Brahmanbaria, Sept 30 (UNB) – A school playground is a place from where students return to their classes with a fresh zeal after recess, but the students of a government primary school in Sarail upazila have a different experience.
They are not as lucky as other students of many schools in the country as a section of people have turned their playground into a fish enclosure obstructing the discharge of rainwater into the nearby canal.
The students of Shahzadpur East Government Primary School are being deprived of plying games or sports or arranging cultural progammes on their playground due to stagnant water.
Talking to the UNB correspondent during a recent visit to the school, some students and local people said rainwater used to get drained out from the field within 1-2 hours of rain through an adjacent canal but now that way-out for rainwater has been blocked and it remains waterlogged always.
Students of the school said now they cannot play during their tiffin break or sing the national anthem together as the playground remains waterlogged all the time.
There are four teachers and 187 students in the school, and its classes are held on the first floor of the school building while the ground floor is used for meeting with guardians.
Now the meetings of guardians cannot be arranged on the ground floor for the stagnant water, locals alleged.
As the schoolground is 3-feet lower than the road it gets waterlogged during monsoon, causing immense sufferings to its students and teachers, and guardians.
Some influential people have started cultivating fish blocking the path of rainwater discharge ignoring the children’s need and inconveniences of teachers and guardians, the locals complained.
Once the schoolground was used for many purposes, including holding cultural programmes or namaz-e-janzas of deceased, but now all have been stopped, they said.
They demanded the authorities concerned take immediate steps to drain out the stagnant water from schoolground and make it useful to school children.
Yasmin Begum, headteacher of the school, said Aziz, a relative of school committee president Dulalur Rahman, is involved in fish farming in the schoolground.
Abdul Aziz, Upazila Education Officer, said a probe committee has been formed in this regard and action will be taken once the probe report is available.
Dhaka, Sep 29 (UNB) – The Local Government Division (LGD) is going for a Waste-to-Energy project in coordination with the Power Division to manage solid municipal waste (SMW) to be collected from city corporation areas of Dhaka and Chattogram.
Official sources in the LGD and Power Division said the project will be implemented in the private sector. The Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) will purchase the electricity.
There will be no tipping fee for the project sponsor while the city corporations will ensure adequate supply of waste to the project as per agreement, said the sources.
Heat generated from burning the waste will be used to produce power, officials said, adding that such project is available in China and many Asian countries.
They said the first project will be implemented in Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) area on a pilot basis.
“If it’s successful, then more projects will be implemented in other areas,” said Mohammad Alauddin, joint secretary (renewable energy) of the Power Division, who is also a member of the high-powered working group formed by LGD.
Officials said initiatives to generate power from SMW were taken several times in the last 20 years.
“But none of them succeeded because of a lack of coordination among government agencies, absence of policy support and cost effectiveness,” said a top BPDB official working closely with renewable energy projects.
“This time we hope things will move positively as all relevant agencies, stakeholders and the Prime Minister’s Office are serious about successful implementation of the project,” he told UNB, declining to be named.
He mentioned that a Waste-to-Energy project, recently undertaken by PDB in Keraniganj municipal area, was cancelled because of high cost of electricity tariff – Tk40 per kilowatt hour – offered by the interested private firm.
The deficiency of solid waste was another reason for the cancellation of the project.
Official sources said the new project plan came into the forefront as the two dumping stations of DNCC and Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) at Aminbazar and Matuaile are going to be filled within two years.
The Department of Environment also raised concerns about the existing waste management system which creates environmental risks.
The LGD convened a meeting on April 25 this year and formed a seven-member working group headed by additional secretary of the ministry.
The other members of the working group are – BPDB chairman, member of Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority (Sreda), chief executive officers of DNCC and DSCC, a joint secretary of Power Division and a representative of DoE.
During discussion, it found that the Prime Minister had instructed the authorities concerned during an Ecnec meeting on December 1, 2015 to introduce incineration system for waste management.
Official sources said the working group set a detailed coordinated working process to implement incineration-based Waste-to-Energy project for garbage management.
As part of the detail process, DNCC received 17 proposals from international firms. The Power Division scrutinised the proposals and initially selected four of them, said a top official.
The proposals were sent to BPDB for a final scrutiny where they will be shortlisted and asked to submit financial proposals.
A BPDB official said the working group has recommended implementing the project on unsolicited basis under the Increase of Speedy Supply of Power and Energy Act 2010 to implement it swiftly.
Four agreements will be signed with a firm once it is selected. They are – Implementation Agreement, Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), Land Lease Agreement and Waste Supply Agreement.
Narayanganj, Sep 29 (UNB) – The Khan Saheb Osmani Stadium in Fatullah, which had become one of the most important venues for cricket in the country since gaining ICC recognition in 2006, is today on the verge of destruction due to persistent waterlogging.
Witnesses said piles of waste peer out of the entrance to the link road of the stadium where the canal for water drainage between the link road and the stadium has turned into a garbage dump.
The glass exteriors of the commentary box and hospitality suites have numerous cracks on them, while the roof installed over the gallery seats to protect spectators from rain or sunshine has already collapsed.
Instead of the carnival atmosphere it witnessed while hosting a number of international fixtures for Bangladesh from 2006-2015, today it resembles an abandoned ghost town, or something out of Armageddon.
Seasonal rainwater plus water trapped in the area for years from the Dhaka-Narayanganj-Demra canal system mixed in with factory chemicals has turned the entire venue, including the practise area, into a giant cesspool.
The road along the three-minute walk leading to the stadium is inundated by contaminated water trapped there for years with awful odors. The stagnant water has become a breeding ground for insects and mosquitoes.
The stadium with a capacity of 25,000 spectators started its journey as an international venue on March 23, 2006 with an ODI between Bangladesh and Kenya. That same year, it hosted its first Test match during Australia’s tour of Bangladesh. The journey concluded with another match between Bangladesh and India on April 28.
It did not get the chance to host any T20s of Bangladesh. In fact, as the waterlogging problem emerged, Fatullah has not seen any international cricket since 2015.
The venue has been losing proper care as no international games are held there and it will lose its efficacy entirely if this condition prevails.
Locals said that the main site on which the stadium was built used to be a water body, and in fact the entire area had been a low-lying area with no houses, residences or business establishments adjacent to it.
But a number of new establishments were built around the stadium which pushed the land of the stadium to an even lower level compared to other places. The canal that was supposed to drain out unnecessary water from the stadium is now performing the opposite duty and causing water stagnation there.
Locals demanded immediate removal of the waste and water from the stadium and remedial measures to ensure Narayanganj can regularly start hosting international matches again.
Tanvir Ahmed Titu, General Secretary of district Sports Association, said: “We know about the critical condition of the stadium but we’ve nothing to do about it as it is the duty of Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) to take care of the stadium.”
Venue Manager Md Bablu Mia said a development project of the stadium is underway and BCB is supervising it.
A group of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet) engineers have been working to figure out how the stadium can be sustainably renovated and work will begin after the Buet team submits their plan shortly, he added.
Abdul Baten, Manager of Ground and Facilities department of BCB, said they were working to develop the facilities of the main and outer stadium.
The ground level of the stadium is much lower than adjacent area which is causing the persistent waterlogging after rain, he said.
Cumilla, Sept 29 (UNB) – Located in Perul Uttar union of Lalmai upazila, the Harischar Union High School and College, established in 1949, has been spreading the light of knowledge in the locality through seven decades with two of its more famed alumni teaching at Harvard University, and working as a scientist at NASA as well.
Harischar Union High School was established on a three-acre plot at Harischar village. It was upgraded to a high school and college in 2012 following the intervention of current Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal.
The Finance Minister later inaugurated a four-storied college building on March 5 last year. A total of 1,600 students are enrolled at the institution right now.
Many students of this institution have achieved outstanding feats at the national and international levels.
Only a few female students got admitted at the very inception of the school due to religious restrictions. However, the number of boys and girls gradually increased.
Among the successful bright students of the school are Dr Harun Ur Rashid, working as a scientist at NASA, and Dr Tapan Singha, teaching at Harvard, arguably the most prestigious seat of learning in the USA.
Professor Dr MA Manna, Vice-Chancellor of Bangladesh Open University, Abdul Baset Majumder, former Bar Council vice-chairman and president of Supreme Court Bar Association as well as the member of Awami League’s central committee, Dr Mosharraf Hossain, faculty member of Dhaka University Dr Ali Akkas, Dr Motahar Hossain Jewel, cornea specialist, and Dr Zafar Ullah, DG of Anti-Corruption Commission, are some of the bright names who attended Harischar school at some point.
With the help of guardians, trained teachers and an efficient management committee, students of the institution have been maintaining good results in the JSC and SSC examinations for years.
Besides academic excellence, the students of this institution clinched the school championship in football at the upazila, zila and regional levels of the 48th National School, Madrasa and Summer Sports Competition.
With the combined effort of teachers, guardians and students, Harischar is also moving ahead in the cultural arena besides excelling in sports and studies.
Dhaka, Sept 27 (UNB) - Stressing the importance of farm mechanisation to boost outputs and save farmers from losses, Agriculture Minister Muhammad Abdur Razzaque has said farmers will be provided with agricultural machinery.
He said machinery like combine harvesters, rippers and rice transplanters at 60 percent subsidised rates from the next Boro season under a government project.
The Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) has already prepared a proposal seeking a Tk 562.55 crore allocation for the project, the minister told UNB in an interview recently.
“Farm worker crisis has pushed up the production costs of farmers. It has been created due to alternative job opportunities. Now farmers don’t get workers when needed and they’ve to pay higher wages if they get ones, resulting in increased production costs. Agriculture mechanisation is necessary to face the crisis,” he said.
The minister said the mechanisation of farming is aimed at reducing the production cost and boosting productivity.
“Once it’s done, farmers will be able to prevent crop wastage and save their both money and time,’’ said Dr Razzaque adding that the project also aims to increase production by making farming more profitable and commercially viable.
Replying to a question about the quantity of required machinery, the minister said agriculture officials during a recent survey received detailed information from farmers to determine the needs of cutting and planting machines.
He said authorities will distribute these machinery as per requirement received through the survey from 58 districts.
Mentioning some obstacles to mechanisation of farming, the minister said the services of the machinery suppliers in the country are very poor and customers used to get deprived of after-sale services. Besides, he said, spare parts of these machinery are not available in the country.
The authorities concerned have been directed to make sure that farmers get proper after-sales services for their machines after their purchase from suppliers.
To ensure transparency in purchasing machinery, a representative from the Bangladesh Bank will be placed in the subsidy coordination committee, he said adding that representatives from the Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation (BADC) will be included in the subsidy technical committee and the subsidy market rate verification committee.
During the last Boro season, farmers across the country was hit hard by low paddy prices and counted about Tk 300 loss per maund. Farmers in different parts of the country staged protests in different ways demanding fair prices of their produces.
Students of different universities, including Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University and Rajshahi University, also joined the protest prgrammes.
Arranging food silos
Replying to a query about government steps to end deprivation of farmers due to the existence of middlemen, the agriculture minister said the government is working to ensure fair prices for their produces. “We’ll take initiatives to construct an adequate number of food silos so that famers can preserve their produces.”
Pointing out that some middlemen are buying food grains from growers at lower prices, the minister said farmers would be more benefited if they could sell their produces in the market directly.
In some areas, he said, the growers sell their farm produces to middlemen at lower prices for lack of storage facilities and poor transport system.
‘’We’ll take steps at the grassroots level so that their produces can be preserved, enabling them to store their produces and have fair prices by selling those at a suitable time,” he said.
Commercialisation of agriculture
The government is now targeting commercialisation of agriculture, Dr Razzaque said adding, “To achieve the goal, farmers will be provided with all kinds of assistance alongside mechanisation of agriculture.”
Mentioning that farmers were deprived of fair prices in the last season, he said the government procured paddy directly from farmers and took initiatives for rice export to address the crisis.
‘’We’ll take action in advance to avoid the recurrence of such a situation in the future,” he added.