Bagerhat, Oct 5 (UNB) - Preparations for celebrating Durga Puja, the largest religious festival of the Hindu community, are going on in the district, aiming to hold the country’s biggest puja with 701 idols.
Sculptors have been working day and night to properly shape the idols as the clay-works are almost finished in mandaps of the district.
The religious festival will begin with Mahalaya on October 9 while the ceremonies will take place from October 15 to October 19.
For the past eight years, Liton Sikder, a businessman from Hakimpur village of Khanpur union, has been holding the biggest Durga Puja in Bagerhat and South Asia as well.
The number of idols increases during the festival every year and this year the total number stands at 701.
Bijoy Krishna Bachar, a local sculptor, said 15 sculptors have been working for the last five months to make the idols of deities from four ages depicted in the pantheons of Ramayana and Mahabharata.
The works are at the final stage and the coloring of the idols are going on in the full swing, he added.
Locals are happy that their Hakimpur village has earned fame for ‘Sikder Barir Puja’.
Liton Sarkar, joint general secretary of Bagerhat District Puja Celebration Committee, also lauded the festivity of ‘Sikder Barir Puja’ and said over 600 mandaps have been set up in nine upazilas of the district.
Superintendent of Bagerhat Police Pankaj Chandra Roy said police have taken all the necessary preparations to ensure security during the Durga Puja in the district.
Tapan Kumar Biswas, Deputy Commissioner of Bagerhat district, said security at mandaps of the district will be tighter than previous years.
He also said organisers will have to remain alert so that no unpleasant incident can take place during the festival.
Brahmanbaria, Oct 4 (UNB) – The farming of malta (sweet orange), a juicy citrus fruit enriched with vitamin C, is gaining popularity among farmers in the district as it yields good profit.
The malta farming in the district began in 2013-14 fiscal year under a Citrus Development Project, said sources at the local office of the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE).
Since then, over 200 large and 2,000 family orchards of malta have been set up in Bijoynagar, Kasba and Akhaura upazilas of the districts.
Malta was cultivated on 700 bighas of land this season and the number of farmers cultivating this juicy fruit is increasing day by day as they get good yields and profit, the sources said.
The local DAE office expects a production of 135 tonnes of malta in the district in the current season which will save Tk 15 crore in import bill due to lower quantity of its import from foreign sources.
DAE Deputy Director M Abu Naser said farmers are cultivating BARI-1 variety of malta developed by Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI).
He said this variety of malta is very tasty and better than the imported one.
“Farmers get good yields within 2-3 years from sowing the plant,” he said, adding that they were providing training and technical support to farmers in this regard.
Farmers said it will be possible to export the citrus food after meeting local demand if there is necessary government assistance.
Faridpur, Oct 3 (UNB) – While his fellow-villagers are engaged in traditional farming, Bachchu Mollah, a farmer of Sadar upazila, has come up with a unique idea – farming spinach in summer. His idea has ultimately paid off.
A resident of Bilmamudpur village under Aliabad union, Bachchu Mollah, in his mid-30s, is now the hero in his neigbourhood. Spinach, a leafy green vegetable, is usually grown in winter, but Mollah did it in a different manner in summer and thus changed his life by making a good profit.
Inspired by his idea, his fellow-villagers followed suit and started farming spinach in the off season.
While visiting Mollah’s cropland in Bilmamudpur village, this UNB correspondent found most of his high plainland covered with polythene-sheet made shadow. “It only takes only 20-25 days to go for harvest after sowing the seeds in the shadowed land,” Bachchu told UNB.
“In winter, spinach is sold at Tk 10-15 per kg, but in the off season, I sell spinach at Tk 100-120 per kg, a very encouraging price!” he said.
Bachchu Mollah said he invested some Tk 20,000 in his summer spinach venture.
“So far, I’ve earned around Tk 80-90 thousand. I’ve also started farming gourd and summer tomato this year,” Mollah said adding that he does not use any chemical fertilizer or pesticide other than using the organic ones in his farmland.
Another farmer of the village, Jewel Mallik, said summer spinach has brought much profit to Bachchu and they have also started farming summer vegetables inspired by him.
Kartik Chandra Chakrawarty, deputy director of Agriculture Extension Department in Faridpur, said, “Bachchu stunned everyone by growing spinach in summer.”
He said some 11,000 hectares of land have been brought under vegetable cultivation here this time. “We’re providing training and technical support to the local farmers as well as visiting the fields regularly to help them grow healthy and chemical-free vegetables,” Kartik added.
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.