will talk to TI
The BNP government has always been serious about the image
of the country. When Bangladesh won the coveted title of 'most
corrupt country in the world' in 2001 by Transparency International
(TI), it bitterly criticised the AL, the then government.
The government changed, but ironically Bangladesh continued
to repeat its featthis year Bangladesh has won the title of
the most corrupt country for the fourth consecutive terms.
Which means the last came during the present BNP regime. Surprising
though it might sound, BNP leaders who mocked at the AL government
for acquiring this recognition are now casting serious disbelief
about this type of ranking. Finance Minister Saifur Rahman
who is going to Berlin on an official visit is considering
dropping in at the TI headquarters, which happens to be in
Berlin. "How could they say that there is no country
as bad as yours? This is not right. Can I tell someone that
no one is as bad as you are," he wondered. That's the
right spirit. This is what the countrymen expect from our
image conscious ministers and politicians.
Many however believe that instead of investigating into how
authentic TI is or what type of methodology they use, the
government should try to clamp down on the spiralling corruption
Bangladesh is besotted with.
Though Khilgaon was supposed to have the honour of owning
the first ever flyover in the country the privilege finally
went to Mohakhali. It took less than three years to complete
the Mohakhali flyover while the Khilgaon flyover could not
be completed even after four years since its construction
began in 2001. In fact, in the last four years construction
of only 60 percent of the 1,162 metre long flyover has been
finished. Though Housing minister Mirza Abbas and State Minister
for Local Government Ziaul Haq Zia assured that the construction
of the flyover would be completed by December not many are
ready to rely on their assurance. During this time the plan
was changed at least thirteen times and with every new plan
a new deadline has been set, but the work remained incomplete.
It is alleged that since the construction of the flyover was
planned and undertaken by the AL government the present alliance
government has been deliberately dilly dallying. Meanwhile
about a million people who live in Khilgaon, Shajahanpur,
Tilpapara, Mugda, Kamalapur, Rampura, Basabo and who have
to travel through Khilgaon intersection are suffering miserably.
But then who cares about their misery?
Three Burmese Rohingya refugees died in a clash with Bangladeshi
police last Friday in the Kutupalong refugee camp in Cox's
Bazaar. It started when Muhammad Nurul Alam Chowdhury, the
in charge of the camp, went to visit the refugees with a fellow
police officer. Chowdhury found some of the Rohingyas holding
a meeting against their repatriation to Myanmar. An angry
mob of refugees held them up when both of them tried to persuade
their leaders not to hold such meetings as it has been declared
illegal long ago by the government.
Hearing the news, a joint task force led by paramilitary Bangladesh
Rifles cordoned off the area; three Rohingyas died in a gunbattle
that ensued between the force and armed Rohingya men.
Though the District Commissioner of the town described the
situation as "normal", 20,000 Burmese Rohingyas
who are staying in two camps in Bangladesh, has become a thorn
in the flesh for the country's economic and social stability.
In New Bangabazar
Yet another fire hit Banga bazar and the traders of the market
are alleging arson. Last Sunday a blaze burnt down some 1,900
shops of New Bangabazar Hawkers' Market and 12 film-distributing
offices near Gulistan killing one person and injuring 50 others
and reportedly causing around Tk 150 crore in losses.
A former president of the New Bangabazar Market Committee
alleged that it was a deliberate arson attempt by some henchmen
of Chowdhury Alam and Mohan Mian, president and general secretary
of the Committee. "Their men set fire to a shop after
pouring fuel," said Abul Khair.
The motive behind the arson was to "to start construction
of a multi-storeyed shopping complex through eviction of the
traders, as the High Court has stayed it until April next
had 1,345 shop owners, "but in 2002 when Alam took over
as president of the market by force, he enrolled 301 new members
promising to allot shops to them after the shopping complex
was built," alleges Khair.
Khair and Abul Kalam the elected and genuine president and
general secretary of the present ones simply overwhelmed them
by force, using muscle power. And now that arson is being
alleged, the Chowdhury Alam and Mohan Mian duo has taken opportunism
to an extreme end. Whether they would be punished for their
misdeed if found guilty, is a matter that rests on the hands
of the law, as for Bangabazar this is the fourth time that
this tin-shed market has been gutted. After all these years,
why the authorities have not yet taken into consideration
the hazard of fire and arson and forced the committee to take
safety measures is something that defies common sense.
(R) thedailystar.net 2004