The government has appointed Sheikh Mohammad Morshed and Mehedi Hasan Chowdhury as new additional attorney generals (AAG).
A gazette notification was published by the Law Ministry on Sunday as per the President’s order.
Supreme Court Bar Association President AM Amin Uddin was appointed as the 16th Attorney General of Bangladesh on Oct 8 last year after the death of Mahbubey Alam.
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Two of the additional attorney generals at that time – Murad Reza and Md Momtaj Uddin Fakir – had stepped down.
With the new appointment, the number of additional attorney generals now stands at three.
The other AAG is SM Munir.
The government has worked out a plan for national vaccination against Covid-19 with a target to give two doses of jabs to each of 13.82 crore people to eliminate the prevalence of the deadly virus.
According to the plan shared by the ruling Awami League on its verified Facebook page, the vaccine will be distributed in three phases divided into five stages based on a priority basis.
The country has so far received 20 lakh doses of Covid vaccine as the Indian government sent the jabs as a gift to Bangladesh on Thursday.
Bangladesh also signed an agreement with the Serum Institute of India (SII) through Beximco Pharmaceuticals Ltd. to procure three crore doses of Covishield (Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine).
The first consignment of 50 lakh doses of Covishield will arrive in the country from India on Monday, Health Minister Zahid Maleque said Sunday. He said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will inaugurate the vaccination drive on January 27 at Kurmitola Hospital. A nurse there will receive the jab.
The minister said the government has a list of everyone who will be vaccinated in phases. Maleque, however, said the government will not force anyone to receive the vaccine.
He said the government is in talks with Russia, China and others for collecting more vaccines.
Detailed vaccine distribution plan
As per the plan, a total of 13, 82,47,000 people will vaccinated in five stages. Health workers, freedom fighters, law enforcers, military and other forces, government officials, journalists, public representatives, employees of city corporations and municipalities, and religious leaders will get the shots initially.
A total of 1,72,80,939 people will be inoculated in the two stages of the first phase. In the second phase, 1,72,80,000 people will be vaccinated while 10,36,84,000 people in the third and final phase under two stages.
First stage of the first phase
In the first stage of the first phase, a total of 51,84,282 people, including 10, 52,000 health workers and health assistants, 2,10,000 freedom fighters, 9,07,532 members of law enforcers, army and other forces, 50,000 government officials and 50,000 frontline journalists, will get the vaccine.
Besides, 1,78,298 public representatives, 1,50,000 employees of city corporations and municipalities, 5,41,000 religious leader, 75,000 people engaged in burial and cremation, 4,00,000 workers of Wasa, Desa, Titas and Fire Service, 1,50,000 workers of the sea and airports, 1, 97, 621 bank officials and employees, 6, 25,000 patients with poor immunity and 77,804 workers engaged in emergency services and pandemic management will be vaccinated in the first stage of the first phase of vaccination.
Second stage of the first phase
In the second stage of the first phase, 1,20,96,657 people aged 60 and above will be vaccinated.
The second phase
Another 1,72,80,000 people will be vaccinated in the second phase, including 55,66,757 citizens aged up to 55- years, 30,21,936 elderly people having comorbidities, 17,88,053 teachers and workers of all types of educational institutions, 50, 000 media personnel left out in the first phase, 10,11,228 citizens living in the remote areas, 10,00,000 members of indigenous community, 5,00,000 workers of public transport, 2,42,964 workers of hotel, restaurants, and medicine shops, 36,00,000 RMG workers, and 1,50,000 sex workers and members of third gender.
The highest number of people in Bangladesh will be vaccinated in the third phase under two stages.
As per the plan, a total of 10,36,84,000 people will be given the vaccine in the two stages of the third phase. Of them, 3, 45, 61,000 will be inoculated in the first stage and 6,91,23,000 in the second stage.
Those who will get the vaccine in the third phase include 6,67,204 teachers and employees of the educational institutions left out in the second phase, 38,15,201 pregnant women (based on approval), 12,17,062 other government employees, 43,00,000 other members of the law enforcement agencies, 6,00,000 excluded employees of the city corporations and municipalities, 22,00,000 employees of the autonomous and semi- government organization staffs, 20,81,884 workers of export and industrial establishments, 25,00,000 workers of private power plants and ports and 1,00,586 prisoners and jail workers.
Besides, 22,32,114 urban slam dwellers or floating people, 16,50,000 people engaged in agriculture and food supply, 5,00,000 dormitory residents, 2,00,000 homeless people, 51,54,844 workers of different other industrial establishments, 3,00,000 other public transport workers left out in the first two phases, 65,46,323 excluded citizens aged 50 to 54, 4,96,6594 other workers engaged in emergency and pandemic management, 3,22,34,000 young citizens excluded in the previous phases, 3,22,47,157 children and school-going students and 8,42,597 people left out in the previous phases will be vaccinated in the final phase.
State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid has said that uninterrupted power supply will be ensured during the upcoming irrigation season.
He said the two divisions under his ministry- the Power Division and the Energy and Mineral Resources Division — will ensure adequate supply of natural gas and liquid fuel to power plants through a coordinated effort.
He gave the assurance at a virtual inter-ministerial coordination meeting convened by his ministry to discuss the measures taken by different entities to ensure uninterrupted power supply for the coming irrigation season.
Irrigation season normally begins in February and continues until May 31 during which electricity demand rises.
It was informed at the meeting that electricity demand was recorded at 11,977MW in May last year while it is assumed that the demand will go up to 14,000MW during the coming irrigation season.
The demand for natural gas is calculated to be 1,550 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) in the coming season while the furnace oil demand will go up to 22,000 metric tonnes and diesel’s possible demand will reach 6,100MT per day.
Nasrul Hamid instructed state-owned Petrobangla to supply natural gas to the Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) as per its requirement.
He observed that the demand for electricity has been increasing following completion of cent percent electrification coverage across the country.
Coordination emphasised for uninterrupted power
The state minister asked the concerned agencies under his ministry to build coordination with other government entities like Bangladesh Railway, BIWTA and Roads and Highway Department to ensure smooth transportation of petroleum fuels to the power plants.
“At least two-month fuel reserve must be ensured and there must be focal point officials at every stages of the management for strong coordination,” he told the top officials.
He also asked them to coordinate with other concerned departments and entities to ensure adequate coal production and supply to the coal-based power plants.
Nasrul Hamid directed the top officials of the Power Division and its subordinate bodies to commence a live monitoring system so that maintenance works are properly done in power stations before start of the irrigation season and no interruption occurs in power generation, transmission and distribution system.
He specially instructed the officials to address the low voltage problem in power supply in the northern districts like Rangpur, Dinajpur, Panchaghar, Thakurgaon, Lalmonirhat and Kurigram.
The meeting was attended by officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Industries, Ministry of Railway, BIWTA, and BIWTC.
Power secretary Habibur Rahman, BPDB Chairman Belayet Hossain and Power Cell director general Mohammad Hossain, among others, attended the virtual meeting.
The first consignment of five million doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine purchased by Bangladesh from the Serum Institute of India Pvt Limited will arrive on Monday, Health Minister Zahid Maleque said Sunday.
“India has already provided us 2 million doses. Five million doses will come as per our contract. The rest [of the 25 million doses] will come in phases,” he told the media at the Secretariat.
Minister Maleque said the government is working to preserve the vaccine, adding: “We’ve decided where to keep the vaccines when the rest of the doses come.”
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will inaugurate the vaccination drive on Jan 27 at Kurmitola Hospital. A nurse will receive the jab there.
“We’ve a national committee which will decide how the vaccination campaign will be carried out. They’ve finished preparations,” he said.
The government has a list of everyone who will be vaccinated, he said, adding that permission has been given for antibody tests.
Covid-19 vaccine side effects
There are apprehensions among the people about the possible side effects of the vaccine.
Minister Maleque said many people are talking about side effects. Many medicines have side effects and we can’t guarantee that there won’t be any in this case.
“The usual side effect is slight dizziness,” he said. “We’ve arranged instant treatment at hospitals in such case.”
When asked how the government will assure the people to receive the jab, he said the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine’s side effect is less than that of other vaccines.
“Hundreds of thousands of doses have been used in India and UK. So, there’s no need for trial,” the minister said.
‘Won’t force anyone to get Covid vaccine’
Maleque said the government will not force anyone to receive the vaccine.
“We’ll provide vaccines to those who’ll seek it voluntarily. The nurses who’ll be vaccinated at Kurmitola are coming forward on their own,” the minister said.
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People working on the front line will be vaccinated first as per the WHO guideline. Journalists will get the vaccine in due time as they work with risk.
He had earlier said that the elderly people will get priority in this regard as the death percentage of them was high in the country. People below the age of 18 will not get the vaccine.
Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury, founder of Gonoshasthaya Kendra, had recently suggested the prime minister to receive the jab to build confidence among the people.
Minister Maleque said the government would vaccinate the front liners first.
Covid vaccine: Bangladesh in talks with other countries
Earlier on Thursday, India provided 2 million doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine as ‘gift’ to Bangladesh.
Minister Maleque had said the government is in talks with Russia, China and others for collecting more vaccine.
Zahid Maleque further said 4200 people have been trained for the vaccination drive.
Covid-19 situation in Bangladesh
Bangladesh recorded a daily infection rate of 3.34% with 473 new cases until Sunday. The daily infection rate was 5.49% on January 18 and 8.18% on January 1.
The total caseload has reached 531,799 with 476,413 recoveries (89.59%).
Meanwhile, fatalities rose to 8,023 with a mortality rate of 1.51%.
The country reported its first cases on March 8 last year and the first death on March 18.
Confirmed Covid-19 infections around the world approached 99 million on Sunday with more than 2.1 million people known to have died worldwide.
Jatiya Party MP Kazi Firoz Rashid on Sunday demanded the Home Minister take steps to close Ekattorer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee and all other such committees so that no one can annihilate people.
"We’ve some organisations -- Nastik Nirmul Committee (a platform that seeks annihilation of atheists) and Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee. Who’ve given them the authority to annihilate? I would like to know. Who’re you to annihilate people? There’re courts in our country, aren't?" he told Parliament joining the general discussion on thanksgiving motion on the President's speech.
Noting that this government held the trial of many cases, Firoz Rashid said the trial of the killing of Bangabandhu was completed and that of collaborators (of Pakistani occupation forces) is being held.
"I would like to request the Home Minister to close these organisations so that no one can annihilate people," said the Jatiya Party MP.
Firoz Rashid also criticised his own party's MPs saying that the speeches of some members do not make it clear that which party they actually belong to.
"We joined the election forging an alliance with Awami League, but sat in Parliament as the opposition. It's the beauty of democracy. I'm sorry to say it can't be understood with the words of some of our members which party they actually belong to," he said.
“There’re some MPs who don’t utter the names of Jatiya Party and its leader HM Ershad, not even for a single time,” he said.
The Jatiya Party MP lamented that though his party has a role behind the big success of the government in every sector, not AL leader ever mentioned it for a single time. "Why is this unkindness?"
He said: “Had Jatiya Party not joined the 2014 general election there would have been no election and no government. Had it been so, there wouldn’t have been any development in the country either.”
This Parliament is a very colourful and lively one," said Firoz adding that all opposition parties are there in this Parliament.