Khulna, Jan 19 (UNB) – A farm of Emu bird, popular worldwide for its meat and oil, has been set up in Batiaghata uapzila here purely on experimental basis. Now the farm is abuzz as visitors stream in every day.
Ashraful Alam Khan, chairman of Bhatiaghata upazila, set up the farm on one bigha of land at Kismat Fultola, aiming to create jobs for youths. Now people from different corners of the upazila are visiting his farm every day to see it for themselves.
Emu bird is the second-largest living bird by height after Ostrich and the national bird of Australia. Emus are soft-feathered, brown, flightless birds with long necks and legs, and can reach up to 1.9 metres (6.2 ft) in height. They forage for a variety of plants and insects but have been known to go for weeks without eating.
Besides, it can adapt to a variety of conditions ranging from excessive hot to excessive cold and it can be raised anywhere of the world. Emu is considered as friendly bird as it can easily live in grassy plains and dry open farms. Emu grow from 5 to 6 feet high and weight between 45 to 60kg. Female Emu are capable of reproduction for at least 25 years old.
It generally lay down eggs from October to March. They lay down 25-35 eggs in per year. The colour of egg is green and 10—12times larger than chicken’s egg.
Talking to UNB, Ashraful Alam said he bought per pair of Emu bird at Tk 16,000. He first bought 200 Emu chicks and 12 Ostrich chicks. When he bought the Emu chicks, their weight was from 600-700gram. Now, the weight of each emu bird is 40-50kg.
As Ostrich chicks could not adapt to the weather condition, his 10 chicks died but 190 Emu birds are still alive and growing well, Alam said.
The farming of the bird has gained popularity all over the world for its meat and oil. Emu oil, collected from fat of Emu bird, are used to make medicines.
The chairman expressed the hope that Emu farming will soon get much popular across the country and unemployed people will become self-reliant through its farming.
Dr Bamkim Kumar Halder, livestock officer of the upazila, said the meat of the bird is tasty and 98 percent cholesterol-free which makes it popular in the world.
Besides, its death rate is also low compared to Turkey and poultry chicken. There is huge potential of Emu farming in Bangladesh commercially, he added.
Dhaka, Jan 19 (UNB) - Still reeling from the shock of its massive defeat in the 11th parliamentary election, BNP is unlikely to join the upcoming upazila elections as most of its senior and grassroots leaders think the party should boycott all the elections under the current Election Commission (EC) following their bad experience in the December-30 polls.
However, the party is likely to allow its interested leaders to join the elections independently instead of using the party symbol -- the Sheaf of Paddy.
Some party leaders, however, think it should participate in the upazila polls to show the country’s people and the international community again how the country’s election system got collapsed and justify their allegations of vote rigging and various irregularities in the national election.
Talking to UNB, some senior BNP leaders said the 11th parliamentary election demonstrated that no election will be fair and credible under the current government and the EC, and their party’s participation in the upazila elections will only invite further repression and harassment of their grassroots leaders and activists.
They also said it will be very difficult for their party candidates to contest the upazila elections and carry out frantic electioneering as they might not get good response from the party’s ‘demoralised’ followers while many of their grassroots leaders are in jail or on the run facing many cases filed before and during the national election.
Under the circumstances, they said, their party should now focus on reorganising their different units and associate bodies and take some effective programmes to revitalise the grassroots and give legal shelters to the party men facing political cases instead of joining any election.
A BNP standing committee member said they recently held a meeting and elaborately talked about the upazila elections. “Most of our standing committee members suggested boycotting the upazila polls.”
Contacted, BNP standing committee member Mahbubur Rahman said their party is not going to join the upazila polls as they believe no fair election is possible under the current Commission.
“Our standing committee has taken a decision to boycott the upazila polls, and it’ll be made public very soon. We won’t join any election unless the current Election Commission is reconstituted,” he said.
Mahbub said most of their party standing committee members think BNP should not participate in any ‘farce’ in the name of election under Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) KM Nurul Huda-led Commission.
Another party standing committee member Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain said their party secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir will soon covey the media about their decision on the upazila polls. “We don’t have any confidence in the current Election Commission after the national election. What’s the point of joining farcical polls under it?”
BNP standing committee member Nazrul Islam Khan said they are now collecting various information and documents from their candidates across the country about the irregularities and vote frauds during the December-30 election. “We’re assessing the national election. So, we’re not now thinking of upazila polls.”
BNP’s mid-level leaders, including organising secretaries and assistant organising secretaries, recently held a meeting at BNP’s Nayapaltan central office and most of them suggested boycotting the upazila elections as party acting chairman Tarique Rahman, who joined the meeting through Skype, sought their opinions.
Contacted, BNP’s Chattogram divisional organising secretary Mahbubur Rahman Shamim said, “I think joining the upazila polls will be a meaningless and useless exercise. It’ll only invite more problems for our disturbed and dejected leaders and activists.”
He said the 11th parliamentary election demonstrated that no election can be held in a free and fair manner under the current administration and the Election Commission. “So, I think our party high-ups will take the right decision to boycot the polls.”
Another party organising secretary, wishing anonymity, said, “We’re demanding reelection bringing allegations of vote robbery in the national election and raising the question about the neutrality of the current CEC and the Commission. So, if we now join the upazila polls, our allegations of vote frauds in the national election will lose its credibility.”
“Ruling party men are still repressing our leaders and activists after the general election. Our many leaders and activists are on the run in fear of arrest in false cases. If we join the upazila polls, police will intensify their drive to arrest our activists and implicate them in more cases. So, I think our party should not join the polls.”
BNP publicity affairs secretary Shaheed Uddin Chowdhury Anee said he does not think their party should further join any election under the current Commission. “This Commission is biased. There’ll be serious vote-rigging in the upazila polls like that in the general election.”
However, a party vice chairman, preferring anonymity, said their party should join the upazila polls to unmask the true nature of the current EC and the government further. “We couldn’t have talked about the vote frauds in the national election had we not been there in the election race. So, I personally think our party needs to go to the polls to justify again our allegations of vote robbery in the national election.”
Dhaka, Jan 18 (UNB) - A move is underway to implement a Tk 2,000 crore project to ensure uninterrupted power supply to Dhaka’s central and south-west zones and major parts of Narayanganj within the next three years.
According to official sources, Dhaka Power Distribution Company Ltd (DPDC) has undertaken the project to implement it during the 2019-2022 period as part of its development programme.
“Once the project is implemented, the DPDC will be able to build a power distribution system to ensure non-stop electricity supply to consumers living in major parts of the two cities,” DPDC Executive Director Ramiz Uddin told UNB.
He said the project got the approval of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) on November 7 last year, which was its last meeting under the previous government.
Of the total cost, the government will finance Tk 1,882 crore while the DPDC will provide Tk 78 crore from its own funds to implement the project.
“Now we’re preparing tender documents to float the tender to award contract for the job,” he added saying it may take one month or two to complete the tender invitation process.
Power Division officials said the new project was undertaken as part of the government’s current target to improve power distribution and transmission system after its success in power generation.
They said although the country’s power generation reached a benchmark of over 11,000 MW through its installed generation capacity of 18,000 MW but uninterrupted power supply in the capital city and elsewhere in the country is yet to be ensured due to poor distribution and transmission network.
“As a result, many areas face power outage despite surplus power generation,” said a senior official at the Power Division.
Officials said DPDC mainly operates power distribution systems in Dhaka’s central and south-west parts and major parts of Narayanganj city, and the project will be implemented in the two cities.
Officials said the project will facilitate the uninterrupted power supply until 2030 and another new project will be required to continue such facility.
Under the project framework, a good number of old substations, each having 33/11 kV capacity, will be replaced with new ones while 165 km of new source lines will be built and 33,157 electric poles will be installed, 1,642 km of overhead lines will be renovated.
Installation of 361 km 11 kV underground distribution lines and 2,575 transformers have been included in the project, according to the official sources.
DPDC now distributes about 1,531 MW of electricity among its 1.178 million consumers and the electricity consumption in its command area has been witnessing about 12 percent growth a year.
Khulna, Jan 18 (UNB) – The quality of service has improved greatly in recent months at Khulna Medical College Hospital (KMCH), thanks to the efforts of its Superintendent Dr ATM Monjur Morshed and his staff.
The hospital now has six new departments and a Special Care Newborn Unit (SCANU). A psychiatric ward has also started functioning while the Burn and Plastic Surgery unit has been overhauled.
Earlier there was no gastro, neurology medicine, respiratory medicine, hematology and endocrinology departments in the hospital. The patients only received primary treatment from the external departments.
On February 7, 2018, a 10-bed neurology department was inaugurated by former parliamentarian Muhammad Mizanur Rahman.
Neurology department head Assistant Professor Dr SM Fariduzzaman said poor families had to bear the cost of treatment. “Now, they are getting treatment in external and internal departments of the hospital,” he said, adding that the department started its journey with five male and five female beds.
Gastro, neurology medicine, respiratory medicine, hematology and endocrinology departments were inaugurated on the fourth floor of the hospital, with seven beds in neurology medicine, six beds in gastro, seven beds in respiratory medicine, eight beds in endocrinology, the doctor said.
Hospital sources said Superintendent Morshed initiated many steps after taking charge in 2017 to improve services including persistent supply of oxygen, shifting morgue, banning brokers, and setting up a new room beside blood bank.
Dr Morshed said a SCANU had been opened. “We had to fetch oxygen from outside for the patients but now this problem has been resolved,” he said. “Preparations to open three new operation theaters are complete. We hope to start them when we have the manpower.”
Separate wards have been set up for males and females in the Burn and Plastic Surgery Unit. Senior Staff Nurse of Jharna Khatun said the bathroom and dressing rooms for males and females would be separate from now on.
One major improvement has been the management of food. Every patient, who is admitted to the hospital, now gets a meal.
Saiful Islam, a medicine department patient, said the quality of breakfast, lunch, and dinner has seen much improvement in recent months.
Dhaka, Jan 18 (UNB) – Although the government expressed the hope before the December-30 election to achieve 10 percent GDP growth by 2021, noted economists have said it will be very difficult to achieve it within the time but it is possible in five years.
They said 10 percent Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth will be within the reach in the next five years if some obstacles can be removed as soon as possible.
Attaining the target depends on how quickly Bangladesh can resolve the challenges, the economists said suggesting that foreign and local investments be increased and the activities of Economic Zones should start immediately.
In an exclusive interview with Nikkei Asian Review published on December 19 last, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh's strong economic growth will not just continue, but accelerate. "In the next five years, we expect annual growth to exceed 9 percent and, we hope, get us to 10 percent by 2021," she had told.
“To achieve 10 percent GDP growth is not impossible but challenging,” AB Mirza Azizul Islam, former finance adviser to a caretaker government, told UNB.
“Many countries have achieved the double-digit growth. We can also do but we’ve to overcome many challenges. We should resolve those first. Export earnings have to increase, priority should be given to remittance utilisation and investment must be enhanced,” he said.
Mentioning that the transport development will play an important role to this end, Mirza Aziz underscored the need for giving more emphasis on that.
He also said the country’s private sector will have to come forward to achieve the target.
According to the Prime Minister’s recent statement, Bangladesh will be a middle-income country in 2021, the year when the Golden Jubilee of the country’s independence will be celebrated. In 2041, the country will emerge as a developed one when the poverty rate will come down to zero.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh will be the world’s 26th largest economy by 2030, according to the projection of leading multinational bank HSBC.
Commerce Ministry sources said the government set the export target at $ 39 billion for fiscal year 2018-2019, 7.14 percent higher than last year’s $36.66 billion, following a proposal sent by the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) recommending a $40 billion export target.
Economists are largely happy with the country’s economic progress in recent years. They are optimistic that the economic growth will further increase rapidly in the seemingly stable environment following the 11th national election.
Khondokar Ibrahim Khaled, former Deputy Governor of Bangladesh Bank, said 10 percent GDP growth could be attained within the next five years if the investment is increased, particularly foreign one.
There are reasons for being optimistic that foreigners will now be more interested to invest here seeing the peaceful environment prevailing after the election, he said.
“Foreign investors face hassle in our country in various ways, especially at the airport. This must be sorted out. They’ve to be provided with more facilities, including quick service. Then they’ll be more interested to invest here and this will play a role in achieving the goal,” he said.
Some experts laid emphasis on skilled human resources. They said there are more than 16 crore people in the country who should be viewed as assets rather than a burden for the country.
To make that happen, they said, they must be imparted with requisite skills suited to the job market. If that can be done, the country’s productivity will increase across various fields and remittance also can rise, the experts said.
Prof Mustafizur Rahman, Distinguished Fellow of the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), said 10 percent GDP growth is not impossible for Bangladesh. “Even though we haven’t yet reached 8 percent,” he said underlining the need for overcoming the barriers to the economy towards achieving the goal.
“First of all, we’ve to address institutional capacity. Then the investment ratio has to increase. The investment-GDP ratio must increase to over 35 percent where private sector’s contribution should be 27-28 percent and easing of doing business and logistic facilities should be enhanced,” he said.
He also emphasised the need for investment to groom quality human resources and implement the proposed Economic Zones fast.