A stone quarry worker was killed and 30 others were injured on Sunday in a clash with police and Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) members in Bhajanpur area of Tetulia upazila in the district.
The deceased was identified as Jumaruddin, 55, of Gonagas village of Tetulia.
Witnesses said stone quarry workers blocked Panchagarh-Banglabandha highway in Bhajanpur area around 10 am demanding withdrawal of ban on the stone extraction.
When police and Rab members tried to obstructthe protesters with tear shells, the protesting workers started throwing brickbats towards them, triggering a clash that left 30 people, including cops, injured.
Superintendent of Panchagarh Police Yusuf Ali said the protesters vandalised a number of vehicles.
Eleven police and Rab members were also injured in the clash but now the situation is under control, he added.
RMO of Panchagarh Modern Sadar Hospital Dr Sirajuddoula Polin said Jamirudding succumbed to his injuries while undergoing treatment at the hospital.
The body was sent to morgue for autopsy, he said.
A ‘discriminatory’ condition in a procurement process will cost Dhaka Power Distribution Company (DPDC) an additional amount of Tk 270 crore if it picks the lowest bidder for the job.
As per the condition, if the lowest bidder is a foreign firm, DPCC will pay the customs duty and VAT while in case of the local firm, those will be paid by the company itself.
According to official sources at the Power Division, the issue came to their notice following the submission of a complaint by a representative of a local company on January 23.
One Jamal Uddin of the local company made the complaint in a letter submitted to the Power Division seeking ‘justice’ over a DPDC tender for “Design, Supply, Construction, Testing & Commissioning Of 11 KV New Distribution Line, including Underground Distribution System & Renovation Of Existing 11 KV Distribution Line On Turnkey Basis”.
Through the tender, the DPDC is supposed to procure different materials, including transformers, cables, electric poles, hardware, insulators, fuse cutouts and lighting arrests, and carry out civil work.
Electrical equipment will also be procured for refurbishing the underground distribution system and the existing 1kV distribution line along with a new 1kV distribution line.
In the letter, it was complained that DPDC has allowed a Chinese company, which was initially disqualified technically, to submit its financial offer at the final level bid submission.
When its financial offer is opened, it was found that the company became the lowest bidder with its offer of Tk 924.36 crore while a local company became the second lowest bidder offering Tk 992.18 crore.
“If DPDC now awards the contract to the Chinese company, ultimate total price will be approximately 1,261 crore, including taxes, and if they go for the offer of the Bangladeshi company, the total cost will be Tk 992 crore, including taxes. It means DPDC can save approximately Tk 270 crore,” said the complaint.
If the local company’s offer is accepted, the customs duty and VAT will be paid by it as per the tender condition, claimed the representative of the local company in his letter.
It was further mentioned in the letter that the main reason behind the lower price offered by the Chinese company is that it would supply materials from China instead of Europe/USA/Australia as per the tender requirements.
According to tender conditions, cable jointing kits, termination kits and MCCB, as mentioned in Technical Specification Country of Origin should be of UK/USA/ Germany/France/Switzerland/Sweden/Canada/Japan.
Contacted, DPDC Managing Director Bikash Dewan denied such allegation and claimed that his organisation has invited the tender to procure the goods following the public procurement rules (PPR) of the government which is applicable for all the government entities.
About the disqualification of the Chinese firm at the technical stage, he said the technical evaluation committee first wrongfully disqualified it. “But the DPDC board found it qualified which was also later agreed by the tender evaluation committee,” he told UNB.
Bikash Dewan also claimed that the tender process was followed transparently and no unfair practice was made in the evaluation process.
Election Commissioner Mahbub Talukdar on Sunday said there is no level-playing field within the Election Commission (EC) itself as the scope for him to express opinion has squeezed.
He came up with the remarks while talking to reporters at his Nirbachan Bhaban office on Sunday.
The Commissioner said his proposals and recommendations are not accepted at EC meetings because of the majority-driven decision concept. “I think the merits of my statements should be considered instead of considering me as the minority.”
“I think the space for making statements by me at the Commission’s meeting has got narrowed. There's no level-playing field within the Election Commission. We want to protect the independence and dignity of the Election Commission, and it should be manifested through our activities,” he added.
Mahbub observed that the Election Commission cannot perform its duty properly regarding the elections to two city corporations.
He said three meetings of the EC were held since the announcement of the election schedule, but there was no discussion about the electoral code of conduct, irregularities or the complaints of the candidates in Dhaka’s two city corporation elections at any of the meetings. “None of these issues was there on the agenda of the Commission’s meetings."
He said another meeting of the Commission will be held on January 28, but no issue relating to the city polls has been included its agenda.
The Commissioner said he gave four separate unofficial notes on January 9, 13, 16 and 20, but none of them was taken into consideration. “There’s no discussion or necessary action on the issues. If my statements are unacceptable, I should have been informed about it.”
Through an unofficial note on January 16, he said he asked the EC senior secretary and two returning officers of Dhaka south and north city corporation polls to submit a report to him by January 20 about different complaints of the candidates and the actions taken by the EC. “But my order was ignored as I wasn’t provided any information.”
Replying to a question, Mahbub said he does not work for any party as he is guided by his conscience. “Those who know my past history won’t say I belong to any party.”
A suspected drug trader was killed in a reported gunfight with police at Hoaikang Nayabazar in Teknaf upazila early Sunday.
The deceased was identified as Nasir alias Manna, 30, son of Jalal Ahmed of East Satghariapara in the upazila.
Tipped off, a team of police conducted a drive in the area around 4 am, said officer-in-charge of Teknaf Police Station Pradip Kumar Das.
Sensing presence of the law enforcers, the criminals opened fire on them , forcing them to fire back in self defence, he said.
After the gunfight, police arrested injured Nasir and took him to Sadar Hospital where doctors declared him dead.
Three policemen including an assistant sub-inspector and two police constables were injured in the incident.
Police recovered 10,000 Yaba pills, three fireamrs and 12 rounds of bullets from the spot.
President Abdul Hamid on Sunday stressed the need for taking concerted efforts by the global community, donors and international organizations to continue the trend of development of climate vulnerable countries and ensure sustainable development.
"All the stakeholders, including the global community, donors and international organizations, should take joint initiatives to continue the trend of economic development of climate vulnerable countries and ensure sustainable development," he said.
He said while delivering his speech at the International Conference on Earth and Environmental Sciences and Technology for Sustainable Development (ICEEST-20) at a city hotel.
The five-day conference began on Saturday with huge participation of teachers, students and researchers from home and abroad.
The Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences of Dhaka University (DU) is organising the international conference on earth and environment sciences and technology (ICEEST).
Mentioning Bangladesh as one of the most affected countries by climate change, Hamid said the role of the most affected countries, including Bangladesh, in the polluting process is very negligible.
"The countries responsible for it should play a responsible role in overcoming this situation. The problems caused by climate change are no longer limited to one country or region," he said.
Saying climate change a global problem now, he said the whole world will have to come forward to resolve this.
He also called upon the global community to come forward with financial and technical assistance as only pledges and lovely words can’t bring any solution.
Turning to blue economy, the President said, " It is very important to develop skilled manpower for the exploration, collection and preservation of mineral and animal resources in the maritime boundary of Bangladesh."
Thirty-nine sessions are scheduled to be conducted throughout the conference from January 25 to January 29 with secretaries of the ministries concerned in the chair.
The organiser said the aim of the conference is to bring all leading scientists, researchers, and policymakers to share their skills and expertise in order to increase collaboration both in the scientific and development strategies using state-of-the-art technologies.
The conference is proceeding based on the following sub themes - Blue Economy: Global and Bay of Bengal Perspective; Geo Resources: Exploration, Development, and Management; Disaster Resilience and Sustainability; environment perspective on population dynamics and regional development; meteorology, weather forecasting; and delta processes and development.
Education Minister Dr. Dipu Moni, Chairman of the University Grants Commission Prof Kazi Shahidullah, DU vice-chancellor Prof Akhtaruzzaman, Conference Speaker Professor of University College London, United Kingdom Dr. Peter Sammonds were present at the programme.
President of Dhaka University Teachers Association (DUTA) Prof Maksud Kamal presided over the programme.
Secretaries concerned to the President were also present during opening ceremony.