12:00 AM, January 06, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, January 06, 2012

People's interest first priority

Vows PM as govt completes 3 yrs

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Staff Correspondent

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday called upon the opposition political parties to give up confrontational politics and work for the people and the country rising above party interests.
"Our party and ideology might be different from each other's but we must put the interests of the country and its people above that of party," she said in an address to the nation marking three years of the Awami League-led grand alliance government formed on January 6 in 2009, after a landslide victory in the December 2008 elections.
In the previous two years, the prime minister addressed the nation on January 6 but this year she did so a day earlier.
In her 42-minute address, Hasina, also AL president, mentioned her government's successes in different sectors since it took over.
“I have to say with sorrow that we did not get any cooperation from the opposition in running the country during the last years. Rather, most of the time they (opposition) have taken stance against the people and the country while opposing the government.”
She went on, “Without any reason, they have been boycotting parliament month after month. The leader of the opposition (BNP chief Khaleda Zia) attended the House sittings only on six days, and spoke hour after hour uninterrupted … Even after that why is this boycott?”
On war crimes trial, the premier said, “While we have begun trial of the war crimes accused, the opposition leader is trying to protect the war criminals, and conspiring to destabilise the country through hartal, arson and killings.”
Urging Khaleda not to protect Razakars and Al-Badrs through destructive activities, Hasina said, “I want to say firmly that we must try the war criminals on the soil of Bangladesh whatever obstacles come.”
The premier said they have been able to reduce the price of rice despite continued rise of it in the international market, and to increase the income and purchasing capacity of people.
She claimed the government has also been able to give the national economy a strong base despite the global economic meltdown.
Hasina said the power situation was terrible when she had formed government. And this government has added 2,900 megawatt of electricity to the national grid in three years.
She further said a massive gas production and distribution plan has been implemented, raising production by 350 million cubic feet of gas per day.
Recalling her election pledge to ensure food security and to increase agricultural production, Hasina said, “The government has almost succeeded in implementing this pledge in three years.”
There has also been much progress in developing the communications system in the country, she said.
Referring to appointment of administrators for the district councils, she said elections to the councils would be held soon.
The premier said law and order is under control.
Steps have been taken to form different specialised police units like tourist police, marine police, separate investigation units and specialised national police bureau of counter terrorism to curb militancy.
The prime minister said her government is doing everything possible to modernise the armed forces.
A total of 4,501 information and service centres have been set up as part of the government's initiative to build a "Digital Bangladesh", she mentioned.
Moreover, Bangladesh has improved bilateral relations with its neighbours and other countries.
Export of manpower has increased in the last three years with 14.33 lakh people now working abroad.
The prime minister said Bangladesh has become a role model in the world in different sectors including in poverty alleviation, food security, healthcare, education, and empowerment of women.

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