AKM Moinuddin, Back from Xinjiang, China
Dhaka, Sept 3 (UNB) – China has said the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping, is not only for the development of China but it is also an answer for the common destination of human being through stronger partnership and broader connectivity among countries along the Belt and Road.
Describing massive development in the largest region Xinjiang, China has also said they have made a lot of achievements in terms of social stability in the region that the international media should see with an eye of “objective understanding”.
“We’ve made a lot of achievements. Terrorism, separatist and religious extremist ideas, these aren’t only the problems of China but these are also the common problems all over the world,” Vice Director of the Information Office of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region Ailit Shaliyefu told UNB.
He said China is making the best use of Xinjiang’s geographic advantages and its role as a window of westward opening-up to deepen communication and cooperation with Central, South and West Asian countries.
Xinjiang works as a key transportation, trade, logistics, culture, science and education centre, and a core area on the Silk Road Economic Belt.
During Xi’s historic visit, Bangladesh formally joined the 'Belt and Road Initiative', a drive which has already drawn the close attention of the world.
Responding to a question, the senior Chinese official said the global problems of separatists, religious extremists and terrorism could be solved under the framework of common destination of human being.
Vice Director of the Information Office of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region Ailit Shaliyefu. Photo: UNB
“We know we also have some problems. However, we believe all the problems will be fixed in the future and the situation will even be better,” Ailit said.
He said some of the information China’s foreign friends hear about Xinjiang are “misleading or false, even biased ones.” “You’ve visited here; you saw what’s really happening here. You can continuously pay attention what’s happening here to have an objective understanding of Xinxiang.”
Xinjiang, the resource-blessed largest region of China, is bordered by eight countries -- Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India -- with a borderline of more than 5600 kilometres.
Responding to a question, Ailit said they believe other common problems of countries along the Silk Road Economic Belt, component of the Belt and Road Initiative, will be resolved by not a single country but by all.
He hoped that more international cities and cosmopolitans along this belt and road will prosper just because of connections and connectivity.
The Belt and Road Initiative aims to promote the connectivity of Asian, European and African continents and their adjacent seas, set up all-dimensional, multi-tiered and composite connectivity networks, and realise diversified, independent, balanced and sustainable development in these countries.
Responding to a question, the official said they will be taken into custody as per the laws of China if anybody breaks that. “If anybody is misled or cheated by evil force, we’ll educate them and bring them back to society after correction.”
Ailit said awareness campaign and education for better understanding over religion are going on in every educational institution to help young people have better and deep understanding so that they are not misled or cheated. “It’s important to have the correct understanding of religion and history.”
He said separatist forces in and out of China, and some international organisations tried to destroy stability in Xinjiang as ‘some countries wished to do so’.
The official said about 200 billion Yuan were invested in Xingjian in 2017 which is much more than other places in China.
At the end of current year, officials said, the first line of the six-lane 100-km subway will be opened to public which covers 20 km inside the Urumqi city.
The Chinese government officials say these examples show the “unprecedented opportunities” for Xinxiang with support from China’s central government.
According to Chinese government sources, high-speed trains from Urumqi to Beijing will be opened to public soon, which was designed to reach Beijing from Urumqi by 15-16 hours.
Responding to a question, Ailit said Xingjian is so rich in terms of electricity generation -- wind power, solar energy, hydro power and coal power.
From January to July this year, some 75 million tourists visited Xinxiang and by the end of this year, the Chinese Tourism Bureau, is expecting to receive more than 100 million tourists.
Ailit said development of tourism requires stability of society and Xingjian can attract more and more tourists just because of that stability.
“I believe some of the journalists from countries along the Silk Road Economic Belt may have better understanding about great changes in their countries. We also have witnessed great changes in this area. However, some media may not be very happy about this initiative,” he said.
Xinjiang is a multi-ethnic area and a region of rich cultural resources and there are 56 ethnic groups living in the vast land of Xinjiang, with a population of nearly 21.81 million, according to Chinese government data.
In Xinjiang, there are 13 native inhabitants, namely Uygur, Han, Kazak, Hui, Mongolian, Kirgiz, Xibo, Manchu, Tajik, Uzbek, Daur, Tatar and Russian.
Dhaka, Sept 3 (UNB) – As part of its Power System Master Plan (PSMP) 2016, the government is going to implement 10 mega projects of about 15,000 MW of capacity by 2030.
Director General of Power Cell Mohammad Hossain who is involved in chalking out the plan said the government has already initiated a move to implement the plan as per its vision to raise electricity production to 40,000 MW by 2030 and 60,000 MW by 2041.
However, the government’s main focus in the existing plan is on raising the electricity production to 24,000 MW by 2021 when the country will be celebrating its Golden Jubilee at 50th year of independence, said the Power Cell chief.
Power Cell, a technical wing of the Power Division, has been entrusted with the responsibility to prepare the PSMP and other power-related plans to ensure coordination among power sector entities.
Of the 15,000 MW of power, officials said, 11,000 MW will come from nine projects of Power and Energy Ministry while 4,000 MW from nuclear power plant under the Ministry of Science and Technology.
They said implementation of three of nine mega projects under the Power and Energy Ministry have already started while the first phase of 2,400 MW of the 4,000MW nuclear power started by the Ministry of Science and Technology.
These are 1320 MW Moittri Super Thermal Power Project taken by Bangladesh-India Joint Venture with a target to implement it by 2019 in Rampal, 1200 MW Materbari Coal-based Power Plant of Coal Power General Company Bangladesh Ltd (CPGCBL) in Cox’s Bazar being financed by JICA with a targeted implementation time of 2021 and the 1320 MW Paira Coal-based Power Pant taken by Bangladesh-China JV.
According to the officials, the remaining seven mega projects are now at different stages of implementation although their physical works could not yet be started because of non-settlement of funding and some other technical issues.
These are 1320 MW Pekua power plant of EGCB-MITSUI joint venture (Targeted implementation time 2023), PDB’s 1200 MW Moheshkhali coal-fired power (2024), 1320 MW Moheshkhali coal-fired power plant with an implementation target of 2022, 1320 MW Ashuganj power plant (2021), 1200 MW coal-fired power plant of CPGCL-SEMCROP (2023) and LNG-based combined cycle power plant of Reliance Group of India (2023).
The remaining 1600 MW nuclear power plant has been targeted by the Ministry of Science and Technology to implement by 2030.
Dhaka, Sept 2 (UNB) – Though Bangladesh’s diplomatic efforts yielded success to evoke global support over Rohingya crisis, former Foreign Minister Dr Dipu Moni MP thinks Myanmar’s traditional character suggests it may not easily succumb to international pressure to pave the way for quick repatriation of its forcibly displaced people.
In an interview with UNB at her office in Parliament, she also said Bangladesh has to continue its bilateral, regional and multi-lateral efforts to overcome the crisis without hampering the bilateral ties with close neighbour Myanmar.
Dipu, also the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said, “We aren’t lagging behind in diplomacy to resolve the Rohingya crisis.”
“It’s important to understand the character of Myanmar first. This is such a country which brutally attacked its own minority population. So, it can’t be expected that the country will change its character within one year facing pressure from different countries,” she observed.
Mentioning that the displaced Rohingyas are not the victims of any natural disaster, the former Foreign Minister also said the Rohingyas may not want to go back home unless a suitable environment, security and basic rights are ensured in Myanmar as they have horrific experience of oppression in their own country.
“So, it’s not logical to think that such a crisis can be resolved only in one year,” she observed.
As Myanmar is a neighbouring country, Bangladesh cannot shut the door of bilateral discussions and compromise, said Dipu said adding, “We can change history, but we can’t change our geography. So, we must try to overcome this crisis keeping our bilateral ties unhurt.”
She lauded the role of the government so far it has played in getting a way out for resolving the crisis with support from the global community. “It’s a diplomatic success of Bangladesh that the entire world is supporting it.”
“Due to Bangladesh’s strong diplomatic efforts, different global organisations, including the United Nations and its human rights organisations, identified the persecution on the Rohingyas as ‘genocide’, ‘ethnic cleansing and a serious violation of human rights,” Dipu viewed.
In her interview with UNB, Dipu, the country’s first female foreign minister, also talked about violence against women and identified it as one of the major obstacles to the way of women’s development.
She thinks patriarchy and patriarchal mentality of both men and women are behind the violence against women.
Violence against women is a widespread problem not only in Bangladesh, but also in the developed countries of the world where gender equality and women’s rights are ensured, she said urging for joint efforts from both men and women to fight against the patriarchy.
“Women are human being, and their human rights must be ensured,” Dipu added.
Appreciating the support of men for women’s progress in society, she focused on creating public awareness about violence against women and fight against such social menace.
Stating that Bangladesh has a strong legal structure to tackle violence against women, especially the domestic one, Dipu said proper implementation of laws are crucial to stop it.
Narayanganj, Sep 2 (UNB) – In rapidly urbanising, largely industrial Narayanganj, restoration work on the man-made Gymkhana Lake is proving literally to be a breath of fresh air for the city’s nearly 1.5 million dwellers.
Part of the larger Baburail Canal Restoration project undertaken by the Narayanganj City Corporation under mayor Selina Hayat Ivy, the lake named after the city’s historic Gymkhana Club is already a popular recreation spot, where residents flock to avail the opportunities it provides for play, enjoying some leisure time or just to hang out with friends in an outdoor setting without the feeling of choking yourself on smog.
Some of them call it the ‘Hatirjheel of Narayanganj’- after the sprawling, mid-town drainage and sanitation project that, with some choice beautifications, turned into something of an urban oasis for the besieged residents of capital Dhaka.
The much smaller, more compact Gymkhana Lake is bordered on its south side by the Morgan School in Deobhog, from where it stretches till the Mobarak Shah Road.
There is seating provided by the NCC at the north side of lake, while Sheikh Russel Park is an emerging east side development, currently featuring an open stage that gives it the feeling of the Rabindra Sarobar on Dhanmandi Lake. Though the park has no lighting system yet, illumination is not a problem thanks to the NCC’s recent shift to LED lighting
A pedestrian bridge in the middle of the lake is another beautiful spot on the Gymkhana Lake. Elevated and secluded, it is particularly attractive to young couples on moonlit nights.
A public toilet, a gymnasium and intriguingly a ladies’ swimming pool are in the pipeline of plans around the lake, under the Sheikh Russell Park development component, according to Mayor Ivy.
Already different cultural and political programmes have been held by the lake, including during the last Pohela Boishakh, the biggest such occasion.
The Baburail Canal Restoration project, claimed to represent ‘a revolutionary milestone’ in urban development by its supporters, is still nearing completion.
Yet the residents of Narayanganj already display a distinct affinity for one small component of the overall project, which once complete will do the important work of reestablishing the old link between the Shitalakkhya and Dhaleshwari rivers that cradle this important port city on the commercial route to Dhaka.
With important implications for commuting in the city, the two rivers’ navigability, and dealing with waterlogging for the city corporation, Narayanganjers are likely to love it even more still.
Manikganj, Aug 30 (UNB) – Many houses and establishments, especially a widely used bridge in the district town, stand threatened due to riverbank erosion caused by illegal sand lifting from the Kaliganga River.
During a recent visit to Beutha Bridge area, this UNB correspondent found that illegal sand lifting was going on relentlessly under the nose of the local administration, endangering the adjacent locality.
A huge water body was created along the Beutha Bridge following the illegal sand lifting as well as many houses, business establishments and a number of trees in Andharmanik, Joynagar and Nayakandi villages under the municipality area collapsed in recent times, according to locals.
Now the Beutha Bridge faces the risk of being eroded into the river due to the unabated sand lifting, they added.
Meanwhile, the villagers have placed bamboo sticks and logs on the river banks to check further erosion and urged the authorities concerned to take immediate measures to stop all the dredging activities in the area.
While talking to UNB, villagers said 10-12 houses of Hindupara at Andharmanik village have already got inundated and the whole area may go into the river if it is not protected immediately.
A resident of the area, wishing anonymity, said local influential people are behind the illegal sand lifting.
Badal Chandra Biswas, a resident of Hindupara, told UNB, “16 decimals of land of mine have already gone into gorge of the river following the sand lifting, and only my dwelling house is still left unaffected though it stands threatened.”
Some locals, including Jatin Biswas, Rupchan Biswas, Kiron Chandra Saha, Rajendra Biswas, said they are passing a horrific time in a fear of losing their houses as they have already lost most of their croplands.
They fear that they will lose everything if the authorities concerned do not take effective measures immediately.
Manikganj Municipality Mayor Gazi Kamrul Huda Selim said the local administration did not take any initiative yet for unknown reasons though they were informed repeatedly.
Contacted, Deputy Commissioner of the district SM Ferdous said, “Action will be taken against sand lifters if it’s found that the riverbank erosion is taking place because of that.”
He said the local UNO and officer-in-charge of Sadar Police Station have already been informed about it.