Chattogram, Mar 2 (UNB) – The re-excavation works on 16 canals of the port city, including Chaktai Khal, are progressing fast, aiming to bring relief to the city dwellers from its vexing waterlogging problem.
The government undertook a mega project titled ‘’Canal re-excavation, renovation and expansion to eradicate water logging of Chattogram” worth Tk 5,616 crore on August 9, 2017 to end the longstanding waterlogging problem in the city.
Under the project, the implementing agency will re-excavate 36 canals of Chattogram city, construct drains nearby to remove rainwater, acquire 96 acres of land, and construct 176,000 metres of retain wall, 85.68 km of road, 48 PC bridges and 6 culverts.
The works of the project of Chittagong Development Authority (CDA) are underway under the supervision of the Bangladesh Army. The project is expected to complete on June 30, 2020 as its works started in July 2017.
Though there was a target to re-excavate of 36 canals, primarily the re-excavation of 16 canals, including the Chaktai and Mahesh khals (canals) is underway.
The 16 canals are- Chaktai Khal, BirzaKhal, Rajakhali Khal-1, Rajakhali Khal-2, Rajakhali Khal-3, Mirza Khal, Hijra Khal, Mahesh khal, Mariambibi Khal, Kolabagicha Khal, Domkhal, Chaktai Diverson Khal (also known as Baklia Khal), Bamunshahi Khal, Noakhal, Nasir Khal and Khandakia Khal.
According to the engineering department of Chattogram City Corporation, there are a total of 57 canals in the city with their total length of 163.50km. Among them, the longest canal is Khandokio as it is 8.4 km long while the second longest canal is 7.5 km Rajakhali. The length of Chaktai and Mahesh Khal which are very important for the city’s drainage system is 6km and 6.3km respectively.
Contacted, CDA Chairman Abdus Salam said, “We cannot assure the city dwellers that we’ll be able to give them the full relief from waterlogging crisis in the upcoming monsoon, but we hope there’ll be a positive result.”
In the last monsoon, he said, city dwellers experienced serious waterlogging in Halisahar, Agrabad, Chaktai, Khatunganj, Dewanbazar, Sub Area, greater Bakalia, Chawkbazar, Muradpur, Shulokbahar, Boddarhat, GEC intersection and Probortok intersection areas. Once the re-excavation work on the 16 canals is completed, the residents of those areas will get relief to some extent, he added.
The chairman said RCC retention walls on both sides of those canals will be constructed at a cost of Tk 2,640 crore to make sure those are not grabbed after the renovation.
Besides, a total of 38 bridges and culverts on the canals will be re-constructed which will cost Tk 339.55 crore. Three water reservoirs will also be built.
Apart from that, 300 kms of drain will be renovated so that water can easily move to the canals in addition to constructing 100 kms of new drain.
Brigadier General Rezaul Mazid, director general of 34 engineering construction brigade, and duty-officer of Army for canal re-excavation work, said the works are going on in full swing and it will be possible to keep waterlogging at a tolerable level from the next monsoon, he said.
Lt Col Mohiuddin Ahmed, the chief engineer of city corporation, said water-logging problem will not be solved only by renovating Chaktai and Mahesh canals. “People also need to ensure that they will not throw garbage into the canals.”
Mohiuddin said spot-based solution is needed at GEC, Muradpur and Bahaddarhat intersection to end the waterlogging problem. Eviction of the illegal establishments from both sides of the canals has started, he said adding that there will be positive results from the next monsoon.
According to urban experts, re-excavation of canals will not bring any permanent solution to the waterlogging problem. The encroachment of Chatkai Khal and the navigability problem of the Karnaphuli River also contribute to the problem.
They emphasised coordinated works among Army, CDA, Chattogram City Corporation (CCC), Wasa, PDB, Karnaphuli Gas Authority, public representatives and local people for permanent solution to the crisis.
Dhaka, Mar 2 (UNB) - Although 26 sectors have been identified to exploit the potentials of blue economy in Bangladesh, almost all the sectors remained untapped for lack of proper initiatives.
So far, only a small administrative cell, ‘Blue Economy Cell (BEC)’, was created in January 2017under the Energy and Mineral Resources Division of the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources, according to official sources.
But the activities of the BEC remained confined to holding occasional meetings as the administrative body is now inadequately equipped with a few officials sent on deputation.
Amid the dismal situation, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry made a recommendation to upgrade the BEC as an authority with permanent setup, but the recommendation has gone unheeded.
The 26 sectors identified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through two workshops at national level twice in 2014 and 2017.
The sectors are shipping, coastal shipping, seaports, passenger ferry services, inland waterway transports, shipbuilding, ship recycling industries, fishery, aquaculture, coastal aquaculture and mariculture, marine acquaintance products, marine biotechnology, oil and gas, sea salt production, ocean renewable energy, tidal energy, blue energy (osmasis) and biomass, aggregate mining (sand, graveetc), marine mineral mining, coastal tourism, recreational water sports, yachting and marines, cruise tourism, coastal protection/artificial islands/greening coastal belts, human resource development, marine surveillance and marine special planning.
Bangladesh won 19,467 square kilometres out of 25,602 sq km disputed areas from India in the Bay of Bengal following the settlement of maritime dispute with India on July 8, 2014.
The country won a claim to 200 nautical miles exclusive economic zone and territorial rights in the Bay of Bengal following the settlement of dispute with Myanmar in December 18, 2013.
Officials said those two settlement of disputes opened the door of huge blue economy.
Official sources said the government had formed a 25-member high-powered committee, headed by the principal secretary to the Prime Minister, to prepare a comprehensive plan on blue economy.
But, in the last two years, there has been no headway in this regard because of the inactivity of the committee, said a top official of the Blue Economy Cell preferring anonymity.
Foreign Ministry officials, however, said they have recently moved for a desktop study to analyse the data of an already conducted survey to identify the presence of gas-hydride, a kind of methane gas, which is normally found in low depth of 200-500 metres of under the sea while the natural gas is found in a depth of 3000-5000 metres under the sea.
Meanwhile, the Energy and Mineral Resources Division moved twice for conducting a multi-client survey to identify the potentials of oil and gas exploration in the offshore areas.
But the multi-client survey contract is yet to be awarded to any company for unknown reasons although a Norwegian company was selected by Petrobangla.
Energy sector experts said the neighbouring India and Myanmar had moved much earlier to exploit potentials of their maritime areas.
They said Myanmar has awarded its 20 offshore blocks to 13 international companies under production sharing contracts while it again moved for inviting international bids for another 30 offshore gas blocks.
India has also awarded a number of blocks to different international companies in recent years.
About the offshore gas exploitation, State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid said, “Currently, work on data analysis is going on."
He said work on oil and gas exploration started in four blocks in deep and sallow sea under four Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs) with five companies.
The state minister also said some seismic surveys have already been completed.
Dhaka, Mar 1 (UNB) – The Amar Ekushey Book Fair has grown enormously since its humble inception in 1972 as a small-scale book sale in front of Bangla Academy and evolved into a massive phenomenon.
Bangla Academy took charge of the event in 1978 and has since been taking care of it. With this year’s edition nearing its end, Professor Emeritus Serajul Islam Choudhury said it is time for a change.
He pointed out that the fair is growing every year and the burden of arranging an event on such a grand scale is too heavy for Bangla Academy.
“Bangladesh’s publisher guilds should take the responsibility,” he told UNB, noting that Bangla Academy’s goal was to help the language flourish through research works and publications.
“Being occupied with the fair’s arrangement is diverting it from its original goal,” he said.
Bangla Academy Director General Habibullah Sirajee declined to comment, saying: “It’s up to the Ministry of Cultural Affairs to decide.”
‘More focus on books’
As the fair’s popularity grew, its ground was extended in 2014 to include Suhrawardy Uddyan. Prof Choudhury said he feels that organising the fair at one place will reduce hassle.
“Holding the fair in two places is drawing attention away from the works of different organisations and the little magazine stalls placed on Bangla Academy premises,” Prof Choudhury said, emphasising better planning for tackling unpredictable weather.
He said the fair was also losing its main purpose.
“In recent years, it has not been about books only. Many other issues are getting prioritised and books are becoming less important,” he said. “We need to make changes to ensure that the book fair focuses on books.”
Over the decades, it has grown into a phenomenal fest. This year, the fair drew huge crowds every day. A large section of them -- current or former Dhaka University students – were seen roaming around stalls, gossiping about authors, arguing about their works and buying books.
This year, the fairground has been extended to 550,000 square feet.
Altogether, 4,685 books have been published during the fair, while the publishers sold books worth around Tk 78 crore – nearly Tk 7.5 crore higher than the previous year. Bangla Academy also had a brisk sale of Tk 2.15 crore.
“This fair is a fuel for the soul,” Ishraq Sabbir, a third-year journalism student, told UNB.
Dhaka, Mar 1 (UNB) - A total of 31 candidates are going to be elected uncontested in the elections to 18 hall unions of Dhaka university (DU) as there is no other contestant against them.
Campus sources said all of them are from Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL), the student wing of ruling Awami League.
In line with the amended Ducsu charter, elections will be held against 25 posts of Ducsu and 13 posts of every hall union.
The distribution of nomination papers for the Ducsu and hall union elections began on February 19 and the deadline for submitting those ended at 12 noon of February 26. The nomination papers were scrutinised from 2pm on February 26.
After analysing the primary lists of hall union candidates that were published at all the dormitories on Wednesday, it was found that there was only one candidate against 31 posts.
Those who are going to be elected unopposed are Jatir Janak Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Hall Union assistant general secretary (AGS) Md Julfikar Hasan, indoor games secretary Md Muntasir Mamataz and outdoor games secretary Mahmudul Hasan; Bijoy Ekattor Hall Union indoor games secretary Sujon Sheikh and outdoor games secretary Boni Yeamin; Haji Mohammed Mohsin Hall Union indoor games secretary Shahriyar Sonnet; Fazlul Huq Muslim Hall Union cultural affairs secretary Masum Mia; Shahidullah Hall Union reading room secretary Md Shamsur Rahman Sweet and outdoor games secretary Imran Hossain; Amar Ekushey Hall Union reading room secretary Tarequl Islam; Masterda Surya Sen Hall Union reading room secretary Rezwanul Islam, social service secretary Johirul Islam and indoor games secretary Sabbir Hasan Sourov; Sir AF Rahman Hall Union outdoor games secretary Md Arif Hossain; Shaheed Sergeant Zahurul Haq Hall Union literature affairs secretary Kamal Uddin Rana, cultural affairs secretary Shakil Ahmed, indoor games secretary Md Sohel Rahman and outdoor games secretary Ananda Fakir; Muktijoddha Ziaur Rahman Hall Union assistant general secretary Abdul Momin; Kabi Jasimuddin Hall cultural affairs secretary Emam-Ul-Hasan, reading room secretary Nasir Uddin and social service secretary Ibrahim Hossain.
Shamsunnahar Hall Union AGS Ayesha Akter Sumi and reading room secretary Bishakha Das Ira; Bangamata Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib Hall Union reading room secretary Sanjina Yesmin, social service secretary Ishrat Jahan, outdoor games secretary Papia Akter, indoor games secretary Riya Akter Santa; Kabi Sufia Kamal Hall Union reading room secretary Farhana Safreen, cultural affairs secretary Priyanka De and social service secretary Quiyanso Marma were also elected uncontested.
Meanwhile, a total of 20 candidates will vie for the vice-president post while 12 for general secretary and 13 for assistant general secretary post in the DU Central Students’ Union (Ducsu) polls.
There are 11 contenders for liberation war secretary affairs post while nine each for science and technology affairs secretary and common room and cafeteria affairs secretary posts, 13 for international affairs secretary post, eight for literature affairs secretary post, 12 for cultural affairs secretary post, 11 for sports affairs secretary post, 10 for student transport affairs secretary post, 15 for social welfare secretary post and 88 for members post in the Ducsu election race.
“We’re informed that there’s only single candidate against some posts. But we haven’t taken any decision in this regard. We’ll discuss the matter with our election advisory panel,” Ducsu Chief Returning Officer Prof SM Mahfuzur Rahman told UNB on Thursday.
He also said they will take decision as per the university rules and regulations.
The overdue elections to Ducsu and hall unions are scheduled to be held on March 11 after long 28 years. Voting will be held from 8am to 2pm.
Bagerhat, Feb 28 (UNB) – A Bangladeshi young man has started rearing fat-tailed sheep, a species of domesticated animal more common in desert regions like in the Middle East countries, including Saudi Arabia, and is expecting high returns from his commercial venture, a sheep farm in his village.
Unlike his fellows who are still pursuing further studies for a job, Fuad Hasan, a university graduate with BBA specialisation, has rather self-employed by establishing a sheep farm, on two acres of land at his native Attaki village in Fakirhat upazila in the district.
Many people, more importantly the unemployed youths, have already started thronging around his farm to know about the novel thought-- creating man-made desert for sheep pasturing and rearing the desert species in an apparently unfamiliar weather here.
“I started sheep farming two months ago with five turkey hybrid species – two females and one male--- of the desert animals. Within a gap of only three weeks, one of female sheep gave birth to two of its kind and two others are also bearing their own babies to perform within a few days,” said farm owner Fuad.
A newborn sheep needs 3-4 years to get adult and each adult can weigh between 100 Kilograms and 120 Kilograms, said Fuad who had studied much of the species.
On sale, sheep become very costly and demanding ahead of Qurbani Eid (the second biggest religious festival when animals are sacrificed) as many pious Muslims of Bangladesh prefer those animals for their sacrifice as they think sheep hail from the holy land, Saudi Arabia to be precise, he said.
“I wish to spread this farming all across the country as it will reduce unemployment crisis here as well as bring huge foreign currency if we can commercially grow those species of animal,” he said.
Sheep are in many ways similar with goats in their eating habits, they live on tree leaves, parrots, peanuts and grasses, creating huge chances to bring them in farming in Bangladesh commercially, according to Fuad.
Each adult can be sold for Tk 2.5 lakh to Tk 3 lakh. Its meat and milk are very tasty and healthy, the newly self-employed man said.
Fuad said many unemployed young people want to venture into sheep farming amid ever-growing employment crisis here, but they cannot due to lack of proper knowledge regarding sheep cultivation.
Visiting Fuad’s farm site, an educated youth coming from nearby village, Sheikh Rezaul Karim, said, “Fuad has brought the idea of farming sheep here in our locality."
“Before visiting his sheep farm, my knowledge regarding it was confined only to books and televisions. But now I've learned many things about this farming”, he said.
“I want to start my own one as early as possible, as we'll now get practical knowledge from Fuad, " the employment seeker went on saying.
Dr Pushpen Kumar Sikdar, Livestock Resource Officer of Fakirhat upazila, said sheep farming has a very good prospect in Bangladesh as they can easily adjust with tropical weather existing here.
“They're as easy to nurture as it happens to goats. Like the popular cattle ‘goats’, sheep also give birth to two to five baby sheep at a time that attracts thousands of educated fortune seekers in the country.
Sheep farming can be one of the most profitable farming in the country as in Middle-eastern countries. It can meet up the country’s demand of both meat and milk, he said.
“We can even earn foreign exchanges by exporting the milk and meat of the animal after meeting up our own demands,” the livestock officer hoped.