More than 230 people in the capital have been positively diagnosed
with dengue last week alone. Apparently, the time is just
right for the breeding of the Aedes mosquito just before winter
sets in. The patients that are being treated in various hospitals
and private clinics are all diagnosed with the classical case
of dengue that is not life-threatening, not dengue haemorrahagic
fever (DHF), a deadlier version that leads to internal bleeding.
Since January this year, a total of thirteen people have died
of the deadly dengue infection in Dhaka while a total of 3,830
people have so far reported being treated for classical dengue.
The Dhaka City Corporation had taken necessary steps to curtail
this virus during the dry season. They sprayed special insecticide
in key breeding grounds. Still the transmission of the Aedes
virus is continuing. Experts say that random spraying is of
no use unless the activities of Aedes population are closely
monitored. From 2001 surveys, areas like Nawabpur, Islampur,
Bongshal, Lalbagh, Kalabagan, Dhanmondi and Nilkhet had a
very high density of the Aedes mosquitoes.
Books as Reference
Books the government has supplied to school and college libraries
around the country are of "very low standerd" and
have no bearing in the intellectual growth of students, according
to the parliamentary standing committee on the planning ministry.
The committee at a meeting on November 28 observed that the
libraries are stuffed with books eulogising the leaders of
the party in power. Books supplied to the libraries consist
of cheap novels, mostly unsuitable for young students and
have little relevance to their studies. The committee noted
that the book selection committee of the government often
includes books on the author's insistence. The parliamentary
committee expressed dissatisfaction at the whole affair and
decided to collect a list of books supplied to different libraries
and send the list to the education ministry with its observation.
The committee also expressed concern over education ministry's
imposition of a statutory regulatory order (SRO) changing
the structure of governing bodies of private schools and colleges.
The SRO dictates that no member of Parliament should sit on
more than four college governing bodies or school management
committees. Upazilla nirbahi officers (UNOs) and deputy commisioner
(DCs) will nominate other members of the bodies. However the
standing committee observed that the order will effect the
education system, as the UNOs and DCs will not be able to
pay much attention to the schools, given their other responsibilities.
As for books that will go to nurture the future generations
of this nation, books that stimulate the young and impressionable
minds are scares and political maneuvering only worsens the
Largely because of this year's devastating flood and international
oil price hike, the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
has slumped considerably. The GDP growth target was set six
percent for the year 2004-2005. But, now Bangladesh Bank's
(BB) annual report has revised the target and has put it between
5.5 to 5.75 percent.
The adverse impact of the floods and oil price hike will be
partly offset by improved outlook of exports and remittances
in the current fiscal year. The overall export earnings registered
a robust growth of over 26 percent in the first two months
of the current fiscal year over corresponding period in the
previous fiscal year. Based on the performance during the
first quarter and indications received from the private exporters,
it appears that in FY05 overall exports are also projected
to grow at double-digit rate, much higher than envisaged earlier,
the report said.
Though agriculture saw a sharp decline, the industrial sector
attained a 7.3 percent growth in this fiscal year.
The central bank projects 6.5 percent inflation rate in the
current fiscal year, which was 5.83 in the last quarter. Though
the BB suggested a gradual decline in consumer spending, many
observers think if the rising inflation is not tamed soon,
it might spell more misery for the commoners.
Missions in India
Put on High Alert
American missions in Delhi and India's commercial capital,
Mumbai were put on high alert perceiving a terrorist threat
"in the near future". The Mumbai consulate that
caters to visa requirements from western India was kept closed
for days last week.
The US government says it has information that terrorists
may be planning attacks on US interests in India in the near
future and because Al-Qaeda has indicated in so many words
that the American interests in New Delhi and Mumbai could
This became clear after the American centre in Kolkata faced
a terrorist attack last year, a source in the US Embassy in
India told the Bangkok-based Asian Tribune. The attack,
however, did not cause much damage, but all the missions and
American resource centres went through a phase of security
By a strange coincidence, the alarm announced by the US mission
here has coincided with the arrival on a two-day visit of
Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz.
Even before the debris of Bangabazar's devastating fire could
be swept away, another fire struck in Jurain killing a 35
year old woman, her two children and another seven-year-old
girl. Again it was a Sunday when apparently the fire started
at around 11:30 pm, from an earthenware slum at the Tularbagh
Rail Line slum in Jurain. At least 150 makeshift houses were
burnt down, leaving more than 600 residents homeless. The
flames spread quickly as there was a strong breeze and soon
caught up with the flammable bamboo sheets of the shanties.
Some people, finding no way to escape, saved themselves by
jumping into the adjacent water body while others ran to the
rail tracks. Workers of a nearby factory came to help the
people which is why most of the residents except the unfortunate
four, survived the fire. Fire-fighting vehicles, meanwhile,
came after half an hour of the incident but as the neighbourhood
was far from the nearest road and fire fighters had a tough
time getting the waterpipes into the area in the dark. While
the local mosque has extended a helping hand by providing
food amongst the victims, the government has not (at the time
of the report 30.11.04 The Daily Star) yet made any
gesture of support for these helpless people.
(R) thedailystar.net 2004