• Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Op-Ed

Editorial

  • Editorial

    Farmers underpaid, shortchanged by traders

    Consumers pay through their noses

    FRUIT and vegetable growers, given their limited staying power with perishables, are among the hardest-hit in the economy .The  blockade and shut-downs over a long period have put the farmers in double jeopardy. In the first place, gluts of   perishable  produces have been left to wither in the fields  or just dumped to rot. As it is, the farmers have had to resort to distress sales of whatever they could manage to dispose of locally. In addition to the blow, the supply chain disruptions have jabbed at the growers and consumers alike; they are now having to deal with a new phenomenon of exploitation. The wholesalers, taking advantage of higher transport costs, are cashing in on the abnormal situation in two ways: they are paying low to the growers and marking up prices for the consumers. In the process, the traders are skimming profits alright apparently making the most of both worlds: shortchanging farmers on the one hand, and having the consumers pay higher prices. It is at the level of farmers that the fallout is particularly severe and consequential. For, after deducting input, labour, and transport costs and stockists' commission, a potato producer would get Tk 5.5 per...

Opinion

KNOT SO TRUE

The Hurt of the Average

WE are objective and neutral in our assessment when it comes to sourcing”, announced a brand's moderator in a conference held for the benefit of twenty global manufacturers in Hong Kong forty-eight hours ago. Sitting right by the Harbour with a splendid view of the waves crashing against the rocks, the meeting soothed most of us while we listened to the stories from the other readymade garment suppliers from the other parts of the world, namely Pakistan, India, China...

MACRO MIRROR

When Politics Stifles Economic Growth

When Politics Stifles Economic Growth

THE significance of political factors on economic performance is well established in the theoretical and empirical literature. Channels of political impact on the economy are many. Political instability takes a toll on economic growth through lower investment and subdued economic activities. Higher inflation has also been associated with political flux. On many occasions,...

Freedom In The Offing

''The people of Bangla Desh are united in the fight for their just demands.''

''The people of Bangla Desh are united in the fight for their just demands.''

Ramesh Chandra: Madam, the Indo-Soviet Treaty has been acclaimed by the overwhelming majority of the people of India. What would you say could be the reason for this near unanimous welcome? Indira Gandhi: Friendship between India and the Soviet Union has grown in many directions over the years. In the international arena, we have...

Troubled Waters

IN the early 1960s, John F Kennedy said, "Anyone who can solve the problems of water, will be worthy of two Nobel prizes: one for peace and one for sciences" (cited in Likhotal 2013: 86). This statement of Kennedy implies the significance as well as challenges of resolving water problems. In South Asia, water has been constructed as a scarce resource and hence, is considered a source of conflict rather than cooperation. Therefore, it is seen that although Bangladesh-India shares...

Published Date: March 3, 2015
Ukraine's many dilemmas

WHILE the proxy war rages between Russia and “little Russia,” the bigger question for Ukraine is to avoid economic collapse. Without a stable economy, it cannot defend itself against external circumstances. And for that to happen, Kiev will have to start taking some hard decisions on its economy. The recent ceasefire has brought Ukraine some time on the war effort. What is of greater import is the financial bailout announced by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). For meaningful transformation...

Published Date: March 3, 2015
The idea of hope in times of despair

FARIA was only sixteen and like any other teenager, had dreams, innocent aspirations and hopes. On Facebook, she shared her moments of happiness, optimism and confusion, but rarely her despair. Her father's world revolved around her happiness and he had a promise to keep -- a trip to Cox's Bazaar after Faria turns sixteen. Seemingly oblivious of any hazard, he decided to take the long journey with his wife and daughter from Jessore to the sea resort by bus,...

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Letters

Letters To The Editor

Killing of Avijit

After the murder of blogger Rajib Haidar, another independent voice was silenced in Dhaka the other day. Liberal blogger Avijit Roy was brutally hacked to death while his wife was critically injured -- all in the presence of police and dozens of onlookers who recorded the murder on their cell phones.  A voice of dissent, a voice which may stand for difference in thoughts and ideology/ philosophy towards life was muted forever. Whatever the extremists of Ansar Bangla 7...

Letters To The Editor

Column of Shashi Tharoor

I have really enjoyed the article on Nepali politics by Mr. Shashi Tharoor published in your daily on 17th February 2015. His writing is lucid and very clear. His analysis is very convincing. We would like to see his write-ups on Bangladesh politics too. Bazlur Rahman Uttara R/A, Dhaka 1230

COMMENTS

“Cops now can search office of Khaleda”  (March 2, 2015) Rrronimoni The government has the authority to search for anything, anywhere, provided that it has valid ground of suspicion. But it seems to us that this move has been taken just to harass the BNP leader.   “Key suspect arrested” (March 3, 2015) Barkat Hope the right accused was arrested and not any scapegoat to shut the case to avoid the failure of security services.   “People defy hartal”(February 26, 2015) Molla A. Latif People never observe hartal spontaneously....

Letters To The Editor

Published Date: March 3, 2015
Fertiliser from human waste

This informative BSS report from Rajshahi was published by an English daily a few days ago. It pointed to a potentially endless source of organic fertiliser that is more useful and better for the soil than the usual chemical fertilisers now being used. It uses human excreta, which after proper composting can be used as a fertiliser. This was tried out and practiced in four unions under the Bagmara upazila of Rajshahi and Manda upazila of Naogon from December...

Letters To The Editor

Published Date: March 3, 2015
Epidemic of political insanity

Bangladesh is in the grip of a serious epidemic called political insanity. It has affected most of the politicians irrespective of their party affiliation. The initial symptoms are mild and almost unrecognisable. The symptoms gradually increase in intensity from incoherent speeches to open paranoid acts. They tend to justify their acts through reasons of their own making. They exhibit a false face of emotion which emanates from paranoid delusions. A real catastrophe which affects the non-political people deeply fails...

Published Date: March 3, 2015
COMMENTS

“We are all Mukto-Mona” (March 1, 2015) S. M. Iftekhar Ahmed Islam strictly prohibits the killing of innocent beings. These extremists deliberately ignore the example of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), who, despite suffering the worst insults and humiliation during the early days of Islam, forgave his tormentors. These extremists have nothing to do with Islam, but are rather, simply looking for an excuse to quench their psychotic thirst for blood. Nasirullah Mridha, USA Freethinking is a taboo in our country. Not only the extremists,...

Letter To The Editor

Published Date: March 2, 2015
Open KSA job market for male workers too

After a long time Saudi Arabia has reopened its manpower market to Bangladesh. But the agreement was only for recruiting female workers who will work in households. The government should have made this clear to the public because it was seen that a large number of male job seekers rushed to the Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment to register their names. We hope the KSA will soon reopen its market for our men as well. At the same...

Letter To The Editor

Published Date: March 2, 2015
A killer's punishment

Abdul Jabbar, the 1971 wartime killer and criminal seems to have got away lightly. Looking at the five charges and corresponding punishments tabulated in your daily on 25th February 2015, he deserved the harshest punishment. But the ICT-1 sentenced him to imprisonment until death considering his old age. Makes one wonder, how he could get a 'Jatiyo Party' leadership berth! P.I.B On e-mail

Letter To The Editor

Published Date: March 2, 2015
Shops closed not for hartal, but for...

Hartals have become a regular phenomenon nowadays, thanks to BNP-Jamaat! But the general people rarely observe hartal as those calling hartals are not present on the streets. Dhaka shopkeepers are enjoying almost a normal life, keeping their shops wide open and selling their commodities as usual. However, one morning this week I went to the local bazaar and was surprised to see that all the shops were closed. I thought that some BNP-Jamaat activists might get active suddenly and...

Published Date: March 2, 2015
COMMENTS

“Blogger Avijit Roy hacked to death” (February 27, 2015) Dev Saha I am condemning this heinous act. No matter what, the pen will always be mightier than the sword. Enlightenedview These fundamentalists are not only murderers but also criminals committing crimes against humanity. They must get severe punishment. “Fix the error, not the mirror” (February 25, 2015) New Generation We could have been a good nation if our leaders would give proper attention to the writings. Thanks for this timely writing. “Info ministry bins editors' statement” (February...

Letters To The Editor

Published Date: March 1, 2015
Political impasse taking its toll

The ongoing political impasse has hit every aspect of people's lives very hard. Businesses have come to a near-halt, education is in tatters, people are getting killed by arson attacks everyday. Holding innocent people hostages and wreaking havoc mindlessly throughout the country cannot be an acceptable means of demonstration. Political leaders must act sensibly with a view to keeping the country's economy unharmed and ensuring the security of public life. It is high time for our political leaders to...

Letters To The Editor

Published Date: March 1, 2015
Stop burning us

I'm a Bangladeshi girl and being dejected vent my feelings as I have lost my father and mother. They were burn victims of some senseless criminals. This is not supposed to be my childhood. I had lots of hope, but all are shattered, and all for our greedy politicians. Do they ever see that children are being used to participate in political unrest? Can they visualise the scene of their parents, friends, relatives or children being burnt and their skins...

Published Date: March 1, 2015
Comments

“Rab hands over Manna to DB” (February 26, 2015) Binodbangali Relieved to hear that at least he still exists! Now we want to know who picked him up and why such weird and flimsy narratives are being spread by law enforcers. At the same time, Manna should explain more about his tele-talks. “Bullets, not mob beating” (February 24, 2015) Deep Purple Blue Nobody believes the shootout story anymore as everybody knows these are extrajudicial killings by the law enforcers. Aasfisarwar There is no shred of doubt...

Letter To The Editor

Published Date: February 28, 2015
When the class rooms are empty...

Because of the ongoing blockade and hartal, academic activities of schools and colleges have come to a standstill. Guardians, being worried about their children's safety, don't allow them to go to school. The classrooms are now empty; an eerie silence prevails in the schools and colleges. The education sector is suffering tremendously due to the mindless political programmes. SSC exams schedule has been changed several times already. We hope the politicians will think about the future of the students and...

Letter To The Editor

Published Date: February 28, 2015
Start a dialogue immediately

How could PM Sheikh Hasina outrightly reject the initiative of a dialogue by saying that talks with Khaleda would mean encouraging militancy? The present unrest is political but the government is trying to show it as terrorism. Sheikh Hasina took charge of the country as the Prime Minister, so the welfare of the people rests on her; she just cannot ignore it. She cannot shrug off the dialogue initiative because it is the demand of not only the twenty- party...

Published Date: February 28, 2015
COMMENTS

“What exam? People of the entire country are now in a tough test. The big challenge is to pass this test …” --Khaleda Zia's Adviser OSMAN FARUK At a meeting in the US S. M. Iftekhar Ahmed Outrageous! How sad that the SSC candidates, who are the future voters, have been drawn into the selfish act of the political parties. New Generation It is unfortunate that the former education minister made such unwanted and undesirable comment on the fate of lacs of students' education. Tajul...

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Editorial

Published Date: March 3, 2015
Unabated violence

SO far BNP's political programme has cost 113 lives. Sixty of them were victims of arson attacks on buses and public transport. More than 1,200 vehicles have been destroyed by fire or damaged by miscreants. One hundred thirty people are writhing in agony in the burn units. And on Sunday only, 43 vehicles were damaged or put on fire. To compound matters, political clashes and traffic accidents, including bullet riddled bodies, number 17. The crossfire deaths and public beatings,...

Editorial

Published Date: March 3, 2015
Investigating Avijit murder

WITHIN less than a week of Avijit Roy's murder, we reiterate our call for a focused investigation such that Avjit's killers and purported masterminds of the extremist outfit Ansar Bangla 7, which claimed responsibility for the attack, can be brought to justice without delay. If we cannot ensure justice against the dark forces, our values of freedom, tolerance and secularism will suffer a major blow. The Rab arrest of Farabi Shafiur Rahman, who had instigated death threats against Avijit, is...

FREEDOM IN THE OFFING

Published Date: March 3, 2015
How Pakistan Violated Human Rights in Bangladesh

How Pakistan Violated Human Rights in Bangladesh

January 1, 1972 , The Indian Council of World Affairs published a collection of stories about the serious abuses that Pakistani forces committed during the Liberation War of Bangladesh (March 26 to December 16, 1971). Andre Malraux wrote a foreword to this book, "How Pakistan Violated Human Rights in Bangladesh." Here we publish...

Published Date: March 3, 2015
Avijit is not ''Bangladesh's Charlie Hebdo''

EVEN with all our differences, the nation is united in mourning the merciless killing of 42 year-old free thinker, prominent writer, engineer, humanist and blogger, Avijit Roy. Avijit, author of at least seven books, wrote extensively on promoting secular freedom and spoke openly about his religious beliefs. While returning home from Boi Mela Thursday night, Avijit was hacked to death with machetes and his wife, Rafida Ahmed, was seriously injured by unidentified assailants. Photos of Rafida Ahmed, soaked in...

Editorial

Published Date: March 2, 2015
Another militant den busted

THE regularity with which the law enforcing agencies have been discovering dens of the extremist groups along with large quantity of weapons, incendiary and explosive materials is worrying. But one must give plaudits to the police for their successes in this regard. We hope the competence with which law enforcers are unearthing the dens of the extremists will eventually deter spread of their tentacles. The fact that extremists groups continue to remain active in the country cannot be lost on the...

Editorial

Published Date: March 2, 2015
Where their real power lies

WE may feel encouraged by the upward trend in social indicators that give credence that women are much better off than they ever were in terms of maternal mortality, health, nutrition and even as far as job opportunities are concerned. But there is a glaring absence of women in decision making roles across all professions. This is where the challenge of gender equity really lies. A roundtable organized by Prothom Alo and UNFPA recently, has highlighted the need for a...

STRANGER THAN FICTION

Published Date: March 2, 2015
Can Mamata really deliver?

Can Mamata really deliver?

THE brouhaha in Bangladesh about Mamata Banerjee's recent visit is astounding. The widest possible media coverage of what Ms. Banerjee “assured” Bangladesh about its due share of the Teesta water -- in the most condescending manner -- is unbelievable. Seemingly, many politicians and media outlets in Bangladesh believe that -- thanks to the...

BOTTOM LINE

Published Date: March 2, 2015
What will Indian foreign secretary bring?

INDIA'S Foreign Secretary Subrahmaniam Jaishankar will visit Bangladesh from today on his tour of Saarc members aimed at “getting to know Saarc countries” as part of active Indian diplomacy. He started his trip on March 1 with Bhutan. From Bangladesh, he is expected to travel to Pakistan on March 3 and Afghanistan on March 4 Visits by India's foreign secretary to Bangladesh have always been important as the neighbours ordinarily have many unresolved issues which need to be settled peacefully....

FREEDOM IN THE OFFING

Published Date: March 2, 2015
Prelude to an order for genocide

Prelude to an order for genocide

In this article Prof. Rehman Sobhan, who was Professor of Economics at Dacca University and an Adviser to Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, describes the background to the Yahya-Mujib talks -- AS President Yahya flew out of Dacca on the night of March 25 he took with him the last hopes of a united Pakistan....

Published Date: March 2, 2015
A murder most foul

IT seems there is no end to sensational news from Bangladesh. Smack on the face of the dramatic revelation of the phone conversations of a civil society stalwart that shook the society, came the horrific news of a most brutal killing of an activist writer in public view. His offense was seemingly his writings that advocated tolerance, freedom from bigotry of all kinds, love and respect for all humans, and above all a just society.   This is not a...

Editorial

Published Date: March 1, 2015
Hardening political impasse

With the AL and BNP replying to UN Secretary General Ban Ki- moon's  letter urging them to sit for dialogue ,all we  find is an emphatic reiteration of the hard positions of the respective political parties .  The BNP's 'readiness' to sit for talks will lack conviction   so long  it continues with its  mindless   oborodh and hartals . And, the government's 'repression'and its refusal 'to sit with terrorists'   add to the hiatus . Thus, there   appears to be a deficit...

Editorial

Published Date: March 1, 2015
Submission of probe committee reports

After every major disaster in the country, probe committees are formed to assuage the public that a fair investigation would be conducted and perpetrators identified and brought to justice in a timely manner. It is unfortunate, however, that most of these probe committee findings do not reach public ears; in an overwhelming number of cases, the investigation, if completed at all, is conducted in a lackluster, insincere manner, with many reports outlining vague findings where the real culprits remain...

Published Date: March 1, 2015
No one killed Avijit Roy

No one killed Avijit Roy

Freedom of expression, the most inalienable right of the citizens, has been under attack in many ways in this country for a long time. Denying this fact will not change the truth. The killing of blogger Avijit Roy on February 26 by unknown assailants is nothing but an outcome of what this country...

Politics Of Climate Change

Published Date: March 1, 2015
Financing climate change activities in Bangladesh

Bangladesh has been a pioneer in financing climate change by setting up two separate climate change funds over the last decade. One, called the Climate Change Trust Fund (CCTF), was funded entirely from government of Bangladesh funds allocated in the budget by the finance minister each year, and has over $500 million allocated over the years. This fund has been governed by an inter-ministerial committee and each year they allocated two-thirds of the amount towards projects submitted by different...

Freedom In The Offing

Published Date: March 1, 2015
Bangabandhu's interview by David Frost

Bangabandhu's interview by David Frost

Frost : …On the night that you were arrested, on the night when in fact West Pakistan was about to invade where they'd been talking with you for sometime disguising their intentions and then they invaded, now at 8 O'clock you were at home on the night you were arrested and you got...

Interview With Avijit Roy

Published Date: March 1, 2015
Alo Hate Choliyachhe Adharer Yatree

Ahmede Hussain (AH): How has Mukto-Mona evolved? Can you please explain the idea behind Mukto-Mona for our readers? Avijit Roy (AR): Mukto-Mona came into being in the year 2000, with the intention of debating and promoting critical issues that are of the utmost importance in building a progressive, rational and secular society, but usually are ignored in the mainstream Bangladeshi and South Asian media. On May 26, 2001, I created a Yahoo group under the name Mukto-Mona. A year later,...

Commentary by Mahfuz Anam

Published Date: March 1, 2015
We are all Mukto-Mona

We are all <i>Mukto-Mona</i>

Mukto-Mona, meaning freethinker, is the name of the blog that Avijit founded. Today we want to declare that we Bangladeshis are all, by our nature, culture and religion, Mukto-Mona.  All murders are bad and highly condemnable. But murdering for differences in thoughts, values and ideas is by far the worst. This murder is against...

Editorial

Published Date: February 28, 2015
Horrific hacking of Avijit Roy

WE condemn the brutal murder of writer and blogger Avijit Roy and attack on his wife, Rafida Islam Banna, in no uncertain terms. The savage act, hauntingly similar to the hacking of critical thinker and writer Humayun Azad, took place right in front of the Ekushey Book Fair, in clear view of law enforcers and other people. According to media reports, the writer, known for his staunch support of secularism and critique of religious fundamentalism in the country, was threatened...

Editorial

Published Date: February 28, 2015
Holding future generation hostage

WITH nearly two months of ongoing hartal and oborodh, the academic calendar for millions of children continues to be adversely affected. Amid security concerns that have led attendance rates nearly all over the country to plummet, students, parents and teachers find themselves in a predicament as to how to maintain a regular schedule. This unending disruption of studies is extremely disconcerting for obvious reasons; it also begs the question, is education for our children held in any esteem at...

STRAIGHT LINE

Published Date: February 28, 2015
The worrisome public order

The worrisome public order

THE cynics in the current hyper-charged socio-political situation would say that “the banality of evil” has come home to us with a strange poignancy. They cannot be blamed, because violence has characterised our national life on a scale so widespread and so unchecked that even the incorrigible optimists are losing hope of orderly...

PROJECT SYNDICATE
NEW GLOBAL ECONOMY

Published Date: February 28, 2015
The Age of Adaptation

THE world needs to stop looking backward. Since the 2008 financial crisis, we have wasted far too much energy trying to return to the days of rapid economic expansion. The flawed assumption that the post-crisis world's challenges were only temporary has underpinned policies that have yielded only lackluster recoveries, while failing to address key problems like high unemployment and rising inequality. The post-crisis era is over, and the “post-post-crisis world” is upon us. It is time to adopt a new...

Published Date: February 28, 2015
A Shocking Crime

A Shocking Crime

It was with devastating shock and disbelief that I received the news of the brutal killing of our very well-known blogger and writer Avijit Roy and the severe injury to his wife, blogger Rafida Ahmed Bonna. According to the report, unidentified miscreants hacked them at TSC of Dhaka University on Thursday night. Avijit,...

Published Date: February 28, 2015
Extrajudicial killing in the guise of mob-action

ON February 24 morning, the nation woke up to the news that bullet-ridden bodies of three boys were found in the city's Shewrapara area of Mirpur. All were aged between 15 and 17 years and worked as part-time helpers of drivers of human haulers that plied along that route. All came from poor families. None had any political affiliation but attended programmes of political parties of various persuasions. The official narrative identified the victims as arsonists who were caught red-handed...

Published Date: February 28, 2015
Hartal and oborodh have lost appeal

FOR the last 50 days, pessimism has gripped the citizenry because of the hartal and oborodh enforced by BNP-led alliance. More than 100 have died in petrol bomb attacks, and thousands injured with life-threatening disabilities, and the economy is bleeding profusely. Most appalling, it is the poor and innocent daily wage earners who are not at all linked with politics who have become the targets. Taking advantage of this unusual situation, some clandestine groups who were waiting in the wings...

Editorial

Published Date: February 27, 2015
AI report 2014-15

THE latest annual report by the London-based human rights watchdog, Amnesty International (AI), echoes the concerns raised by our own human rights organisations regarding enforced disappearances, impunity of law enforcement agencies, circumscribing the freedom of journalists and human rights defenders and violence against women. Through the years, what has perhaps been as alarming as the consistency of violations is the consistency of the state in not acknowledging and addressing the apprehensions regarding human rights violations. The report suggests that an...

Editorial

Published Date: February 27, 2015
Faulty designs behind most launch accidents

Amid denial of responsibilities for launch accidents by the authorities, a report reveals that between 1976 and 2005, 70 per cent launch accidents happened due to design flaws. Nine NGOs working for safe waterway published that report yesterday. Though properly designed water vessels survive 40 degree tilting our launches sink even at 15 to 18 degree tilt. It shows serious deficit in design and fitness of existing water vessels. Though there are provisions for punishment of launch owners, drivers and...