The owner of two private clinics and diagnostic centres in Jashore’ Manirampur operated on patients although he neither has any medical degree or experience.
“Abdul Hai, owner of two branches of Moon Hospital & Diagnostic centres, was conducting operations identifying himself as a doctor,” Jashore acting Civil Surgeon Dr Abu Maud said on Monday night.
“He was playing with the lives of general people,” said Dr Maud adding that both of the centres were sealed off and the district administration will be informed about this fake doctor.
Dr Maud said they sealed off six hospitals and diagnostic centres on Monday.
They are- Satata Diagnostic Centre, Adhunik Diagnostic Centre in Jessore town, two branches of Moon Hospital and Diagnostic Centre in Monirampur upazila, one in Hospital Intersection and the other in Kuada area, New Pragati Hospital & Diagnostic Centre, and New Life Diagnostic Centre.
Meanwhile, Matribhasha Clinic & Diagnostic Centre in Khajura area, and Mohua Clinic in Basundia area were sealed off on Sunday and Wednesday, he added.
Dr Abu Maud also said that the owners of these institutions submitted faulty applications online that’s why they were out of reach.
50pc clinics running illegally
A total of 211 among 262 hospitals and diagnostic centres were identified as illegal as they were conducting surgeries, diagnostics activities without permission with expired licenses.
Of them, 105 started medical activities just after applying online without completing the full process while 106 did not renew their licenses.
Only 51 medical institutions kept their licenses updated.
Almost half of 68 clinics and diagnostic centres have been running illegally in district town and sadar upazila, said the acting civil surgeon.
“The upazila’s picture is more serious as billboard-based health institutions have been cheating general people in the name of providing treatment,” he added.
Dr Maud said that most of them are run by quack technicians and they provide various medical reports at their will.
Clinics and diagnostic centres hire doctors for conducting operations at their illegal institutions, he added.
Hit hard by Covid-19 fallout, businesses in the tourism sector in the beach town of Cox's Bazar look for a gradual comeback after Eid-ul-Azha eyeing the next winter as an opportunity to stay afloat by hosting tourists from home and abroad in the hub of the country's tourism industry.
Around 470 hotels and motels, over 2,000 food outlets, Burmese Market, tourism-based business houses and thousands of workers in the sector have remained almost idle since March 18 following the coronavirus outbreak in the country.
"Tourism and relevant businesses will be allowed to reopen after Eid-ul-Azha with strict conditions (health protocols) in place," Deputy Commissioner of Cox's Bazar M Kamal Hossain told UNB.
Residential hotels, restaurants and businesses linked to the tourism industry will be given permission to reopen if they can maintain health guidelines strictly and take other preventive measures to stop transmission of COVID-19 virus, he said.
"It's true that the tourism industry is hit hard and suffered losses amid the closure of tourism activities due to COVID-19. The sector will gradually regain pace if businesses are reopened after Eid-ul-Azha," Kamal Hossain said.
On March 18, the authorities imposed a ban on public gatherings at different tourist spots in Cox's Bazar, Sylhet, Chattogram and Patuakhali to slow down the coronavirus transmission among people.
Cox's Bazar district administration enforced restrictions on arrival of tourists in the city and all sorts of gathering at beaches.
"Cox's Bazar has turned empty without any tourist amid the restrictions due to COVID-19. Other related businesses also witnessed closure in the last four months resulting in colossal losses," Abul Kashem, general secretary of the Cox's Bazar Hotel Motel Guest House Owners Association, told UNB.
He said the volume of financial losses will further increase if businesses are not allowed to reopen after Eid-ul-Azha.
General Secretary of "Save Cox's Bazar Movement" advocate Ayasur Rahman said the COVID-19 has apparently paralysed the overall economic activities here.
Many people involved in the tourism business have become jobless while nobody knows when the virus will disappear, he told UNB.
M Ashraf Zaman, proprietor of Hotel Kollol, said he has fallen into a trap of loan to pay salaries and utility bills in the last four months.
"Most people involved in tourism business are now depending on loans in various forms to meet their daily expenditures on family needs. They'll get a chance to survive if businesses are reopened after Eid-ul-Azha," Cox's Bazar Tour Operators Association President Rezaul Karim told UNB.
He, however, said it will be very difficult to recover the losses what they have already incurred.
Bangladesh International Hotel Association (BIHA) has said the tourism industry in the country, like other countries in the world, has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, with its international standard hotel sector, a vital organ of the tourism industry, suffering the most.
To salvage the sinking sector, BIHA has come up with their six-point recommendation calling upon both the public and private concerns to come forward to sway the imminent disaster.
There are over 310,000 people and their families who depend on this sector, according to BIHA.
BIHA leaders, including its President HM Hakim Ali, sought Tk 500 crore from the government's own funds to the hotel employees who have been forced to stay at home during the lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic which is to be disbursed among them directly on the basis of their monthly salary or through their business organizations.
The tourism sector's contribution to GDP is 4.4 per cent, said BIHA.
The COVID-19 has already caused a severe loss of about Tk 2,500 crore in the sector and if this situation continues, the loss of the hotels in Bangladesh will exceed Tk 7,000 crore by the end of this very year, BIHA said.
According to the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), more than 310,000 hotel workers and employees in Bangladesh are at risk of becoming unemployed as a result of the corona pandemic.
According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), a specialised agency of the United Nations, the Covid-19 pandemic has caused a 22 percent fall in international tourist arrivals during the first quarter of 2020.
UNWTO said the crisis could lead to an annual decline of between 60 percent and 80 percent as compared to 2019 figures.
The crisis in tourism business across the globe puts millions of livelihoods at risk and threatens to roll back progress made in advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Bidyanondo Foundation, known for innovative initiatives to serve the marginalised people even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit lives and livelihood in Bangladesh, have unveiled their latest initiative to feed the jobless and low-income people: an all-day all-you-can-eat buffet at an old restaurant converted into a 'Bidyanondo Mehmankhana' (Bidyanondo Guesthouse).
The organization is serving free food to almost two-thousand people every day since opening its doors on July 18 at the Khan Hotel, on Tipu Sultan road, Wari, Old Dhaka. This noble initiative has been garnering massive praise from people all over the city and became a trending issue on social media.
Since the beginning of nationwide lockdown, Bidyanondo has been fighting against the havoc of the pandemic on a larger scale of relief distribution with donations. It even started operating a full-fledged community hospital in Chittagong in a joint collaboration with Chittagong Metropolitan Police (CMP), for serving better healthcare to the marginalised people.
In these challenging times, when many people are unable to eat three meals in a day due to financial crisis, Bidyanondo has started operating this first community restaurant in Dhaka.
People from all walks of life are seatedunder one roof together to enjoy nutritious meals for free in Bidyanondo Mehmankhana.
While talking to UNB in detail about the holy initiative, Bidyanondo’s Dhaka unit branch manager Salman Khan Yeasin shared a heartwarming story, to begin with.
“Our Kishore da (Kishore Kumar Das), founder of Bidyanondo, had once been scolded by a restaurant authority - just for looking at the food at the shelve but not buying anything because he had no money. That incident during his childhood changed his perspective, and when we needed to start an initiative like this to serve foods to the needy ones during this crisis, he told us to immediately start this community restaurant - where no one has to look at the food helplessly or cross this place with being hungry, just because they do not have money.”
Describing the magnitude of their daily arrangements, Salman described that every day almost 50kg of flour to make roti and paratha, 50kg of chicken meat, 20kg of lentils and 4,000 eggs are being cooked to provide unlimited meals to the guests from 7 am to 9 pm.
“We did not start just for the sake of starting,” Salman continued. “We count every person as our honourable guest just like the customers in a restaurant - and we want to make them feel important, feel good. To maintain health safety, we check everyone’s body temperatures and make sure that the guests wash their hands before sitting at a table. We can serve up to 30 people at a time.”
The Khan Hotel
Speaking to UNB, Salman informed that the hotel is owned by the family of a Bidyanondo volunteer, Mohammad Arif Mahady - who came forward with his family to let the organization utilize it place for the noble venture. Currently studying at the Faridabad Arabic University In Mishkat Jamat, Arif shared his side of the story to UNB about the project and his involvement.
“This is our family hotel, and all my family members are heavily involved in the overall management,” he said. “Even my father is regularly monitoring every bit of maintenance till date and we, the brothers, often work here whenever we manage time from our schedules.”
On how he planned to let Bidyanondo use the hotel, Arif said, “Since the beginning of the lockdown, our hotel was sort of closed as people were not being able to eat outside. So when the plan was discussed among ourselves (Bidyanondo), I came up with the proposal to use this hotel and my family wholeheartedly agreed on this with further cooperation.”
Fifteen cooks and associates of the restaurant who had been furloughed by the lockdown, are now busy with preparing the foods - and three to four volunteers of Bidyanondo are working on a roster basis to monitor the overall process.
Since this community restaurant opened its doors on July 18, many low-income people including small business vendors, housemaids, beggars, cobblers and others have come here to have their daily meals.
According to Salman, to maintain the vision of not hurting anyone’s self-esteem, volunteers arranged a token system so that no one has to wait in line to receive the food like relief. If all the seats are taken, they can still collect the token and come back at a suitable time to have their meal.
He also informed UNB that the organization is planning to spread this idea of community restaurants in the whole country and soon they will be starting four other restaurants in different parts of the city.
In addition to that, Bidyanondo is also preparing to serve Eid meals and Qurbani meats to low-income people during the upcoming Eid ul Adha, both in the capital and several other parts of the country, according to Salman.
The prices of green chilli shot up to more than Tk 200 in the city kitchen markets with floods damaging crop fields in many districts leading to supply crunch.
Vendors in the capital said the prices of each kilogram of green chili increased to Tk 220 from Tk60-80 last week because of supply shortage. They said prices of different vegetables also increased in recent days.
Meanwhile, the price of broiler chickens came down by Tk20 from Tk150 per kg.
According to official figures, more than 8,000 hectares of chilli fields have been damaged by flood so far. Bangladesh produces around 0.14 million tonnes of green chilli a year.
Shahriar Alam, a resident of Bangshal of old Dhaka, said he bought a kg of green chili for Tk220 last week which was Tk60-80 two weeks ago.
“A kg tomato cost Tk130 which was Tk50-60 a couple of weeks ago. Prices of most vegetables increased in the kitchen market due to supply shortage,” he said.
Abu Bakar Siddique, vegetable trader of Najirabazar of Old Dhaka, said he sold each kg green chilli at Tk200-Tk220, tomato at Tk120-130, papaya at Tk60, bitter gourd at Tk80, lemon (four pieces) at Tk20-32, brinjal and pointed gourd Patal at Tk50-60 on Monday.
“Several items at the kitchen market somewhat went up in the last couple of days. We have nothing to do if the price increases in the wholesale market. We sell these in some profit,” he also said.
‘Survival is tough’
Zillur Rahman, a shopkeeper of the area, said they were selling each kg of local onion at Tk40-50 and imported one at Tk30, garlic at Tk80 -100 and ginger at Tk140-150.
“However, we are selling each kg cardamom at Tk3,200, cinnamon at Tk500 and cloves at Tk1,200 which somewhat increased as a second largest festival coming here. The prices could further increase if the customers had available here like previous years ahead of Eid-ul-Azha,” he said.
He said there is a good demand for the spices during Eid, so their prices may go up in the coming days of the second largest religious festival of Muslims in Bangladesh.
Abdus Sobhan Talukder, a vegetable wholesaler at Kawran Bazar said floods have affected vegetable production.
“We’re struggling because of COVID-19 and the flood is another curse. Our business is on the wane. It’s very tough to survive now,” he said.
Agriculture Minister Dr Muhammad Abdur Razzaque said that the government took different initiatives to reduce the Tk 349 crore damage caused by the flood.
“Flood-hit and small farmers will also get free saplings of Aman to plant through rice trans-planter at a cost of Tk 54 lakh. Around 50,000 farmers will be provided fertiliser and seeds of Maskolai worth Tk 3.82 crore if they fail to produce Aman in flood-hit areas,” he said.
The minister said in the first phase, floods from June 25 to July 8 affected approximately 76,310 hectares of paddy fields and 344,000 farmers in 14 districts. In the second phase, from July 11 to July 19, around 83,000 hectares of paddy fields in 26 districts, including the previous 14 districts, were damaged.
Even if it were to end today, merely 207 days into the calendar, the year 2020 has probably inflicted enough misery already on humanity across all corners of the planet, such that none would object to the application of the old Latin phrase ‘Annus horribilis’ (horrible year) in describing it.
The pandemic induced by a novel coronavirus, and the ruthless manner in which it has ravaged large swathes of the world population, with a distinct predilection for the elderly or otherwise vulnerable, is an obvious game-changer. With another 158 days still left in the year, already people can’t wait for it all to be over.
The year has taken away many noted personalities around the world and Bangladesh, including national professor Dr Anisuzzaman, journalist Kamal Lohani and engineer extraordinaire Jamilur Reza Choudhuryand more due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and other causes of death.
To honour the deceased, today we recall the contributions of some of the most noted individuals from the artistic and cultural firmament of Bangladesh, who all were taken away from us in the course of 2020 (in order of their time of death from the beginning of the year to July 2020.)
Dr Ashraf Siddiqui
Ekushey Padak winner internationally acclaimed Bangladeshi folklorist, researcher, essayist and poet Dr Ashraf Siddiqui passed away on March 19, 2020 at the age of 93.
Emerged as a promising young poet in the 1940s, Dr Ashraf cemented his legacy with around 500 poems including his legendary poem ‘Taleb Master’; 75 books including short stories, novels, children’s literature and many academic research articles on the folklore of Bangladesh in his seven-decade-long career. During his tenure as the Director-General of Bangla Academy from 1976-1982, he started the annual ‘Amar Ekushey Book Fair’ from 1977 in Bangla Academy ground.
In his successful career, Dr Siddiqui prestigiously held the positions of Kendrio Bangla Unnoyon Board director, chairman of Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS), president of Nazrul Academy and Nazrul Institute, principal of Jagannath College and more. National film award-winning film ‘Dumurer Phool’ (1978), directed by eminent filmmaker Subhash Dutta, was made from his story ‘Golir Dharer Chheleti’.
Ferdousi Ahmed Lina
One of the most familiar faces in television dramas and films, actress Ferdousi Ahmed Lina passed away on April 18 at the age of 63, due to kidney failure.
Ferdousi Ahmed Lina began her career in 1975 as a television artist and made her first appearance in BTV drama 'Kalo Kokila' in 1978. She made her film debut in 'Rajalakshmi Shrikanta', directed by Bulbul Ahmed. Her last film was 'Debdas', directed by late Chashi Nazrul Islam.
In her acclaimed career, Lina acted in several popular television dramas including 'Gulshan Avenue', drama series 'Ghatak Pakhi Bhai', 'Nandini' and more. She was also an official at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA).
Noted actor, film producer and director Rana Hamid passed away at a hospital in the capital on May 9, due to stomach cancer and kidney complications. He was a member of Bangladesh Film Censor Board.
A known face from the 90’s cinema industry in Bangladesh, Rana garnered prominence through his performance in the film ‘Gang Leader’ and also made several films including 'Masud Rana Ekhon Dhakay' and 'Dhakar Rani'.
During his career, Rana was a former Director of Bangladesh Film Development Corporation (BFDC) and was a member of Bangladesh Film Artistes’ Association.
Perhaps one of the biggest loss of Bangladesh in 2020, National Professor Dr Anisuzzaman passed away on May 14 at the age of 83. He was tested positive for COVID-19.
As one of the eminent Bangladeshi academics who earned massive respect from academicians around the world, Dr Anisuzzaman taught at Dhaka and Chittagong universities, was a post-doctoral fellow at University of Chicago, and a Commonwealth Academic Staff Fellow at University of London.
In his glorious career in academia, Prof Anisuzzaman was also associated with research projects of United Nations University and was a visiting fellow at the University of Paris, North Carolina State University, University of Calcutta and a visiting professor at Visva-Bharati of India.
For his immense contribution to the education sector of Bangladesh, he was awarded Ekushey Padak and Swadhinata Padak, the highest civilian awards of the country. The Indian government had awarded him Padma Bhushan, the country's third-highest civilian honour, for his distinguished service in fields of Bangla literature and education.
Dr Anisuzzaman has also served as the President of Bangla Academy till his death.
Ajmeri Zaman Reshma
Legendary actor and cultural personality Ajmeri Zaman Reshma passed away on May 20 due to old-age complications, at the age of 82.
Reshma earned the reputation of being an actor in the pre- and post-independence film industry of Bangladesh. She has also worked on the country’s theatre sphere and television as a presenter and newscaster.
She was hugely acclaimed for her performance on television in the Bangla adaptation by Munier Chowdhury of William Shakespeare’s "Taming of the Shrew," titled "Mukhora Romoni Boshikoron," with co-stars Golam Mustafa, Hasan Imam, Laila Hasan and many others in 1970. The drama was directed by artist Mostofa Monwar.
Debuted with the Urdu film "Jeena Bhi Mushkil," she tantalized her audiences in both Urdu and Bengali films like "Chokori, "Bhawal Shonnyashi," "Noyontara," "Indhan," "Darshan," "Chand aur Chandni," "Phir Milenge Hum Dono," "Shurjo Uthar Agey," "Megher Pore Megh" and "Shesh Uttor.".
Mustafa Kamal Sayed
Another epic loss for Bangladesh credited to the COVID-19 pandemic, eminent Bangladeshi television producer Mustafa Kamal Sayed passed away on May 31 at the age of 75.
Being the man who propelled Bangladeshi television contents as one of the founding producers of Bangladesh Television (BTV) from 1967 to 2004, Sayed joined popular Bangladeshi television channel NTV as its Chief of Programme after retiring from BTV. He took both the channels into massive heights with quality contents, along with launching a handful of young and promising talents in the television industry of Bangladesh who later established themselves as celebrities.
Syed was the recipient of National Award for Best Music Producer of Television in 1975.
Ekushey Padak winner veteran journalist and cultural personality Kamal Lohani became the most recent victim of the COVID-19 in the arts and culture sphere of Bangladesh on June 20.
Starting his celebrated career as a journalist in the Daily Millat in 1955, Kamal joined country’s renowned cultural institution Chhayanaut in 1962 as its General Secretary. He also formed ‘Kranti’, a left cultural organization in 1967 and served as the head of news of Shwadhin Bangla Betar Kendra during the Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971.
Throughout his eventful career, Kamal Lohani worked at reputed Bangladeshi newspapers including Daily Azad, Daily Sangbad, Daily Purbodesh, Dainik Barta and more. He has also served as the President of Dhaka Union of Journalists (DUJ).
Alongside his journalistic achievements, Kamal Lohani also performed his duty as the Director General of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA) from 2009 to 2011.
The Bengali writer who is known for his immensely popular classic ‘Memsaheb’, writer Nimai Bhattacharya passed away on June 25 at the age of 89 in Kolkata, India.
Born in Magura district under the British Presidency in 1931, the ‘Banga Bibhushan’ winner writer has penned over 150 books including ''Memsaheb'', ''Diplomat'', ''Minibus'', ''Inquilab'' and ''Imon Kalyan'' in his career.
His most popular novel ‘Memsaheb'’ was adapted into a commercially-successful movie starring Uttam Kumar and Aparna Sen in the lead roles.
The golden-voiced ‘King of Playback’ in the Bangladeshi music industry, Andrew Kishore, one of the most popular singers of the country, passed away on July 6 at the age of 64.
A record eight-times National Film Award winner, Andrew Kishore lost his long-fought battle with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer which he was diagnosed with on September, last year. He was receiving treatment in Singapore since then and came to his motherland on June 11.
An impossible number of 15,000 songs in his illustrious career, some of Andrew Kishore’s monumentally popular tracks are ‘Jiboner Golpo, Achhe Baki Olpo’, ‘Amar Buker Moddhe Khane’, ‘Dak Diyachhen Doyal Amare’, ‘Hayre Manush Rongin Fanush’, ‘Amar Shara Deho Kheyo Go Mati’, ‘Amar Babar Mukhe Prothom Jedin Shunechilam Gaan’, ‘Bhengeche Pinjor Meleche Dana’, ‘Bhalobese Gelam Shudhu’ etc.