• Thursday, October 23, 2014

Op-Ed

Editorial

  • Editorial

    Barrages on the Ganges

    Concerned at the prospect

    WE are concerned about India's reported plan to undertake the construction of 16 barrages, one in every 100 kilometres of the Ganges under the Ganges waterway Project. If implemented, this would have a disastrous impact on the river Ganges and harm the ecology of both Bangladesh and India. In light of India's promise to not harm Bangladesh's interests, we are surprised that India has planned to build the barrages in an international river without consultation with Bangladesh as the lower riparian. It is in contradiction to good neighbourly practices as well as a violation of international norms. In 1974, the Farakka barrage alone reduced the flow of the Ganges downstream known as the Padma in Bangladesh, turning parts of the once majestic river into a wasteland. The sharing of the Ganges' waters is a long-standing issue between the two nations, and although the Ganges Water Sharing Treaty 1996 stipulates the amount of water sharing during lean season, the treaty is not always followed. Further diversion of water would have calamitous effects on the Padma and surrounding areas, increase salinity and food insecurity and cause irreparable damage to the ecology.   It is surprising that though India has already applied...

Opinion

STRATEGICALLY SPEAKING

McCarthyism incarnated!

IS it the first signs of replication of McCarthyism in Bangladesh? One is compelled to express the serious misgivings of a real threat to one of the very fundamental principles on which rests the foundation of this nation, namely freedom of expression. And freedom of expression also implies the right to disagree. The fear stems from the controversies that stemmed from the intention of taking Dr. Pias Karim's dead body to the Shaheed Minar and the character assassination that...

Exclusive to The Daily Star
THE WORLD IN WORDS

Ukraine's vote, Russia's fate

Ukraine's vote, Russia's fate

WHEN Ukraine's voters go to the polls on October 26, not only the fate of their country will be at stake; so will the future of a significant part of Europe. To put it simply: the future of Ukraine will decide the future of Russia, and the future of Russia will have a...

Measures to check bus drivers

THIRTY two people died and several others were injured in another tragic head-on collision involving two buses a few days ago. Speeding and reckless driving were the reasons for the accident. News of road mishaps has become quite common these days. To curb the high rate of road mishaps some serious measures need to be taken by the government, bus operators and the highway police to make the roads safer and, most importantly, the buses safer as bus is the...

Gorai River: Can it flow round the year?

Gorai River: Can it flow round the year?

A front page picture in The Daily Star (October 21) showed the Gorai River at Kumarkhali Railway Bridge, with its bed covered by silt. It is an old story that has continued since the Farakka Barrage was opened in 1975. Due to diversion of about 40,000 cusec flow from the Ganga River towards...

No second chance?

DHAKA University, once called the Oxford of the East, hardly makes headlines these days for its once “glorious faculty and academic excellence.” Now student politics, fights and the occasional brandishing of a gun make news. Then there is the other kind of news Dhaka University makes, more related to academics, but no less...

BOTTOM LINE

Gough Whitlam and Bangladesh

FORMER Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, a towering figure who led the nation through a period of massive change, died in Sydney on October 21, aged 98. He was prime minister from 1972 to 1975. Australia was the first Western country to recognise Bangladesh (January 31, 1972).  Relations with Australia started on a very...

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Letters

Letters To The Editor

Culture of labeling people

I felt really sad to know that Professor Piash Karim has passed away. I personally do not know Prof. Karim, but have seen him in talk shows in Bangladeshi TV channels and have developed respect for him for his rational thinking. I was not too surprised to see the reactions of different people regarding his funeral. The tendency to label people based on ideology or political view is a hindrance to progress and free thinking. A doctor's son is not...

Letters To The Editor

Right to safety on road

Our roads have become death traps. Every year thousands of people get killed in road accidents. There is hardly any family left in this country that never experienced the pain of losing somebody in road crash. So far by birth we have the rights to have accommodation, food, clothing, education and medication. I think it would not be wrong if I say that safe road should also be our right. Safe road is now the demand of the whole nation....

Letters To The Editor

Avoid aping alien culture

Nowadays people of our region are more interested in the western culture so they now neglect their own culture, ideas, norms and values. Mostly the young generation is imitating them. This happens mainly because of globalisation which helps the capitalist countries to expand their trade and commerce all over the world through intruding into other cultures (e.g. advertising their culture and products through satellite channels). We must be aware of it and should hold on to our cultural values...

Comments on news report

“Modern-day slave trade unearthed,” published on October 19, 2014 New Generation Is this horrifying incident also an 'achievement' of the present government? Who is there to reply? Shiful Islam Foysal I can't believe that slavery still exists. ***** “Sagar-Runi murder investigation” (Oct. 17, 2014) Mortuza Huq This unacceptable delay might reinforce the belief in people's mind that the government has things to hide regarding this brutal murder case. Rahman Mostafiz This case is still shrouded in mystery. This is how we are heading towards the notion that justice is...

Letters To The Editor

Published Date: October 22, 2014
DU should rethink its new admission policy

Dhaka University is the first choice of the majority of students willing to get higher education. Students try their level best to get admitted into this university. In the previous years, students used to get a second chance to sit for the admission test. But the DU authorities have decided to allow only freshly passed HSC students to appear in the admission test from the next academic session. Dhaka University is an autonomous institution and can take any decision freely...

Letters To The Editor

Published Date: October 22, 2014
Political lesson to learn from Bolivia

Evo Morales won his third consecutive term as the Bolivian president on October 12, 2014. He defeated his conservative opponent by a comfortable margin.  Morales is the first Bolivian president to hail from the country's indigenous majority. He was first elected in 2006, and will remain in office until January 2020. Morales is one of the most popular socialist leaders of Latin America. During his presidency, Bolivia has grown economically, decreased income inequality and uplifted the economic status of the...

Letters To The Editor

Published Date: October 22, 2014
Exemplary step by parents of drug addict sons

The report, “Parents hand over 3 drug addict youths to police,” published in your daily on October 19, 2014, caught my eye. Helpless parents of three drug addicts handed over their sons to police. In our country, most of the parents want to hide such kind of information relating to their children. But these parents have taken a bold decision. No one should ever hide these types of incidents and should raise their voice against it. Afrah Aanan Viqarunnisa Noon School...

Published Date: October 22, 2014
Comments on news report

“Dream big, defeat failures to succeed,” published on October 18, 2014 Hafeejul Alam I am no more a youth. But the inspiring speech given by the former Indian President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam makes me feel as if I am still a youth and of course I have a dream. ***** “Unfreedom and indecency” (Oct. 17, 2014) Sayed Chowdhury I mostly agree with Mr. Hashmi's comments about the democratic principles and practices, including mutual tolerance as an indispensable element of democracy. I also fully agree...

Letters To The Editor

Published Date: October 21, 2014
Hold probe into frequent train accidents

Hold probe into frequent train accidents

In railway parlance, the pair of parallel rails is called permanent-way. However, given the regular frequency of train derailments happening all over the country in the last few months, isn't it better to call it temporary-way? Many passengers got injured and on occasions there were fatalities too. Also there was serious disruption in...

Letters To The Editor

Published Date: October 21, 2014
International Day of the Girl Child

International Day of the Girl Child was observed across the world on 11th October 2014. This day promotes girls' human rights and highlights gender inequalities that remain between girls and boys and addresses the various forms of discrimination and abuse suffered by girls around the world. Violence against girls limits their opportunities and choices and threatens their futures. We want an end of harmful practices such as sexual violence and child marriages all over the world. Hasna Begum Advocate, Supreme Court...

Letters To The Editor

Published Date: October 21, 2014
Congratulations to JS speaker

It is heartening to learn that the Speaker of Bangladesh Jatiya Sangsad Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury has been elected the Chairperson of the executive committee of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) for the next three years in the CPA elections held in the Cameroonian capital of Yaounde recently. Dr. Chaudhury has earned a great honour for Bangladesh by winning the election. Heartiest congratulations to her. Professor M Zahidul Haque Department of Agricultural Extension & Information System, SAU, Dhaka

Published Date: October 21, 2014
Comments on news report

“State's costly silence,” published on October 17, 2014 Snr Citizen It's a very good piece of news that false cases against Limon have been withdrawn. Limon now needs rightful compensation and rehabilitation. The media again can help develop public opinion and draw the attention of the authorities. Nawfal Talukdhar The government should not only compensate Limon for the irreparable emotional and physical damage he sustained, but also take the responsibility for his higher education. **** “Thermal scanners for int'l airports” (Oct. 17, 2014) SM What is the...

Letters To The Editor

Published Date: October 20, 2014
Tuni's tragic end

Ours is a society where we push some to commit suicide and then criticise why they ended their lives in such a silly way, ignoring our responsibilities to help them when they were in crisis. We all remember Nayar Sultana, who played Tuni, a young girl in the popular drama serial “Ei Shob Din Ratri” on BTV in the 1980s. Reality pushed her too hard so that she forgot about her two daughters and take the unthinking decision to...

Letters To The Editor

Published Date: October 20, 2014
Preparedness against Ebola

Ebola virus has spread to USA, Germany and Spain. If it comes to Bangladesh, its impact will be no less bad than in the West African countries. As prevention is always better than cure, I propose the government takes these following measures to prevent its entry into Bangladesh. a.    Upon arrival, announcement should be made by immigration officials requesting the passengers coming from Ebola-affected countries to step out from the queue. These passengers should then be handled by a trained...

Letters To The Editor

Published Date: October 20, 2014
Ending violence against women

On October 10, 2014, 'World Boston', a Boston based council of world affairs, sponsored an open conversation on the topic: Preventing Violence against Women: A Project for Bangladesh. This project was sponsored by the US State Department to understand the gender-based violence in Bangladesh as a global issue. This project also emphasised the need to make a comprehensive study on civil society and government to work together to prevent gender-based violence and thus explore legal, social, and community based...

Published Date: October 20, 2014
Comments on news report

“ACC probe 'fails' to identify culprit,” published on October 16, 2014 Maruf Rahman Should we be surprised? ACC means Awami Clearance Commission. Sayed Rahman I myself am serving in a bank of Bangladesh, and from my experience I can say that no embezzlement can occur without someone behind it. Some officials may be involved in the matter. New Generation There are instances that other similar probes also failed to identify the perpetrators when certain coterie was behind the screen. ***** “Birth rate drops” (October 16, 2014) S. M....

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Editorial

Published Date: October 22, 2014
Natore highway tragedy

RECKLESS driving coupled with disregard for traffic rules on highways has again taken its deadly toll as a Rajshahi-bound bus from Dhaka crashed into another bus coming from the opposite direction near Natore killing 33 passengers. The bus from Dhaka turned to the wrong side of the road while overtaking a truck causing the accident.  An account of the accident from a passenger traveling in one of the buses provides yet another narrative of the tragedy: a third bus...

Editorial

Published Date: October 22, 2014
Time extension on safety welcome

IN a move that recognises efforts by the government to improve workplace safety and workers' rights in the aftermath of the Rana Plaza collapse, the 'Sustainability Compact' has recommended more time be given to authorities to make further progress in areas of concern. The review committee in Brussels hosted a 12-member team led by the Minister of Commerce to study progress made on various issues since July, 2013. The body appreciates government efforts in amending labour law, enabling registration...

KNOT SO TRUE

Published Date: October 22, 2014
Captains of economy

THREE centuries ago, Adam Smith thought economy was a clock that would continue its motion once set. Almost three hundred years before the birth of Christ, Plato thought quite the opposite. He thought that the ship of the state would have to be captained by philosopher kings. Way back then, Plato didn't quite think that many centuries later, those ruling the public sphere would be the farthest from philosophy and social good would ultimately be non-existent. Instead of planning...

BETWEEN THE LINES

Published Date: October 22, 2014
Whither Congress?

THE defeat of the Congress in Haryana and Maharashtra state elections does not come as a surprise. It was expected. Those who have followed the political developments since the 2014 Lok Sabha election had inferred that the party was a story of the past. It had been battered by charges of corruption so much and for so long that it had no public image left. The other parties, particularly the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), are finding favour with the...

Published Date: October 22, 2014
Making the market work better for the poor

THE Mecca of modern day capitalism is markets. Our needs and wants are usually allocated through the market; more and more aspects of our lives are becoming embedded in it. The global recessions and its widespread impact is a testament to the power, interconnectedness and importance of markets. Taking into account this ubiquity of market, one has to ponder why we have such widespread poverty coexisting with affluence. This is not a speculation on inequality or redistribution but a...

Published Date: October 22, 2014
Demonising dissenters: Dead or alive

Demonising dissenters: Dead or alive

THIS week has marked an important watershed in Bangladesh's fast eroding political culture. The universal norm of respecting the dead not only fell short, but sunk to a new low when a diatribe was orchestrated against a dead professor who held non-conformist views of society and politics, and was bold enough to express...

Published Date: October 22, 2014
Time to value girls and end rape culture

ROKEYA, one of seven children, studied only up to class 5 since her grandfather feared she was at risk of rape in school being an attractive girl. At 12, Rokeya's first marriage was arranged with a 22-year-old man who abandoned her after only 13 months. At 15, Rokeya left home to take a job in a garments factory. A single girl, living alone, she faced sexual harassment and returned home. Her father confined her to the house to protect...

Editorial

Published Date: October 21, 2014
When will pleasure trips end?

IN a country where thousands of crores of taka is siphoned off from banks without so much as whimper from the government, spending a sum of ten crores by Rajuk on wasteful trips, euphemistically called study tours, may look like pittance. But the issue is more fundamental than the sum involved. It is the planned and calculated manner of misusing public money by persons in high places of a government institution that is the point at issue. And unless...

Editorial

Published Date: October 21, 2014
JCD feuding spills out

OUTRAGED at the announcemment of the formation of JCD's new central committee, the faction feeling aggreived by the decision reacted violently. The reason behind such fierce expression of dissent has had to do with apparently not pursuing democratic procedure to form student body's new central committee. It didn't even spare vandalising the party's central office. The persuausive words of some central leaders fell on deaf ears on the infighting student activists. JCD's election rules were allegedly violated. In one instance,...

Published Date: October 21, 2014
Saarc energy cooperation

THE 5th Saarc Energy Ministers Meeting has finalised the Saarc Framework Agreement for Energy Cooperation. Although Pakistan was missing from the meet, seven out of eight Saarc member countries have now come on board on sharing energy resource across borders. This is undoubtedly a very welcome step in the right direction given that it paves the way for member countries to buy and sell electricity as per individual country's needs. Signing of the framework is due to take place...

Published Date: October 21, 2014
Natural gas price adjustment initiative

Natural gas price adjustment initiative

NATURAL gas has been the major primary energy input in the country for industrial, business and domestic consumers. Since the late 1960s, pipeline gas connections have been extended to domestic users, mainly in the urban areas, with the objective of expanding commercial uses of natural gas. At present, approximately 2 million domestic consumers...

Published Date: October 21, 2014
Will Didi flex muscles against Modi?

PASCHIMBANGA Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, popularly known as Didi, is very fond of flexing muscles. She first demonstrated her muscle power by opposing the Teesta water sharing agreement with Bangladesh in 2012. Manmohan, then heading a coalition government, returned to Delhi without signing the highly publicized Teesta agreement. Didi triumphed. During the last general election, Didi challenged the Election Commission (EC) for ordering the transfer of four IPS and three IAS officers in Paschimbanga without consulting her. She publicly declared,...

Published Date: October 21, 2014
Pias Karim: A different perspective

Pias Karim: A different perspective

I never thought I would write an obituary for Pias Karim, who was much younger than me. I came to know him some 35 years ago, when he was a diehard leftist, both in conviction and in practice. He accompanied me on the maiden trip his elder sister made to my home town...

SATELLITE CHANNELS AND MOVIES

Published Date: October 21, 2014
Protection of culture or protectionism?

UPON a writ petition, the High Court Division (HCD) of the Supreme Court has asked the government to explain why three Indian satellite channels would not be barred from being telecast in Bangladesh. What the HCD would ultimately do in this legal battle is purely a matter of law to be settled by the HCD and it is not in any way the intention of this column to comment on the legal merits of the petition pending before the...

Published Date: October 21, 2014
Is presidential clemency possible for war criminals?

LAW, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Anisul Huq on Sunday stressed the need for bringing an amendment to the constitution so that the convicted war criminals cannot get president's clemency in future. He said that former president Abdur Rahman Biswas had pardoned war crimes convict Jamaat-e-Islami leader Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed. In the minister's view it cannot be ensured that the convicted war criminals would not get presidential pardon without amending the constitution. He said he would raise the...

Editorial

Published Date: October 20, 2014
Declaring people non grata

A very insidious precedent has been set by the situation evolving out of the denial by Chhatra Sangram Parishad to take Piash Karim's body to the Shaheed Minar. The reason was that the views of the late professor on certain national issues were not in accord with that of the students' body. The matter did not stop there. Nine eminent persons including several journalists and educationists have been declared persona non grata in the Shaheed Minar by the said...

Editorial

Published Date: October 20, 2014
Trafficked Bangladeshis in Thai jungle

OBVIOUSLY lured by enticement of jobs desperate Bangladeshis often fall prey to traps laid out by wily traffickers. The latter promise something to the job-seekers but once in their clutch, they will be bandied about like chattels as though in an insidious version of modern-day slave trade. The case in point is the discovery of 37,53 and 81, largely Bangladeshi victims, in the last  month and on October 11 and 13 respectively in Thai jungles. They were enticed by job...

Published Date: October 20, 2014
Parliament and judiciary: Striking a balance

Parliament and judiciary: Striking a balance

A Supreme Court (SC) lawyer recently filed a writ petition with the High Court challenging the legality of the 16th Amendment made to the Constitution of the People's Republic of Bangladesh regarding the removal of SC judges based on incapacity and misconduct (The Daily Star, 15/10/14). The amendment allows the parliament to impeach...

Exclusive to The Daily Star
THE NEW GLOBAL ECONOMY

Published Date: October 20, 2014
China's vicious growth circle

China's vicious growth circle

MOST economists have a reason to be worried about China's economy -- whether it be low consumption and large external surpluses, industrial overcapacity, environmental degradation, or government interventions like capital controls or financial repression. What many fail to recognise is that these are merely the symptoms of a single underlying problem: China's skewed...

Published Date: October 20, 2014
Diamond Jubilee of National Press Club

TODAY, October 20, the National Press Club celebrates its Diamond Jubilee (60th Birth Anniversary). As a witness to its evolution here are some nostalgic snapshots of my six decades long association with the National Press Club. In 1962, it brought out a historic procession, led by the legendary editor of Daily Azad Moulana Mohammad Akram Khan, protesting the repressive Press and Publications Act promulgated by the Martial Law regime of Ayub Khan. The government was forced to abrogate the law...

Published Date: October 20, 2014
'Our government is focusing on empowering women'

'Our government is focusing on empowering women'

The Daily Star (TDS): The government has taken quite a few positive steps to enact pro-women laws and policies. Which areas do you think the ministry needs to focus on more now? Meher Afroz Chumki (MAC): When it came to power, the government undertook initiatives for women's empowerment keeping in mind the MDGs. Now...

Published Date: October 20, 2014
Integrated maritime policy for blue economy

GUNTER Pauli designed the blue economy concept, which came out of the 2012 Rio+20 Conference. In Bangladesh, discussions on blue economy started after the settlement of maritime boundary delimitation dispute with Myanmar and India. Proliferation of marine resources in this area offers Bangladesh scope for sustainable economic development, which needs an integrated maritime policy. According to Article 56 of the United Nations Conventions on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982, the coastal state (Bangladesh) has sovereign rights in the...

Published Date: October 20, 2014
BIMSTEC: A beacon of hope?

THE Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) was established in 1997 with Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand as members. BIMSTEC emphasises connectivity by road, rail, air, including digital connectivity and electricity corridors throughout the region. Trade liberalisation and free movement of people, goods and services are at the heart of such connectivity. The BIMSTEC region has a huge amount of untapped natural, water and human resources. India, as the regional...

Editorial

Published Date: October 19, 2014
Kalam's inspiring words

What could be a more propitious conjunction of events than the 110th birth anniversary of MCC&I, Dhaka, kicking it off with a celebration of the youth in a dialogue with 700 university students and that addressed by the iconic former Indian President Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. The outcome was suffused with inspirational messages of which Abdul Kalam is a brilliant wordsmith that have had a spellbinding effect on the youth. We thank the MCC&I, Dhaka for bringing the friend-philosopher-guide...

Editorial

Published Date: October 19, 2014
CHT Peace Accord

Despite repeated promises, the government is yet to take concrete steps to ensure the full implementation of the CHT Peace Accord 1997. Almost 17 years have passed since its signing, but human rights violations and land occupation, instead of being addressed, is increasing at an alarming rate in the region. According to indigenous groups and human rights organisations, even the most basic demands in the accord have not been addressed. For instance, even though the government was supposed to hand...

SUNDAY POUCH
UK Recognition of Palestine

Published Date: October 19, 2014
Lessons forgotten

In a highly symbolic vote in the British House of Commons, members overwhelmingly passed a non-binding resolution last week to provide diplomatic recognition to a Palestinian state. The vote, 274 in favour to 12 against, was a reflection of the growing global dissatisfaction with Israel and its policies. World public opinion seems to have shifted since the breakdown of US sponsored peace negotiations and the armed conflict in Gaza earlier this year. Voices, both from the left and the...