Khulna, October 20 (UNB) – The government has taken a project to reestablish telecommunication structures in the remote areas of the Sundarbans, aiming to strengthen monitoring in the world’s largest mangrove forest and protect the forest resources.
Forest Department sources said the project will be implemented involving Tk 3.48 crore under Climate Change Trust Fund and 56 telecommunication structures will be set up across the Sundarbans.
Among those points, 28 will be established in the Sundarbans East Division, 27 in the West Division and one in the district forest conservator’s office.
Once implemented, the project will help the officers and staff of the Forest Department to maintain constant communication and exchange information.
Telecommunications was destroyed in the forest due to various natural disasters, especially after Cyclone Sidr. The remote areas of the Sundarbans remained out of telecommunication network since then.
Under the project, 50 Very High Frequency (VHF) towers and six other supporting towers will be established. Besides, 50 VHF sets, six supporting sets, 50 solar batteries and 100 walkie-talkie sets will be purchased.
Md Yusuf Hawlader, a forest guard Sundarbans East Division, said that they have to perform their duties in the deep forest where network is mostly unavailable and emergency contact cannot be made.
Forest officers hope that this initiative will also strengthen patrolling activities and help in forest conservation as well.
Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) of East Sundarban, Mahmudul Hasan said administrative duties have become difficult to carry out, hence the decision has been taken to reestablish telecommunications in the Sundarbans.
Dhaka, Oct 17 (UNB) – The National Board of Revenue (NBR) has taken an initiative to procure and install 10,000 electronic fiscal devices (EFD) in 13 types of business entities from next year in a move to check value added tax (VAT) evasion.
The new EFD will replace the electronic cash register (ECR) and the point of sale (POS).
The government this year made EFD use mandatory in 13 types of business entities in city corporation areas and in district towns to check Value Added Tax (VAT) evasion.
The 13 types of businesses included hotels, restaurants, fast food shop, confectionaries, jewelers, beauty salons, furniture shop, RMG shop or boutique shop, electronics shop, community center, all business entities in posh shopping mall, departmental stores, general shop or super shop, wholesalers and large retail stores.
Recently the government has issued an order making the installation of EFD in the retail shops across the country mandatory.
According to the NBR officials the price for one EFD would cost Tk 25,000-30,000.
“Although the government is spending the money for the 10,000 business entities the NBR hopes that it will bring transparency in the accounts of these entities and that would bring a positive result,” a senior official of the NBR said.
He said that EFDs will help curb evasion as these would be connected with the server that will generate real time data of sales at shops.
The EFDs will be connected online with a server at the NBR. Any entry from a particular business entity will be registered at the server of the NBR.
"This will bring transparency and the scope to evade the tax will be restricted. As a result the revenue collection will be improved," the senior NBR official said.
If any business entity does not use this EFD or any deviation of using this is proved that entity will have to pay Tk 20,000-50,000 as fine. If this kind of offence committed repeatedly then the NBR will lock the offender’s Business Identification Number (BIN).
The NBR earlier planned to buy 10,000 ECRs for large shops, wholesalers, restaurants and other businesses as part of its target to implement the VAT law 2012 from fiscal 2017-18.
The plan was scrapped after the government deferred the implementation of the law by two years. Last year, it identified 8,007 entities eligible for fitting the electronic sales devices.
These business houses will get the EFD on priority basis and other business houses have to procure the EFD later.
At present, several thousand shops use electronic cash registers and point-of-sale machines. However, all of the business entities are not currently using the device to issue sales invoices to customers and hide actual transaction figures from taxmen.
The NBR had made the e-cash mandatory in 2008 for 11 types of businesses: hotels, restaurants, confectionaries, jewelers, beauty salons, wholesalers and large retail stores.
Allegations are widespread that many businesses do not use the e-cash register even after installation to evade VAT allegedly in connivance with field officials of the revenue authority.
The move to install EFD comes following advice from Finance Minister AMA Muhith to introduce an EFD management system to combat non-payment of VAT at the retail and wholesale levels.
For fiscal year 2018-19, the government has set the total revenue target - tax and non-tax revenue – at Tk 3,39,280 crore. Of the above total amount, the NBR has been tasked to source Tk 2, 96,201 crore.
Dhaka, Oct 17 (UNB) – The government has reduced the cost of Mobile Number Portability (MNP) service that enables the customers to switch to different operators without changing their existing mobile phone numbers, from Tk 157.50 to Tk 57.50.
After its initial launch on October 1, the charge for MNP service was a total of Tk 157.50 including SIM Tax – Tk 100, Service Charge – Tk 50 and 15 percent VAT.
The reduction comes with the government deciding to cut down the Tk. 100 SIM Tax, reducing the total cost to only Tk 57.50, Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology Minister Mustafa Jabbar told UNB on Wednesday.
“The Finance Ministry approved a proposal of reducing the SIM Tax which was earlier sent by the Posts, Telecommunications and IT Ministry and the official announcement about the cost reduction will be made within three or four days”, he said.
“Though the MNP service was launched earlier, but formally Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will inaugurate the service from Ganabhaban on October 21 around 10 am”, he said.
“Already the service has triggered a great enthusiasm among the people. Beside it would inevitably ensure the quality service of the mobile phone operators otherwise they would lose their customer”, the minister said.
The ministry has recently approved a Quality of Service (QOS) policy and directed BTRC to monitor and send letters to the mobile operators regarding the matter, he said.
The QOS would monitor network speed, voice call quality, call drops etc.
Within five days of launching the service a total of 10,122 requests have been received to switch the operators and among them porting was successfully completed of 4,182 requests.
A total of 1834 customers switched from Grameenphone (GP), 972 from Robi, 130 from Teletalk and 1276 from Banglalink in first five days.
Meanwhile, GP received 682 clients, Robi 2,341, Banglalink 1,089 and Teletalk 89.
Bangladesh has introduced the service as the 72nd country in the world.
Infozillion BD Teletech, a joint venture between a Bangladeshi firm and a Slovenian firm, which received the licence of the service, completed the preparations for the launch.
Kushtia, Oct 18 (UNB) – A Frenchwoman named Deborah Cukirman has transformed herself into a devotee of mystic legend Lalon Fakir and started living in Doulatpur upazila of the district.
Deborah, a good translator and a former French Yoga teacher, is known as Deborah Zannat.
She came to Bangladesh in February, 2016 for researching the life and philosophy of the Baul king, Fakir Lalon Shah, and got intrigued by the life of Lalon Shah.
Deborah has since returned to France but failed to stay there and returned to Bangladesh. Now she has got serenity here and started to live here. She also took the discipleship of renowned Baul Fakir Nahir Shaha.
During a visit to the Lalon Shah shrine at Chheuria in Kumarkhali upazila, this correspondent saw Deborah with other devotees of Lalon as a three-day Lalon Festival, to commemorate the 128th death anniversary of Lalon, is going on there.
Deborah said, “I have come here for researching the life of the philosophy of Fakir Lalon Shah in 2016 and I fell in love with the philosophy of Lalon Saiji. At first I did not know how to speak Bengali but without knowing Bengali language I started to live under the guardianship of my guru.”
Deborah got married to Rajon, a pupil of Nahir Shaha few days ago as per the directives of the guru.
Fakir Nahir Shaha, said “Deborah came to Bangladesh two years back and I know her through a journalist. We had a discussion over Lalon philosophy and she expressed solidarity with the philosophy of Lalon. I have told her to learn Bangali and after that I started to give her lesson about Lalon philosophy.”
Earlier, a three-day Lalon festival kicked off at Lalon Akhra of Cheuria village of the district in memory of legendry mystic bard Baul king Lalon Shah on Tuesday.
Lalon Shah was a Bengali baul, mystic, songwriter, social reformer and secular thinker. He has become an icon of religious tolerance and secularism in Bengali culture.
Satkhira, Oct 17 (UNB) – Many poor rural people of the district have found the cultivation of herbal plant ‘Vasak’ highly profitable as different pharmaceutical companies are collecting its leaves from villagers at good prices because of its huge medical values.
Vasaka or Adhatoda vasica or Malabar nut is an important Ayurvedic medicinal herb. All parts of the plant -- from root to leaves -- are used to treat many ailments. The plant is said to be effective in treating asthma, bronchitis, tuberculosis and other raspatory disorders.
Hafizur Rahman, a resident of Fingri village in Sadar upazila, said once they planted Vasak tree as a fence of their house and considered its leaves as garbage. Now, they are making money by selling those in the market.
Amirun Begum, another resident of the village, said she normally buys per kilogram fresh leaves at Tk 5 and then she sells it at Tk 35 per kg.
She said various pharmaceutical companies purchase Vasak leaves from villages of the district for making medicines.
Beauty Begum, a leader of Vasak leaves collection group, said, “Once there was no financial importance of these leaves to us. We used the tree as fence of our house. Now, we collect leaves and sell those in the market.”
Sabina Khatun, Bina Das, Johora Khatun, Oporna Das, Rohela Khatun, Anwara Begum, Rebeka Sultana, Nasima Khatun, Nazma Begum, Hafizul Islam, Amina Khatun are among those who are making money selling Vasak leaves.
There are huge Vasak plants on both sides of a 6-km road in Fingri union of sadar upazila. Besides, there are around 10,000 Vasak trees at the homesteads of many people in the upazila. Some 100 tons of fresh leaves and around 26 tons dry leaves are collected here every year.
Md Shamim Alam, an official at Satkhira Water Development Board, said around 285 women of the union are collecting leaves under ‘Blue Gold Project’ of the board. Different pharmaceutical companies buy their leaves.
Md Anwarul Islam, a representative of Square Pharmaceuticals Limited, said the demand of Vasak leaves is growing as it is widely used to make cough syrup.
Prof Dr Nasrin Akhter, the head of Botany department of Satkhira Government College, said Vasak plants are commercially grown here and elsewhere in the country as its leaves have huge medicinal values.
Besides, he said, the soil of the district is suitable for Vasak cultivation.