Dhaka, Oct 3 (UNB) – State-run Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) is in the risk of incurring Tk 6,000 crore to Tk 8000 crore loss in the current fiscal due to rising import prices of the petroleum fuel.
BPC officials told UNB that they had to import crude oil at $81.51 per barrel in August this year comparing to just $43.17 per barrel in April this year.
Similarly, the diesel, as refined oil, was imported at $91.70 per barrel which was $50 per barrel in April this year.
"As a result, currently the government has to incur a loss of Tk 8.90 per litre in diesel and Tk 12.33 per litre in furnace oil", said a top official at the marketing department of BPC, the state-owned import and marketing entity under Energy Division.
State Minister for Power and Energy Nasrul Hamid said rise in petroleum fuel prices in the world market would create a big burden on the government as more money would be spent on fuel subsidy.
He said this will also create a spillover effect on different sectors including the electricity generation as a huge quantity of petroleum fuel is being imported for power plants.
At present, about 25 percent of 11,000 MW power generations is dependent on petroleum fuel.
"If upward trend in global fuel market continues, it will affect both power and petroleum sectors. There may be some impact on LNG price as well since its price is linked with petroleum price," he told UNB.
The country has to annually import over 5.5 million tons of petroleum fuel while LNG import began recently.
They said currently the BPC has to count a loss of over Tk 20 crore in selling of diesel and furnace oil at below the import cost.
"This loss will go up if rising trend continues in the global market", said a BPC official preferring anonymity.
He said there is a global prediction that the petroleum price may again cross $100 per barrel.
He also noted that the organisation has to incur loss for dollar rate fluctuation as well since the exchange rate of dollar is on the rising trend.
"Few months back we had to pay Tk 83.50 against each dollar (USD) which now stands at Tk 83.75", he said.
BPC officials said that in last few years they hadn’t counted any loss in fuel marketing. Rather, in last two to three fiscals, BPC made profits in its fuel business, they said.
Dhaka, Oct 2 (UNB) – Bangladesh Army’s first female Major General Dr Susane Giti on Tuesday said Bangladesh will march ahead towards a higher development trajectory with women empowerment and their growing presence everywhere with a greater effective role.
“It’s a big positive thing. Our development journey will continue with the growing empowerment of women. An educated mother will give us an educated society and thus contribute to development of the country effectively,” she told UNB.
Lauding Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s pioneering role in empowering women, Maj Gen Giti said though the women remained out of focus in the past, they are now coming to the forefront which is a very positive development for the country.
She expressed satisfaction seeing women in many important positions, including the Prime Minister, the Speaker of the Jatiya Sangsad and the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament.
Asked where she wants to see Bangladesh after the next five years, the head of Pathology Department of the Armed Forces Medical College said: “I want to see Bangladesh as a more developed country at a newer height.”
As a Shaheed family member as her father, a former police officer, was killed by Pakistani occupation forces, Maj Gen Giti said she wants Bangladesh to remain unstoppable in its journey towards further development.
Recalling her service at the UN peacekeeping mission, she said Bangladesh remains on top in terms of priority always and Bangladesh and its peacekeepers are always loved for their dedication to the missions.
“We used to provide free medical services in rural areas (under UN missions) when we received much love and affection from people. They used to shout – ‘Bangla’, ‘Bangla’, when our cars came to their notice; they wanted to learn Bangla.”
Sharing Bangladesh Army’s role, Maj Gen Giti said the Bangladesh Army comes forward always during the country’s critical times like natural disaster, big incidents like Rana Plaza disaster and in development works like Hatirjheel beatification initiative.
“I feel proud of being a member of the Bangladesh Army which is always dedicated to the country,” she said.
Asked who inspired her to join the Bangladesh Army, Maj Gen Giti said her family played a role but the disciplined life of Bangladesh Army also attracted her. “I grew up in Rajshahi. I had a desire to become a doctor. But joining the Bangladesh Army developed in me later. Its disciplined life and the sense of responsibility attracted me the most.”
Sought her suggestions for the new generation, Maj Gen Giti said: “Be dedicated to your service.”
Maj Gen Giti, mother of one son and two daughters, said her two children – one son and a daughter - are already in medical profession while her younger daughter is now at HSC level. “They may also feel like me…”
Sharing her memorable moments, she said the day of joining the Bangladesh Army is a memorable moment but this responsibility as the first female Maj Gen is something bigger. “This recognition means a bigger responsibility. I want to provide better services though my professional knowledge.”
Talking about challenges as she crossed a long way of her career, Maj Gen Giti said everyone faces some challenges but these challenges need to be overcome.
She expressed gratitude to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the people of the country and said she wants to perform better in the days to come. “Starting something new is always a matter of joy.”
Earlier, Bangladesh Army chief General Aziz Ahmed and Quarter Master General Lt General Md Shamsul Haque adorned Dr Susane Giti with the rank badge of Major General at the Army Headquarters.
Her husband, Brigadier General (retd) Asadullah Md Hossain Saad was a successful military expert physician.
Maj Gen Dr Susane Giti obtained MBBS degree from Rajshahi Medical College in 1985.
She joined the Bangladesh Army as a physician as captain in 1986.
In 1996, she became the first woman to obtain FCPS degree in Hematology. She also served as the expert pathologist for UN peacekeeping missions and several military hospitals.
Gaibandha , Oct 2 (UNB) - Thousands of people have been crossing four feeble and broken bamboo bridges risking their lives in Saghata and Phulchhari upazilas of the district since two years.
These people, including students and children, of different areas in those upazilas have to face great difficulty to cross the feeble and broken bridges every day with their agriculture produce or carrying critical patients.
Talking to UNB, Akbar Hossain, chairman of Kanchipara union parishad, said the local administration decided to go for temporary bamboo bridges after the collapse of concrete bridges in devastating floods that hit around two years ago.
But now the condition of the four bamboo bridges has become alarmingly poor and broken in many places. The villagers said schoolgoing children in particular are frightened to cross the bridges every day.
Around one lakh people use the bridges every day to reach the district town, added Habibur Rahman, chairman of Phulchhari upazila parishad.
Abdur Rahman Sheikh, executive engineer of Local Government Engineering Department (LGED), admitted that the condition of those bamboo bridges is indeed so weak that it is worryingly feeble and already at some points some new bamboo logs had been tied to support the structures.
Nevertheless accidents are unpredictable. Accident can occur anytime. In the meantime, a man was killed as he fell from one of the feeble bridges while crossing it – rendered a challenge by the poor condition of its surface.
For this reason, we have started the renovation work of those bridges and the work would be completed within the next year, the engineer added.
Chapainawabganj, Oct 1 (UNB) – Farmers in the district are passing their days in deep frustrations due to widespread attack of stem borer, locally known as majrapoka, on their Aman croplands.
The farmers said they have been spraying pesticides since the beginning of the pest attack around two weeks back, but it is not working.
Frustrations have gripped the farmers of Nachole and Sadar upazilas as they are fearing heavy losses this year due to the increased production cost, pest invasion and irrigation expenses in absence of adequate rain.
This time, some 51,740 hectares of land have been brought under Aman cultivation exceeding the target of 48,900 hectares with a production target of 1, 35,828 metric tonnes.
The farmers, however, alleged that they are not getting any support or suggestion from the Department of Agriculture (DAE) office here and they are now using pesticides buying that from local markets to save their crops which have not proved effective yet.
Abdul Salam, a farmer of Amnura Math in Sadar upazila, said he cultivated Aman paddy on 10 bighas of land.
Salam said he has already sprayed pesticides four times but did not get any benefit while agriculture officers are neither visiting their croplands nor giving any advice to protect their crops despite repeated requests to deal with the problem.
Khairul Islam, a farmer of Sadar upazila, said he cultivated Aman paddy on over 3 bighas of land and he was expecting good yield this time, but now it looks uncertain due to the massive pest invasion.
Admitting the pest attack on the paddy fields, Monjurul Huda, deputy director of Chapainawabganj DAE, said there is nothing to be worried for the Aman growers as the croplands could be easily protected with the balanced use of pesticides and fertilizer.
He said the pest invasion is unlikely to affect their harvest as they are giving suggestions how to deal with the problem and use pesticides.
Dhaka, Oct 1 (UNB) – Dhaleshwari river is being seriously polluted due to the discharge of untreated and partially-treated liquid wastes through surface drainage directly to the river from the central effluent treatment plant (CETP) in the relocated tannery industrial estate in Savar.
National River Conservation Commission (NRCC) Chairman Dr. Muzibur Rahman Howlader stated this in a special article he penned as part of a government supplement published in national dailies on Sunday marking the World Rivers Day.
“The CETP project has, so far, failed to give any result,” deplored NRCC Chairman.
World Rivers Day is a celebration of the world's waterways. Observed worldwide including in Bangladesh on fourth Sunday of September, the Day highlights the many values of rivers and strives to increase public awareness and encourages the improved stewardship of rivers around the world.
Dr. Muzibur Rahman Howlader also expressed concern at not setting up of a ‘Chromium Recovery Unit’ (CRU) in last one year in the relocated tannery estate.
“Separated chromium cakes have been staked directly on the surface. The chromium is being seeped through the underground with the rainwaters and it may mix up with underground water table. Chromium is a heavy metal that potentially causes spread of cancer,” said the NRCC Chairman.
He apprehended that if the underground water gets polluted by the chromium, the whole area will turn uninhabitable and there will be a serious environmental disaster.
Dr. Muzibur Rahman Howlader, a former land secretary, also noted that his commission has observed structures built illegally occupying riverbanks and disposal of industrial wastes into the rivers surrounding the Dhaka city.
He said all 46 canals in Dhaka are under illegal occupation while moves are underway to recover 26 of those. But he said the concerned authorities’ efforts to recover grabbed river lands and stopping pollution is too inadequate.
Noting that at least 10,000 cusec of Teesta water has been diverted from Shiliguri to Bihar in India, the NRCC Chairman made a fervent call for an early solution to Teesta water sharing between the coriparian countries.
Officially Bangladesh has 405 rivers flowing over it including 57 international rivers but due to low flow of water in lean periods and man-made choking of natural flows of rivers in many areas across the country people are not getting full benefits of riverine Bangladesh.
Amidst nationwide outcry over gradual grabbing of rivers and polluting the water bodies by powerful quarters, government passed an act to protect country’s rivers back in 2013 and then a year later NRCC was set up in September 2014
However, the Commission largely remains a recommendation body and lacks the power to implement any of its decision. Speakers at a discussion on river water pollution at Jatiya Press Club last week, lamented that the NRCC was formed to protect rivers, but it was not given legal and institutional capacities, which are essential to protect rivers.
Addressing the programme, held under the joint aegis of NRCC, Bapa and Buriganga Riverkeeper, Dr Muzibur Rahman Howlader, the Chairman of NRCC, said they can only make recommendations to authorities concerned but cannot take action against river grabbers or polluters. If the Commission had the power to take action, they would demolish illegal encroachments from the rivers, he added.
He said they have been given an important work by the government to save rivers, but they need the power to take action against grabbers and polluters when stakeholders fail to take action. Muzibur said there are necessary laws to protect rivers but there is no execution.