Dhaka, Jan 5 (UNB) – The sweeping cold wave, accompanied by dense fog, is making the life harder for the residents of Panchagarh, Chuadanga and Chapainawabganj districts.
According to the Met office here, the mercury dropped below 6 degrees Celsius in recent days, making it hard for locals to move out, even during the daytime, as dense fog hides the sun reducing the visibility.
Elderly people and children are the worst sufferers, as the cold wave has hit them hard with various diseases.
Hospitals in the districts, known for their poor manpower and inadequate accommodations, are struggling to deal with the growing number of patients affected with cold-related diseases like diarrhoea, pneumonia and respiratory problem.
The country’s lowest temperature was recorded in Panchagarh over the last six days. This season’s lowest temperature was recorded 5.1 degrees Celsius at Tetulia in the district on December 31.
Many people are staying home due to the bone-chilling cold for lack of warm clothes.
Rahidul Islam, acting officer of Tetulia Met office, said the Met office recorded 5.9 degrees Celsius of temperature in the district on Friday morning which is the lowest in the country.
Suleman, a rickshaw-puller, said, “I couldn’t go out with my rickshaw for the last 5-6 days due to the shivering cold.”
Panchagarh municipality mayor Touhidul Islam said, “We’ve already distributed some warm clothes among the poor, but every day people are crowding here to receive warm clothes.”
Sabina Yasmin, the deputy commissioner of the district, said some 24,000 blankets have been distributed so far and a letter has been set to the ministry concerned seeking more blankets.
According to the Met office, a severe cold wave is sweeping Panchagarh district in Rangpur division, while a mild to moderate cold wave is sweeping Rajshahi and the rest parts of Rangpur and the regions of Tangail, Faridpur, Madaripur, Gopalganj, Satkhira, Jashore, Kushtia, Sreemangal, Bhola and Barishal, and it may continue for the next few days.
The Met office recorded 5.9 degrees Celsius of temperature in Panchagarh on Friday.
Huge patients are flocking to hospitals here every day to receive treatment for cold-related diseases.
“Some 50 patients affected with diarrhoea, pneumonia and asthma received treatment at Adhunik Hospital in Panchagrah in the last couple of days,” Dr Pratik Kumar Banik, Resident Medical Officer (RMO) of the hospital, told the UNB correspondent when he went to visit the hospital.
In Chapainawabganj, patients are crowding Sadar Hospital every day and many of them are receiving treatment on the hospital floor for lack of accommodation.
Nadim Sarkar, the RMO of the hospital, said more than 300 patients affected with cold-related diseases received medical services from the hospital over the last one week.
Chuadanga Civil Surgeon Dr Khairul Alam said huge patients, particularly affected with pneumonia, cough and diarrhea, have been coming to the hospital for the last few days.
Apart from triggering the health problems, the winter has also hit hard the incomes of the poor -- particularly the day-labourers and rickshaw-pullers.
“I didn’t find any work in the town in the last three days,” said Abdul Jalil, a day-labourer from the Sadar upazila’s Jalshuka village.
Sabdul Mondol, another day-labourer, said employers are declining to provide works due to the severe cold.
Samadul Haq, a meteorologist at Chuadanga Met office, said he hoped the weather would improve in the coming days.
The prevailing weather is proving to be too much for many, particularly those living on the streets and even those in thatched houses for lack of warm clothes.
Gopal Chandra Das, the deputy commissioner of Chuadanga, said the administration has received thousands of warm clothes. “Some of them (warm clothes) have already been distributed among the destitute and the rest will be distributed within 2-3 days,” he added.
Dhaka, Jan 4 (UNB) – “Our blood is pure. Our blood is tested. Awami League is not only a party but the name of a feeling,” this is how late Syed Ashraful Islam, one of the brightest stars in Bangladesh’s politics, had encouraged millions of its supporters across the country through his last political speech.
Senior political leaders and followers of the former AL general secretary and Public Administration Minister keep showering their love and respect on him recalling those “encouraging” last words when he said, “If we remain united, no force in the world can stop Awami League.”
“He (Ashraf) was a symbol of mass people’s love and confidence. We’ve lost a broad-minded, honest and patriotic political personality,” said Industries Minister Amir Hossain Amu mentioning that the vacuum that has been created in Bangladesh’s political landscape through his demise is irreparable.
Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said Syed Ashraf had played a very important role in the War of Liberation and various democratic movements.
He said the vacuum of losing such a friendly, dedicated, far-sighted and honest political leader free from greed will never be filled.
Syed Ashraf, the eldest son of national leader and acting president of Mujibnagar Government Syed Nazrul Islam, died of lung cancer at a hospital in Thailand on Thursday night four days after being elected an MP of the 11th parliament.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam said Syed Ashraf, son of Bangabandhu’s close associate Syed Nazrul Islam, is an exemplary political personality for them. “He was a widely respected person and the nation will always remember this patriotic and mass people’s leader with respect.”
Talking to UNB, former Dhaka University Vice Chancellor Prof AAMS Arefin Siddique said Syed Ashraf in his entire life fought for establishing democracy and he demonstrated his prudent leadership during the 1/11 episode.
He said Syed Ashraf had always followed the political principles of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and he did never abuse power despite his presence close to power which will remain exemplary to the new generation of political leaders. “His untimely demise will create a big vacuum in Bangladesh’s political arena.”
Syed Ashraf, in his speech at AL’s 20th national council, said Bangabandhu is the name of a feeling and the feelings that came through sacrifices of the lives of thousands of AL people and through various movements is the Awami League.
“Awami League is marching ahead, Awami League will march ahead. Bangladesh will turn into a Sonar Bangla under the leadership of (Prime Minister) Sheikh Hasina,” he was heard saying in a video clip of AL followers are sharing on social media recalling him with respect.
Newly elected AL MP Prof Dr AK Abdul Momen, who also shared the video clip, said, “He (Syed Ashraf) was a much respected person. I always felt good while talking to him. There was an intellectual flavour in his talks. He was a very realistic and honest politician.”
Momen hoped that other politicians will follow his footsteps saying Syed Ashraf was a very honest politician like his father.
Sharing his memories with Syed Ashraf during their visit to Shanghai, China back in 2014, AL deputy office secretary Barrister Biplob Barua wrote on his Facebook wall, “Syed Ashraf was an authority of different political philosophy in Bangladesh’s politics.”
He said politeness, honesty, courage, ideology and loyalty towards leadership were the main principles Syed Ashraf maintained.
Syed Ashraf was elected MP from Kishoreganj-1 constituency in 1996, 2001, 2008 and 2014 apart from the latest one held on December 30, 2018.
He started his political career during his student life with Chhatra League and became General Secretary of BCL's greater Mymensingh district unit. He was a member of the Mukti Bahini during the Liberation War.
Syed Ashraf left the country for the UK following the killing of his father on November 3, 1975, inside Dhaka Central Jail along with the three other national leaders.
In the UK, he got engaged in various activities with the Bangladeshi community and worked for organising the Awami League there.
He was elected MP and served as the State Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism Ministry from 1996-2001 upon his return home in 1996.
The leader was inducted as the Minister of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives after the 2008 election win.
He was given the charge of the Public Administration Ministry later in July 2015 the post which he held till his death.
Syed Ashraf together with former President Zillur Rahman ran the party when Sheikh Hasina was in jail during the 1/11 episode.
Bagerhat, Jan 4 (UNB) – Newly elected Member of Parliament Sheikh Sarhan Naser Tonmoy has expressed his restlessness to start working to build a country with boundless possibilities.
Marking the third generation of MPs in Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s family and one of nine members of the family who will be part of the 11th Jatiya Sangshad, Tonmoy spoke to UNB shortly after being administered the oath of office on Thursday.
“I’m very happy upon taking the oath...the promises must be kept... the words I uttered while taking the oath must count, there’re many things to learn from this parliament,” he said.
A work plan has already been prepared for the development of his constituency (Bagerhat Sadar and Kachua) as he wants to work for changing the fate of the people of his area, he said.
“I want to learn from the senior leaders of parliament. All together we’ll have to build Bangladesh, a country of possibilities. A pressure to work for the welfare of people has been built after taking oath. Now we just have to start the work of serving people,” he said.
“Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has showed us the dream that we see for a Bangladesh with unlimited potentials. Lakhs of youths, like me, have seen this dream and have brought victory for Boat by casting their votes for Awami league,” said 31-year-old Tonmoy.
Tonmoy, the Awami League’s youngest candidate in the 11th national election, secured victory by bagging 221,212 votes from Bagerhat-2 constituency. He also gained popularity nationwide for his good looks and youthful campaign style – for example, insisting on being recognised not as a leader, but as a worker.
In his electoral rallies, Tonmoy promised a Bagerhat without drugs, corruption, extortion and terrorism.
Meanwhile, the people of Bagerhat -2 constituency want to see Tonmoy inducted in the cabinet.
By way of education, after completing his third standard in his homeland, Tonmoy left for boarding school in India in 1987. He then completed O and A levels in Dhaka.
During the emergency regime in 2007, again he went to India and returned in 2012. He went to London in 2015 for higher studies.
A married man, Tonmoy also worked for a company in Singapore.
He formally joined party politics in 2017 and secured a landmark victory in the election.
Dhaka, Jan 3 (UNB) – Many think public universities are meant for only providing education. Not exactly! These days, students come up with their basic health needs and university medical centres are supposed to address those.
A few days back, a female student of Dhaka University shared in social media what she experienced at the institution’s medical centre. She recently visited the facility thrice with an eye problem but was denied treatment every time, she alleged.
Her Facebook post mostly drew negative and angry comments, lambasting the poor treatment at DU’s lone medical treatment facility, set up in 1922.
Thirty-six doctors, including six part-timers and six homeopaths, are there to treat more than 39,000 students, 2,012 teachers, over 4,000 staff and their families. The centre only has 30 beds and four ambulances.
It does not have a separate ward for female patients.
Over 400 patients visit the centre every day but many complain about poor services and the absence of physicians.
Students alleged that the centre advised them to get treated at the Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) – even for common diseases or minor injuries – most of the time.
Dr Sarawer Jahan Muktafi, the chief medical officer (acting) of the centre, turned down the allegations. “We’re always trying our best to serve the patients despite our limitations,” he said.
Staff at the medical centre claimed that 140,320 people were treated at the centre in 2016-17 fiscal.
A source at the university said the medical centre was supposed to provide free medicines for some common diseases but most of the time, it offers only painkillers and Napa.
The facility is also supposed to supply fresh bed sheets and mosquito nets to patients but it rarely does, the source said. More worrying is that its toilets are not cleaned regularly.
DU Proctor Prof AKM Golam Rabbani said they are expanding the medical centre and would hire more people. “We can open the extension after a few months. That will solve the problems,” he hoped.
But those assurances are hardly enough to pacify the disgruntled students.
“The physicians and staff are not friendly and doctors remain absent most of the time,” said Shimul Shahriar, an MA student. “They don’t take us seriously even if we suffer from serious illnesses.”
“They offer us painkillers or Napa and tell us to go to the DMCH or other hospitals for treatment. This medical centre is good for nothing,” he said.
Khulna, Jan 3 (UNB) – The tin-shed houses are easily flooded in the rainy season. At times, even the kitchens are inundated, rendering the residents unable to cook meals.
The situation sometimes forces them to spend sleepless nights on the beds with family members.
With years of negligence, the residents of the government’s Asrayan Project for sheltering the homeless in Terkhada’s Harikhali are now left with dilapidated and damp households.
Apart from waterlogging and crumbling homes, unemployment is also forcing residents to leave the project homestead.
The government initiated the project in 2002 to provide housing for the poor and homeless. There are 24 homes for 240 impoverished families.
Most of the houses have gone rusty and become unlivable in absence of proper supervision and repair works.
Many families, who had originally moved here, had left the place, leaving some of the homes empty. Constantly fighting nature and poverty are parts of lives of those who are still here.
Mud, excavated during the dredging of nearby Atharobaki River, has been piled up on the southern part of the project, partially blocking the entrances of some of the homes.
“The units (homes) are no longer livable,” one of the residents said.
There is no market nearby or employment opportunities. Many families left the project for safety issues, while many others fled the project area to avoid investigations into illegally securing houses there.
Md Liton Ali, Terkhada Upazila Nirbahi Officer, said uninhabitable houses and unemployment are among key reasons why people are leaving the project.
He said they were “trying to repair” the houses and dredge the nearby river and canal to solve the water scarcity.
“Initiatives have been taken to rehabilitate the destitute, homeless and the poor in the empty units,” the UNO said. “We’ll take actions against those who were allotted houses on political considerations.”