A number of protesting workers of nine state-owned jute mills in Khulna and Jashore started falling sick on Wednesday, the second day of their hunger strike.
They are trying to force the authorities accept their 11-point demand, including implementation of the wage commission, payment of regular wages, cancellation of public-private ownership of mills and allotting necessary fund for the sector.
Two sick workers were taken to Khulna Medical College Hospital, said Khalilur Rahman, convener of State Owned Jute Mill CBA and Non-CBA Sangram Parishad.
He said the workers begin to fall sick because of severe cold and hunger. “We’ll continue the strike until our demands are met,” he said.
An estimated 50,000 workers of Star, Platinum, Crescent, Alim, Eastern, Daulatpur and Khalishpur jute mills in Khulna and JJI and Carpeting jute mills in Jashore started the strike on Tuesday.
The workers said they were not paid regularly and were forced to come out on the streets demanding improvement of the situation.
A woman and her four-year-old son were killed after they fell off a running bus at Shimultali area in Araihazar upazila on Tuesday night.
The deceased were identified as Manchura, 25, wife of Jahangir and their son Asib, 4, resident of Madhabdi upazila of Narsingdi. She was a teacher ofDarul Uloom Rahmania Madrasa at Rahmatpur in the upazila.
Quoting family members, Mozaffar, in-charge of Kaspur Highway Police outpost, said Manchura and her son were returning home by a bus at night around 8:30pm.
The bus was competing with another bus on the way and at one stage, its door slammed open. Asib was flung onto the road from his mother’s lap. Manchura fell off the bus trying to catch her son.
They were run over by the other bus and killed on the spot.
The bus they were travelling in later fell into a roadside ditch.
On information, police seized the killer bus but its driver and his assistant managed to flee the scene, the official added.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday urged everyone to shun negative attitudes and stop isolating leprosy patients and instead take initiatives for their proper treatment.
“We’ve to discard the mentality that if anyone is affected by leprosy, the person should be sacked or isolated from society,” she said while inaugurating the National Conference 2019 on Zero Leprosy Initiative by 2030 at Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel in the city.
If anyone is affected by leprosy, she said, the employer should ensure treatment instead of sacking the patient. Sheikh Hasina said leprosy patients need to be seen through sympathetic and humanitarian eyes.
Leprosy, also known as Hansen’s disease, is a chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae that mainly affects skin, peripheral nerves, mucosal surfaces of the upper respiratory tract and the eyes, according to WHO.
There were 208 619 new leprosy cases registered globally in 2018, according to official figures from 159 countries from the six WHO Regions. Leprosy is curable and early treatment averts most disabilities.
According to WHO statistics, 3,000 to 4,000 new leprosy cases were detected every year from 2011-2017 in Bangladesh, while the disabilities among the detected cases are 7-11 percent.
Hasina said leprosy patients would get cured to a large extent if all sections of society shoulder responsibility to ensure their rights to coexist in society. She urged local pharmaceutical companies to produce medicines for the disease.
“Our many pharmaceutical companies are exporting their products to various countries. Our medicines are very good quality. I’d like to tell them that if they produce special medicines needed for leprosy patients and take measures to distribute them for free, we’ll reach our target (Zero Leprosy) very quickly,” she said.
The Prime Minister said if the leprosy can be diagnosed at early stage and measures can be taken accordingly, the disease can be cured.
Noting that once leprosy was considered as curse, she said it needs to conduct research to prevent the spread of leprosy. “We’ll have to take steps so that the leprosy can completely be removed from our country. So, I think, we need to conduct research extensively,” she said.
Mentioning that now research works are being conducted and leprosy medicines invented at the international level, she said, “We can do it in our country as well. If can do so, we’ll not require to depend on others.”
The Prime Minister said she believes that Bangladesh would reach the target of zero leprosy even before 2030.
In 2000, Awami League government initiated 'Bandhabari Ashrayan Project' for leprosy patients at Boali union in Kaliakair upazila of Gazipur district. Some 70 families were rehabilitated in the special housing project and many of leprosy patients have got cured.
In order to help people enjoy basic rights through eliminating social discrimination against leprosy, the government in 2011 enacted a new law repealing the age-old law “The 1898 Lepers Act” enacted by the British government, she said.
Health and Family Welfare Minister Zahid Maleque presided over the inaugural session of the conference, while Chairman of Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Health and Family Welfare Ministry Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim and WHO goodwill Ambassador for Leprosy Elimination Yohei Sasakawa spoke on the occasion.
Health Services Division Secretary Md Ashadul Islam delivered the welcome speech.
Around 2,700 metres of Padma Bridge became visible after the installation of the 18th span at Majher Char in Jajira upazila of Shariatpur on Wednesday.
The 3,140-ton 3-E span was installed around 1:03pm, said Deputy Assistant Engineer of Padma Bridge Project Humayun Kabir.
It was brought by Tian-E crane near pillar no 17-18 at Jajira point from Mawa construction yard-1 at noon.
Earlier, on November 26, the 17th span of the bridge was installed, making 2.55 km of the bridge visible. The construction of railway and road over the bridge is going on in full swing.
Work on the country’s largest bridge till date started in December 2015. The structure started becoming visible with the installation of 150-metre span on pillars 37 and 38 on October 30, 2017.
The 6.15-kilometre bridge will have 41 spans, each 150 metres long.
Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader on October 17 said the construction work on the Padma Bridge will be completed by June, 2021.
The High Court (HC) has rejected bail petition ofsuspended director of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Khandaker Enamul Bashir over a Tk 40 lakh bribery scandal.
An HC bench of Justice Obaidul Hassan and Justice AKM Zahirul Huq on Tuesday turned down the petition considering that the petition was not presented, said ACC lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan.
Advocate Hasanuzzaman Ujjal appeared for Bashir.
On July 22, a team of the national anti-graft body arrested Bashir from his Dar-us-Salam residence in city’s Mirpur around 10:15pm over the bribery scandal.
A Dhaka court sent him to jail on July 23 in a case that accuses him of accepting Tk 40 lakh as bribe.
On July 16, ACC filed a case against suspended Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of police Mizanur Rahman and ACC director Khandaker Enamul Basir over the bribery scandal.
A private TV channel brought the incident into the forefront by broadcasting a report that showed Deputy Inspector General Mizanur Rahman gave Tk 40 lakh to Enamul to get a clean chit in a corruption case.
He was suspended on June 10 for allegedly leaking information, a breach of his job discipline.