Most sewerage lines of city houses illegally connected to surface drains
Most house owners in Dhaka have connected their sewage discharge pipes to the surface drains of the City Corporation instead of sewage management networks. This results in severe pollution to the lakes in and around the capital. Campaigns will be conducted in every ward in Dhaka North City Corporation to block those illegal sewage lines, the city corporation mayor Atiqul Islam told UNB. Sewage networks should not be connected to the city corporation's surface drains in any way. The house owners should immediately disconnect those illegal lines. If not, it will be permanently disconnected by the city corporation authorities, the Mayor alerted the house owners. Also Read: Sewerage: Dhaka, Tokyo launch partnership for improved services “Campaign will continue in every ward of the city corporation in phases and no compromise will be made in this regard,” Atiq said. To make the campaign successful, Mayor Atiqul put emphasis on creating awareness among the house owners. Besides, ward councilors and city corporation officials will perform their respective duties to resolve the problem, added the Mayor. “We repeatedly asked the house owners not to connect their sewage lines to the surface drains but they did not pay any importance. We have even given public notification to be aware in this regard but we did not get any positive response from them. So we have been compelled to conduct a drive,” he said. “Strict action will be taken against those who are involved in these illegal activities." “We had a meeting with the representatives of Baridhara and Gulshan Society over the issue but no one is paying attention even after saying it again and again”, he said. Read More: WASA key reason behind pollution of Dhaka’s rivers, NRCC chairman says Mayor Atiqul Islam said, "Illegal sewage connections in elite areas is a matter of great regret. The wastes of these houses are supposed to flow through separate WASA lines. Where there are no water lines, ETP plants should be installed by the house owners to manage the wastes." He said, “We have conducted a ground survey in Gulshan, Banani, Baridhara and Niketan areas of the city and the findings are appalling. According to the survey, about 85 percent of the houses have sewage lines in surface drains. It is verily alarming in such VIP areas. It is polluting the canal and lake water. To save the city, the authorities were forced to plug these connections.” At least 3,830 houses were surveyed in these four areas. Of these houses, 3,265 houses discharged sewage directly into surface drains and lakes. Only 41 houses have proper sewerage connection and 524 houses have partial sewage management. As a result, the natural beauty of the lake is being destroyed and mosquito infestation is increasing. Out of 550 houses in Baridhara, which is known as the most elite area of the country, 342 houses have connected their sewage lines to surface drains. The survey report found, only 5 houses in Baridhara have not been connected to surface drains out of eight level criteria laid down while 203 houses met few of the conditions. On the other hand, 342 houses did not fulfill a single condition, whose house sewage line is connected to the surface drain. Read More: Sylhet to get its own WASA: LGRD Minister As part of the drive, the city corporation placed banana trees in the drains to stop the flow of waste coming from the sewerage lines of four houses in the Baridhara-11 area. According to the DNCC, the Sanitation Compliance Committee comprising the chief waste management officer of DNCC in Gulshan, Banani, Baridhara and Niketan areas, former professor of BUET Md Mujibur Rahman, representatives of Dhaka Wasa, International Training Network Centre (ITN-BUET), housing society and UNICEF supervised the survey work. Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) started an operation this month to stop the connection of sewage to surface drains, canals or lakes. As part of the campaign, DNCC Mayor Atiqul Islam took part in the campaign and stopped the sewage connection of two houses from the surface drain on Road No. 104 and 112 of Gulshan-2. Additionally, the lake's high water contamination makes it impossible to cultivate the fish. Therefore, natural repellents to kill mosquitoes are not possible due to the inability to farm fish, Mayor Atiq said. Read More: Monster made of plastic waste at Cox’s Bazar to spread awareness "As we do not have any scheduled campaign at this moment, we are creating awareness among the house owners, especially the owners of newly constructed buildings over the issue", Md Mizanur Rahman, CEO of Dhaka South City Corporation, told UNB. "Besides, we are giving time to disconnect all the old houses which are already connected to the sewerage line of the City Corporation and transfer them to WASA drainage," he added.
Multi-storey buildings being built ignoring fire safety
The risk of fire hazard is increasing by the day as buildings as tall as 10-12 storeys are being built without adhering to the Building Code while ignoring fire safety plans in all the urban centres across the country, including Dhaka. The construction of high-rise buildings right next to narrower roads increases the risks resulting from a fire, since it restricts the access of fire service vehicles with heavy equipment in the event of an emergency, leading to more casualties and destruction. Professor Dr. Adil Muhammad Khan, the executive director of the Institute for Planning and Development (IPD) said, “The construction and use of multi-storied buildings are going on in defiance of building regulations and fire safety rules across the country including Dhaka. And these infrastructures are failing to guarantee security for human lives in the event of various disasters, including fire.” The high-rise structures around the country lack proper arrangement of extinguishing systems such as stairs and exit paths, fire elevators, fire doors, fire detectors, fire sprinklers, fire suppression systems etc. Those buildings without basic fire safety plans are being used for commercial and other purposes without any type of occupancy certificate, Adil said. Bangladesh needs to establish a building regulatory authority immediately to effectively enforce the national Building Code, adding that this is the only way to ensure proper standards and fire safety in the construction of high-rise buildings across the country, he said. Concern is growing among people after a fire at a high-rise building in Gulshan that killed at least two people and injured many others, very close to the fourth anniversary of the Churihatta fire tragedy in Old Dhaka that claimed the lives of 71 people in 2019. Also Read: Gas explosions took 82 lives in 3 years in Narayanganj, threats remain: Police, fire service The horrific fire incident in the multi-storey residential building in Gulshan again brought to the fore the issue of the weaknesses of the internal fire safety system of buildings and the weakness of overall planning, preparation, surveillance and enforcement of laws in urban areas against the fear of loss of life and extensive damage due to fire in urban areas, said Adil. “To ensure fire and disaster safety in cities, it is necessary to hold developers and building owners accountable as well as all city agencies including development authorities accountable,” he added. Currently, seven-storey buildings are considered as multi-storey buildings as per the existing fire safety laws in Bangladesh. However, in the Building Construction Rules, 2008, and the Bangladesh National Building Code, 2020, 10-storey buildings are considered as multi-storey buildings. So, the fire risk is very high in many buildings above seven floors. Citing the necessity of a proper investigation into why the authorities have failed to implement the recommendations of inquiry committees formed into past urban disasters including fire incidents, the IPD official said, “We believe that although there are policies to give priority to the safety of people’s lives in the city, recommendations are not being fully implemented due to invisible reasons.” Also Read: Fire Safety in Apartments: Causes and Prevention Due to the massive loss of life in the recent terrible earthquake in Turkey-Syria, the issues of our lack of preparedness to deal with disasters, including earthquakes, have been strongly discussed. Analysis of why we have not been able to implement the recommendations of inquiry committees formed into past urban disasters including fires is very important. Brigadier General Md. Main Uddin, Director General of Fire Service Directorate, told UNB that everyone wants to build a building, but no one wants to spend money on security. “Invest in security. We need to increase our capacity. Fire safety plan will be implemented. Investment should be made in creating awareness about fire safety from childhood. This should be taught in the curriculum. Training centers should be developed on fire safety.” He also said to implement the fire safety plan conditions adopted at the time of construction of each building. Before issuing the occupancy certificate of the building, the opinion of the Fire Service should be taken on whether the fire safety conditions are complied with and a hydrant system should be installed across the city, he said, adding that if the building is constructed with fire safety, the risk will be less. According to preliminary findings after the Gulshan fire incident on Sunday, the owners of the 13-storey residential building had received a no-objection certificate from the Fire Service during construction. Also Read: Workplace Fire Safety: 12 Effective Ways to Prevent Fire Hazards However, they had not received an approved fire safety plan that is required under the Fire Prevention Act. Rajuk Chairman Anishur Rahman Mia told UNB that no building is allowed to be constructed without fire safety. Even with the permission to construct a building from Rajuk, many people do not follow the building rules, as a result of which the damage is more in case of fire accident. He also said, “We have continued operations from Rajuk in this regard. Our monitoring system will be strengthened. Fire safety must be ensured in the buildings that will be constructed from now on after approval from Rajuk.”
GE offers high efficiency gas turbine tech to ease nagging energy crisis
GE Gas Power, a world leader in natural gas power technology, services and solutions, is focused to generate electricity that is reliable, affordable and sustainable for the people in Bangladesh, said a senior official of the company.
How salinity taking toll on coastal people in Satkhira
Shima Rani, a worker of a shrimp enclosure at the coastal village Sardar Para of Assasuni upazila in Satkhira district, used to walk two miles to fetch potable drinking water from a deep tube well even when she was carrying a baby. “It was my daily routine to collect water from the deep tube well carrying a heavy pitcher, except for the rainy days. Sometimes I collected water twice a day when I was pregnant. It was an arduous task, but I had to do that as we didn’t have any other option to get drinkable water,” she said recalling the ordeals she went through many years. Sabina Begum, a resident of Indira village under the Satkhira Sadar Upazila, had even more dire experience in collecting drinkable water.
366 govt primary schools in Kurigram run without head teacher
Primary and secondary levels students in rural Bangladesh face manifold challenges in continuing their education and shortage of teachers is one of those that hampers regular their academic activities. Like many other places in the country, the academic activities at 366 government primary schools have been hampered seriously in absence of head teachers. There are 1,240 government primary schools in nine upazilas of the district and the posts of headmaster at 366 schools are lying vacant, according to District Education Office. Among these, assistant teachers have been working as acting head teacher at 234 schools but the rest schools have been operating without headmasters. Meanwhile, the assistant teachers who were performing the roles of head teacher are not getting the facilities the headmasters usually get and there is no one to look into it, forcing the teachers to continue their additional work with frustration. Nurjahan Begum, who recently got the responsibility of headmaster at Korimer Khamar Government Primary School in Sadar upazila, said “We have been performing our duties amid frustration.” During a recent visit to Muktaram Government Primary School in Sadar upazila, this correspondent found that the headmaster post of the school has been lying vacant for the past two years following the death of its headmaster. Read more: Teacher shortage hits govt primary schools in Cumilla hard Since then, no one has been appointed and no assistant teacher was made headmaster. A senior teacher of the school is performing the duty of the headmaster. Besides, five assistant teachers are available instead of nine which also hamper the academic activities, said an assistant teacher of the school, Nazneen Rebeka Sultana. Expressing dissatisfaction, Anwarul Islam, president of Muktaram Government Primary School managing committee, said “We have sent letters to the authorities concerned seeking fulfillment of the vacant posts but yet to get any response.” Read more: Gazette in six months to change names of 200 govt primary schools: State Minister Principal Salauddin Rubel, General Secretary of District Swadhinota Sikkhok Porishad (Swaship), said “The academic activities of different primary schools are facing setback due to manifold problems including shortage of teachers. The situation of primary schools in Char areas is fragile.” District Primary Education Officer Shahidul Islam, said the problem will be resolved as the higher authorities have been informed.
Gas explosions took 82 lives in 3 years in Narayanganj, threats remain: Police, fire service
At least 82 people died in gas explosion-related fires in Narayanganj over the last three years, according to police and fire service. This excludes the number of victims of such fire incidents who died while receiving treatment. Although gas pipeline leaks and cylinder explosions are the leading causes of these recorded fires, threats still persist. A blast in Pashchim Talla Baitus Salam Mosque of Narayanganj killed 37 on September 4, 2020. There have also been accusations of irregularities in the investigation process, and the accused in the majority of cases remain uncharged due to the slow process of investigation. Also read: Fire in Ctg’s Andarkilla area leaves one dead According to police and fire service, there were 104 gas explosion-related fire incidents in Narayanganj district in 2022. Sixty-nine of them were caused by flaws in the gas pipeline, 34 incidents were reportedly caused by cylinder and air conditioner blasts. A total of 18 people, including children, died and 25 were injured in those incidents. There were 114 gas explosion-related fire incidents in 2021. Pipeline flaws were responsible for 96 incidents. That year, 20 people were killed and more than 50 were injured. A total of 44 people died and 26 were injured in 106 gas explosion-related fire incidents in 2020. Seventy-one incidents were caused by gas line faults, while the rest were caused by cylinder and air conditioner blasts. That year, 37 people died in a massive explosion at the Pashchim Talla Baitus Salam Mosque. Also read: Death toll from Gulshan fire rises to two Locals of the district say that the authorities show concern for a few days following an incident. But their efforts to address these threats got nipped in the bud every time, they said. Locals reportedly file complaints about gas leaks, but no significant action is taken to address this serious issue. Fire Service and Civil Defence officials said that the negligence of Titas gas authorities and lack of awareness among locals are to blame for many incidents. Read More: Fire breaks out in Ctg’s VIP Tower Fakhruddin, deputy director of Narayanganj Fire Service, said, “We urge residents to stay cautious and inspect their gas pipelines for leaks.” Mamunur Rashid, deputy general manager of Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company Limited in Narayanganj, said, “Gas pipelines inside the homes are the responsibility of the consumers. All we do is distribute the lines.” “The majority of fire incidents are caused by faults in house lines. Gas leaks cause explosions when burners are left on,” he added. Read More: Fire Service team going to Turkey to be part of rescue effort “Customers need to be cautious and should never leave gas stoves on,” he said. Chai Lau Marma, additional superintendent of police (Crime and Operations) in Narayanganj, said, “We file cases in response to complaints. After investigating, we put the names on the chargesheet and file in court.” Narayanganj residents urged the government to take measures to address these fire risks promptly. Read More: 6 charred bodies retrieved from Old Dhaka plastic factory: Fire Service
Library named in memory of Abdus Salam has books, but no visitors
Although there are hundreds of books, there are no visitors at the Language Martyr Abdus Salam Library and Memorial Museum, located at Salam Nagar (Laxmanpur) in Dagonbhuiya upazila of Feni district. But in the month of February, many media person, employees of local administration and people from all walks of life throng the library on the occasion of Language Martyr’s Day, as the local administration chalks out elaborate programmes. On Monday morning, the local administration organised a handwriting competition at Language Martyr Abdus Salam Library and Memorial Museum and a prize giving ceremony was also held. Abdus Salam was one of those killed in police firing on 21st February 1952, marking the start of the Language Movement. The government renamed the ancestral village of Abdus Salam, 13-km away from Feni district town. as Salamnagar in 2008. It was previously known as Laxmanpur, A government primary school is located adjacent to the library and in front of the school a Shaheed Minar was also built. Nure Alam, nephew of Language Movement Hero Abdus Salam, said people from all walks of life thronged there to pay tribute on 21st February. There is only one image of Abdus Salam inside the museum, he said. He also demanded to build a gateway after the name of Abdus Salam on Feni-Noakhali regional highway to make the name of Abdus Salam and the history more memorable. The local administration also renamed the Daganbhuiya upazila auditorium after his name as Language Martyr Abdus Salam Auditorium. Besides, a private college has been built named Language Martyr Salam Memorial College at the village. During the inauguration of the library, the local administration provided many books at the library but no new books have been received at the library since then, he added. Besides, there is no newspaper at the library. A librarian and a caretaker have been appointed but they are passing idle time there due to lack of readers. Following the demand of the family of Abdus Salam, the government identified the grave of the Language movement hero at Azimpur graveyard in 2017, 65 years after his death. During a recent visit to the library, this UNB correspondent found that hundreds of books were available on the shelves of the library but after waiting for a long time no readers were found. Md Lutfur Rahman Babul, a librarian, said there are 3,500 books at the library and all are old. The library is kept open daily but no readers come there. Mohammad Shahadat Hossain, president of Language Martyr Abdus Salam Smriti Parishad, said the young generation can know about Abdus Salam from their textbooks but it needs to be expanded. He also stressed the need for introducing Bengali language everywhere. Nahida Akter Tania, Daganbhuiya Upazila Nirbahi Officer, said like every year, the local administration has taken up a programme to mark the day. She also assured that after the completion of the four-lane work of Feni-Noakhali Highway, an initiative will be taken to build a passenger shed, Salam Gate and signboard here. Feni Deputy Commissioner Abu Selim Mahmud-ul Hasan, said necessary steps will be taken on how to involve the next generation more with the village of Language Martyr Abdus Salam.
Ekushey Padak broadened my sociocultural responsibilities as an artist: Kanak Chanpa Chakma
Marking the occasion of ‘Amar Ekushey’ and International Mother Language Day, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina presented ‘Ekushey Padak 2023’ today to 19 eminent personalities and two organizations in recognition of their contributions to various fields. Eminent painter Kanak Chanpa Chakma received the honour for her contribution to painting. The beloved and popular artist has cemented her legacy through breaking all social barriers over the years. In an exclusive interview with UNB, the renowned artist articulated her feelings after being honoured with the country’s second highest civilian award. “Certainly, I'm thrilled to have this honour, and it feels amazing. I have won numerous awards, honours, and medals for my paintings all over the world, but I felt incredibly proud to be honoured with the Ekushey Padak at the state level,” the revered artist told UNB. Born in 1963 in a remote hill area named Tabal Chari in the Rangamati district, Kanak Chanpa received her Master of Fine Arts degree in 1986 from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Dhaka University. She then attended Pennsylvania State University in the US from 1993 to 1994, where she was awarded a Mid-America Arts Alliance Fellowship. Having successfully completed her degree, she came back to Bangladesh. “I think the greatest achievement for us, artists, is to attain respect in our own country,” the artist said. “I think that this achievement has undoubtedly broadened my responsibilities, and I see this honour as a motivation to do better work, to give a more worthy contribution to our country’s art.” Talking about her journey from Rangamati to the mainstream art scene in the country, she said that her path was not smooth at all. “Coming from such a remote area, I had to work hard. I have positioned myself in the mainstream art scene from where I started. I recognize this as a huge achievement.” “I had to proceed step by step throughout a difficult and lengthy process. In our world, nothing comes easily; in addition to talent and hard work, you must always be putting in more effort,” she said. A true ambassador of the Chakma community, Kanak Chanpa has been enlightening art enthusiasts about her roots and the community through her vibrant art. “To be honest, I pursued my art very earnestly – and there was a constant motivational process going on within my soul. I never wanted to get lost in the mainstream scene after moving from the Hill Tracts. I knew I have to work hard, I have to build my position firmly, and I was able to do it with the help of those around me.” “And through me, today young artists from similar backgrounds as me are being benefited. I have presented artistic platforms to them through which they can develop themselves if they want and if they are focused. I think this is a big achievement for me as an artist and as a mentor.” Speaking about her other influential work, the artist said, “I have been working for the development of women of our society and their families in Bangladesh for many years now. Women have always been dominantly present as subjects in my works, and that applies not only to women from the ethnic communities but also to rural and urban women in general. I always think about the struggles and liberation of women. In this context, I am thinking about them, working for them for a long time.” Kanak Chanpa Chakma has been a constant in many art galleries in the country as an active painter, and she has participated in many artistic endeavors of Gallery Cosmos as well. With her ever-smiling face and congenial disposition, she has established her reputation as one of the most beloved and well-respected Bangladeshi artists in the global art community. She thanked the state and the PM for honouring her with the second highest civilian award. “I am very happy that the state has considered me for this honour, especially I am very grateful to our honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for selecting me as worthy of this award. It will really take me further, and inspire me to do more. I am very grateful indeed,” Kanak Chanpa said.
The last cinema hall in Feni demolished
With demolishing the district town’s last movie theater, Feni now has no cinema hall left. Dulal Cinema Hall, Feni town’s last remaining movie theater, was demolished last Wednesday (February 15, 2023) due to a steep decline in the number of audiences. A multi-storey shopping mall will be built on the site where the cinema hall stood. Safiuddin Belal, owner of Dulal Cinema Hall said, “We had to seek assistance from law enforcement to tackle the crowd during screening of blockbusters such as ‘Beder Meye Josna’ and 'Rupban'." "However, the number of audiences started declining after 2015," Belal told UNB. Read more: Sammilito Chalacchitro Parishad agrees to import Indian films on conditions: Hasan The cinema hall had eight "VIP" seats (tickets for each cost Tk 100). It also had 80 "first-class" seats (Tk 60 each). Belal said that "second" and "third-class" seats had been discontinued for the past three years. There were six cinema halls in the town and the adjacent Dagonbhuiya upazila. One after another, curtains fell on Feni district’s silver screens as the owners were left with no choice but to demolish them. The lack of quality films, coupled with the steep decline in audience, killed the town’s cinema hall business. Read more: Cinema hall refinance scheme deadline extended to December The four cinema halls in Feni town were Dulal Cinema Hall, Surat Mahal, Bilashi Cinema Hall, and Kanan Cinema Hall. There were two other cinema halls — Beauty Cinema Hall in Fulghazi upazila and Jharna Cinema Hall in Dagonbhuiyan. Thousands of movie lovers from the district’s remote areas used to flock to these halls to see films with their families and friends. In 1952, sports organizer Khairul Eshak opened Dulal Cinema Hall on Feni town’s Railway Station Road. Years later, Afzalur Rahman opened the Surat cinema hall in the city’s Zero Point area. However, the hall was demolished and later replaced by Feni Super Market after Afzalur Rahman’s son Bacchu Mia took over the ownership after his father’s death in 2003. Feni's Kanan cinema hall opened in Masterpara Mor around 1978, under the ownership of Azad Peyara and Momtazul Huq Bhuiyan. The hall was in operation until the owners went out of business during the Covid-19 pandemic. Read More: How Covid-19 brought the curtain down on Kushtia's cinema halls Bilashi, one of the four cinema halls in Feni city, was built around 1980 by Nur Mia. The hall was later rented out to the city’s local commissioner, Omar Faruk, after the death of Nur Mia. Faruk left the business due to losses in 2002, and since then, the hall has been closed. Surat and Dulal cinema halls were the top choices of the audience due to their safer and cleaner environment. According to reports, at least 700–800 tickets were sold per show. The other cinema halls used to attract 400–600 viewers per show. At least 10,000-12,000 viewers used to watch films at the four cinema halls in Feni every day on average. Read More: Cinema hall owners to get Tk 1,000 cr low-interest loans
Bangladesh Flower Society: Monthly sales revenue to cross Tk300 crore in February
The price of flowers is slightly higher this year and thanks to three important occasions that fall within a week, flower traders are expecting the monthly revenues in their sector to cross Tk300 crore from selling different kinds of flowers in February, the peak season of flower trading. Growers and traders said that they sold a remarkable volume of flowers on February 14 this year - marking the first day of the Bengali month of Falgun, and Valentine's Day. Now with Amor Ekushey, International Mother Language Day on Tuesday 21 February is International Mother Language Day, another potentially big day for flower sales Visiting some of the flower shops in Shahbagh, esp. a sufficient supply of flowers in the market on the day.