Dhaka, Oct 17 (UNB) – The government has reduced the cost of Mobile Number Portability (MNP) service that enables the customers to switch to different operators without changing their existing mobile phone numbers, from Tk 157.50 to Tk 57.50.
After its initial launch on October 1, the charge for MNP service was a total of Tk 157.50 including SIM Tax – Tk 100, Service Charge – Tk 50 and 15 percent VAT.
The reduction comes with the government deciding to cut down the Tk. 100 SIM Tax, reducing the total cost to only Tk 57.50, Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology Minister Mustafa Jabbar told UNB on Wednesday.
“The Finance Ministry approved a proposal of reducing the SIM Tax which was earlier sent by the Posts, Telecommunications and IT Ministry and the official announcement about the cost reduction will be made within three or four days”, he said.
“Though the MNP service was launched earlier, but formally Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will inaugurate the service from Ganabhaban on October 21 around 10 am”, he said.
“Already the service has triggered a great enthusiasm among the people. Beside it would inevitably ensure the quality service of the mobile phone operators otherwise they would lose their customer”, the minister said.
The ministry has recently approved a Quality of Service (QOS) policy and directed BTRC to monitor and send letters to the mobile operators regarding the matter, he said.
The QOS would monitor network speed, voice call quality, call drops etc.
Within five days of launching the service a total of 10,122 requests have been received to switch the operators and among them porting was successfully completed of 4,182 requests.
A total of 1834 customers switched from Grameenphone (GP), 972 from Robi, 130 from Teletalk and 1276 from Banglalink in first five days.
Meanwhile, GP received 682 clients, Robi 2,341, Banglalink 1,089 and Teletalk 89.
Bangladesh has introduced the service as the 72nd country in the world.
Infozillion BD Teletech, a joint venture between a Bangladeshi firm and a Slovenian firm, which received the licence of the service, completed the preparations for the launch.
Kushtia, Oct 18 (UNB) – A Frenchwoman named Deborah Cukirman has transformed herself into a devotee of mystic legend Lalon Fakir and started living in Doulatpur upazila of the district.
Deborah, a good translator and a former French Yoga teacher, is known as Deborah Zannat.
She came to Bangladesh in February, 2016 for researching the life and philosophy of the Baul king, Fakir Lalon Shah, and got intrigued by the life of Lalon Shah.
Deborah has since returned to France but failed to stay there and returned to Bangladesh. Now she has got serenity here and started to live here. She also took the discipleship of renowned Baul Fakir Nahir Shaha.
During a visit to the Lalon Shah shrine at Chheuria in Kumarkhali upazila, this correspondent saw Deborah with other devotees of Lalon as a three-day Lalon Festival, to commemorate the 128th death anniversary of Lalon, is going on there.
Deborah said, “I have come here for researching the life of the philosophy of Fakir Lalon Shah in 2016 and I fell in love with the philosophy of Lalon Saiji. At first I did not know how to speak Bengali but without knowing Bengali language I started to live under the guardianship of my guru.”
Deborah got married to Rajon, a pupil of Nahir Shaha few days ago as per the directives of the guru.
Fakir Nahir Shaha, said “Deborah came to Bangladesh two years back and I know her through a journalist. We had a discussion over Lalon philosophy and she expressed solidarity with the philosophy of Lalon. I have told her to learn Bangali and after that I started to give her lesson about Lalon philosophy.”
Earlier, a three-day Lalon festival kicked off at Lalon Akhra of Cheuria village of the district in memory of legendry mystic bard Baul king Lalon Shah on Tuesday.
Lalon Shah was a Bengali baul, mystic, songwriter, social reformer and secular thinker. He has become an icon of religious tolerance and secularism in Bengali culture.
Satkhira, Oct 17 (UNB) – Many poor rural people of the district have found the cultivation of herbal plant ‘Vasak’ highly profitable as different pharmaceutical companies are collecting its leaves from villagers at good prices because of its huge medical values.
Vasaka or Adhatoda vasica or Malabar nut is an important Ayurvedic medicinal herb. All parts of the plant -- from root to leaves -- are used to treat many ailments. The plant is said to be effective in treating asthma, bronchitis, tuberculosis and other raspatory disorders.
Hafizur Rahman, a resident of Fingri village in Sadar upazila, said once they planted Vasak tree as a fence of their house and considered its leaves as garbage. Now, they are making money by selling those in the market.
Amirun Begum, another resident of the village, said she normally buys per kilogram fresh leaves at Tk 5 and then she sells it at Tk 35 per kg.
She said various pharmaceutical companies purchase Vasak leaves from villages of the district for making medicines.
Beauty Begum, a leader of Vasak leaves collection group, said, “Once there was no financial importance of these leaves to us. We used the tree as fence of our house. Now, we collect leaves and sell those in the market.”
Sabina Khatun, Bina Das, Johora Khatun, Oporna Das, Rohela Khatun, Anwara Begum, Rebeka Sultana, Nasima Khatun, Nazma Begum, Hafizul Islam, Amina Khatun are among those who are making money selling Vasak leaves.
There are huge Vasak plants on both sides of a 6-km road in Fingri union of sadar upazila. Besides, there are around 10,000 Vasak trees at the homesteads of many people in the upazila. Some 100 tons of fresh leaves and around 26 tons dry leaves are collected here every year.
Md Shamim Alam, an official at Satkhira Water Development Board, said around 285 women of the union are collecting leaves under ‘Blue Gold Project’ of the board. Different pharmaceutical companies buy their leaves.
Md Anwarul Islam, a representative of Square Pharmaceuticals Limited, said the demand of Vasak leaves is growing as it is widely used to make cough syrup.
Prof Dr Nasrin Akhter, the head of Botany department of Satkhira Government College, said Vasak plants are commercially grown here and elsewhere in the country as its leaves have huge medicinal values.
Besides, he said, the soil of the district is suitable for Vasak cultivation.
Dhaka, Oct 16 (UNB) – Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Zhang Zuo has said China and Bangladesh will emerge as “great partners of win-win cooperation” taking the relations to a next level through greater cooperation in core areas as it expects a stable political environment in Bangladesh.
“I do hope Bangladesh will have a very smooth general election and the political situation will remain stable during the whole election process,” he said in an exclusive interview with UNB.
Apparently putting emphasis on the continuation of stable political environment, Ambassador Zuo said China would respect the choice to be made by Bangladeshi people.
“I also hope the friendship between China and Bangladesh will last forever,” he said adding that lots of opportunities have emerged in Bangladesh-China relations that can be explored through joint efforts.
Referring to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Bangladesh in October 2016, Ambassador Zuo said the two leaders -- Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and President Xi -- elevated the bilateral relationship to strategic partnership of cooperation with the historic visit.
“This has created opportunities for greater cooperation…both the countries have opened a new chapter in their relations,” said the Ambassador.
He said efforts are on to take cooperation and collaboration between the two countries to core areas -- economic and commerce, investment, cultural and people to people contact -- to the next level.
Ambassador Zuo, who arrived in Dhaka in February 2018 taking up his new assignment here, said since the visit of Chinese President to Bangladesh, the cooperation in commerce and trade between China and Bangladesh as well as people-to-people relationship have reached a newer height.
Talking about the much-hyped Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), he said Chinese President Xi put forward the BRI in 2013 and it got a very positive response from all over the world.
The BRI wants 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.
It aims to link Southeast Asia, Central Asia, the Gulf region, Africa and Europe with a network of land and sea route.
“In terms of development assistance and investment, we’re now in a very good shape,” said the Ambassador adding that they look forward to fully availing of the opportunities created by the State visit of President Xi and bring more results for the people of the two countries.
Stressing the importance of people-to-people contact, the Chinese envoy said enhancing people-to-people exchanges and connectivity is one of the key components of strengthening China-Bangladesh strategic partnership of cooperation.
The Ambassador laid emphasis on deeper cooperation among the media organisations of the two countries saying that the media have an important role to play in promoting the relations.
“I would like to stress the importance of the role of media. I believe both the traditional and new media can help build a bridge between China and Bangladesh when we look at economic cooperation and many other aspects,” he said.
Highlighting cooperation in education sector, Ambassador Zuo said China wants to promote cooperation in the areas of education and scientific research.
“Every year over 3,000 Bangladeshi students go to China for education. I believe this is an important part of our relations. I hope we can together promote collaboration in this area,” he added.
Ambassador Zuo, who has a PhD in Management, said he also looks forward to promoting communication linking youths and women.
The Chinese side invited 150 Bangladeshi youths to China for half a month youth camp and the programme went very well, he mentioned.
“I hope we can have more communication between our female members,” said the Ambassador.
He also talked about initiatives to promote greater collaboration and communication in the areas of culture, arts and tourism.
The Chinese Ambassador laid emphasis on building an effective platform of discussion and sharing to further enhance the practical economic cooperation between Bangladesh and China.
In 2017, the bilateral trade value reached US$ 16 billion, 5.8 percent higher than the last year, with China remaining the number one trade partner to Bangladesh; the engineering contracts signed between Bangladesh and Chinese companies reached US$ 10.4 billion, the second in the South Asian region.
During the first half of this year, the bilateral trade value stood at US$ 9.35 billion, with a growth rate of 17.6 percent year-on-year; the contracts signed are worth US$ 3.57 billion, a growth rate of 8.6 percent year-on-year.
Ambassador Zuo said Bangladesh is a very prosperous country that generated some world famous artists and writers, and recalled the rich works of great poet Rabindranath Tagore.
“He (Tagore) is a very famous figure in China, too. Before I came here I had gone through his great poem the ‘Golden Bengal’. That piece of work gave me a deeper understanding about Bangladesh,” he said.
Sylhet, Oct 15 (UNB) – When many people cannot earn enough to support their families even doing decent jobs, Bipul Chandra Das, a tea seller in Bishwanath upazila stands out from the rest.
Bipul has carved a reputation for himself by offering tea to those who call him over the phone.
Popularly known as ‘Tea Babu’, his unique livelihood fetches enough to feed his four-member family, serving tea from dawn to dusk in Puran Bazar area of the district for the past 10 years.
"Most of the shopkeepers of the old market area know my phone number, they call me and order tea over phone. I rush over to serve tea to them and it works like a cycle,” Bipul said.
Selling only liquored tea at Tk 5 per cup, he earns Tk 600-700 per day selling tea, down from TK 1200-1500 during his tea-peddling heydays, but still a hefty income nevertheless.
“The profit multiplies in winter season as the sale goes even higher,” Bipul went on saying.
Bipul himself prepares tea at a small congested cubicle attached to a two-stored building in old market area and brings it to the callers as soon as they order tea over their phones.
Unfortunately, his base offers no space for tea lovers, hence he wanders around the area and sells it on request over phone.
While this reporter caught eye on him entering a decorator shop beside police station with two tea cups on a tray, Bipul's phone rang out, ordering another five cups of tea from a nearby shop.
"Babu has become popular for his raw tea as he possesses a good hand in making it and makes sure that his tea reaches shop timely," said Akhter Ahmed, an ardent fan of Bipul's tea and a trader at Puran Bazar.