aiming to save the hard-earned foreign exchange.
The 32 vessels include two Chemical/Crude oil tanker of capacity 30,000-35,000 deadweight tonnage (DWT), two Mother tanker of capacity 100,000-125,000 DWT, ten Bulk carriers with 10,000-15,000 DWT capacity and four Container vessels of capacity 1,200-1,500 TEUs.
Besides, two Mother product oil tankers (for carrying Diesel) with capacity of minimum 80,000 DWT each, two Mother Bulk carriers (for carrying coal) of capacity minimum 80,000 DWT each and two LNG carrier having capacity of about 140,000 CBM.
Currently, the Shipping Corporation has eight different kinds of vessels in its fleet.
According to the official document, BSC’s ship acquisition plan includes acquirement of a number of vessels of different types and sizes in addition to replacement of the existing ones with a view to increase carrying capacity of export-import of the country in government sector following the 7th Five-year plan, Vision-2021 & 2041.
Recently BSC has undertaken a number of development projects in line with the overall development activities of the country.
Several ship acquisition projects have been undertaken by BSC in consistent with Single Point Mooring (SPM) project of Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC).
Besides, considering the government and private initiatives to set up coal-based power plants in various regions of the country, the BSC has taken a number of ship acquisition projects to carry cargoes.
The BSC has also launched a project for acquisition of LNG carriers in line with the government’s decision of importing LNG for uninterrupted supply to household and industries.
Aiming to increase national flag carrying vessels the government has slashed 15 percent VAT for registration of vessels having capacity of 5000 DWT.
Currently, a total of 47 vessels (from public and private sector) in the country are plying carrying the national flag. As a result, for export and import activities Bangladesh depends on foreign vessels.
In the last five years, the BSC procured two new 100,000-125,000 DWT mother tankers, ten new 10,000-15,000 DWT bulk carriers, two new 80,000 DWT mother bulk carrier for coal carrying, two new 40,000 CBM capacity LNG carriers, four new 1200-1500 TUES cellular containers, two new 80,000 DWT mother product oil tankers for diesel carrying and two new 30,000-50,000 DWT chemical/crude oil tankers.
The BSC made a net profit of Tk 12.5 crore in 2018. Its board has recommended six percent cash dividend for the last year.
The government owned 52.10 percent shares of the corporation as of March 31, while institutional investors owned 13.09 and public 34.81 percent, according to the Dhaka Stock Exchange website.