Chapainawabganj, Oct 1 (UNB) – Farmers in the district are passing their days in deep frustrations due to widespread attack of stem borer, locally known as majrapoka, on their Aman croplands.
The farmers said they have been spraying pesticides since the beginning of the pest attack around two weeks back, but it is not working.
Frustrations have gripped the farmers of Nachole and Sadar upazilas as they are fearing heavy losses this year due to the increased production cost, pest invasion and irrigation expenses in absence of adequate rain.
This time, some 51,740 hectares of land have been brought under Aman cultivation exceeding the target of 48,900 hectares with a production target of 1, 35,828 metric tonnes.
The farmers, however, alleged that they are not getting any support or suggestion from the Department of Agriculture (DAE) office here and they are now using pesticides buying that from local markets to save their crops which have not proved effective yet.
Abdul Salam, a farmer of Amnura Math in Sadar upazila, said he cultivated Aman paddy on 10 bighas of land.
Salam said he has already sprayed pesticides four times but did not get any benefit while agriculture officers are neither visiting their croplands nor giving any advice to protect their crops despite repeated requests to deal with the problem.
Khairul Islam, a farmer of Sadar upazila, said he cultivated Aman paddy on over 3 bighas of land and he was expecting good yield this time, but now it looks uncertain due to the massive pest invasion.
Admitting the pest attack on the paddy fields, Monjurul Huda, deputy director of Chapainawabganj DAE, said there is nothing to be worried for the Aman growers as the croplands could be easily protected with the balanced use of pesticides and fertilizer.
He said the pest invasion is unlikely to affect their harvest as they are giving suggestions how to deal with the problem and use pesticides.
Dhaka, Oct 1 (UNB) – Dhaleshwari river is being seriously polluted due to the discharge of untreated and partially-treated liquid wastes through surface drainage directly to the river from the central effluent treatment plant (CETP) in the relocated tannery industrial estate in Savar.
National River Conservation Commission (NRCC) Chairman Dr. Muzibur Rahman Howlader stated this in a special article he penned as part of a government supplement published in national dailies on Sunday marking the World Rivers Day.
“The CETP project has, so far, failed to give any result,” deplored NRCC Chairman.
World Rivers Day is a celebration of the world's waterways. Observed worldwide including in Bangladesh on fourth Sunday of September, the Day highlights the many values of rivers and strives to increase public awareness and encourages the improved stewardship of rivers around the world.
Dr. Muzibur Rahman Howlader also expressed concern at not setting up of a ‘Chromium Recovery Unit’ (CRU) in last one year in the relocated tannery estate.
“Separated chromium cakes have been staked directly on the surface. The chromium is being seeped through the underground with the rainwaters and it may mix up with underground water table. Chromium is a heavy metal that potentially causes spread of cancer,” said the NRCC Chairman.
He apprehended that if the underground water gets polluted by the chromium, the whole area will turn uninhabitable and there will be a serious environmental disaster.
Dr. Muzibur Rahman Howlader, a former land secretary, also noted that his commission has observed structures built illegally occupying riverbanks and disposal of industrial wastes into the rivers surrounding the Dhaka city.
He said all 46 canals in Dhaka are under illegal occupation while moves are underway to recover 26 of those. But he said the concerned authorities’ efforts to recover grabbed river lands and stopping pollution is too inadequate.
Noting that at least 10,000 cusec of Teesta water has been diverted from Shiliguri to Bihar in India, the NRCC Chairman made a fervent call for an early solution to Teesta water sharing between the coriparian countries.
Officially Bangladesh has 405 rivers flowing over it including 57 international rivers but due to low flow of water in lean periods and man-made choking of natural flows of rivers in many areas across the country people are not getting full benefits of riverine Bangladesh.
Amidst nationwide outcry over gradual grabbing of rivers and polluting the water bodies by powerful quarters, government passed an act to protect country’s rivers back in 2013 and then a year later NRCC was set up in September 2014
However, the Commission largely remains a recommendation body and lacks the power to implement any of its decision. Speakers at a discussion on river water pollution at Jatiya Press Club last week, lamented that the NRCC was formed to protect rivers, but it was not given legal and institutional capacities, which are essential to protect rivers.
Addressing the programme, held under the joint aegis of NRCC, Bapa and Buriganga Riverkeeper, Dr Muzibur Rahman Howlader, the Chairman of NRCC, said they can only make recommendations to authorities concerned but cannot take action against river grabbers or polluters. If the Commission had the power to take action, they would demolish illegal encroachments from the rivers, he added.
He said they have been given an important work by the government to save rivers, but they need the power to take action against grabbers and polluters when stakeholders fail to take action. Muzibur said there are necessary laws to protect rivers but there is no execution.
Khulna, Sept 30 (UNB) - At least 193 people have been tested HIV positive in the country’s eight southern districts, says a report released by a local voluntary organisation.
Among the affected people, 84 (53 men and 31 women) have been tested HIV positive in Khulna district alone while 109 in Jhenidah, Gopalganj, Jashore, Satkhira, Bagerhat, Narail, and Magura districts, according to Mukto Akash Bangladesh (MAB), the voluntary organisation that works on AIDS-related issues.
Contacted, Civil Surgeon of Khulna Dr Abdur Razzak told UNB that they cross-checked the findings released by MAB and found those correct.
According to the report, expatriates returning from abroad, including India, Malaysia, Singapore, Saudi Arabia and the USA are responsible for spreading the lethal virus in the districts.
No HIV virus, the report says, was detected among sex workers of the district while a hijra (transgender) was found to be carrying HIV.
The number of deaths caused by HIV is rapidly going in the southern districts, the report mentions.
It says the worst affected areas among the districts are Benapole, Chaugachha, and Khulna town as the workers of those areas frequently visit various countries, mostly India, for their works and carry back the lethal virus.
In the eight districts, the MAB report reveals, at least 59 people died of AIDS in 14 years spanning between 2013 -2017 while the number of deaths was 12 in 2015 and 2016 together, while 12 in 2017 alone.
Sources at Khulna Medical College and Hospital said at least 31 HIV patients underwent treatment at the hospital this year and three of them died.
MAB coordinator Rehena Begum said their organisation is working on raising awareness among people about the deadly disease and providing nutritional and medical support to the HIV patients.
Dhaka, Sept 30 (UNB) - Bangladesh can be a prime destination for foreign tourists who wish to visit any Asian country if required facilities like a vibrant night life for tourists and digital promotional activities could be ensured, says an expert.
“What we’ve are extraordinary, natural and God-gifted ones. But we need to do much more to attract foreign tourists in line with their desires,” Dr M Afjal Hossain, a professor of Dhaka University’s Tourism and Hospitality Management department, told UNB.
The direct contribution of travel and tourism to GDP was Tk 427.5 bn or 2.2 percent of total GDP in 2017 and is forecast to rise by 6.1 percent in 2018, according to World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) data.
In 2017, travel and tourism directly supported 1,178,500 jobs (1.8 percent of total employment). This is expected to rise by 3.0 percent in 2018.
Since Bangladesh is witnessing rapid development with growing infrastructure, he said, the tourism sector will be able to contribute to the national economy in a big way within next five years with increased number of foreign and domestic tourists.
“Bangladeshi people are hospitable and friendly ones. We’ve stability. We’re no more a country of ‘bottomless basket’ or a country of beggars. We need to communicate these positive things about Bangladesh with foreigners,” said Prof Afjal.
He laid emphasis on massive promotional activities using digital technology and digital platforms and highlighting positive Bangladesh abroad.
Stressing the importance of smooth connectivity, the tourism sector expert said if foreign tourists can visit the prime locations of Bangladesh at the shortest possible time, foreigners will feel encouraged to come to Bangladesh.
“Foreign tourists want comfortable journeys and cover maximum locations at the shortest possible time (considering time and budget),” said Prof Afjal.
Responding to a question, the expert said a foreign tourist must be given at least 10 hours of 24 hours to spend happily in any tourism spot. “We need to have theatre hall, open stage, musical event and theme park. Only sea beach is not enough to spend 10 hours. We need to offer more.”
He said it is not true that foreign tourists will come to Bangladesh only to take wine. “But some tourists may ask for wine. We don’t have something called ‘night life’. We need to have Bars … we don’t have any problem if they take it in exclusive zones.”
Talking about the budget, Prof Afjal said the budgetary allocation that the tourism sector gets annually is not adequate at all.
He said some 8.4 lakh foreigners visit Bangladesh annually but the pure tourists are very limited. On the other hand, some 1.37 crore domestic tourists visit tourism spots in the country annually.
“We need to boost foreign tourists’ inflow. And we hope the number of domestic tourists will exceed 4-5 crore annually,” Prof Afjal said.
Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister AKM Shajahan Kamal on Thursday urged the students and young generation to positively represent the tourism sector of Bangladesh all across the world through social media like Facebook and Twitter.
He said in many countries tourism is considered as a major source of economy. “If we want to develop our tourism industry, we must use digital platforms for promoting our tourism industry to attract foreign tourists.”
Despite having huge potential, Minister Kamal said, Bangladesh is yet to ensure required facilities for the foreign tourists in the country.
Civil Aviation and Tourism Ministry Secretary M Mohibul Haque said the government wants to work round the year for the development of the tourism industry and laid emphasis on coordinated efforts for branding Bangladeshi tourism products abroad.
As one of the world’s largest economic sectors, travel and tourism creates jobs, drives exports, and generates prosperity across the world.
In WTTC’s annual analysis of the global economic impact of travel and tourism, the sector is shown to account for 10.4 percent of global GDP and 313 million jobs, or 9.9 percent of total employment in 2017.
Cumilla, Sept 27 (UNB) - Acute shortage of teachers and administrative staff in Comilla Medical College has brought the medical institution to its knees, leaving its academic activities in disarray.
Since its establishment in 1992, the medical college did not see any increase in its manpower, sources at the college said.
They said it has become very difficult for the college administration to properly conduct academic activities in the 25-year-old institution.
At present, there are only 146 teaching staff for around 614 students of the college, while 58 posts have remained vacant for years, according to the sources.
Contacted, Principal of the college Dr Mohsin-uz-Zaman Chowdhury told UNB that there is no professor in its Anatomy, Physiology, Community Medicine, Micro Biology and Pharmacology departments at present.
“So, we’ve to run the academic activities with assistant professors, lecturers and gust teachers,” he added.
Some of the students of the medical college said the basic subjects are being taught in the first two years of the session and the college authorities have been arranging teachers from other private medical colleges as gust-lecturers to avoid any session jam. But this is how, they said, they are compromising the quality of education. “In fact, we’re facing difficulties in completing courses,” said a teacher wishing anonymity.
Asked about it, the Principal said, "We couldn’t increase the number of teaching staff though requisition letters were sent to the authorities concerned several times. Even, the post granted by the University Grants Commission (UGC) still remain vacant.”
Despite the crisis, Dr Mohsin said, they are trying to continue the academic activities of the college.