The Police Headquarters on Tuesday submitted a report to the High Court (HC) stating that proper measures have been taken to ensure safety of all sculptures and murals of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman across the country.
The report signed by Additional Deputy Inspector General (Confidential) Md Haydar Ali Khan was submitted before a virtual bench of Justice FRM Nazmul Ahasan and Justice Shahed Nuruddin.
Deputy Attorney General ABM Abdullah Al Mahmud Bashar presented the report which said all measures, including installation of CCTV cameras, deployment of detective branch members and regular patrolling by law enforcers, have been taken to ensure safety of Bangabandhu’s sculptures and murals.
Advocate Dr Bashir Ahmed stood for the writ petitioner.
Quoting the report, Deputy Attorney General ABM Abdullah said a total of 220 sculptures and murals of Bangabandhu have been established across the country where members of law enforcement agencies have been deployed for safety.
Earlier on December 7, the High Court asked the authorities concerned to take measures to ensure the security of all sculptures of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman across the country.
The HC came up with the order on December 6 a writ petition was filed seeking security of all the sculptures, including those of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, across the country.
Supreme Court Lawyer Uttam Lahiri filed the writ petition.
The making of Bangabandhu’s sculpture in the capital has stirred up controversies. On December 5, an under-construction sculpture of Bangabandhu was vandalized in Kushtia.
On November 13, Islami Andolan Bangladesh Nayeb-e-Ameer Faizul Karim and Hefazat-e-Islam Bangladesh Joint Secretary General Mamunul Haque opposed the setting up of the sculpture.
Earlier, Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader made it clear that any attempt to destroy religious tolerance in the country would be dealt with strictly.
On February 25, the High Court directed the government to declare March 7 as the ‘National Historic Day’ and issue a gazette notification in this regard within a month.
The court also sought the progress report on the matter within a month.
It issued a directive for installing the mural of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in all districts and upazilas of the country within the ‘Mujib Borsho’.
On March 4, 2018, the HC issued another rule asking the government to explain as to why directives should not be given to set up a Bangabandhu’s speech-mode sculpture at the place where he had delivered the historic 7th March Speech in 1971.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) have arrested five alleged drug dealers and seized 31,860 yaba pills from the city’s Uttara and Sutrapur areas.
The arrestees are Md Ali Hossain alias Rony, 31, Md Abul Kashem, 34, Shariful Islam Chowdhury alias Jinna, Babul and Md Saikat Hossain.
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Sources at the DMP headquarters said a team Detective Branch (Uttara Division)of the DMP conducted a special drive at Uttara Azampur bus stand area at around 6:05 pm on Monday and arrested Rony and Kashem along with 10,000 Yaba pills.
The detectives also seized a microbus which was carrying the yaba pills.
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Another team of DB (Lalbagh division) arrested Jinna and Babul from Baniyanagar Dhulaikhal area on Monday and recovered 20,000 Yaba pills.
Meanwhile, a team of Uttara East Police station raided Abdullahpur area at around 7:10 pm on Monday and arrested Saikat. Police also recovered 1860 yaba pills from his possessions.
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Separate cases were filed with local police stations under the Narcotics Control Act.
Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) will hold a public hearing on Thursday to re-fix the price of liquified petroleum gas (LPG) at the consumer level.
According to a public notice of the regulatory body, the hearing will be held at Shahid AKM Shamsul Haque Khan Memorial Auditorium of Bangladesh Institute of Administration and Management (BIAM) Foundation at Eskaton in the city.
The hearing will start at 11 am on January 14 and continue until 5 pm. If needed, it will continue until January 18 as well, said the BERC notice.
The BERC moves to hold the hearing on LPG price fixing as per the BERC Act 2003,” said a member of the regulatory body.
BERC officials said the move to fix LPG price came against the backdrop of a show-cause notice issued by the High Court seeking explanation as to why action would not be taken against the regulator for its failure to set LPG price.
Sources said that the local LPG producers, including state-owned LPG company already submitted their proposals on the issue as per instruction of the BERC to facilitate holding the public hearing.
Recently, disposing of an appeal of Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB), a High Court bench ordered the regulatory body to set the LPG price for consumers.
As per the BERC Act, 2003, electricity tariffs and prices of downstream petroleum products should be fixed by the energy regulator through public hearings.
In compliance with its responsibility, the BERC has been setting the electricity tariff and price of natural gas for both bulk and retail consumers after its establishment in 2003.
But the issue of setting the LPG price remained out of the purview of the regulatory body.
Currently, the price of LPG produced by state-owned companies is fixed by Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) while the private companies fix their own price.
There are allegations that the LPG of both public and private companies are selling in the retail market at an inflated price of about Tk 1,000-1,200 for a 12.5 kg container while its actual rate is between Tk 700-800 as there is no monitoring or mandatory mechanism to fix their prices at the retail level.
In such a situation, the CAB—the consumer rights group—moved the court seeking an order asking the BERC to fix the price through a public hearing, said a CAB official.
Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) has urged the government to ensure maximum transparency in the procurement, collection and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines.
The TIB stressed the need for following the relevant rules to avoid the recurrence of corruption in the health sector in the name of emergency procurement of Covid-19 vaccines.
Still, the number of effective Covid-19 vaccines is very low and their production and supply are limited. So, a worldwide competition is noticed to get vaccines from the very beginning, said a TIB press release on Tuesday.
"...though the government's initiative to promptly collect Oxford-AstraZeneca shots from Serum Institute of India is commendable, the commercial agreement in this regard and the possibility of timely collection from this source could not avoid controversy rather created some questions," said TIB Executive Director Dr Iftekharuzzaman.
He said the way in which the Health Ministry has tried to call the trade agreement as G2G one in the face of uncertainty over getting vaccines is unwelcome.
On the other hand, Dr Iftekharuzzaman said, there are questions over how the existing laws of the Drug Administration was followed during the quick approval process of Covidshield vaccine and on the basis of which file this decision was made.
Similarly, it is not clear whether there were rationales and considerations or what the process and policy were followed while taking the decision by the government to pay the cost and commission money to Beximco for directly purchasing the vaccine. "It's contrary to the transparency of government procurement at any level," he said.
Noting that the Health Ministry has suffered from an indecision from the beginning over the collection of Covid-19 vaccine, Dr Iftekharuzzaman said though the decision was made for the trial of China's Sinovac inoculation, it was finally cancelled after keeping it pending for a few months.
Amid the controversy over the uncertainty of getting the vaccine, the vaccine trial of local firm 'Globe Biotech' got necessary approval. At the same time, Bangladesh has decided to collect the Covid-19 shots developed by Pfizer-BioNtech through COVAX despite there are complexities over the preservation of these vaccines in Bangladesh, he said.
Now the big question is that the decision of collecting Pfizer vaccines would be effective when Bangladesh needs to have special freezing system for preservation of these Covid-19 doses in its 56 districts, out of 64, and it needs to have special syringes to inject these vaccines, according the government's assessment, said the TIB Executive Director.
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He said though the government has planned to provide free vaccination to 80 percent of people depending on its availability, there is a concern of creating confusion again in the vaccination process.
People have no clear idea how the priority recipients of the vaccines will be set, Dr Iftekharuzzaman said putting emphasis on ensuring transparency and creating trust among the common people by removing the confusion in order to make such a large immunization programme a success.
Bangladesh’s Covid -19 fatalities soared to 7,819 on Tuesday after the health authorities confirmed 16 more deaths in 24 hours.
The national caseload now stands at 524,020 with 468,581 having recovered so far, according to a handout from the Directorate General of Health Services.
In the last 24 hours, 14,363 samples were tested and 963 of them turned out to be positive.
In Bangladesh, the recovery rate stands at 89.44 percent with a 1.49 percent mortality rate, the handout showed.
Bangladesh reported its first cases on March 8 and the first death on March 18.
Until Tuesday morning 3,385,779 tests have been carried out – including 14,791 in the last 24 hours – and 15.48 percent of them tested positive.
Also read: Global Covid death toll nearing 2 million
Global Covid-19 situation
The global death toll from Covid-19 is progressively approaching 2 million. The global cases have already surged past 90.8 million, according to Johns Hopkins University (JHU).
The global caseload and the death toll stood at 90,872,905 and 1,943,943, respectively, as of Tuesday morning, the university's latest data showed.
In the US, considered the worst-hit country, more than 376,051 people have lost their lives so far, while the confirmed cases in the North American country have soared to 22,612,384.
The US is entering the second month of the biggest vaccination drive in history, with a major expansion of the campaign, opening football stadiums, major league ballparks, fairgrounds and convention centres to inoculate a larger and more diverse pool of people, reports AP.
About nine million Americans have received their first shot, or 2.7% of the US population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Experts say as much as 85% of the population will have to be inoculated to achieve “herd immunity” and vanquish the outbreak.
Many states are responding by throwing open the line to other groups and ramping up the pace of vaccinations.
Brazil on Monday said it registered 480 fatalities from Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, raising the death toll to 203,580.
Some 25,822 new cases of the disease were detected in the same 24-hour period, bringing the country's total caseload to 8,131,612, said the Ministry of Health in its daily pandemic report.
Brazil has the world's second-highest Covid death toll, ranking only second to the US, and the third-largest outbreak, following the US and India.
The nation has been experiencing a second wave of the pandemic that has resulted in an increase in cases and deaths since December.
Last week, Brazil set a record for daily caseload of 87,843 and registered the second-highest single-day death toll of 1,524 since the start of the pandemic.
Besides, India’s total death toll mounted to 151,160, while the cases soared to 10,466,595 on Tuesday morning.