Khulna, May 11 (UNB) - As rape has become a common crime in the country, 132 women and children have fallen victims to rapists in the district over the last two years.
Police say 75 of the incidents were reported in the city alone and the rest from different upazilas between May 2017 and April this year.
The victims include school children.
According to the district’s Law-and-order Committee report, charges have been pressed in court in most of the cases.
It also highlighted a disturbing development. Fifty cases have been filed under the Women and Children Repression Prevention Act in the district over the last three months.
The latest victim was a 10th grader. She was gang-raped by three stalkers on January 29. Police have arrested three suspects.
Secretary of Khulna Mahila Parishad Rasu Akhter blamed the rapes on moral degradation, pointing out to such incidents being reported from madrasas and temples.
But Anisur Rahman, additional superintendent of Khulna Metropolitan Police, claimed that the rate of rape incidents is declining in the district.
Public Prosecutor Jesmin Parveen of Women and Children Repression Prevention Tribunal-2 said there are three courts in the district to deal with torture and rape-related incidents.
Currently, the tribunals are handling about 3,000 cases. About eight to 10 cases get verdict on a regular basis.
The pace of rape case settlement is good, she said.
Kushtia, May 10 (UNB)- The construction of a magnificent complex is going on in full swing at Shilaidaha Kuthibari, Rabindranath Tagore’s country house that holds numerous memories of the celebrated poet.
Deputy Commissioner of the didtrict Aslam Hossain says he is happy with the pace of work. “Everyone’s saying that the work’s quality is very good. At the current pace, I hope it’ll be complete within the next year,” he says.
The Public Works Department is constructing the complex with India’s funding at the site, located some 20 kilometres off Kushtia town.
Architect Robiul Husain designed the complex being built on a six-acre plot in front of the mansion where Tagore spent many days in scenic surroundings.
Even though it is a popular tourist attraction, lack of facilities and hassle drove away the visitors.
During his 2013 visit, former Indian President Pranab Mukherjee promised to fund the refurbishment work and the complex’s construction.
The local administration then recovered six acres of land from illegal occupation in front of the cottage for constructing the new complex.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone in 2015.
The complex has a stage bearing Greek pattern, an amphitheatre, a two-storey cafeteria, a library-cum-documentation centre, a two-storey guesthouse, and a security shed. There is a ticket counter at the main entrance.
“Sixty percent work is done,” said Mokhlesur Rahman, custodian of Shilaidaha Kuthibari. “We hope it’ll be complete within 2020.”
Jhalakati, May 10 (UNB)– Boro farmers in the district had a bumper yield this year but falling prices have wiped the smile off their faces.
A favourable weather, coupled with the lack of insect attack and rain in February and March helped the rice grow abundantly.
From the high-yielding variety, farmers got about five to six tonnes of paddy from each hectare. The amount was double for the super hybrid variety.
According to the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE), this year Jhalakathi farmers brought 9,850 hectares of land under Boro cultivation. Different varieties, including super hybrid SL-8, BRI-28-29, BRI 47 and BINA-10, have been cultivated.
The high-yielding variety was cultivated on 9,550 hectares while the hybrid variety on 290 hectares and the local variety on 10 hectares.
The buoyant production, however, has pushed down the prices.
Farmers say producing one maund (about 37kg) of paddy cost them about Tk 450. Each maund is fetching only Tk 400.
“I didn’t sell my paddy seeing the low price. I’ll wait until the price rises a little,” says Dulal Hawladar from Sadar upazila.
With nearly 40 percent paddy already harvested, farmers are at a loss. They have demanded that the price be raised to Tk 700-800 per maund.
Although the government has announced to procure paddy at Tk 28 per kg, it is yet to start the drive.
Inaction from the authorities concerned has forced farmers to threaten to boycott Boro cultivation.
Yunus Majhi, a farmer from Nalchiti upazila, says he is counting losses and that it will be very hard, if not impossible, for him to continue cultivating Boro paddy.
Fazlul Haq, deputy director of DAE, says they are doing their best to make sure that the farmers get fair prices.
But so far, there has been no visible change.
Meherpur, May 9 (UNB) – Mujibnagar, named after Bangladesh’s founding father, occupies a special place in the country’s history. It was here on April 17, 1971, the provisional government was formed with Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as the president.
Baidyanathtala, a mango orchard in Meherpur where the event took place, was later renamed Mujibnagar. Nearly half a century later, sculptures highlighting key events of Bangladesh’s Liberation War are being installed there to inform people about the nation’s struggle for freedom.
The multi-million taka projects include infrastructural development, Liberation War-based memorial map and museum.
State Minister for Public Administration Farhad Hossain said the project design was finalised in 1998 and the government has already allocated Tk 1,000 crore for the project.
A number of multi-storey buildings, including tourism motel, shopping mall, Sishu Polly, mosque, post office, telephone office, roads, and helipad have been constructed along with a rose garden.
A Liberation War map shows the 11 sectors the country was divided into during the War of Independence.
It also shows the exodus of Bangalees to India through areas, including Benapole, Bangaon and Netrakona.
The destruction of Hardinge Bridge during the war, hoisting of flag by ASM Abdur Rab, reading out the manifesto by Shajahan Siraj, a number of battles between Pakistani forces and freedom fighters have also been shown.
The map also depicts the occupation force’s massacre at Rajarbagh Police Lines and Jagannath Hall in Dhaka, Pahartali in Chattogram and Rajshahi, the destruction of the Jatiya Press Club, attack on Secretariat and Pilkhana, the killing of intellectuals and the Rayer Bazar mass killing ground.
Forty sculptures have been installed around the map showing the courageous leadership and roles of the leaders during the Liberation War.
The Liberation War museum contains images of the then army chief, deputy chief, Bir Uttams, four national leaders, Taramon Bibi and Setara Begum. There are 29 bronze busts and oil paintings of 30 important national leaders.
The outer side of the map has been decorated with a mural depicting Bangabandhu’s historic March 7 speech, the dark night of March 26, rape and torture of women by Pakistani occupation forces, and torching of freedom fighters’ houses.
Other historical events, such as the oath-taking of the Mujibnagar government and guard of honour, clandestine meeting of sector commanders in Sylhet’s Teliapara, and surrender of Pakistani forces have been depicted with life-size statues.
Former Meherpur MP Prof Abdul Mannan said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina planned to build Mujibnagar Complex to preserve the memory of this historical place.
Gopal Chandra Pal, the chief sculptor of the project, said hundreds of people visit the place every day. “They basically come here to learn about the Liberation War by seeing the sculptures,” he said.
Dhaka, May 9 (UNB) - The government has taken initiatives to make state-run sugar mills profitable by keeping those operational throughout the year and diversifying their activities.
Currently, there are 15 sugar mills under the Bangladesh Sugar and Food Industries Corporation and those are dogged by losses, said officials.
They said these sugar mills usually remain idle for 8-9 months a year when it is not crushing season but they have to provide the salaries of its officials and labourers, and continue other related activities round the year, increasing their losses.
According to an official document, the government has taken a move to keep open these mills round the year and even during the off-season through producing white sugar from imported raw sugar.
The government is now implementing a project in the North Bengal Sugar Mill to produce electricity and white sugar during the off-season through a co-generation system.
The Planning Commission has given permission to include the production of distillery, biogas and bio-compost plant using the byproducts of the sugar mills under the project.
Once the project is implemented, sugar harvesting will be increased, while its quality will be improved in addition to increased production. Besides, it will be helpful to mitigate the power deficit and increase their incomes through producing products from their byproducts.
The official document says that a pilot project has been taken by Bangladesh Sugarcrop Research Institute to produce sugar from sugar beet.
It says necessary machineries are being installed in Thakurgaon Sugar Mill as part of the process of replacing the old ones to produce sugar from sugar beet on experimental basis.
To boost the income, bio-fertiliser plant has been installed at Keru and Co (BD) to use the byproduct -- 'press mud' -- of the sugar mills and byproduct of Keru distillery 'spent-wash'. Currently, the plant is producing and marketing bio-fertiliser commercially.
Another project -- 'Setting up of waste purifying plant in 14 sugar mills'-- is being implemented to make mill areas more environment-friendly one.
Meanwhile, two projects have been included in the 2018-19 fiscal year’s ADP without any allocation. These two projects are: ‘Replacement of old rotary vacuum filters, juice clarifiers and centrifugal machines in 13 sugar mills and setting up of pulp plants, fruit-processing and bottling in Rajshahi Sugar Mill.
A senior official at the Industries Ministry said the government has taken the move to diversify the activities of the sugar mills and thus make those profitable alongside creating more jobs.
"We want to optimize the use of infrastructures of the sugar mills in the interest of the country," he said.