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    Volume 9 Issue 38| September 24 , 2010|

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FDI in Bangladesh

Research shows that there is great potential for FDI in Bangladesh. This can be an opportunity for Bangladesh to create a positive image in the international community in order to attract foreign investors. However, unfortunately, it is true that for the last two years, the rate of FDI is decreasing in our country. Foreign investors are reluctant to invest here. FDIs are available to only a few sectors, mainly telecommunication and banking. There are many reasons why foreign investors are not willing to invest here. Political instability is a major reason. Infrastruc-tural backwardness, lack of electricity, and gas are also some of them. But according to a government official, none of these are the main reasons. According to him, the most important reason is bureaucratic complexity and barriers. FDI can play a vital role for the development of our country. Now it is the duty of our government and concerned authorities to take the initiative for attracting foreign investors. They should also try to eliminate these problems as early and efficiently as possible.

Ratan Adhikary Ratul
SUST, Sylhet

Eid for Garments Workers

Garment's workers are the backbone of our export sector as we have a reputation for producing quality garment products. During Eid, the salaries and bonuses of these workers should be paid on time so that they can also enjoy the Eid with their families just like the rest of us. Although the government is sympathetic towards these workers, they should practice firmness with the owners of garment factories who do not pay up on time. Both the responsible authorities and the owners of these factories must ensure that the workers are not frustrated with their pay schedules. If the workers are provoked into having demonstrations and strikes we may not be able to save this profitable industry.

Swarup Saha

Bizarre Corporate Culture

As you travel in Dhaka city, you will see many gentlemen clad in full-sleeved shirts, formal pants and ties, in all seasons even in the scorching summer heat. These men are employees of private companies, mostly of banks and other financial organisations, out doing fieldwork. They are just following the dress code set by their bosses, sitting inside air-conditioned rooms in the same attire. This company policy imitates those of the foreign companies in the west, in order to make their employees look more professional and stand out. However, it is very impractical in this country, where weather should be taken into consideration when setting formal dress codes. I believe this is unfair and borders on cruelty towards these employees who may find it difficult to be professional when they are highly uncomfortable. Someone should talk sense into whoever is setting the dress codes.

Pradyut Kumar Saha

Reasonably Priced?

I have noticed, while watching the various programmes on TV this Eid that many channels have their reporters interview people while they are out doing their Eid shopping. Most of these interviews are conducted in large shopping malls teeming with people. When these shoppers were asked about what they thought about the prices this season, I was surprised to hear that most of them thought the products were reasonably priced and complained instead about variety, quality etc. It made me wonder if people are just saying this in front of the camera because as far as I know prices go sky high during Eid and most people end up bargaining with hawkers on roadside markets in order to buy gifts for everyone in their families.

Rehnuma Mahbub

Rejoinder to Review of “Between Ashes and Hope”

Samya Kullab's The Star review (September 17, 2010) of Drishipat Writers' Collective (DWC)'s book “Between Ashes and Hope: Chittagong Hill Tracts in Blind Spot of Bangladesh Nationalism” (with support from Manusher Jonno Foundation) includes the following sentence: “as finding translators willing to work on a voluntary basis is an exacting task, the editorial team had to prioritise viewpoints and so the anthology lacks works exemplifying the anti-Accord stance.”

This gives the impression that it was only lack of translators that resulted in this omission. However, as the Publisher's Note at beginning of book from Asif Saleh & Jyoti Rahman makes clear, DWC supports full implementation of the 1997 Peace Accord. The same support for the 1997 Accord is also voiced by Shaheen Anam of Manusher Jonno Foundation, in the Partner's Note in the book. As an organisation that fully supports implementation of the 1997 Accord, it is DWC's political stance and editorial decision that we would not include anti-Accord essays in the book. Moreover, such anti-Accord voices are hardly marginalised, as they dominate mainstream discourse in Bangladesh.

Furthermore, my exact comment to Ms Kullab regarding leftist political groups was that they were one of the earliest to take up the Pahari cause in the 1980s. This is linked to their ideological pre-disposition to champion causes of the marginalised and marginal (broadly “pranthik”), the active grassroots linkages made by Pahari groups in the 1980s, and the inability of anti-Pahari politics within BNP and (to lesser degree) AL to fully coopt all left groups. I did not however state that left forces were “the only ones“, as is attributed to me in the review. Such a position would marginalise the voices and political organisations from the center of political discourse, some of whom also gave their support to the Pahari cause, both in the 1980s, and in subsequent decades.

Naeem Mohaiemen
Drishtipat Writers' Collective

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