13 Citizens demand transparency in silt removal, river digging
Thirteen citizens from different professions on Wednesday demanded an end to irregularities and corruption in the regular removal of silt to keep the navigability on inland waterways for plying water vessels normally throughout the year. They also demanded transparency and accountability in the ongoing river digging projects to rescue extinct rivers and waterways and to stop wastage of hundreds of crores of the state fund. They made this demand to authorities concerned in a joint statement. The government has been providing sufficient allocation to BIWTA every year for regular silt removal of waterways, the statement said. However, due to navigability crisis, the movement of passenger and cargo ships on important waterways including Dhaka-Barishal is severely disrupted. As a result, some launch owners have already closed their business. Besides, many more vessel owners are thinking to close their business due to anger and frustration, it said. Citizens complain that several mega projects have been undertaken to dig large rivers to restore extinct waterways and rivers by the direction of the Prime Minister, ‘But, in most cases, the desired success has not been achieved,’ they said. According to the statement, the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) on October 2, 2018, approved the ``Navigability Development and Restoration of the Old Brahmaputra, Dharla, Tulai and Punarbhaba Rivers'' project at a cost of Tk 4,371 crore. Although 70 percent of the allocated money has already been spent, only 50 percent of the project work has been completed in four long years. In the statement, 13 citizens complained that public money is being wasted due to lack of transparency and accountability. In order to stop these irregularities and corruption, they strongly demanded that information on silt removal in capital and maintenance dredging and river digging through mega project be regularly published in the media. The signatories of the statement are- the former director general of water resources planning organisation and prominent environmentalist engineer M. Inamul Haque, Vice President of Consumer Association of Bangladesh (CAB) SM Najer Hossain, prominent children's organiser and heroic freedom fighter Nurur Rahman Selim, Chief Executive of Nagorik Uddog Zakir Hossain, General Secretary of Udichi Shilpi Gosthi Amit Ranjan Dey, Senior Vice President of Begombazar-Moulbhibazar Bonik Samity Haji Mohammad Shahid Mia, Member Secretary of Safe Waterway Implementation Movement Aminur Rasul Babul, Senior marine engineer Abdul Hamid, the executive director of Dwip Unnayan Sangstha the heroic freedom fighter Rafiqul Alam, the executive director of Poverty Immunisation Assistance Center for Everywhere (PEACE) Ifma Hussain, the president of Alokit Garments Sramik Federation Bappidev Borman, central coordinator of Janalok Rafiqul Islam Sujan and Purana Dhaka Nagorik Uddog president Nazim Uddin.
Electricity demand increasing by about 100 MW per day: Nasrul
State Ministrr for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid has said that demand for electricity is increasing by about 100 MW every day. “We’re trying our best to manage the situation in different ways”, he told reporters on the sidelines of a Dissemination Workshop on the final report of “Multipurpose Use of Land for Renewable Energy Project in Bangladesh,” at Biduyt Bhaban in the city on Tuesday. It is predicted by the power sector insiders that the country may experience more than 3000 MW load shedding this year in the coming Ramadan as the demand for electricity is growing fast. Though the country’s power generation capacity is more than 25,000 MW, it can generate about 12,000 due to primary fuel shortage. The recent dollar crisis forced the government to suspend diesel-based power generation. About renewable energy, Nasrul said the government will try to add about 1000 MW of solar power to the National grid within a year. He also said that the government has a target to gradually convert about 13,000 diesel-run irrigation pumps to solar-run ones. He also asked the officials of his ministry to expedite efforts to promote renewable energy generation.
Bangladesh's role in COP27 negotiations highlighted
Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Md Shahabuddin says Bangladesh played a strong and effective role on behalf of the countries most vulnerable to climate change at the recently concluded United Nations Climate Conference in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt or COP27. Bangladesh made a strong call for achieving significant progress in the 'New Collective Quantified Goal on Climate Finance' negotiations, with the aim of securing USD 100 billion per year until 2025 and securing long-term climate finance. The environment minister said these while addressing a workshop "27th World Climate Conference (COP 27): Expectations and Achievements and Future Action Plan" at the auditorium of the Department of Environment on Tuesday, as the chief guest. The minister said developed countries have been requested to double adaptation financing to developing countries by 2025. Read more: COP27: How will UN climate deal on loss and damage work? Shahabuddin said 197 member states of the UNFCCC have reached a consensus on important issues including the adoption of the 'Sharm Al Sheikh Implementation Plan' on the morning of November 20 after long discussions. The minister for environment said the conference decided to create a new fund to address "loss and damage" in the most vulnerable developing countries. A 'Transitional Committee' has been set up for COP-28 to 'Operationalize' the Fund and fix its 'Detail Arrangements'. The minister also said that a decision has been taken to finalise 'Loss and Damage' in the conference, decide its host and form an advisory committee. Countries have agreed to take action on the 'Global Goals on Adaptation'. He said that $230 million have been pledged to the 'Adaptation Fund'. Funding has been given importance for the implementation of NAP. In addition, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres announced a $3.1 billion plan over the next five years to protect everyone on earth through early warning systems. The Minister of Environment said the "Sharm El Sheikh Implementation Plan" has been accepted with congratulations by all the countries of the world, including the decision to form a new fund to address "Loss and Damage" in the more vulnerable developing countries like Bangladesh, but its successful implementation will depend on its proper implementation. Read more: COP27: Rich countries couldn’t agree yet on loss and damage funding for vulnerable nations With Dr Farhina Ahmed, secretary of the Ministry of Environment, in the chair at the programme, Deputy Minister for Forest and Climate Change Habibun Nahar, and President of the standing committee on environment, forest and climate change Saber Hossain Chowdhury, among others, spoke as special guests.
Hit hard by digitisation, commercial artists demand govt incentives
Digitisation has had a profound impact on the art market the world over. In Bangladesh, commercial artists affected by digitisation have sought government help such as incentives and trainings to help them "tide over the situation". They fear that the traditional industry may disappear soon, if they do not get proper government training and guidance, apart from incentives. Office-bearers of the Bangladesh Commercial Artists Association (BCA) made the demands at a function of the installation of newly elected committee of the organisation. The cover of a magazine was unveiled and a reception was given to eminent persons at the event held at Shilpakala Academy in the city on Thursday night. "Once there was no alternative to commercial artists to write political slogans on the walls, banners, festoons, and signboards with beautiful handwriting, but they have no value today to anyone due to digitalisation. Even the existence of their livelihood is now under threat," the association said. The government has given incentives to various sectors to protect them from the Covid-induced economic recession but till date no incentive has been given to the commercial artists to protect them, according to the office-bearers. Read: Doraiswami hopeful of commercial screening of Indian films in Bangladesh "Our talent and labour are not valued. There is no government patronisation, training, and guidance for us to protect the traditional profession. As a result, the lives of nearly three lakh family members along with nearly one lakh artists involved in the sector are in a state of uncertainty today," the association said. Presided over by BCA president Md Mizanur Rahman, the function was also addressed, among others, by Relief and Social Affairs Secretary of Dhaka South Awami League, Sheikh Mohammed Azhar, Bhaskar Rasa, managing director of Images Group Asaduzzaman, social welfare official Mostafa Mahmud Sarwar, managing director of Digital Sign Velly Ltd AKM Ahmed Ullah, BCA senior vice president Kamal Hossain Khan and general secretary Helal Masum.
Tk 24,000 demanded as minimum wage for RMG workers
Garments Sramik Front on Friday staged demonstration in the city, demanding Tk 20,000 as national minimum wage and Tk 24,000 as lowest monthly wage for the garment workers following high cost of living due to price hike of essentials. The labour rights body, in the programme arranged in front of the National Press Club, also demanded introduction of dearness allowance for the interim period and ration at subsidized prices for the workers. Addressing the demonstration rally, the labour leaders said Garments Sramik Front and Garment Sramik Karmachari Oikya Parishad (G-SKOP) earlier in 2018 demanded Tk 18,000 as the minimum wage to keep consistency with the Pay Commission. But Tk 8,000 was announced as the minimum wage ignoring the demand at that time, they said. The leaders said the prices of daily essentials have skyrocketed due to the recent fuel price-hike. Now the value of the wages of garment workers has fallen below half. The workers are struggling to survive due to malnutrition, they added. Read: Tea garden owners propose wage hike by Tk 20 Workers now want PM's intervention They also demanded stopping misuses of section 13 (1) of the labour law to end the oppression of workers as well as opening the ABC Knit Dyeing and Finishing Mills at Shyampur immediately to reinstate its workers in the job. According to the section 13 (1) of Labour Act 2006, the owner can close any branch or section of a factory or other establishment partially or entirely due to illegal strike and the participant workers of the illegal strike would not get any wage in case of such shutdown of the branch or section. President of Garments Sramik Front Ahsan Habib Bulbul presided over the rally, while its general secretary Selim Mahmud conducted it, said a press release.
Univ Teachers’ Network to hold classes under open sky if unis don't reopen
University Teachers' Network on Tuesday urged the authority to reopen universities from first week of September otherwise they announced to hold symbolic classes in open spaces protesting the closure. They proposed a roadmap on how to reopen campuses gradually during a virtual press conference conducted by Dhaka University Prof Gitiara Nasreen.According to the roadmap, the residential halls should be reopened immediately (from September 1) for honours and masters students. Once their exams are over, the other batches should get residential facilities step by step. "No examination can be taken without ensuring residential facilities. Students who will stay in the halls and those who will come from home should participate in exams in separate rooms to curb Covid-19 transmission," said Chittagong University Assistant Professor Maidul Islam while presenting the keynote paper. READ: Khulna University reschedules academic calendar After completion of the exams, there could be a "hybrid system", where students should get the opportunity to participate in classes -- both online and offline. Fifty percent of the students could join online and rest could start regular classes in the classroom. "If a student falls ill, he/she can join online," Maidul Islam added. According to the keynote paper, Covid-19 testing and vaccination for students should be installed at campus medical centres on a priority basis. The capacity of medical centres, along with isolation facility, should be upgraded. The University Teachers' Network also demanded starting an online teaching-learning management system for teachers and a separate committee in each university to train them. They demanded measures necessary for mental wellbeing of teachers and students and high-speed internet at low cost. Teachers also demanded identifying students who drop out and make arrangements for their safety net. READ: CU postpones exams, Dhaka students to return home by university bus Moreover, some students of Dhaka University today protested the long closure and demanded immediate reopening of Dhaka University.The protesters threatened to go for tougher movement if the university authority continue remaining closure."Universities failed to draw a roadmap to reopen universities. we want to say, reopen campuses immediately or we will go for tougher movement," protesters said at a human chain held at the base of Raju memorial sculpture at the university.
DU students demand immediate punishment of attackers
Students of Dhaka University demonstrated on the campus on Thursday protesting torture on four of their fellows allegedly by Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) leaders at Zahurul Haque hall.
Jute products rule international trade fair
Jute products are attracting huge visitors at the ongoing Dhaka International Trade Fair (DITF) due to their diverse, innovative and environment-friendly nature.