Faridpur, Sept 19 (UNB) – The farmers of Sadarpur upazila are enjoying brinjal farming as it has turned out to be more profitable than many other traditional vegetables.
The farmers are cultivating brinjal, also known as eggplant, in their lands as this summer crop not only helps meet their demand but also brings them money, according to officials at the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE).
This year around 290 hectares of land have been brought under brinjal cultivation while it was 250 hectares last year, the DAE officials said.
Farmers of Shouldubi, Math Shouldubi, Abuler intersection, Badhanoghat areas under Krishnapur union of Sadarpur upaizla have been cultivating brinjal for the last 15 years as it has been more profitable than other crops.
During a recent visit to the upazila, the UNB correspondent found that a vast track of lands has been brought under eggplant farming in the upazila.
Usually, they cultivate different varieties of eggplant, including BP Hybrid, Sinduri, White and Lafe.
Abul Bashar, a farmer of Shouldubi village, said he has been cultivating brinjal after taking 40 decimals of land on lease for Tk 20,000 for three years and he brought solvency to his family after farming the summertime vegetable.
Jamal Uddin, another farmer, said he cultivated brinjal on his 10 kathas of land.
As less water is needed for brinjal farming than boro’s, more and more farmers are showing interest in brinjal farming, said Jamal Uddin of Badhanoghat in the upazila, who has been farming brinjal on his 10 Kathas of land.
“Also, the costs of fertilizer and labour are less and it gives us more profit compared to other vegetables,” he told UNB.
A farmer needs Tk 40,000 to 50,000 for cultivating brinjal in one bigha of land from where they can yield around 120 to 150 maunds of brinjal.
Hafiz Matubbar, Jalil Pramanik, Kalam Paramanik and some other farmers said this summer vegetable starts blooming and continues to bloom for around six months within one month of planting.
Farmers can harvest eggplants twice a week, he said adding that the current market price of this crop is Tk 800 to Tk 1000 per maund.
Kartik Chakraborty, deputy director of Faridpur DAE, said, “We provide advices and suggestions to the farmers about brinjal farming and our staff keep visiting the field regularly.”
Kazi Shafiqul Islam, chairman of Sadarpur upazila, said the brinjal of Shoiladubi area is famous.
“The farmers of this area don’t have to go to the market to sell their product as the wholesale traders directly buy it from the land,” he said.
Amzad Hossain, a trader, said they purchased eggplant from Sadarpur upazila and supply it to Karwan Bazar, Shyambazar, Jatrabari, Dohar in Dhaka, and Narisha, Kartikpur, Sreenagar, Madaripur, Barishal, Khulna, Satkhira and other districts.
He said they sell eggplant at Tk 1,200-1,500 per maund.
Dhaka, Sept 19 (UNB) – The Election Commission will have the preparation to use electronic voting machines (EVMs) in at least one polling station of 300 constituencies each in the general election to be held in December next.
Though the commission will take more time to take the final decision on the EVM use in the 11th national election, it has started taking preparation in this regard, said officials at the Commission.
As part of that, the EC is going to arrange a two-day EVM fair in the city by October 15 next to enable people to see the machine.
The Commission, however, has no plan to invite its main stakeholders -- representatives from political parties -- to visit the EVM fair, which is likely to be held at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC).
Students from different colleges and universities as well as 10-15 people from different age groups from every ward of Dhaka city corporations will be invited to visit the fair, according to a decision taken at a meeting of the EC Secretariat held on August 28.
“As per the meeting minutes,” EC Secretary Helaluddin Ahmed said, “We’ve to take preparation from right now if the EVMs are used in all upazilas and city corporations, and at least one polling station of each 300 parliamentary constituencies across the country.”
The meeting decided to open a registration page in the EC website for the possible visitors to the EVM fair. It will remain open to public from 3pm to 9pm on the first day and 9am to 9pm on the second day. Its inaugural session will be held from 11am to 1pm on the first day.
EC officials said though the meeting did not decide to invite political parties to visit the event, they can visit it as it is open to all.
At the event, the registered visitors can cast votes through the electronic machines, they said.
The EC on August 30 last decided to propose the amendment to the Representation of the People Order (RPO) incorporating a provision to pave the way for introducing the EVM use in national elections as in local body polls.
However, the decision was taken at a meeting of the five-member commission amid boycott of Election Commissioner Mahbub Talukder who placed the ‘note of dissent’ over incorporation of EVM provision in the RPO.
He said the EVM use in the national election in a hurried manner will invite controversy as it has not yet gained public trust.
Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda, at a press conference after the meeting, said they took the decision to amend the RPO incorporating the EVM issue, but they were yet to take the decision whether the EVMs will be used in the next general election.
Besides, the EC has sent a project proposal to the Planning Commission to procure some 1.5 lakh EVMs at a cost of Tk 3,821 crore. The EVM project is likely to be placed in the next meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) for its approval.
The EC needs some 4 lakh machines to arrange the national election fully based on EVMs across the country.
The CEC on September 3 said the EVM use in the upcoming national election will depend on enactment of law, stakeholders’ acceptance, attaining of capability and overall environment.
Noting that the machines instead of ballot papers will be used on a random basis, he said the EVM will be used in the national election provided the environment remains favourable.
Though the ruling Awami League supports the use of EVM in the general election, BNP and its like-minded parties oppose it.
The EC has been using the EVMs in local body elections since 2010 when the ATM Shamsul Huda-led EC first used EVMs on pilot basis in a few polling stations in Chittagong City Corporation polls. But these were different from the existing EVMs.
Dhaka, Sept 18 (UNB) - National Board of Revenue has decided to go tough against the business entities which will not install electronic fiscal device (EFD) from November 1 in city corporation areas and from December 1 in district towns.
The government earlier made the use of EFD mandatory in 13 types of business entities from November and December in city corporation areas and in district towns respectively to check Value Added Tax (VAT) evasion.
The NBR has already issued an order in this connection in August.
The new EFD will replace the electronic cash register (ECR) and the point of sale (POS).
The 13 types of businesses included hotels, restaurants, fast food shop, confectionaries, jewelers, beauty salons, furniture shop, RMG shop or boutique shop, electronics shop, community center, all business entities in posh shopping mall, departmental stores, general shop or super shop, wholesalers and large retail stores.
“This will enable the National Board of Revenue to have real-time access to business transactions which will eventually protect revenue leakage and increase revenue collection significantly,” Finance Minister AMA Muhith had said in his speech unveiling fiscal measures for fiscal 2018-19.
If any business entity does not use this EFD or any deviation of using this is proved that entity will have to pay Tk 20,000-50,000. If this kind of offence committed repeatedly then the NBR will lock the Business Identification Number (BIN).
The EFDs will be connected online with a server at the NBR. Any entry from a particular business entity will be registered at the server of the NBR.
"This will bring transparency and the scope to evade the tax will be restricted. As a result the revenue collection will be improved," a senior NBR official told UNB.
He said that EFDs will help curb evasion because of connection with the server that will generate real time data of sales at shops.
He also mentioned that customers would be able to know if the VAT they paid went to the national exchequer as they will receive a code that would be generated by the NBR's central server.
The NBR had made the e-cash mandatory in 2008 for 11 types of businesses: hotels, restaurants, confectionaries, jewelers, beauty salons, wholesalers and large retail stores. But the outcome of that decision did not reached at the desired level.
On the other hand, many businesses do not use the e-cash register even after installation to evade VAT allegedly in connivance with field officials of the revenue authority.
The move to install EFD comes following advice from Finance Minister AMA Muhith to introduce an EFD management system to combat non-payment of VAT at the retail and wholesale levels.
The NBR earlier planned to buy 10,000 ECRs for large shops, wholesalers, restaurants and other businesses as part of its target to implement the VAT law 2012 from fiscal 2017-18.
The plan was scrapped after the government deferred the implementation of the law by two years. Last year, it identified 8,007 entities eligible for fitting the electronic sales devices.
At present, several thousand shops use electronic cash registers and point-of-sale machines. However, not all use the device to issue sales invoices to customers in an attempt to appropriate the VAT and hide actual transaction figures from taxmen.
For fiscal year 2018-19, the government has set the total revenue target – tax and non-tax revenue - at Tk 3,39,280 crore. Of the above total amount, the NBR has been tasked to source Tk 2, 96,201 crore.
Chapainawabganj, Sept 17 (UNB) – Farmers of Nachole upazila in the district are showing more interest in cultivating dragon fruits commercially sensing its profitability and favourable growing condition.
The juicy fruit is known as ‘pitaya’ in Thailand and the origin of the fruit in South America. Dragon fruit belongs to cactus species and its scientific name is “Pitay”.
Rafiqul Islam along with three of his friends first started to cultivate the fruit on experimental basis in Kendobona area of the upazila.
After getting some profit, their became more interested in cultivating the profitable fruit on large scale.
Watching videos on dragon fruit cultivation on Youtube channel several years ago, Rafiqul of Balugram village in Gomostopur upazila, became enthusiastic to grow dragon fruit himself.
After consultation with the Department of Agriculture (DAE) and other people concerned, he along with his friends started to cultivate it on a six-katha land investing around Tk 1 lakh. At present, they have more than 300 dragon fruit trees in their orchard.
Although they could not make a good profit in the first year, they started getting it from the second year.
Mentioning that the cultivation of dragon fruit is profitable, Rafiqul said they are expecting good profit this year, adding, "The cultivation process is not only easy but also the required investment is very low."
Looks like cactus, each dragon tree lasts for 20-30 years and gives 20-25 fruits each season. Though the fruit is new in the country, there is a demand of the fruit among people, said Rafiqul.
He said they sell the fruit to local customers for Tk 300-400 per kilogramme.
Rafiqul’s friend and business partner Nur-e-Alam Siddiqi Babu said the demand of the fruit is increasing as it looks beautiful and the taste is also good.
Many farmers of the district are coming to see their orchard and after seeing their success, many of them showed interest in dragon fruit farming.
Agriculturist Dr Md Saifur Rahman, deputy director of Chapainawabganj Horticulture, said, “We have got success cultivating dragon fruits in our centre. Soil and weather of the district are favourable for the fruit. Besides, the taste is very same as dragon fruits grown in other countries.”
Mentioning that dragon fruit farming is profitable, he also said that there are many seasonal fruits from May to October in the country. “But, very few are grown in the period of September to October and dragon fruits are available in this time. So, the farmers can make a very good profit from selling it,” the horticulturist said.
He also said that the fruit is very nutritious and helps to control high blood pressure and diabetes.
They are encouraging local farmers by visiting their orchards as well as providing training on how to cultivate the fruit, he added.
Beanibazar, Sept 16 (UNB) - Beanibazar Mukhtijoddha Complex has remained locked since its inauguration one year back, said local freedom fighters.
After its inauguration by Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid, the complex was opened for only one day for a reception programme, the freedom fighters alleged.
They also said freedom fighters have no place here for holding any meeting or gathering which obstructs their activities.
Contacted, Upazila Executive Engineer Ramendra Hom Chowdhury told UNB that the Local Government Engineering Department built the four-storey complex spending Tk 3.5 crore.
There are eight shops on its ground floor, freedom fighter offices on the 1st and 2nd floors and an auditorium on the 3rd floor.
“On completion of the construction works, the complex building was handed over to the authorities concerned one year ago. But, we don’t know why the building is not being handed over to freedom fighters. Now, the key of the building is with the upazila nirbahi officer,” he added.
Shahid Ali, former commander of Pouro Mukhtijoddha Sangsad, said they requested the UNO several times for opening the building. “We also brought it to the notice of the local MP and the Deputy Commissioner of the district, but there has been no response so far,” he added.
Although it was supposed to be built on 18 decimals of land, it was done on only eight decimals, he said adding, “A local powerful group is trying to occupy the rest of the land.”
Shahid Ali said he had requested the local administration to settle the issue and transfer the land to the Sangsad. “But, an influential quarter is now trying to grab the land. Although the administration promised to settle the dispute, no initiative has been taken yet,” he added.
On the other hand, upazila parishad chairman and former commander of the sangsad Ataur Rahman Khan said there is a division among the local freedom fights. “As long as they reach an understanding, the complex should not be opened,” he said.
Contacted, Beanibazar UNO Kazi Arifur Rahman said as there is no elected commander of freedom fighters, it is his responsibility to take care of the complex. “So, I kept the key with me,” said the UNO.
“I’ll hand over it to an elected commander once I get the government instruction,” he added.