Benapole, Dec 6 (UNB) – Benapole Port, the country’s biggest land port, is on the path to full-fledged automation with the installation of all necessary electronic devices going on full-swing.
With an estimated cost of Tk 52 crore, the port area will be equipped with automation machines and close-circuit television (CCTV) cameras and a boundary wall all along the port area, according to port authorities.
“The port has plans to install 1400 CCTV cameras there to ensure foolproof security in the port area,” said Belal Hossain Chowdhury, commissioner of Benapole Customs House.
Trade between Bangladesh and India may be expected to multiply as a result, as the checking and discharging of the goods will be easier and faster once the port area is digitalised, he added.
“Two C&F agents will be provided with high-level training from the beginning of 2019, so that they can handle the automated movement of goods easily and effectively,” said Prodush Kanti Das, director of Benapole port.
He also expressed high hopes saying that traders of both the countries will be able to keep an eye on their goods passing through the border without being physically present at the port, thanks to the automation process allowing for remote tracking.
Though the customs houses were brought under the CCTV monitoring earlier this year, the plan is for the entire port area to be covered by CCTV, in order to prevent smuggling and even aid the detection of unwanted intruders along the border within the shortest possible time.
“We are heaving a sigh of relief at learning of the automation project, as this will boost trade volumes by ensuring smooth and hassle-free goods transportation along the border,” said vice-president of the port’s Clearing & Forwarding (C&F) agents Aminul Haque.
Matiar Rahman, Chairman of India-Bangladesh Export-Import Sub-Committee, said they had long been demanding foolproof security for their goods through the automation of the port area “in order to augment the trade baskets for both countries.”
“There still remain some other drawbacks to be addressed to harness the potential of the port and the port authority should deal with those on a priority basis,” he added.
It takes only three hours for a truck to reach Benapole after loading goods from Kolkata, which is only at a distance of 84 kilometres, making it a major transportation hub for the business communities of both Bengals in particular.
Dhaka, Dec 6 (UNB)- The government has taken some initiatives to make different types of state-run industries, including sugar mills, cement factories, urea factories and Eastern Cables Ltd, profitable bringing them out of the cycle of loss, and enhance their production capacity.
According to a document of the Industries Ministry, the government has taken various initiatives, including BMR (Balancing, Modernisation and Replacement), to this end.
As per the document, the government is taking projects to conduct BMR in all 15 sugar mills under the Bangladesh Sugar and Food Industries Corporation. Currently, the BMR project is going on in Keru and Co BD Limited.
Initiatives have been taken to produce sugar from the sugar beet throughout the year in all sugar mills apart from producing white sugar from imported raw sugar.
The Industries Ministry has undertaken multiple projects to diversify sugar products by tapping the existing potential to make the mills profitable. These mills produce sugar from sugarcane supplied by its growers.
The country needs 1.5 million tonnes of refined sugar every year, most of which is met through imports, according to official data. There are 15 sugar mills under the BSFIC with 0.21 million tonnes of production capacity per year.
The ministry has taken an initiative to modernise the Karnaphuli Paper Mills to make it profitable.
Besides, a project has been taken to transform the Chhatak Cement Factory from the wet process to dry process for running it profitably.
The government has decided to establish Ghorashal Palash Urea Fertiliser Factory merging Ghorashal Urea Fertiliser Factory and Palash Urea Fertiliser Factory.
The document said to make the Gazi Wires Limited profitable, steps have been taken to replace the old machinery while process is on to procure new machinery for General Electric Manufacturing Company to enhance its production capacity.
Besides, to produce disposable razor blade, an initiative has been taken to modernise the machinery of Bangladesh Blade Factory Limited while steps have been taken to open the Dhaka Steel Workers Limited.
To boost the production capacity of Eastern Cables Limited, steps have been taken to set up XLPE (cross-linked polyethylene) insulated cable plant.
Talking to UNB, a senior official of the Industries Ministry said the government has taken these moves to make the state-run mills profitable to generate more employment in these mills. "If we can modernise the mills and factories, these will increase production as well as the profit,” he said.
Dhaka, Dec 5 (UNB) – Worried little over the rejection of candidature of its 141 runners, BNP senior leaders on Tuesday said they have already finalised the list of their candidates for about 200 seats from the valid ones.
Talking to UNB, a number of party senior leaders said they will finalise the candidates for the remaining seats on December 8 after the Election Commission disposes of the appeals filed by the contestants whose nominations were declared illegal by returning officers.
They said they will also settle the seat-sharing issue with their partners of the Jatiya Oikyafront and the 20-party alliances within a couple of days.
“We’re not much worried over the cancellation of nominations of our huge candidates as we’ve alternative contenders either from our party or our alliance partners in most seats. We also believe that most of our potential runners will get back their candidacy through the appeal,” said a BNP standing committee member, wishing anonymity.
He said they kept more than one party contenders in most seats as they knew the EC may scrap candidature of some runners. “We also knew our chairperson and some other leaders like Amanullah Aman won’t be able to contest the polls. So, our strategy to keep alternative candidates has yielded positive results for us.”
The BNP standing committee member said they are now worried whether their candidates will be able to carry out electioneering freely in their respective areas as many of their leaders and activists cannot return to their areas for fear of arrest and harassment by police.
BNP candidate from Barishal-1 Jahiruddin Swapn on Monday sent a letter to the Chief Election Commissioner seeking his security in his election area while some other candidates are sending letters to the EC or going to local administration seeking security for them.
Contacted, BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said though they joined the election as part of their movement to free Khaleda Zia, the election atmosphere is gradually worsening. “The Election Commission is not taking any step to ensure an election atmosphere and a level-playing field.”
He said their candidates are being arrested and harassed while nominations of their many candidates were cancelled on lame excuses. “But, the EC didn’t find anything wrong with Awami League’s main candidates. We think the possibility of a fair election is narrowing gradually.”
He warned that they may take any decision about the participation in the polls if the government and the Election Commission do not change their attitude.
Fakhrul also said they will settle the seat-sharing issue with the alliance partners within a day or two.
Another party standing committee member said they decided to stay in the election race till the last day under any circumstance.
He said they have started making the list of party’s single candidate for every seat and they may soon make public the list of final candidates for 150-200 seats as those have already been finalised.
The BNP leader, however, said they still could not sort out the issue of seat-sharing with their alliance partners as most of the partners are bargain for more seats than they have been offered.
Party insiders said they will settle the issue by December 8 and a letter nominating the candidates of BNP, and its 20-party and Jatiya Oikyafront components will be sent to the EC in the afternoon the same day.
Of the 20-party partners, BNP leaders said, Jamaat is still barging for getting at least 27 seats while BNP is trying to convince it with 20 seats.
However, BNP still could not reach any understanding with any partner of the Oikyafront.
Gano Forum sent a list of 23 candidates, but BNP only confirmed four seats --Dhaka-6 for Subrata Chowdhury, Habiganj-1 for Reza Kibria and one seat for Mostafa Mohsin Montu in Dhaka and Dhaka-18 for another party leader.
Besides, BNP kept aside Moulvibazar-2 for Oikyafront leader Sultan Mohammed Mansur Ahmed.
The party also agreed to share Laxmipur-4 seat with JSD president ASM Abdur Rob and Bogura-2 for Nagorik Oikya’s Mahmudur Rahman Manna.
BNP insiders said the party decided to share 5-6 seats with Gano Forum, 4-5 with Nagorik Oikya, four with JSD, two with Krishak Sramik Janata League and one with a faction of Bikolpa Dhara Bangladesh.
Contacted, Gano Forum executive president Subrta Chowdhury said they will settle the seat-sharing issue with BNP by December 8. “We still couldn’t reach a consensus over the seat-sharing issue with BNP, but hope we’ll be able to do it very soon.”
A 20-party leader said they may hold a meeting on Wednesday evening to finalise the seat-sharing with BNP.
Chief coordinator of the 20-party alliance Oli Ahmed said both BNP and all the alliance partners should be logical about sharing seats.
Chattogram, Dec 4 (UNB) – More than 3,000-4,000 enthusiastic animal lovers and visitors are coming almost every day to enjoy a wide range of display at Chittagong zoo with the new arrival of 342 birds of six species. The number gets double on holidays.
During a recent visit, the UNB Correspondent found the enthusiast visitors are enjoying various species of birds displayed in the
Everyday bird lovers, mostly children, are enjoying various species of colourful birds including laughing doves, pheasants, parakeets, cockatiels, and even one pair of macaws.
Besides, the visitors are also enjoying the existing collection of animals, including lions, crocodile, deer, bear, python, peafowl, tortoise, cock, vulture, turtle, heron, egret, kite, greater adjutant, monkeys, eagle and some other common animals.
Talking to UNB, Chittagong Zoo Executive Committee member secretary and Hathazari Upazila Nirbahi Officer Ruhul Amin said they have made the new ‘Natural Mini Aviary’ in a bid to draw bird lovers according to the direction by the district administration.
Spending all the proceeds that come from ticket sale, the infrastructure of the zoo has been enriched with modern facilities like installing a giant gate, setting up of surveillance cameras in different important points, making a kid zone, internal roads, public toilets, resting seats for the visitors, colouring zoo walls and planting more trees for healthy green environment.
The 60-foot long, 25-foot wide mini aviary was constructed costing Tk 20 lakh and 342 birds of six species have been bought at Tk 14 lakh. Among those species, there 20 pairs of love birds, 50 pairs of laughing doves, 10 pairs of pheasants, 10 pairs of ringneck parakeets, 50 pairs of cockatiels, and one pair of macaws.
Chittagong Zoo Executive Committee President and Chittagong Deputy Commissioner Md Elias Hossain, said, “We’ll bring kangaroo and ostrich from Australia soon. Besides, we’ve a plan to take more space for hilly region.”
Meanwhile, they have brought a lion by exchanging it for a lioness from Rangpur Zoo on September 5. A pair of Zebras was brought from South Africa costing Tk 33 lakh on December 9, 2016.
Recently, the authorities have added six more Zebra from South Africa costing Tk 48 lakh, he added.
Earlier on November 2, the deputy commissioner formally inaugurated the aviary.
Gopalganj, Dec 2 (UNB) –More than 300 of patients of Kotalipara upazila are taking treatment inside dilapidated buildings every day amid heightened risk of an accident occurring at the Upazila Health Complex.
Their suffering has worsened as surgeries have stopped taking place at the complex since last April, now over 7 months, due to shortage of doctors, nurses and other necessary facilities, patients said.
A notice signed by the hospital authorities on the dilapidated second floor of the building warns that patients themselves are responsible for taking treatment there, said Jacqueline Runu Boddho, senior stuff nurse of the health complex.
On a spot visit, UNB correspondent found a big portion of the ceiling on the 2nd floor has loosened and cracks have developed in various parts of buildings.Patients, doctors and nurses have been injured by falling bits of the edifice at different times in the past. The parts still standing are at risk of collapse at any given moment.
The health complex building was built 40 years back. Although it has seen the number of beds in the hospital attached increase to 50 beds from 20 beds during this period, today only nine doctors are serving against the 22 doctors at the start. The 9 doctors are responsible for the 350,000 (3.5 lakh) people living in the upazila, a ratio of nearly 1:40,000, against 1:12,790 nationally.
Talking to UNB, a patient Billal Khandakar of Laxirpar village in the upazila, said the dilapidated condition of the hospital building is due to lack of maintenance and renovation for long.
“I am suffering from typhoid for last couple of days. If the loosened ceiling parts collapse on me, I will die,” he feared. But he was compelled to get admitted here as he could not get skillful doctors in the other hospitals, he added.
Nasrin Begum of Chitrapra village recalled how pregnant women had benefited from the facilities, including caesarean section operations, at the health complex.
But those facilities have closed in the last seven months as there is no gynaecologist and anaesthetist in the health complex, she added.
Pankaj Adhakari of Dharbasail village and Poly Khanam of Mathbari village also praised the skilful and dedicated doctors of the Complex for looking after the people.
At present, they are very worried about their admitted patients for dilapidated condition of the hospital, they added.
Upazila Health and Family Planning Officer Dr Premandrao Nath said the Engineering Department of the Health Ministry, a specialised department, declared the building ‘abandoned’ a long time ago.
“We do not want to admit patients due to the dilapidated condition of the building but they insist on getting admitted. We hung up a notice in this connection,” Dr Nath said.
Saying the number of patients they need to look at in such circumstances daily number between 300-400, the doctor also had some good news, revealing a new hospital building with modern facilities was set to be built within three months replacing the old complex. The planning for the new complex is complete.