Get ready to read a book compiled with the speeches of a President!
The first book by President Md Abdul Hamid titled 'Swapna Joyer Ichchha' is set to hit this year’s Amar Ekushey Book Fair that began on Sunday.
The book is the compilation of the speeches of the President delivered from April 24, 2013 to April 23, 2018. The readers will find the speeches from 2013 to 2015 in the first part and from 2016 to 2018 in its second part.
Press Secretary to the President Joynal Abedin told UNB that the schedule for its grand launching ceremony, to be held at Bangabhaban, will be announced very soon.
Gourob Publications published the book under the supervision of Bangabhaban Press Wing.
Joynal Abedin worked as the chief editor of the publication while deputy press secretary (DPS) Abul Kalam Azad compiled and edited it. Assistant press secretary (APS) Imranul Hasan also assisted the team.
Department of Film and Publications extended its support providing the cover photo of the book and proofreading it.
Joynal Abedin said, "In all the speeches, the President focused on the welfare of the country and its people, and also contemporary national and international issues."
This compilation will reflect the thoughts of people of different strata, including the commoners, political activists, researchers, students and teachers, he added.
Abedin said the accommodation of rare photos contributed by photographers attached to Bangabhaban-- Enamul Haque and Kazi Anwar Sadat -- has made the book livelier.
Proprietor of Gourob Publication SM Iftekhar Mahamud said it will be a guideline for the nation, especially the young generation. He believes that everyone will find the book enjoyable and Interesting.
"It's a proud moment for me as a publisher for being part of the rare publication," he added.
Born on January 1, 1944, Abdul Hamid was elected President in April 2013 in his first term and reelected in 2018. The veteran politician also served as the Speaker of the National Parliament from January 2009 to April 2013.
He also received the Independence Day Award in 2013 for his contribution to the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971.
The book will be available at the book fair at Gourobprakashan stall (401 and 402). It will also be available online www.rokomary.com.
The prices of the first part and the second part of the book are Tk 750 and TK 800 respectively.
Buyers will get 25 percent discount on the price.
Boro cultivation on 750 acres of land in ‘Beel Kochua’ located at Bakra in Jhikorgacha upazila has become uncertain due to waterlogging caused by the construction of illegal fish enclosures by some influential people.
Farmers said they went to the local administration and the public representative with complaints on a number of occasions but all their efforts have gone in vain.
They said they lodged complaints with the government office concerned several times demanding the removal of water by digging up a canal beside the illegal fish enclosures.
‘Beel Kochua’ is one of the largest water bodies in Bakra, Jashore. The livelihood of the residents of 10 villages in Hajirbagh, Bakra and Shonkorpur unions surrounding the beel depends on fishing from the waterbody.
Locals said ‘Beel Kochua’ has been waterlogged for a long time. It had become arable as its water was diverted to the Kopotakkho and Betraboti rivers after the construction of a culvert on Patulia Kajir Haat road in Kalaroa upazila and a connecting canal with the Betraboti River, they said.
The area was fully utilised for rice cultivation during the Boro season, if not for the Aman crop.
Even though roads were built on several parts of the waterbody, expensive culverts were constructed so that the water could flow to the connecting canals.
Local farmers alleged that an influential quarter captured the Khas land by constructing unplanned enclosures over the last 6-7 years. But, no arrangement was made for water to roll into the connecting canals when the enclosures were set up, even after being reminded by the farmers.
Now the land has become uncultivable due to the unplanned construction of enclosures in ‘Beel Kochua’ as it has changed the topography quite drastically within a few years.
According to several farmers in Bistopur, Khatbaria, Horidrapota and Bakra villages, boro cultivation is impossible on 750 acres of land due to waterlogging.
Last year, amid pressure from the farmers, the influential owners of the enclosures promised to dig a canal so that the water could flow out of the Betraboti connecting canal. The owners did not do anything even after the deadline expired.
Farmers in Khatbaria, Bistopur and Horidrapota villages are now facing huge losses from waterlogging in the ‘Beel Kochua’.
Hundreds of farmers from villages surrounding the ‘Beel Kochua’ notified the local Member of Parliament about the matter during an anti-terrorism meeting at Bakra on January 19.
The farmers told the UNB correspondent that nothing is happening even after assurances made by the Member of Parliament.
Mesnwhile, the Jhikorgacha upazila nirbahi officer sent his representatives -- IC of Bakra Investigation Centre Inspector Sheikh Shahinur Kabir, Hajirbag union parishad chairman Ataur Rahman Mintu and Bakra union parishad chairman Nichar Ali -- urging the owners of the enclosures to pump out the water.
However, the farmers are not happy with the move as they demanded the construction of a connecting canal along the canal of the Betraboti beel.
Academic activities at two Bagerhat government high schools – one is a century-old one while another in its seventh decade – are being severely hampered because of the shortage of teachers.
Sixty teachers are teaching 3,660 students at Bagerhat Government Girls’ High School and Bagerhat Government High School. Moreover, there are no religion teachers for 700 Hindu students.
The posts of 46 teachers, out of 106, have been lying vacant for quite some time.
Meanwhile, the shortage of teachers is not only hampering studies but also increasing the cost of education. “The situation’s forcing us to enroll our children in coaching centres or arrange private tuition for them,” said Ahad Uddin Haidar, convener of the guardian forum of the two schools.
Bagerhat Government Girls’ High School Headmaster Dipak Ranjan Biswas said they have 1,860 students. But the posts of 26 assistant teachers, out of 53, have been lying vacant for a while, forcing other teachers to take extra classes which hampered smooth functioning of academic activities.
Tapan Kumar Biswas, headmaster of Bagerhat Government High School, said they have been facing an acute shortage of teachers. There are 53 posts of assistant teachers but 20 of them are vacant.
Shaila Islam Ripa, a 10th grader at the girls’ school, said 126 students of humanities and science groups are taking classes jointly in a single classroom.
Prapti, a class IX student of the school, said this is hampering their studies. “The students are failing to get their desired results,” she said.
Sardar Zahidul Islam, a class IX student of Bagerhat Government High School, lamented that their academic activities are being seriously hampered. “During the Junior School Certificate examination, the school authorities combined two different sections ‘Ka’ and ‘Kha’. In the end, we didn’t do that well in the exam,” he said.
Bagerhat Deputy Commissioner and president of the managing committees of the two schools Mamunur Rashid said an initiative has been taken to solve the teacher crisis.
“We’ve held talks with the authorities concerned in this regard,” he said.
Though the party joined the elections to the two Dhaka city corporations as part of its ‘movement’, BNP has failed to take its supporters and polling agents to polling stations during the voting on Saturday, exposing its political bankruptcy and weak leadership once again, say political analysts.
They also said the party’s decision to enforce a hartal rejecting the results of the city polls also manifested its policymakers’ inability to understand people’s pulse and work out effective and time-befitting action programmes.
Talking to UNB, political analyst and Jahangirnagar University’s International Relations department Professor Dr Tarek Shamsur Rahman, Sushasoner Jonno Nagorik (Sujan) General Secretary Badiul Alam Majumdar and Gonoshasthya Kendra founder Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury said BNP has failed to play the due role as a political party for a long time due to its wrong polices and lack of political acumen.
They said its leaders should overhaul the party and take a well-designed political strategy to stage a comeback in politics with pro-people action programmes.
Dr Tarek Shamsur Rahman said BNP did not take the city elections seriously as the party might have a perception that they would not be allowed to win the polls.
“Their (BNP leaders’) body language during the campaign gave me an impression that the party didn’t have the strong resolve to come out successful in the election. I also think the party leaders didn’t get proper guidelines from their acting Chairman Tarique Rahman about the elections,” he observed.
The political analyst also said BNP had no strategy to take its leaders and activists to the polling stations and ensure their party candidates’ election agents there. “This is a serious weakness of the party.”
He also did not like the dawn-to-dusk hartal enforced by BNP in the capital protesting ‘irregularities’ in the elections to the two city corporations. “People now don’t support hartal and they have an anti-hartal sentiment which was again proved today as people didn’t respond to it. I think BNP leaders exposed their political bankruptcy by announcing the hartal going against people’s sentiments.”
The JU professor said BNP has failed to work out effective political action programmes and a well-thought-out work plan to reorganise the party and boost the morale of its grassroots leaders and activists.
He said BNP leaders should now design an effective plan to stage a comeback in politics reorganising the party.
Dr Tarek said BNP leaders also need to go to their grassroots leaders to take their opinions and organise the party and take preparations for remaining active in politics.
Sujan General Secretary Badiul Alam Majumdar said he visited seven voting centres but did not find the agents of BNP candidates at any of those.
“BNP joined the polls as part of their movement and declared to remain in the field till the last moment together with their supporters, but their sincerity for the voting was not reflected as they didn’t put in efforts to go the polling stations, manifesting the party’s organisational weakness,” he said.
Badiul Alam, also a political analyst and election expert, said BNP is failing to reorganise the party and invigorate its rank and file due to a leadership crisis.
He also said the political weakness of a major opposition party like BNP is one of the reasons for destroying the country’s election system and waning people’s confidence in voting.
Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury said BNP cannot act as a major party due to its leadership crisis.
“BNP leaders always wait for messages from London and make only hollow statements, but they could neither overhaul their organisation nor work out any strategy to rejuvenate their grassroots and strengthen the party. I think BNP didn’t have any plan and strategy to win the city polls,” he observed.
Dr Zafrullah, known as a BNP sympathiser, said the party should not have called hartal suddenly without preparing leaders and activists to observe such a programme.
He also said BNP acting Chairman Tarique Rahman should now stay away from politics enabling its standing committee to take the right decisions and reinforce the party.
Contacted, BNP standing committee member Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain said their party was serious about the election, but the government held a ‘controlled election’ using the ‘state machinery’. “Our party leaders and activists tried to go to polling stations, but they failed due to obstruction and intimidation by ruling party cadres.”
About the hartal, he said their standing committee took the decision unitedly as they thought people should be given a chance to register their protest through a programme like hartal.
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said people did not go to polling stations as they have lost their confidence in the voting system due to the ‘foul play’ by the government and the Election Commission.
He claimed that people made their party’s hartal programme a success with their ‘spontaneous’ support, thanking them for support to the hartal announced within a short time.
Awami League mayoral candidates Atiqul Islam and Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh won the mayoral race of DNCC and DSCC respectively in Saturday’s elections defeating BNP runners Tabith Awal and Ishraque Hossain by huge margins.
Hartal, a long-missing word in Bangladesh politics, has hit headlines again when BNP called a dawn-to-dusk shutdown for Sunday after five years, rejecting the results of the elections to the two Dhaka city corporations.
Despite staging a comeback after a long time, the hartal enforced by a major political party had little impact on the everyday life of the city dwellers.
The traffic flow was significantly low as expected as private transports stayed off the city streets. With the passage of time, the streets, however, returned to their usual bustling, proving that the shutdown failed to get the desired response of the city dwellers as expected by the opposition BNP.
Shaheen Chowdhury, a resident of East Rampura, said he had actually thought the strike was unlikely to affect his work and movement. "There’re enough public transports on the city streets and I think an almost peaceful atmosphere throughout the day encouraged office-goers like me to move to their workplaces without any hassle," he told UNB.
Unlike Shaheen, a few city dwellers preferred staying indoors and spent time with their family members.
Farah Zahan, a student of a private university, was seen shopping in the city's New Market area. Asked about the strike, her response was a bit interesting.
"The strike is the reason for which our classes were postponed, I thought I should make the best use of the day for my chores," she said.
So was the response of Nazma Begum as she said the overall situation of her neighbourhood was unchanged despite the strike. “It came and gone… cast no impact.”
Visiting the TSC area on the Dhaka University (DU) campus, this correspondent saw a huge gathering near the entrance of Suhrawardy Udyan defying the hartal as the month-long Amar Ekushey Book Fair kicked off on Sunday.
Nazmul Hossain, a DU student, told UNB that the university area remained unaffected despite the shutdown and it encouraged him to visit the fair. "Some of the DU departments postponed their classes but some didn’t. So, the overall student turnout remained roughly the same," he said.
Police were deployed across the capital to fend off any untoward situation during the hartal hours.
BNP Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi along with some party leaders and activists took position in front of their Nayapaltan party office since early morning. BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir also went to the party headquarters around 9:30am.
They brought out a procession in front of their office in support of the hartal and burnt a symbolic electronic voting machine (EVM) there.
Later, they took position in front of the gate of the party headquarters and shouted slogans in support of the hartal.
BNP candidate in the Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) Ishraque Hossain joined them around 11am.
Speaking on the occasion, Rizvi claimed that people were “spontaneously’’ observing their shutdown programme. “People have given their support to our hartal and they also rejected elections to two Dhaka city corporations,” he said, adding that their shutdown was observed peacefully across the city.
Meanwhile, huge law enforcers were deployed near BNP’s Nayapaltan office and adjoining area to avoid any possible unwanted incident. Around 11:45am, police asked the protesting BNP leaders and activists to leave within half an hour.
The protesters left before noon when Rizvi said they would resume their protest after lunch.
Fakhrul called the shutdown on Saturday evening, reviving the ‘hartal culture’ in Bangladesh politics.
Jatiya Oikyafront, led by Dr Kamal Hossain, extended its support to the BNP programme.
Awami League mayoral candidates Atiqul Islam and Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh won the mayoral race of DNCC and DSCC respectively in Saturday’s elections.
BNP last announced countrywide nonstop blockade on January 5, 2015 and it continued until April 4, leaving at least 120 people, including policemen dead, mostly in firebomb attacks.
BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia announced the programme as police barred her from coming out of her Gulshan office to join an anti-government rally over the first anniversary of 10th parliamentary election.
The BNP chief stayed her Gulshan office since April 4 that year as the blockade programme was on.
Amid the blockade, the party and the 20-party alliance also enforced hartals in different phases. They called a 45-hour hartal on March 30 for the last time demanding ‘restoration’ of democracy and people’s voting right.
She, however, returned to her Gulshan residence from her office signaling that the blockade was withdrawn. The party never withdrew the blockade programme officially.
BNP also never convened hartal or blockade programme after its negative experience during the nearly three-month blockade programme.
The party also did not call hartal even after its debacle in the December 30, 2018 general election following widespread allegations of irregularities and ballot box stuffing the night before the voting and when Khaleda was sent jail on February 8, 2018 as she was convicted in Zia Orphanage trust graft case.