Satkhira, Oct 13 (UNB) – Shamim Billah, an accused in the Buet student Abrar Fahad murder case, was known in the locality as a brilliant, polite and gentleman. He used to remain so bogged down in his study during his school and college life that he had hardly been able to join any sports event.
But this humble boy got involved with the politics of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) after enrolling for the honours course at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet). His association with the student politics and alleged involvement in the Abrar murder has taken the family as well as locals by surprise.
Abrar, 21, a second-year student of electrical and electronic engineering department of Buet, was beaten to death reportedly by BCL leaders Sher-e-Bangla Hall of the university. He was found dead on the staircase of the dormitory in the early hours of October 7 after he was taken to room-2011 around 8pm on October 6.
Victim’s father Barkatullah filed a case with Chawkbazar Police Station against 19 people, including Shamim, over the murder.
The Detective Branch of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) arrested Shamim from Khanpur in Shyamnagar upazila of the district on Friday and took him to Dhaka.
Devastated by his arrest, his mother Salima Khatun fainted repeatedly.
Shamim, son of bus driver Aminur Rahman Bablu of Ichhakur village in the upazila, obtained GPA-5 in both Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and Higher Secondary School (HSC) examinations before enrolling in marine engineering department at Buet, said Bhurulia union parishad member Sabur Kagoji.
He said Shamim is the eldest among two siblings. His sister, Sharmin Akhter, is a Class-XI student of Shyanmangar Govt Mohsin Degree College.
Their father is a driver of ‘Rozina Paribahan’ which operates buses on Dhaka-Kaliganj route, Sabur said.
He said Shamim used to maintain the expenses of his education providing tuition in Dhaka as the financial condition of his family is not good. He reportedly bought a motorcycle at Tk 2.5 lakh last week.
Although no one of his family is involved in politics, Shamim, a second-year student, got engaged in student politics at Buet, he said.
His grandfather, Atiar Rahman Sardar, claimed that Shamim was called by the BCL seniors to room-2011 of Sher-e-Bangla Hall while they were beating Abrar. “Shamim didn’t beat him. He was only seen carrying the body.”
He also said they want that the real culprits to be punished and the innocent not gets victimised.
Narayanganj, Oct 13 (UNB) – Sonargaon, one of the old capitals of the historic region of Bengal, has been recognised as the ‘World Craft City’ for being the birthplace of Jamdani, opening the door of creative tourism.
In a landmark decision, the World Craft Council (WCC) gave the recognition through a letter on Friday, said Upazila Nirbahi Officer of Sonargaon Anjan Kumar Sarkar.
“The recognition will widen the door of creativity, talents and experiences,” he said.
The recognition came after the Bangladesh Folk Art and Crafts Foundation and Bengal Foundation, which organises Jamdani Festival, jointly appealed to the WCC seeking recognition of the city, located near the old course of the Brahmaputra River, as a world craft city for Jamdani and Weaving.
An old mansion at Sonargaon
Following the application, a delegation of WCC judges visited Sonargaon in the first week of September to decide the matter.
Locals said Liyakot Hossain Khoka, the current MP from Narayanganj-3 constituency, and the local administration played a significant role in bringing the honour for Sonargaon where the country’s Folk Art and Craft Museum and the Panam Nagar are situated.
With this, any place of Bangladesh has been recognised as the World Craft City for the first time and this will create scope for exchange of experiences and strategies at the national, regional and international levels, the UNO said.
This recognition will also create a scope for exchanging cooperation and partnership with other world craft cities like Mamallapuram of India (Stone Carving), Fuxin of China (Agate), Sakon Nakhon of Thailand (Natural Indigo Dyeing), Bornholm of Denmark (Ceramic) and Kalpourgan of Iran (Handmade Pottery), he said.
Earlier in 2016, the Department of Patents, Designs and Trademarks (DPDT) recognised Jamdani, a traditional fabric of the country, as a Geographical Indication (GI) product of Bangladesh.
GI is a name or sign used on products to certify that it possesses certain qualities for being made or produced as per traditional methods or enjoys a certain reputation due to its geographical origin.
Jamdani is a fine muslin textile of Bengal, produced for centuries and whether figured or flowered, it is a woven fabric in cotton which is also a symbol of aristocracy.
The demand for quality Jamdani saris has increased exponentially over the years.
Dhaka, Oct 12 (UNB) – Discarding the advice of a parliamentary standing committee to strengthen the Blue Economy Cell, a newly created body, as a government authority, the Energy and Mineral Resources Division (EMRD) has now moved to make it operative as a wing of the ministry.
Following the settlement of maritime disputes both with India and Myanmar, the BEC was created in January 2017 as a small administrative cell under (EMRD) of the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources to mainly explore and utilise the potential resources in the country’s maritime areas.
But the BEC activities remained confined to holding occasional meetings as it is now inadequately equipped with a few officials sent on deputation.
Official sources said the BEC remained inoperative for lack of its adequate administrative setup and permanent manpower.
Against this backdrop, the parliamentary standing committee on Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry last year made a recommendation to upgrade the BEC as an authority with a permanent setup.
As per the recommendation, the BEC, which is now headed by an additional secretary, sent a draft plan to give it a shape of a permanent government authority with permanent setup.
But the EMRD rejected the BEC plan and took a decision to turn it into a wing of the ministry.
At present, only five government officials are working in the BEC who were posted on deputation from different ministries and government agencies.
Admitting the latest the EMRD decision, additional secretary Dr Golam Shafiuddin, who is also the BEC head, said the decision was taken a month back and now a proposal on formation of a wing remained pending with the EMRD for further directives.
He also said the BEC now only can play a role of supporting body in organising seminars and discussion meetings.
“We’re just now working as a coordinating body, having no authority to take any effective decision on development of blue economy,” he told UNB.
He said the BEC was expecting a reasonable budget from the government to take some programmes. “But there has been no such allocation in the budget for taking any programme.”
Official sources said the government has identified 26 sectors related to the development of the blue economy in Bangladesh, most of which remained untapped for lack of proper initiatives.
They said the 26 sectors were identified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in two national-level workshops 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 (osmosis) 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 of the disputed 25,602 sq km area along the Indian border in the Bay of Bengal, following the settlement of maritime dispute with the neighbouring country on July 8, 2014.
Earlier, the country won a claim to 200 nautical miles of exclusive economic zone and territorial rights in the Bay of Bengal following the settlement of another dispute with Myanmar in December 18, 2013.
Officials said those two settlements have opened the doors of huge blue economy potentials, but no effective initiative has been taken to exploit that.
Meanwhile, the government has formed a 25-member high-powered committee, headed by the principal secretary, to prepare a comprehensive plan on the blue economy.
But, in the last two years, there has been no headway in this regard because of inactivity of the committee, said a top official of the Blue Economy Cell, seeking anonymity.
He said the government has prepared a 100-year Delta Plan to exploit the potentials of the blue economy where BEC could play a vital role in implementing the plan.
Khulna, Oct 10 (UNB) – An employee of Khulna City Corporation (KCC) has built an innovative soundless fogging machine, being called ‘easy fogger’, to kill mosquitoes.
Md Babar Ali Sheikh, the KCC employee, is the inventor. He would come back home from work and carry on research in this regard every day. Babar, who hails from Kharabad Baintola of Botiaghata, could not finish high school.
Locals feel disturbed by the loud sound of the fogger imported from abroad, which gives an impression that “cannons are being used to kill mosquitoes”.
On the other hand, Babar’s ‘easy fogger’ is not noisy at all. The smoke it produces is similar to fogger machines that cost Tk 1.5 lakh. Besides, petrol, dry-cell battery and oil to kill mosquitoes or ‘Mortein oil’ is being used in the imported fogger. One litre of petrol and five litres of ‘Mortein oil’ are needed to operate the fogger machine for 30 to 45 minutes.
However, in Babar’s ‘easy fogger’, two litres of ‘Mortein oil’ and 200ml LP gas are all that is needed to operate the fogger for up to 45 minutes, and it produces the same amount of smoke.
People call it ‘Babar’s easy fogger’. Babar used pump, great valve, compressor meter, LP gas cylinder and SS material for his innovative fogging machine.
Md Alamgir Gazi, who operates foggers for the Khulna City Corporation, said: “Our foggers are very heavy. They produce loud noise, and the machines become hot during use. Vibration produced by the machines makes it tough to work continuously. The machines cannot be operated for a long time.”
Md Babar Ali Sheikh, inventor of the fogger machine, said it took him two months to make this machine. “The idea came to me while I used to repair conventional fogger machines that need a lot of money for repair and maintenance,” he said.
The conventional machines cannot be operated properly because of the loud noise and their heavy weight. Besides, at times the fogger machines catch fire while operating.
“My fogger machine weighs only 5-6kg, half that of the conventional fogger machines,” he said.
“It cost me about Tk 16,000 to make the easy fogger machine. I’ll be able to make even better and effective machine if I get funding.”
Kushtia, Oct 9 (UNB) – Buet student Abrar Fahad always stood first in any examination throughout his school and college life which is evident in the results of his SSC and HSC examinations. But the life of such a bright star was cut short brutally at his own university.
Abrar, a 21-year-old student of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet), was found dead on the staircase of Sher-e-Bangla Hall of the university early Monday after some leaders and activists of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) beat him at room-2011 of the dormitory on Sunday night suspecting his link to Bangladesh Islami Chhatra Shibir.
Buet student Abrar Fahad
Abrar’s talent started shining since his childhood. Since his primary school, he used to come first in all the examinations.
He attained Golden ‘A’ in his School Secondary Certificate (SSC) examination from Kushtia Zilla School in 2015. He enrolled in the science section at Notre Dame College and secured Golden ‘A’ in the High Secondary Certificate (HSC) examination in 2017 as well.
Afterwards, he got admitted to the Electrical and Electronic Engineering department of Buet under 2017-18 academic session. He used to stay at room-1011 of Sher-e-Bangla Hall.
Although Abrar stood second in the Dhaka University entry test and did well in medical admission test as well, he chose Buet as he wanted to become an electrical engineer.
Abrar’s uncle Mizanur Rahman said it is propaganda that Abrar was a Shibir activist. “It’s totally baseless….he was an open-minded and progressive boy. Our whole family is supporter of Awami League. Abrar used to attend Tablig’s programme once in a while.”
As a practising Muslim, Abrar used to pray five times a day and recite from Holy Quran regularly, he said.
Rokeya Khatun, Abrar’s mother, on Monday urged Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to take steps to ensure exemplary punishment of the killers of her son.
Stricken by grief over the death, she simply failed to understand how a gentle and meritorious boy like her son could have enemies.
“I woke Abrar up on Sunday morning and later he left for Dhaka. By the time, I talked to him 3-4 times on mobile phone. He called me at 5pm after he reached his hall. After that I couldn’t talk to him. Although I called him many times at night, he didn’t respond,” Abrar’s distraught mother said.
After Abrar was buried at his village at Raidanga in Kumarkhali upazila on Tuesday, his father Barkatullah alleged that it was a planned murder. “This is a planned murder. My boy reached Dhaka at 5pm. He was called out of his room at 8pm. Then he was tortured for six hours…this is surely a planned murder,” he said while struggling to hold back his tears.
Abrar’s uncle Mizanur Rahman alleged that the murder might have taken place at the order of a senior political leader. “There might be instigation of a leader. Over 15 boys took part in the killing mission. So many people can’t beat a person without any prior plan.”
Abrar Faiyaz, the younger brother of Abrar, said a friend of his brother first called them from Buet around 5:30am on Monday saying Abrar was seriously ill. “After a while we got the news that my brother is dead…can you imagine what my family members went through when they heard Abrar’s death news?