Dhaka, Sept 9 (UNB) – Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan on Sunday said a medical board will be formed to check the health condition of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia and make recommendations to take necessary steps for her medical treatment.
The minister came up with the information while talking to reporters after a meeting with a seven-member delegation of BNP at the Secretariat. BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir led the delegation.
“A BNP delegation came to me to talk about the health condition of Khaleda Zia. They’ve submitted a written statement that their chairperson is sick,” Asaduzzaman said.
The minister said BNP earlier had made a request to admit Khaleda to a specialised hospital but today they submitted a written statement in this regard.
“As per the written statement, we’ve asked the Public Security Division Secretary under the Home Ministry and the Inspector General of Prison to form a medical board with government and Khaleda’s personal physicians. They’ll conduct medical tests and necessary measures will be taken, if needed, based on their recommendations,” the minister told the journalists.
Asaduzzaman said Khaleda Zia has been suffering from various diseases, including arthritis. “Following the request of BNP, we’ve allowed an attendant to stay with her in the jail. Physiotherapists, physicians and pharmacists are going to jail regularly to check her. We’ve provided her with all the facilities to her as per the jail code,” he added.
The minister said he told the BNP delegation that a medical board will be formed and necessary steps will be taken following the recommendations to be made by the board.
Replying to a question whether there is any possibility of taking Khaleda to another hospital, Asaduzzaman said: “She’s allowed to receive treatment at government hospitals as per the jail code. I’ve told them before that there’re many public hospitals other than Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) but they didn’t agree…”
In response to another query, he said, “She’ll be taken to any specialised hospital if the physicians think there’s no required facility in the PG and other government hospitals then we’ll look into it.”
Asked about Khaleda’s health condition, Asaduzzaman said “There’s no such information to me she’s very sick. The physicians check her regularly and the prison authorities are also taking care of her.”
Responding to a question when actually the medical board will be formed, he said, “It’ll be formed soon.”
Insisted whether Khaleda will be taken where she will feel comfortable, the Home Minister said, “There’s no scope to consider it according to the jail code.”
Earlier in the day, a delegation of BNP met Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan and requested him to take necessary steps for ensuring better medical treatment of their ailing Chairperson Khaleda Zia at the city’s United Hospital.
The seven-member delegation, led by BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, went to the Secretariat to meet the Home Minister at his office around 3:00 pm and made the request.
Talking to reporters after the meeting, Mirza Fakhrul said, “Our Chairperson Khaleda Zia is in jail. Her health condition is deteriorating. We came here to talk to the minister regarding her health condition and requested him to take necessary steps for ensuring her treatment in a specialised hospital.”
Asked what the Home Minister said, Fakhrul said, “The minister said they’ll decide it after holding a meeting.”
Pressed for comments which specialised hospital they prefer, the BNP leader said, “Our chairperson prefers United Hospital and I think she’ll be admitted there as she’s ill.”
BNP standing committee members Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, Barrister Jamir Uddin Sircar, Rafiqul Islam Miah, Mirza Abbas, Dr Moyeen Khan and Nazrul Islam Khan were among the delegation members.
Dhaka, Sept 9 (UNB)- Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday urged the international community to come up with specific effective steps to force Myanmar to take back their over one million forcibly displaced nationals living in Bangladesh as per the agreements signed between the two countries.
"Bangladesh and Myanmar have inked bilateral agreements for the safe and permanent repatriation of the forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals. To continue the pressure on Myanmar for implementing the agreements, I urge the international community to take specific effective steps," she said.
The Prime Minister said this while inaugurating the Regional Hub of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) in Dhaka at Radisson Hotel. This IsDB Regional Hub will cover 19 countries like Singapore, Australia, Thailand, India.
She said Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) had given an instruction to stand beside the oppressed people and IsDB cannot remain silent when the Myanmar Rohingya people are facing ethnic cleansing. "So, to ensure the repatriation of the forcibly displaced Rohingya, I request the IsDB to firmly stand beside them."
The Prime Minister said Bangladesh has been proactively responding to the unprecedented humanitarian crisis by keeping its border open and accepting the large influx of forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals known as Rohingya despite having multifarious negative impacts on the local community and the country’s ecosystem and resources. "We’re giving shelter and food to the Rohingays on humanitarian ground."
Sheikh Hasina mentioned Bangladesh now wants them to go back to their own land.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith, IsDB President Bandar MH Hajjar and Economic Relations Division (ERD) Secretary KaziShofiqulAzam also spoke on the occasion.
Hasina said though Bangladesh is acclaimed internationally for good disaster management, it is still one of the most vulnerable countries that suffers and will continue to suffer for climate change.
She said a good number of activities under the ‘Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan (BCCSAP)’ are underway for mitigating the effects of climate change. “We’ve created ‘Bangladesh Climate Change Trust Fund’ with our own resources.”
She said a ‘Country Invest Plan (2016-2021)’ has been prepared to determine the investment demand, current investment and investment gap that exists in environment, forest and climate change sector.
"Some USD 11.7 billion will be required during the tenure of the investment plan; of which USD 4.7 billion has been invested from internal and external sources, that means there’s an overall investment deficit of USD 7 billion. We need your extended financial support in this regard," she said.
The Prime Minister said Bangladesh has been striving to ensure socio-economic development in a sustainable manner. "We’re working towards elevating our status to an upper middle-income country shortly. We’ve also set our next target of becoming a happy and prosperous country by 2041."
She thanked the IsDB for opening of the Dhaka Regional Hub as part of their recent decentralisation drive of operations from Headquarters to the client countries.
"This will definitely help IDB, one of the trusted development partners of Bangladesh, speed up its operational activities further and improve the quality and efficiency of its development interventions such as projects management, implementation and monitoring. This will also help IDB to be more intimate and closer to client countries in understanding the development needs and challenges as well as development priorities."
Sylhet, Sep 8 (UNB) – Industries Minister Amir Hossain Amu on Saturday said that conspiracy is underway to foil the upcoming national election.
“But it won’t be successful and the national election will be held under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as per the constitution,” said the senior Awami League leader at a programme at Fenchuganj.
In the name of politics and democracy, BNP was talking against democracy and national interest, said the minister.
“Like other democratic countries, the national election will be held as per the constitution of Bangladesh after foiling all kinds of conspiracy,” he said.
“They (BNP) have tried to restrict the advancement of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, even tried to kill her 19 times,” he claimed.
The programme was presided over by Shah Md Aminul Haq, chairman of Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC), where MP of Sylhet 3 constituency Mahmud Us Samad Chowdhury was the special guest and Secretary to Industries Ministry Abdul Halim was present.
Dhaka, Sept 8 (UNB) – Visiting international economist Prof Jomo Kwame Sundaram on Saturday suggested that Bangladesh needs to address its malnutrition problem and ensure access to electricity through producing renewable energy.
“I strongly recommend the countries like Bangladesh to pay attention to two issues. One is the question of food. Don’t leave the problem of malnutrition entirely to the Ministry of Health, rather recognise that the nutrition is a multi-dimensional,” said Prof Sundaram, an expert on political economy of development.
He made the recommendation while delivering the CPD anniversary lecture 2018 at a city hotel.
Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), a civil society think tank, arranged the lecture titled ‘Assessing the Challenge of SDG Implementation: Food, Energy and Inequality.’
Prof Sundaram, also a former Assistant Secretary General of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), said the production and distribution of food is very important. “There’re many serious issues which are not often recognised.”
The Malaysian expert said the use of agro-chemicals is a compromised food safety. “We’re all consuming the food and our bodies will be affected soon or later.”
The second one is renewable energy to ensure modern electricity in the wake of global warming, he said adding that Bangladesh is one of the countries which is very sensitive to the problem.
The sea-level rise will have profound implications not only on the future of the countries but also the future of its agriculture, he said.
Prof Sundaram, currently a distinguished member of ‘Council of Eminent Persons, Malaysia, said almost all the countries have regressed from diesel to coal-fired plants.
He stressed the need for government leadership to promote renewable energy and engage private enterprises in the sector.
Noting that the costs of solar panels and wind turbines came down tremendously, the renowned economist questioned why Bangladesh is not producing solar panels for domestic needs and export.
“Malaysia is the single largest exporter of solar panels to the USA…absolutely there’s no reason why Bangladesh can’t be a major solar panel producer not only for the needs of Bangladesh but also for export. You have all necessary ingredients, tremendous human resources. I think it’s extremely important as we’re going to reduce carbon emission in the world.
He went on saying, “You can’t rely on market loan to solve the problems. The government needs to intervene and needs some collective actions to make progress.”
Talking about the second one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), he said malnutrition is still widespread and some 800 million remain hungry which is some 10 percent of the world population.
Prof Sundaram said the total costs of malnutrition may be as high as 5 percent of the global GDP, equivalent to US$ 3.5 trillion.
He said there are three dimensions of malnutrition -- macronutrient (hunger), micronutrient (minerals and vitamins) deficiencies or hidden hunger and obesity (non-communication disease).
“I think it’s very important to recognise that women and children suffer most from malnutrition,” said the visiting fellow at Initiative for Policy Dialogue, Columbia University, USA.
He said some two billion people suffer micronutrient deficiencies and 45 percent of 6.9 million child deaths annually linked to malnutrition. Some 2.1 billion people are overweight and suffer obesity.
About Bangladesh’s development in health sector, Prof Sundaram said Bangladesh has been very successful in building pharmaceuticals industry. The two largest generic pharmaceuticals producers and exporters are actually India and Bangladesh. “This is a very important development.”
Talking about inequalities, he said inequalities increased sharply between the 20 richest countries and the 20 poorest countries, including Bangladesh. The capital flow occurs from the poor countries to the rich ones mostly through mispricing and tax evasion.
CPD chairman Prof Rehman Sobhan chaired the event moderated by CPD distinguished fellow Prof Mustafizur Rahman. CPD Executive Director Dr Fahmida Khatun delivered introductory speech.
Dhaka, Sep 8 (UNB) – Speakers at a seminar on energy pricing said that the energy regulator should pay more attention to the concerns of the consumers and industries in fixing prices of power and petroleum and maintain rationality in the pricing mechanism.
“The rationality of Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) in its price increase should be understandable to the people and the government should give more authority to the regulators in this regard”, said Dr. Ahsan H. Mansur, executive director of Policy Research Institute of Bangladesh (PRI) while responding to question from audience.
Dr Mansur made a keynote presentation at the seminar at International Convention Centre City, in the city.
With energy secretary Abu Hena Md. Rahmatul Muneem in the chair, the seminar was also addressed, among others, by Power Development Board chairman Khaled Mahmud, BERC member Mizanur Rahman, Petrobangla chairman Abul Monsur Mohammad Foyejullah, Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) chairman Mohammad Akram Al Hossain, energy advisor of Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) Prof Shamsul Alam and Bangabandhu Chair Professor at Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) Dr. Joyashree Roy. Zarif Munir, Partner and MD, BCG Malaysia, moderated the seminar.
Dr Mansur said the country’s present challenge is providing power and energy at an affordable price.
“Huge pressure for price increase is coming up as there is no possibility of coming of any coal-based power plant before 2021. Still there are a big number of fuel-fired power plants in operation with huge cost”, he said.
He also suggested for allowing private sector more in power and petroleum business with maintaining strong monitoring to check any monopoly.
PDB chairman Khaled Mahmud said now 25 percent of power is being generated from liquid fuel which was 5 percent in 2009.
He informed that the PDB has to incur Tk 0.60 per unit in the sale of electricity and until last fiscal year 2017-18, the PDB received Tk 41,000 crore as loan from the government to cover the loss. “This has a big impact on our balance sheet,” he said.
"But now we’re receiving such support as grant from the government”, he added.
Prof Shamsul Alam said BERC lacks transparency in its decision making process as the power tariff fixed by the regulators never reflect the proceedings of public hearing.
He said it will be always unfair to fix a power tariff without considering the electricity cost of off-grid consumers.
Petrobangla chairman Abul Monsur Mohammad Foyejullah said the government is yet to officially raise gas price although LNG is being imported at higher price.