Dhaka, Nov 7 (UNB) – The Election Commission (EC), now awfully busy to hold the 11th national election, says it will require an amount of Tk 700 crore to arrange polls, which is more than double than that of the 10th general election.
The Commission has recently approved the allocation of Tk 700 crore for the upcoming parliamentary polls likely to be held in late December.
Of the total expenditure, EC officials said, about Tk 400 will be spent on maintaining the law and order while the remaining Tk 300 crore on conducting the election as per the EC’s estimate.
In the 2014 general election, they said, the nation spent Tk 283 crore, including Tk 200 crore on maintaining the law and order and Tk 83 on conducting the election in 147 constituencies as the rest 153 constituencies went uncontested.
The EC on will announce schedule for the 11th national election Thursday next. The EC has a constitutional obligation to complete the election between by January 28 next.
The polls will be held through some 40,199 possible polling stations across the country. Alongside the law enforcers, some seven lakh polls-conducting personnel, including 40,199 presiding officers, some 80,000 assistant presiding officers and five to six lakh polling officers, will be required to arrange the countrywide election.
Of the allocated Tk 300 crore for conducting the next election, Tk 160 will be spent on the seven lakh polls-conducting personnel and Tk 30 crore on printing ballot papers for 300 constituencies across the country, the EC officials said.
Besides, Tk 10 crore will be spent on procurement of other printing materials and Tk 8 crore on procurement of stamp pads, different types of seals and ink.
EC Secretary Helaluddin Ahmed said the Election Commission has approved the sector-wise allocation of Tk 700 crore for conducting the national election and maintaining the law and order.
Some 10.42 crore voters under the country’s 300 parliamentary constituencies are expected to cast their votes in the election to pick the leaders of their choice.
In the 2014 general election, the election cost was only Tk 283 crore as the EC did not have to go for balloting in 153 constituencies. The number of country’s voters was some 9.19 crore during the 10th general election.
“But this time the cost will be more than double as the EC will have to arrange balloting in 300 constituencies across the country,” said an official wishing to remain unnamed.
He said the total expenditure was Tk 165.50 crore in the 9th general election, while Tk 72.71 crore in the 8th national election.
The expenditure for conducting the first parliamentary elections held in 1973 was only Tk 81.36 lakh when the number of voters was only 3.52 crore.
According to statistics provided by the EC officials, the nation had spent Tk 2.52 crore in the 2nd national election, while Tk 5.16 crore in the 3rd election, Tk 5.15 crore in the 4th election, Tk 24.37 crore in the 5th election and Tk 37.04 crore in the 6th general election.
Dhaka, Nov 6 (UNB) - The Resource Centre for the Visually Impaired Students of Dhaka University is a study centre for the blind students of the university. Located on the ground floor of the administrative building of the university’s Central Library, it was established in 2007 through a joint initiative by the DU authority and Sight Savers International; an NGO that works for visually impaired students worldwide.
Everyday at least 20 visually impaired students come to the centre for studying or doing their departmental assignments. The centre is open for the visually impaired every weekday from 8am to 9pm.
This is the place where DU blind students can use library resources using specially designed study materials. Almost all the study materials in the resource centre are in Braille, a method that is globally used by visually impaired persons to read and write.
The resource centre, which is staffed by 4 visually impaired persons, has a collections of 23 books in Braille of different departments, 2 Braille typewriter machine, 27 lines Braille guide (a writing frame through which students can write in Braille), Braille stylus (a special pen to write in Braille) and an impressive collection of cassettes and CDs.
The resource centre also contains a number of modern machineries which have made learning process much easier for the visually impaired, for example computers with screen reader software installed in them, namely JAWS talking, which provides the users with access to the information displayed on the screen via text-to-speech or by means of a Braille display.
It also allows users to perform comprehensive keyboard functions with the computers.
The library also has a collection of 3 digital computers, scanners, Braille printer,
Plextalk CD (a specialised machine where visually impaired students can record sound and listen from the audio), tape recorders and other useful tools.
However the resource centre accommodates only 10 students at a time, whereas the total number of visually impaired students enrolled at the university is almost 60. Moreover the number of braille books is not enough and most of them are backdated editions.
Md Sarower Hossen Khan, assistant librarian of DU central library and also a visually impaired person who works at the resource centre, shared his experience with UNB saying, “I have completed my graduation and post-graduation from this university. When we were students this center was not established and we faced many problems.”
“After completing my studies I have joined here and I think this is the best decision of my life as it lets me stay in touch with all the visually impaired students at DU. The most notable matter is that the staff here are also visually impaired, which is why they have a better understanding about the problems that the students who come here suffer from,” he added.
Professor SM Zabed, librarian of DU central library admitted that they have some limitations and said, “We started this resource centre with a very small scope, but now we are trying to enrich it so that it can become more useful for these students.”
Asking about the shortage of Braille book, Prof Zabed said, “Braille books and printers are quite expensive. We have some financial limitations, that’s why we can’t buy new books and printers. But we are contacting some organisations working for the visually impaired to promote
the resource centre. We are hopeful that some help will be forthcoming soon.”
Naogaon, Nov 6 (UNB) – Sohel Rana completed his graduation and started an integrated farm in his village Rupgram, located in Dibor union under Patnitola upazila of Naogaon, that has become a source of encouragement for the unemployed graduates in his locality.
Reflecting his homely values, he named it ‘Rupgram Agro Farm’.
But it wasn’t always thus. After graduating from Rajshahi University (RU) he joined a daily newspaper to maintain expenses. He also worked for some local magazines.
All the while though, he dreamt of pursuing his childhood passion of gardening and maintaining orchards where he would grow different fruits. His first attempt came in the form of a mango orchard spread out over three acres of land when he was still a student.
In 2015, he left his job at the newspaper to give shape to his childhood dream, and returning home to Rupgram, started the integrated farm - a wholly organic farm management system which aims to deliver more sustainable agriculture – on 10 acres of land investing Tk 30 lakh, with his younger brother Abdul Bari.
At first, there were plenty of naysayers among locals and relatives, but Sohel believed in himself and ploughed on against the current.
Today, Sohel is a successful entrepreneur employing 16 people at Rupgram, and also serves as an inspiration to others
Numerous fruits such as Mango, Litchi, Dragon fruits, Malta, Coconut, Lemon, Strawberry, Guava and others (about fifty species) are cultivated in his Rupgram Agro Farm.
There are many types of trees and flowering plants also with great herbal qualities such as Neem, Tulsi, Basal, Clitoria Ternatea (Nil Oparajita), white mimosa pudica (sada Lojjabati) and others. Besides, he is also farming fish in three ponds, and rearing ducks, chicken and goats.
All of this helps the farm rake in a lot of money selling his produce domestically. Last year he raked in a profit of Tk 15 lakh.
It didn’t come easy of course. To gain expertise about farming he completed many training courses on different aspects of farming and agriculture from Department of Youth Development, Bangladesh Agricultural University, RDA and BMDA.
“Being inspired from Sohel’s farm I’ve started mango and Thai guava farming in a land of about three acres. I have been cultivating fish with lease of two ponds. Sohel helps me about this providing plants and suggestions” said Shahidul Islam, resident of neighbouring Nishchintapur village.
Abdul Jabbar, a resident of nearby Karamjai village said, “seeing Sohel’s success I’ve started cultivating mango and guava on a land of four acres last year. I’m hoping I can succeed.”
Following his lead, people also started farming around his area leading to more than 100 orchards for a variety of fruits springing up in the area.
“I’ve a plan for starting agro-tourism in this area where various native and foreign nutritional fruits will also be produced and displayed,” said Sohel, sounding every bit the seasoned entrepreneur.
“I also have a dream to build up a storage for preserving the plant and tree species that are becoming extinct. I’ve started another mixed fruits garden in Sapahar area for this purpose,” he added.
Prokash Chandra Sarkar, agricultural officer of Patnitala, said “It’s not that one must use his or her education to secure a job. Rather educated person should come forward to embrace agricultural profession. One can maintain only his or her family holding down a job, but a successful farmer, or agriculture entrepreneur can make himself self-reliant and he can create employments for others.”
“The agricultural department has been supporting him by providing proper guidelines regarding the integrated farming method to help him become a successful entrepreneur,” Sarkar added.
The Agriculture Extension Department in his area have provided support as they are mandated to for anyone throughout the country. But ask anyone in his area Naogaon, or even better his village Rupgram, and they will tell you above all that Sohel is a self-made man. And Rupgram Agro Farm is testament to his success.
Dhaka, Nov 6 (UNB) – Bangladeshi products are likely to get duty-free access to the five member countries of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU).
Dhaka received such indication at the recently held maiden meeting of the Bangladesh-Russia Intergovernmental Commission on trade and other issues in Moscow.
Bangladeshi officials who attended the meeting said Moscow has showed a positive attitude towards a proposal placed by Dhaka to increase its export to Russia and other EAEU member countries. “But all depends on its persuasion and improvement of the quality of goods,” said an official who attended the meeting.
Official sources said during discussion on trade cooperation, the Bangladesh side proposed including goods from Chapters 30, 61, 62, 63 and 64 of Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System in the list of goods originating from least developed countries which are eligible for tariff preferences during its importation into the territories of the EAEU countries.
In response to the proposal, Russia suggested that Bangladesh send its official request to the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) to increase its export to the member countries of the economic bloc.
A 16-member delegation from Bangladesh, headed by the Economic Relations Division secretary, attended the meeting held on October 22-24 in Moscow to discuss various issues, including boosting trade and cooperation in different sectors between the two nations.
The EAEU, officially launched in 2015, is a political and economic union of states located in central and northern Eurasia and its member countries are Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
During the meeting, the Russian side informed the Bangladesh delegation that amendments to the list should be approved by the Council of the Eurasian Economic Council, which is possible only with the support of all member states of EAEU, said the sources.
The officials at the ERD said if Dhaka gets the approval, it will facilitate Bangladesh’s main export items like readymade garments, leather and ceramics to get duty-free access to the five EAEU member countries.
Since the establishment of the Eurasian Customs Union in 2010, trade between the EAEU member states rose sharply.
The available statistics show mutual trade was $ 63.1 billion in 2011, 33.9 percent more than in 2010. In 2012, mutual trade was $67.9 billion and combined exports reached $593.7 billion, while imports were $340.9 billion.
Officials said if Bangladesh gets the opportunity to export its goods to the EAEU countries, it will tremendously boost its export.
According to official sources, the Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation was formed in 2017 with the signing of a deal between Dhaka and Moscow on March 1 in 2017.
As per the deal, the Intergovernmental Commission was formed comprising 20 members from each nation.
Two members from the private sector also joined the recent meeting of the commission. They are Habib Ullah Dawn from FBCCI and Aniruddha Kumar Roy, managing director of RMM Group, who represents Russian company Gazprom in Bangladesh.
Manikganj, Nov 5 (UNB) – Farmers in different upazilas of Mainikganj are mostly satisfied with the prices they have received so far for their produce in the early part of the winter. High demand for a variety of winter vegetables grown by the farmers has helped them earn healthy profits.
During a recent visit, this UNB Correspondent found that the farmers here have cultivated a wide variety of early winter vegetables including cauliflower, cabbage, cucumber, green gourd, red amaranth, radish, tomato, brinjal, etc.
Now they are passing a very busy period taking care of the vegetables in their fields from morning to dusk. Many of them have started collecting their produce from the fields and selling them to local retailers as well as wholesale markets every day, farmers said.
Fertile land and favourable weather conditions have led to the high growth of the vegetables and fuelled hopes among the farmers of realising a bumper crop this season too, said officials at Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE).
Farmers in seven upazilas have cultivated over 3,860 hectares of land under early variety winter vegetables. That is out of a total of 9,691 hectares land fixed by DAE. Farmers in Singair, Sadar and Saturia upazilas were the most successful.
The production target is 200,000 metric tonnes which is 20,000 metric tonnes more compared to last year’s corresponding fire. Local traders from here are supplying vegetables to different neighbouring districts as well as the capital city every day.
Talking to UNB, Nurul Haque, vegetable-grower of Hargaz village of Saturia upazila, said he cultivated 23 bighas (1 acre equals 3 bighas) of land costing Tk 24-25 lakhs, including eight bighas for some early winter cabbage and cauliflower.
He has sold all the vegetables from his early cultivation field and what he felt was a fair market price. He earned over Tk 1 lakh profit from the eight bighas he kept for early cultivation keeping in mind the high demand for winter vegetables in the markets.
Besides, the cultivation of another eight bighas is going on in full swing and continues till the end of the current month. He could make profit of Tk 5-6 lakhs this season, he hoped.
Atiar Rahman, cucumber grower of Raillah village of the same upazila, said he cultivated early cucumber on 1 bigha of land this season. He earned a profit of Tk 30,000 for his efforts, while Anwar Hossain, red amaranth grower of the same village, is happy at the thought of bumper production with fair market price.
Nazim Uddin and Afzal Hossain of Kalandi village of Singair upazila said they have cultivated green gourd and cucumber on four bighas of land. They are hoping for a fairly quick profit following the good growth of the vegetables due to favourable weather condition.
DAE Deputy Director M Habibur Rahman said the farmers here may see bumper production thanks to the favourable weather during the early winter season.
The DAE agriculture officials are always giving suggestion to the farmers going to the fields besides the upazila office.