Dhaka, May 25 (UNB) - A 140-member contingent of Bangladesh Formed Police Unit-1 (FPU) left Dhaka early Saturday for Darfur, Sudan to join the UN peacekeeping mission there.
Superintendent of Police (SP) Mohammad Abdul Halim is leading the contingent as its commander while Additional SP Nazlee Selina Ferdousi is its deputy commander, said Assistant Inspector General (Media) of the Police Headquarters Md Sohel Rana.
Besides, 16 other police officers flew for Sudan as Individual Police Officers (IPOs), led by SP of Police Headquarters Muktar Hossain, on the same flight, he said.
Officials of UN Affairs branch of the Police Headquarters saw the peacekeepers off at Hazrat Shahajalal International.
Members of Bangladesh Police made its debut as peacekeepers in UN Peacekeeping Mission in Namibia in 1989. Apart from Darfur, members of Bangladesh police have been performing their duties professionally in peacekeeping missions in different troubled corners of the world, including Congo, South Sudan and Mali.
Dhaka, May 25 (UNB) – Stating that farmers are being deprived of fair prices of their produce due to the government’s wrong policy and corruption, BNP on Saturday demanded an additional allocation of Tk 10,000 crore in the national budget for paddy procurement from farmers.
Speaking at a press conference at BNP’s Nayapaltan central office, party secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir also warned that the consequences will be very dire since the farmers are losing interest in producing crops being deprived of fair prices.
“The misery that farmers face now reflects the wrong policy of the government. Bangladesh’s agriculture is now on the brink of ruination due to the government’s corruption and lack of farsightedness,” he said.
The BNP leader termed very simple and justified the demand for formers for procuring paddy directly from them. “We agree with the logical demands of farmers. The government must make an additional allocation of Tk 10,000 crore for procuring paddy from farmers.”
Fakhrul said though the government claims that the country has achieved autarky in producing rice, the government imported huge amount of rice only for ensuring the benefits of ruling party men.
He said 69 lakh metric tonnes of rice were imported through both the government and private channels in 2017-2018 fiscal year.
Besides, the BNP leader said, 3.3 lakh tonnes of rice were imported over the last 10 months while 97,000 more tonnes in wait for import.
“Farmers are being deprived of fair prices of paddy due to the import of huge amount of rice. Farmers are also not getting the fair prices as the government is allowing ruling party leaders and activists to procure paddy only to make their pockets heavier,” he added.
Fakhrul alleged that though the farmers set fire to their paddy fields as a mark of their protest against the falling prices of paddy, the government is not taking any step to ensure fair prices for them.
He criticised Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader for his comment that torching paddy fields is an act of sabotage. “Some other ruling party leaders tried to blame BNP for it as BNP has become their nightmare. They see the ghost of BNP in everything. That’s why they want to involve BNP with every matter.”
Fakhrul alleged that the government has indulged in huge corruption in the name of rice import. “The corruption has become so widespread in rice import that former minister Rashed Khan Menon was forced to talk about it.”
He said ruling party MP Ramesh Chandra Sen blamed ex-food minister Quamrul Islam for the current crisis in the agricultural sector.
The BNP leader said the government procures rice from mill owners instead of buying it directly from farmers to protect the interests of ruling party men and middlemen.
Fakhrul put forward some proposals to overcome the current crisis in agriculture sector and protect the interests of farmers.
BNP’s proposals include providing farmers interest free loan, renting private silos for procuring paddy by the government, distributing huge rice among people under the social safety net programmes, buying rice directly from farmers, canceling the permission that allows ruling party men to procure paddy, providing accurate information by the government about rice production, announcing the paddy procurement price before the cultivation of paddy and increasing paddy and rice procurement rate.
Fakhrul bemoaned that the government is giving loan defaulters special weavers, but it is not taking any step to waive agricultural loans.
Brahmanbaria, May 25 (UNB)— Three people were killed and two others were injured after a truck hit an auto-rickshaw in Bijoynagar upazila on Saturday noon.
The deceased were identified as Shanta Roy Chowdhury, 30, Abu Taher, 60, and Billal Uddin, 40.
Billal died on the spot and four others were critically wounded as the two vehicles rammed into each other on the Dhaka-Sylhet Highway.
The injured were taken to the Sadar hospital where doctors pronounced Shanta and Taher dead, said Md Hossain Sarkar, officer-in-charge of Khatihata Highway Police.
Dhaka, May 25 (UNB)— President Abdul Hamid will return home on Sunday after completing his health check-up.
The head of the state left Dhaka on May 15 for London and Germany for health check-up and treatment of eyes.
A VVIP flight of Biman Bangladesh Airlines carrying the President will land at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport at around 10:15am.
Hamid completed his check-up at Moorfields Eye Hospital and Bupa Cromwell Hospital in London.
The 75-year-old President conducted his health check-up there in July last year.
Abdul Hamid has been suffering from Glaucoma for a long time and used to have his health check-ups done in London while he was the Speaker of Parliament.
Dhaka, May 25 (UNB)- Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday asked concerned authorities to procure modern passenger coaches and wagons for Bangladesh Railway to meet the growing demands.
She also emphasised achieving the capability of locally building modern wagons and coaches.
The Prime Minister was addressing a function while launching a new intercity train service on Dhaka-Panchagarh route through a videoconference from her official residence Ganobhaban.
She noted that more people are opting for train travel as the railway’s network is being expanded.
Sheikh Hasina underscored the need for modernising Railway Workshops as well as to add more wagons and coach for introducing modern goods transportation system.
Describing various steps of the government to expand rail network, she said, a rail line is being constructed on the Padma Bridge and it will be extended up to Barishal.
She said that the government plans to expand the network from Barishal to Paira and from Panchagarh to Banglabandha.
Sheikh Hasina pointed out that her government constituted a new ministry for railway after coming to power in 2009 and undertook massive works for its development.
She said that the government wants to set up a developed and modern communication system to eradicate poverty and ensure developed life for the people.
The Prime Minister said that the government has taken various programmes to connect the railways with the regional as well as trans-Asian rail network.
She said her government has built many new stations and introduced new trains, apart from modernising the signalling system and constructing 346-kilometre new rail lines.
Besides, steps have been taken to recruit more people for railway, she said, asking concerned authorities to complete the recruitment process soon.
The Prime Minister also directed the railways ministry to arrange necessary training for its manpower to increase their professional excellence.
Railways Minister M Nurul Islam Sujan also spoke at the programme from Bir Muktijoddha Sirajul IslamRailway Station in Panchagarh through videoconference.
Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Huq, Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader, Agriculture Minister Dr Abrur Razzaque and Indonesian Ambassador to Bangladesh Rina P Soemarno were also present at the programme at Ganobhaban.