• Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Op-Ed

Editorial

  • Editorial

    Eviction from railway land

    Give it a human face

    WE agree that railway lands must be freed of illegal grabbers and encroachment. And no one can take issue with the authorities for taking actions to ensure the safety of the railway tracks and the safety of the railway passengers. But we certainly take issue with the method of the drive which commenced recently to free railway lands. It is, to say the least, highhanded and most inhuman. We feel that the slum dwellers as well as the many traders along the track should have been warned well before launching such a wide scale eviction drive. We ask why is it that it took the lives of four people for the authorities to wake up to the problem. It is as if the illegal structures have come up only recently. The vegetable vendors have been carrying out their business along the railway tracks for God only knows how long! And this was a means of livelihood of so many poor people. Are we to believe that the railway police and other agencies were not aware of the slums that have been allowed to grow in exchange of rent? While we believe that such drives are necessary we would...

Opinion

Not only fossil fuels

IT is little surprise that Japan is reversing its policy on nuclear power generation. Following the Fukushima disaster, the country had decided to take its nuclear industry offline to a great extent to perform (a) safety checks, and (b) to look at alternative sources for generating power. That experiment led to a romance with “renewables” and fossil-fuel. But the prohibitive costs associated with generating power from renewable energy including geothermal to solar has proved uneconomical. That end users, viz....

BYLINE

The Union Jack, and perhaps Jill

FOR an Indian who has always believed that the partition of India was a deep, self-inflicted wound carved by a British knife, the thought that Britain might split into two nations on 18 September is not without some satisfaction. History is rarely synonymous with justice, but when the echo of some form of retribution fills the air, we might sit back and enjoy the music. On 18 September Scotland will vote on whether to continue the three-century old union with...

Who should blink first: Nawaz Sharif or Imran Khan?

THE deadly floods sweeping through Kashmir in both India and Pakistan have brought the two hostile neighbours closer together. In a gesture of goodwill, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has written to his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif offering assistance in the relief efforts for the victims of the unprecedented floods. But will the calamity bring Sharif's adversaries at home closer to him? Imran Khan, a cricketer-turned politician, and Tahirul-ul-Qadri, a cleric, started a protest march in August to oust Nawaz...

SAARC's attempts at regional poverty alleviation

EVER since its formation in 1985, SAARC has made several attempts to address the issue of poverty.  The SAARC Charter, drafted in 1985, referred to enhancing the living standards and improving the welfare of the people via regional cooperation. Initiation of Integrated Programmes of Action (IPAs) incorporated this people's welfare related objective in the Charter by forming IPAs in Agriculture and Rural Development, Human Resources Development, and Social Development. When the 6th SAARC Summit took place in Colombo in...

The Middle East

Balkanization and US' full spectrum dominance

THE tentacles of the balkanization policy of fragmenting states into small entities has spread worldwide initiated by civil rights societies at first with protests which have the flare of popular uprisings against the incumbent governments for democracy, human rights, minority rights and secularism. More is yet to come in the Middle East using local collaborators and once the West has achieved its objective it will discard them as they did with Saddam Hussein and are now in the process...

AL in power: Blessing or curse for JP?

JATIYA Party (JP), the opposition in parliament, has plunged into another spell of turmoil. Two of its MPs, state minister for LGRD Mashiur Rahman Ranga and opposition chief whip Tajul Islam Chowdhury were dropped from the party's presidium, the party's highest policy making body. And Ershad and some of his party loyalists boycotted JP's parliamentary party meeting held on Sunday. Raushan Ershad, also the leader of the opposition, held the meeting and extended support to Ranga and Tajul. The...

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Letters

Letters To The Editor

Govt. should not take decisions alone

Recently the government has taken some measures regarding the issue of impeachment of SC judges and National Broadcast Policy without consulting the stakeholders. It also sacrificed Bangladesh's candidacy for the UNSC in the same way. Government should not take decisions alone, and more specifically, about certain matters that are crucial to the country's interest. Accountability is important. In many countries all political parties unite on crucial matters. Our government will prove its wisdom and sensibility by listening to the other...

Letters To The Editor

This useless controversy should end

The recently raised controversy over Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Ziaur Rahman's role during the Liberation War should be stopped. Rather, we should analyse their post-war roles as the heads of the state. Because of the power struggle between the two parties, the helpless general people have become hostages. It is of no use to discuss whether AL is better than BNP or BNP is better than AL. We should rather discuss whether the commoners are provided with their rights...

Letters To The Editor

Dangers of antibiotics overuse in animal farming

Worldwide, antibiotics are being abused in animal farming in the name of boosting production of meat, eggs, farmed fish, etc. Overuse of antibiotics non-therapeutically is increasing antibiotic resistance among bacteria that cause human infections. Consumers are pressing the companies involved in the production of animal agricultural produces to completely eliminate the use of antibiotics in animal feeds for quick growth. However, it is encouraging to learn that Perdue Foods, America's third largest poultry producer has removed all antibiotics from its...

Comments on news report

“4 killed, 5 injured at Karwan Bazar,” published on September 11, 2014 Dev Saha Why on earth people have set up bazaar on rail lines? Sayed Rahman Who should I blame for this? It does not make sense how people build kitchen market on rail tracks! Maybe we will see a drive against it, and within a month from the drive, the market will be set up again. ***** “Old formalin in new bottle” (September 12, 2014) Fakhrul Islam With unrestricted use of chemicals, we will become...

Letters To The Editor

Published Date: September 15, 2014
A tribute to the nightingale

A tribute to the nightingale

John Keats said, “Heard melodies are sweet but those unheard are sweeter”. Feroza Begum, the legendary Nazrul sangeet exponent, has entered the realm of eternity. She will sing no more but her melodies will always remain alive and inspire us. May Allah bless the departed soul of Feroza Begum and give patience to the...

Letters To The Editor

Published Date: September 15, 2014
Introduce meters in CNG-run taxis

In Chittagong CNG-run taxi drivers ask abnormally high fares as they have no meters and passengers have to give in to their demands. As the battery-run rickshaws have been withdrawn from the streets, the passengers now have to depend on CNG-run taxis. Those battery-powered rickshaws were cheaper than these CNG-run taxis. We hope the authorities will take measures to install meters in the CNG-run taxis to mitigate the problem. Zabed Wali Chittagong  

Letters To The Editor

Published Date: September 15, 2014
AK Khondokar's book on 1971

I highly appreciate the articles published in your esteemed daily on AK Khondokar's book (1971: Bhetore Baire). I was present at the then Race Course Maidan on the historic day of 7th March 1971. I can assure that Bangabandhu never ever said “joy Pakistan”. A sincere advice to AK Khondokar: Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates. At the first gate, ask yourself, 'Is it true?' At the second, ask, 'Is it necessary?' At the third gate,...

Published Date: September 15, 2014
Comments on news report

“Pesticides used 15 times the limit,” published on September 11, 2014 Sayed Rahman We should find a way that can be replaced with the indiscriminate use of pesticides. Pesticides are not only killing the pests, they are helping to destroy various kinds of species. ***** “Tearful goodbye to Feroza Begum” (September 11, 2014) M. Akram Khan The passing away of Feroza Begum is an irreparable loss for the entire sub-continent. May Almighty Allah bless her soul and grant her eternal peace. Sayed Rahman Feroza Begum will remain...

Letters to the editor

Published Date: September 14, 2014
3L for women empowerment

Christine Lagarde, managing director at International Monetary Fund (IMF), has recently put forward a 3L approach towards ensuring women's empowerment around the globe. The 3Ls are for- learning, labour, and leadership. She stressed the need for educating girls to make them active for performing economic activities. Labour enables women to flourish and achieve their true potential. Christine pleaded for ensuring equal pay for equal work for women. She also mentioned that discrimination in pay and status has to be...

Letters to the editor

Published Date: September 14, 2014
Reinstall retractable spikes on city roads

Your front page report, “People obey law, influentials break,” published on 2nd September, with photos, is the classic example of the popular saying, “might is right.” Small wonder Bangladesh has become a land of lawlessness. We have established 'demoncracy' at least on roads and highways! We must use the retractable spikes; the sooner the better. The earlier maker of retractable spikes may collaborate with BUET's mechanical engineering faculty and solve the problems that led to its withdrawing.  

Letters to the editor

Published Date: September 14, 2014
Rehabilitate city beggars

The other day I got into a tempo which was going to Gulshan-1 from Mohammadpur. When we reached Mohakhali, a minor boy approached the passengers of our tempo; he was naked. Maybe he was naked with the intention of getting sympathy from the public. A woman from our tempo gave him some money. He then left and got into another vehicle for begging. In a one-hour journey by a public vehicle in Dhaka, one would have to face at...

Comments on news analysis

Published Date: September 14, 2014
“Patients left in anarchy,” published on September 8, 2014

Zia Nowhere in the world it happens except in Bangladesh. How come doctors and nurses stop working by calling strikes? They are supposed to look after the patients, which should be their one and only duty. The government has been making lots of policies these days. They should make one first for the medical professionals so that no one dares to call a strike at hospital.  

Comments on news analysis

Published Date: September 14, 2014
“1965 Indo-Pak War: Busting the myth” (September 8, 2014)

M. Akram Khann I am a veteran of the 1965 war. I served with many Bengali officers and men before, during and after the war. I never came across any doubt expressed about their courage, bravery, dedication and overall military prowess. I can say with conviction that my Bengali colleagues could match the best in the world then. Rakib I was attending a course at Quetta Infantry School back in 1988. I discussed the Pakistani concept “The defense of the East lies...

Letters To The Editor

Published Date: September 13, 2014
Establish public universities in all districts

The admission seekers and their family members face a lot of troubles during the admission process of the public universities. The numbers of seats are limited and the prospective candidates are many. Now time has come to increase the number of public universities in the country. If we can establish public universities in all 64 districts, all the problems will be solved. The district council chairmen of all 64 districts can be given the responsibility to establish public universities in...

Letters To The Editor

Published Date: September 13, 2014
Misuse of ethylene in pineapple ripening

As per ripening behaviour, pineapple is a non climacteric fruit as its ripening is not associated with increased rate of respiration and ethylene production. Once the fruit is harvested before proper ripening, it will not ripen further. Ethylene treatment on pineapple before or after harvest will not promote ripening but will act as a degreening agent to breakdown the green chlorophyll of the peel and prop up yellow colour development making the fruit more attractive irrespective of maturity. Recently it...

Letters To The Editor

Published Date: September 13, 2014
An appropriate name 'Dhaka'

Dhaka is the capital of Bangladesh. I think the name is very suitable for the city because in Bangla, the word 'dhaka' means 'covered'. Many criminal acts are being covered up here. We do not yet know who murdered Sagar-Runi and where Ilias Ali is. Many murders and forced disappearances, happening regularly in the city, are being covered up. Padma bridge corruption probe has been laid to rest as the ACC Chairman said at a press briefing that none has...

Published Date: September 13, 2014
Comments on news report

“Hardly anything safe to eat,” published on September 9, 2014 Saint Unfortunately, we are going to be a disabled nation. Earth Light Strict exemplary punishment should be given to those who are contaminating food items. Shariful Alam Tapash The whole nation should be united against these people who are involved in food adulteration. Sayed Rahman Almost every food item, from rice to candy, is tainted with toxic chemicals from the very beginning of their production. If things go this way, in near future hospitals will be our...

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Editorial

Published Date: September 15, 2014
Save the moribund city

WE have used this space repeatedly over last several years to flag the dire straits that the capital city is in and the bleak prospect of its future as a city worth inhabiting. It already is the second worst city as far as the livable index is concerned and given the services rendered to the people living in Dhaka city, one wonders if things can get any worse for those nearly fifteen million of us who happen to endure...

Editorial

Published Date: September 15, 2014
Poor's access to justice

NEEDLESS to say,ensuring justice  to  poor multitudes  in our country should be a part and parcel of  our quest for establishing  a  rights based society. While there are efforts to alleviate poverty,implying a modicum of economic justice,they remain vulnerable to other forms of injustices in the social arena. A survey on the poor under a DFID supported Community Legal Service(CLS) programme  has revealed  that  95 percent  are unable to lodge FIR and 73 percent  to file a general diary.More than...

KALEIDOSCOPE

Published Date: September 15, 2014
War against the phenomenon of IS

US president Barack Obama in his 15-minute speech on September 10 outlined his strategy of expanding the ongoing US campaign against the phenomenon of Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), or in short, Islamic State (IS), assuring, in particular, his home audience that the US will meet the enemy  "with strength and resolve."    Evidently, Obama's latest announcement marks a significant departure from his earlier policy of disengaging the US militarily from Iraq as he had promised in his...

AWAKENING INDIA

Published Date: September 15, 2014
Asia's democratic dark spots

DEMOCRACY in Asia lately has proved to be hardier than many might have expected, with free and fair elections enabling the large and divided societies of India and Indonesia to manage important political transitions. But some Asian democracies – notably, Thailand and Pakistan – seem to be losing their way. Indians have plenty of experience with changing their government through the ballot box, and this year's election – the country's 16th since independence in 1947 – was no different. In...

Published Date: September 15, 2014
Army, protesters and the government

AN emphatic set of statements by DG ISPR Gen Asim Bajwa during a press conference on Friday may help roll back some of the persisting criticism that the army leadership is directly or indirectly backing the anti-government protesters camped out on Constitution Avenue in the federal capital. At the very least, whatever the truth to criticism directed at the army previously, it appears that the army leadership has, going forward, decided against direct intervention or open involvement in the ongoing...

KNOT SO TRUE

Published Date: September 15, 2014
The jugalbandi of fakes and frauds

OUT of the inglorious five, two were 15, one 14 and another barely 12 when they had apparently fought in the war. In the last five years, 11150 freedom fighter's certificates have been issued. Unilateral powers were used to issue many of these certificates and Jatiya Muktijodhha council along with relevant laws was being bypassed which relate to the Muktijoddha Council Act 2002. None of the new fakes had their names registered in Muktibarta, or Bangladesh Lal Shobuj Barta;...

NATIONAL INCOME TAX DAY

Published Date: September 15, 2014
Tax regime in Bangladesh: An evaluation

Tax regime in Bangladesh: An evaluation

THERE is a general perception that the existing (tax) Revenue regulations in Bangladesh like Income Tax, VAT and Customs laws, British by birth, are too complicated in attitude and curiously cumbersome for enforcement. The Indian Mutiny had just exploded in 1857. The British government took over the ruling power of India from the...

Published Date: September 15, 2014
Tarique Rahman and liberal politics in Bangladesh

THE senior Vice Chairman of the BNP, Tarique Rahman, recently said in London that religion based politics is not a useful mechanism for Bangladesh. He said that politics may be influenced by religion but the framework of politics must not be based on religion. This statement, at its face value, has national and international significance.  The statement came at a time when President Obama renewed America's commitment to continue the War on Terror against ISIL.  Within this narrative of war,...

SUNDAY POUCH
Blue Economy

Published Date: September 14, 2014
Overtaking the West by 2050?

According to the Hongkong Shanghai Bank (HSBC) Bangladesh in the coming 40 years will jump more than 17 spots and will have a $673 billion economy with a per capita income of $3461. This will put us over Chile and even South Africa. However this is what we are likely to attain without the wealth which we will add to the economy by use of the recently acquired marine resources in the Bay. That will push Bangladesh at one...

Published Date: September 14, 2014
Why is Iraq in this quagmire?

Why is Iraq in this quagmire?

After eleven years of bloodshed, violence and dysfunctional state in Iraq, since the American invasion in March 2013, finally the threat coming from radical Sunni group 'Islamic State' woke the Western leaders up to the reality that the country needs an inclusive power-sharing political arrangement among the three main ethnic groups – Shiia...

Published Date: September 14, 2014
An algorithm to decipher

Expatriate Bangladeshis have sent home USD 1.16 billion in Aug, 22% less than they did in July. In July, the remittance inflow was USD 1.49 billion, an all-time high. Let's look at another group of wage earners at our apparel sector. What we see is the influx of Indians, Pakistanis, Sri Lankans and some Koreans or Chinese – mostly in the management levels. Look at the top posts of a major garment factory or of a leading trading house –...

SHIFTING IMAGES

Published Date: September 14, 2014
“Living in a material world”

The dizzying speed of innovation and information explosion has radically transformed the concept of the “generation gap”. It's more a generation leap from the times of our youth. The ambitions and value system of our young days seem to be antediluvian compared to the aspirations of today's youngsters, known in some circles as Gen tech. The reality hit me hard during a recent outing at my friend's farmhouse. I noticed a group of nine or ten year-old boys and girls...

Impeachment Bill

Published Date: September 14, 2014
JS body deserves kudos, but not fully

JS body deserves kudos, but not fully

In the opinion of some members of the parliamentary standing committee on law ministry, the preamble of the constitutional amendment bill has made a judgmental announcement by declaring the existing provision for the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) to be against Article 7 of the Constitution. But making such an announcement in a proposed...

Published Date: September 14, 2014
Abdus Salam In Remembrance

Abdus Salam In Remembrance

The 104th birth anniversary of Abdus Salam, Editor, Bangladesh Observer (formally Pakistan Observer) was observed recently at the National Press Club. The speakers paid rich tribute to the late editor for his outstanding contribution to our English journalism then in its adolescent phase. Worryingly, if media treatment is any indication, he may fade away from public memory before long. That surely would be greatly unsettling in terms of historicity. The occasion, to mention, provided a useful perspective on the legacy that he had left behind, and also the challenges he faced in discharging his obligations during his long professional career.  Abdus Salam, formally a member of the pre-Partition Audit and...

Editorial

Published Date: September 14, 2014
Women's worth grossly undervalued

The socio-cultural curse of widespread discrimination including violence against women is rooted in the fact that their economic worth remains mostly undervalued at best and not valued at all at worst.Even in cases where women are paid for their work, it still is highly inequitable compared to what their male counterparts get. More demeaning to the women's intrinsic worth is the substantial underestimation of the role in GDP  for the failure to reflect the unaccounted for value of women's...

Editorial

Published Date: September 14, 2014
BIMSTEC HQ in Dhaka

A decade after its formation, BIMSTEC, which stands for 'The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation' and encompasses five nations from South and South East Asia, a permanent secretariat has been set up in Dhaka. Experts are lauding it as a major step in realising the vision of “shared development” across 14 sectors spanning from trade and investment, communication, energy, poverty alleviation and counter terrorism. What is of import is to take forward the initiative...

Editorial

Published Date: September 13, 2014
Death on the tracks

THIS is not the first time we are reporting on the death of individuals on railway tracks in Kawran Bazaar area. Any death is a tragedy and when multiple deaths occur, our hearts go out to the bereaved families of the deceased. What answer will authorities give this time round? That an illegal fish market has been thriving on railway tracks is open knowledge and to feign ignorance will simply not do. Every time a tragedy like this occurs,...

Editorial

Published Date: September 13, 2014
Post-flood concerns

THE flood waters are receding in major districts. With that comes the possibility of post-flood outbreak of waterborne diseases. This is nothing new. Safe drinking water has always been a problem in the immediate aftermath of a flood as sources of fresh drinking water become scarce or contaminated. It is not surprising to find large numbers of people becoming sick with dysentery, fever and skin ailments. While relief operations are going on in various parts of the country, the...

STRAIGHT LINE

Published Date: September 13, 2014
Imperative of punishing the profligates

LARGE Scale malfeasances and pure criminal action resorted to by highly placed public official and public leaders have shocked the nation. Whether it is the unsettling scam in the financial sector, particularly the banks or the forgery of important State documents like freedom fighter certificates by senior bureaucrats or the suicidal adulteration of foodstuffs or the leakage of question papers of public examination, the public is at a loss to see the spectacle of authoritative inaction or half-hearted action...

THE ASIAN CONVERGENCE

Published Date: September 13, 2014
Education and Opportunity

EDUCATION is a funda-mental driver of personal, national, and global development. Since the beginning of the century, recognition of this has driven many countries to pursue the Millennium Development Goal of achieving universal primary education and eradicating gender disparities at all levels of education by 2015. This has contributed to considerable progress in expanding educational opportunities and attainment worldwide. But there is much more to be done. To be sure, universal primary education has nearly been achieved. Moreover, considerable progress...

Published Date: September 13, 2014
Another Caliphate

AS the focus of the West is riveted on the Caliphate declared by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a not dissimilar development has happened almost unnoticed in Nigeria. The Islamist outfit, Boko Haram,  has reinforced its fanatical fury with Monday's declaration of a Caliphate or religious fiefdom in the territories under its control. More towns have been seized along Nigeria's border with Cameroon, and the group, given to kidnappings and killings, appears to have graduated from...

BITTER TRUTH

Published Date: September 13, 2014
Dowry: The continuing crime

ALL govern-ments in the past including the present have promised political and social equality for the sexes, but women are still victimized. The UNICEF report in recent time stated that one out of every five girls in the country between the ages of 15 and 19 is sexually abused by her partner or husband is alarming. The report further says that as many as 47 per cent of the adolescent girls suffer through physical and sexual violence should give jolt...

Published Date: September 13, 2014
The new war against terrorism and the so called Islamic State

PRESIDENT Obama's declaration to degrade and destroy the emerging threat posed by the group that calls itself the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) could not have come sooner. Since the beginning of the civil war in Syria and later spawning of the Islamic militants in the war torn region his critics on both sides of the spectrum have either accused him either of inaction and indecisiveness, or warned him against involving the US in another war in...

POLITICS OF CLIMATE CHANGE
Climate Summit

Published Date: September 13, 2014
Which narrative will prevail?

THE Secretary General of the United Nations Mr Ban Ki Moon has invited heads of government, business and civil society to a Climate Summit at the United Nations in New York on 23rd September. I have been privileged to be one of the 38 representatives from civil society invited to participate in the event. A few days before the summit, on 21st September, civil society will be organizing a massive March for Climate in Manhattan where groups from all over the...

Editorial

Published Date: September 12, 2014
Dastardly attack on CU teachers

WE condemn in the strongest possible terms the attack on 15 teachers of Chittagong University that left some in critical condition. Let there be no confusion that the attack on the buses were premeditated by Shibir activists. Although the university has a history of violence, this is the first time we are witnessing an attack on the faculty by a student wing of a political party. Again it has become a culture in our country for political parties and...