Bangladesh's State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam has expressed optimism that the “pilot project” of Rohingya repatriation would be executed at an early date. He thanked China for its “active role” in a trilateral initiative among Bangladesh, Myanmar and China to provide a platform for dialogue to promote the early return of the forcibly displaced Rohingyas to Myanmar. Newly appointed Ambassador of China to Bangladesh Yao Wen met the State Minister for Foreign Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Sunday (January 22, 2023) afternoon and discussed the issues of mutual interest. Responding to a question on Rohingya repatriation, Ambassador Wen said they have a common objective with Bangladesh regarding repatriation of Rohingyas to their homeland. Also Read: Will continue to work toward resolution of Rohingya issue: Japan He recognised Bangladesh's "sacrifice" in hosting the huge number of Rohingyas and assured of playing its role for their repatriation. “We discussed the issue. You pay a lot. You suffered a lot. You sacrificed a lot. We have the common objective (repatriation),”said Ambassador Wen. Bangladesh is hosting over 1.1 million Rohingyas in Cox’s Bazar and Bhasan Char and not a single Rohingya has been repatriated over the last six years. The State Minister also highlighted the importance of establishing direct air connectivity and requested the Chinese Ambassador to consider Bangladesh as a suitable place for industry relocation from China, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Also Read: Over 3,500 desperate Rohingya attempted deadly sea crossings in 2022 The Chinese Ambassador showed interest to conclude a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on PPP for the growth of bilateral trade and commerce. State Minister Alam hoped that the bilateral relations between the two countries would reach new heights during the tenure of the new Ambassador. Both sides cordially exchanged views on bilateral and multilateral cooperation of mutual interests, including trade and investment, infrastructure development, connectivity and Covid situation. Congratulating the new Ambassador on the Chinese New Year’s Day, the State Minister thanked China for being the largest bilateral trade partner of Bangladesh. Read More: China will remain engaged in Bangladesh’s next stage of development journey: Momen During the meeting, he also thanked the Chinese government for its support in dealing with Covid-19 pandemic and the repatriation of Bangladeshi students from China and their subsequent return to China to continue their higher studies. He wished Ambassador Yao successful tenure in Bangladesh and assured him of full cooperation in discharge of his duties.
The government has initiated a pilot project to turn Bagerhat’s Fakirhat into a ‘smart’ upazila - one that utilises all the advances in modern technology to achieve the best service delivery for its residents. Besides public establishments, the people of the upazila have also started becoming digital citizens thanks to their adoption of modern technology. Local administrators, public representatives and politicians are working round the clock to ensure sustainable development of Fakirhat. The information was made public at an event held at Betaga Field of the upazila commemorating Betaga Day. Read more: ICT & Digital Technology to rule in new-look education system Attending the event as chief guest, Moloy Chowdhury, Additional Secretary of Local Government Division and Project Manager of Fakirhat Upazila Management and Development Project, said that it’s the people who are actually running the local government. “People need to develop themselves on their own to strengthen the local government. The education, health, agriculture and social works sectors of Betaga union have undergone massive development in recent years. Besides establishing good governance, accountability has also been ensured here. We’ll follow the Betaga Model to develop other parts of the country,” Moloy said. Read more: Govt plans to revitalise ICT sector Swapan Dash, Chairman of Fakirhat Upazila Parishad, said that after Gazipur, Fakirhat is the second place in the country where the government has launched its smart piloting program. “All the eight unions of the upazila are providing services digitally. We’re trying our best to build a smart Fakirhat,” Swapan said. Md Monwar, Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) of Fakirhat, said that the people of the upazila have wholeheartedly accepted the Prime Minister’s idea of a smart Bangladesh. “A total of 54 government offices in Fakirhat have been digitalised till now. The uses of e-documents (Electronic Documents) and d-documents (Digital Documents) are ensuring smart government services. The government is providing a modern experience to the people of Fakirhat through the use of digital technology,” said Monwar. Read more: President Hamid wants digital transformation of Bangladesh courts Dr Shah Mohammad Mohibullah, Health and Family Planning Officer of Fakirhat, said that the health sector in the upazila has been fully digitalized. “We’re keeping information about the patients and their illnesses in digital databases. These databases will fix how much medicine and food the people of Fakirhat will receive from the government next year. Doctors are treating patients through telemedicine at community clinics, while birth and death registrations are also being filed digitally. All in all, the health sector of Fakirhat is widely accepting what technology has to offer,” said Mohibullah. Shupta Majumder, an Assistant Teacher of Betaga Model Girls High School, said that her school is reaping the benefits of the government’s smart piloting program. Read more: AL govt turned country into ‘Digital Bangladesh’, says PM “While giving lessons using projectors, we’re also using various online tools to educate our students who are competent enough to use digital technology,” Shupta said. The event was presided over by Md Yunus Ali, Chairman of Betaga Union Parishad. Amit Ray Chowdhury, Treasurer of Khulna University, Md Shahinuzzaman, Deputy Director of Local Government division, among others, spoke at the event. Read more: ICT division to digitize 73 libraries, says Palak