A bridge constructed over a canal at Bhukshimoil union in Kulaura upazila has been lying unused for long 22 years as there is no approach road on both sides of it.
Local people said the 10-metre long bridge was constructed in 1997 under the Bridge and Culvert Project of Local Government and Engineering Department (LGED) spending Tk 5 lakh.
One-km earthen roads were also built under the project. But the earthen roads were washed away by frequent floods, turning the bridge a useless one and causing sufferings to several thousand residents of the haor areas.
The local administration has not yet taken any initiative to build approach roads on both sides of the bridge, alleged locals.
They said the farmers of Borodal, Karera under Bhukshimoil unions and a number of villages, including Sokapon in Kadirpur union used the bridge for going to Hakaluki Haor from Srikanti Beel. Besides, fishermen and cowboys also used the bridge as it is the lone bridge to reach the haor area.
Local people have to cross the canal to take their farm produces, fish and domestic animals to the Hakaluki Haor enduring too much of difficulty as the haor is the only source of their livelihood.
They also demanded immediate steps for building approach roads on both sides of the bridge.
Bhukshimoil Union Parishad chairman Azizur Rahman Monir said, “The authorities concerned have been informed about the matter, and we’re trying our best so that the approach roads could be built soon.”
Shimul Ali, project officer of the upazila, said necessary steps will be taken for constructing the approach roads from Rural Infrastructure Development Project and Kabikha (food for work) project.
The national identity cards having minor errors can be fixed easily as the Election Commission has taken an initiative to install advanced card management software for removing hassles in availing of NID card-related services by people, said EC officials.
Silly and minor errors can be corrected at Upazila-level EC offices, while critical ones at the central NID office in Dhaka, and the correction of supper critical errors will require permission from an EC meeting, they said.
Now all types of errors are being corrected centrally in Dhaka.
To ease public sufferings, the Commission has taken the initiative to install advanced card management software and give specific timeframe for the officials concerned to provide the NID services, said the EC officials.
Director General of the National Identity Registration Wing Brig Gen Saidul Islam said the NID server is being upgraded with the most sophisticated one in Bangladesh. “We expect there’ll be rapid development in the (NID) card management system within the next two months,” he said.
The NID DG said the printing of smart NID cards is being controlled centrally in Dhaka, while that of laminated cards in the district headquarters.
“Now we’re thinking to delegate the authority of printing laminated cards to EC upazila-level offices,” he said adding that the card management software will be installed at all the district and upazila-level offices to deliver better services to people.
Besides, the Commission is also categorising the NID-related errors into four types –-a) silly, b) minor c) critical d) supper critical-- to ease the sufferings of service-takers in the case of minor mistakes.
The silly and minor errors can be corrected at the Upazila-level, while critical ones at the central NID office in Dhaka and the correction of supper critical errors will require the permission from the Election Commission’s meeting, the NID DG told UNB.
The EC has already issued a gazette notification over categorising the errors into four types with a view to reducing the sufferings of the service recipients, he said.
The Commission is also taking measures to prevent NID-related irregularities changing passwords and security features for having access to countrywide NID servers, and even laptops used in rendering NID services.
“Every time one time password (OTP) and fingerprint will require for the EC officials to enter the NID server,” said the NID Wing Director General.
The EC’s move came in the wake of recent alleged inclusion of Rohingyas in the country’s voter list.
To keep Rohingyas out of the electoral rolls, the commission is strengthening the monitoring system to watch about its officials, technicians, data-entry operator and other staff engaged in the voter registration process, said EC officials.
The Central NID Office is now being reorganised and upazila offices are being strengthened by increasing manpower to render better services, they said.
The EC has already procured an advance server having 100-terabyte data storage capacity.
The Commission introduced the laminated NID cards for the voters of the country following the first preparation of the electoral roll with photographs in 2007.
In 2016, the EC started the distribution smart NID cards instead of laminated ones to the voters, but over 104 million voters are yet to get the smart cards.
Cyclone ‘Bulbul’ left a trail of devastation when it hit Bangladesh last month but the impoverished people and trees in the coastal districts continue to bear the brunt.
Sources at the Forest department said 1,105 trees and 192,915 saplings, worth an estimated amount of Tk 1.10 crore, were damaged in the district alone during the cyclonic storm.
During visits to Bagerhat Sadar, Fakirhat, Chitalmari and Kachua upazilas, the UNB correspondent found thousands of trees – mainly Chambal, Sirish, Mehogani and rain trees – uprooted in the fury of ‘Bulbul’.
Forest experts said the weakness of the roots, species of trees, poor sapling quality and climate change were behind the excessive damage to trees and saplings.
Sheikh Ali Ahmed, Ward member of Lakpur union in Fakirhat upazila, said he counted a huge loss as four of his big trees were uprooted during the storm.
Siddiqur Rahman, president of the managing committee of Khajura Government Primary School, Fakirhat, said two big trees of the school were uprooted while another remained vulnerable.
Sudeb Biswas, a resident of Charbaniari village in Chitalmari upazila, said he planted saplings at his yard hoping to make some money but during cyclone ‘Bulbul’ four of his trees were uprooted and several others damaged.
Mohamamd Abul Kalam, Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Bagerhat Social Forest Division, said most of the private nurseries use clay pots for saplings which prevent the main roots from properly growing.
Coiled roots grown in clay pots do not have the necessary strength to keep trees stable in storms, he said, suggesting that nursery owners should maintain roots suit ratio and the plants should be two to three feet high while the main root must not be cut.
Mohammad Mahmudul Hasan, DFO of the Sundarbans East Zone, suggested planting Jhau and Babla trees instead of Rain tree and Chambal in the coastal region.
Assistant Prof Mohammad Shah Alam Farazi of Botany Department of Bagerhat Government PC College, said: “The soil in Bagerhat has become salty due to climate change, and the tree roots are not going deep down enough and for that soil is losing its fertility.”
Prof Dr Mahmud Hossain of the Forestry and Wood Technology Discipline of Khulna University, said the roots of Shirish and Chambal trees get weak during storms because of their height and plenty of branches.
“In Bagerhat, the roots don’t go deep enough but spread parallel as the water level can be found near the topsoil layer,” he said.
Allegations have been raised against the contractor of using low-grade materials while repairing a four-kilometre stretch of a key road in Kachua upazila.
The carpeting on the busy Rahimnagar-Bhateshwar road in the upazila wore off within 24 hours after the repair work, locals said.
According to official sources, the repair work on the four-kilometre road started with a cost of Tk 95 crore in March this year. The work was stopped after fixing 1.2km in two months.
Meanwhile, potholes appeared on the road, making driving very difficult and risky. The repair work started again after many applications were sent to the authorities concerned.
During a recent visit, the UNB Correspondent found that repair work on the 1-km stretch of the road was completed. But residents of some nearby villages said low-quality materials were used in the carpeting that started wearing off within 24 hours after the renovation work.
Locals, who declined to be named, said they informed the matter to the upazila engineering department but its authorities did not take any steps to prevent it. They said the road was peppered with potholes within two months of the repair work.
Didar Hossain, a local Jubo League leader and contactor of the road repair work, could not be reached for comments.
Upazila Nirbahi Officer Dipayan Das said he has joined here recently. “I’ll take the allegations into account. Necessary legal measures will be taken if allegations of irregularities are found to be true,” he said.
A group of researchers of Sylhet Agricultural University made a solar-powered incubator that is affordable and guarantees a higher percentage of hatching at the same time.
Associate Professor Dr Muhammad Rashed Al Mamun, Chairman of Agricultural Energy and Mechanisation Department of Agriculture Engineering and Technical Faculty, Lecturer Md Janibul Alam Shoeb, and two students of the same department – Minhaz Uddin Noyon and Rukon Ahmed Emon – built the incubator.
Generally, rice bran is used to incubate eggs in haor areas and villages. But this system requires more than 21 days for an egg to hatch and the rate is less than 55 percent.
Besides, the chicks are infected with diseases due to unhygienic environment. In this conventional method, appropriate temperature and humidity needed for incubation cannot be controlled, they said.
More importantly, the invented incubator is safer.
This incubator has been built with sustainable plywood and its construction cost is relatively low.
An electric circuit was made in the box with better light-resistance and it was wrapped by aluminum foil paper ‘thermocol’ sheet.
The research said healthy and strong chicks can be hatched from 80 percent eggs within 21 days by using this incubator. The rate is 25 percent higher compared to the conventional rice bran system.
“A micro-controller based smart automation and automatic egg rotation systems have been added to this incubator to help boost production,” said Dr Rashed, the chief researcher.
“We’ve designed it to run on solar power to ensure that the incubator can be used by people in remote areas with no access to electricity and in areas hit by power deficit,” he said.