AL leaders unhappy over essential prices
Awami League leaders yesterday expressed disappointment over high price of essentials and asked the commerce minister to take immediate steps.
They criticised Commerce Minister Faruk Khan for failing to do enough to tackle the price hike of essentials, especially rice prices.
At a meeting of the AL Central Working Committee, the highest decision-making body of the party, the AL leaders appreciated Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury and Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid.
They lauded Matia, also AL presidium member, for reducing the prices of agricultural inputs and making fertiliser available to farmers and Nahid for distributing textbooks among students of the country on time.
On price hike of essentials, a number of leaders suggested that the commerce minister should strengthen market monitoring to keep prices of essentials within the reach of people, which the AL pledged before the elections.
The meeting was held at Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's official residence Jamuna with her in the chair.
The prime minister asked the commerce minister to make sure that price of coarse rice does not rise under any circumstances.
Expressing satisfaction over current law and order, AL leaders suggested that the home minister should further improve the situation.
They also laid emphasis on ending the power crisis.
They urged ministers not to say anything contrary to the AL's stance on crossfire. The AL leaders observed that contradictory statements from different ministers about crossfire-related deaths tarnished the image of the government and the party.
They suggested that the ministers concerned avoid being vague and speak the truth and launch an enquiry against any extrajudicial killing.
They also asked the cabinet members to talk to the media cautiously so that the government does not have to take the back foot.
The AL Central Working Committee members pointed out that if the government failed to address price hike of essentials, power and law and order issues properly then people would lose confidence in the government.
The prime minister said if necessary, her government would import electricity from India, Nepal or Bhutan to meet the local demand. She said the government would seek India's nod so that Bangladesh could import power from Nepal or Bhutan using Indian territory.
Revealing her plans for her visit to India next week, Hasina directed the authorities concerned to take immediate steps and dredge all the rivers shared with India. She said she would also table a proposal before the Indian government to dredge 54 such rivers jointly.
The prime minister assured her party and cabinet colleagues that her government would not do anything that goes against the interest of the country.
Hasina asked ministers to ensure that rules and regulations are maintained in all government recruitments.
At the meeting, AL leaders also demanded that the government takes immediate steps, including holding talks with the Election Commission if required, for holding the long-awaited union parishad elections.
While talking about the opposition, Sheikh Hasina urged AL leaders to be patient and tolerant so that the people understand that politics in Bangladesh has changed. "We will have to be liberal democrats, otherwise people will say there is no difference between the Awami League and them [BNP]," her party colleague quoted her as saying.
Briefing reporters after the hour-long meeting, Awami League General Secretary Syed Ashraful Islam said Hasina would address the nation tomorrow on the one-year anniversary of her government.
He said the AL would hold a meeting with its allies in the 14-party coalition today around 7:00pm at Jamuna. The AL chief will chair the meeting.
The AL will also hold a separate meeting with Jatiya Party today at the same venue followed by a dinner party, party sources said.
Replying to a query he said his party is always ready to face any movement launched by opposition BNP. He, however, said the AL sees no possibility of any movement now. "If any party wishes to come to power, it would have to wait four more years and win in the elections," Ashraf, also the LGRD minister, said.
Talking about BNP senior joint secretary general's comment on Ashraful's remark about BNP's newly formed committee, Ashraful said, "I just tried to reflect the people's feelings towards the committee. People got panicked seeing several names on the new BNP committee as the media had reported."
He said the latest political and organisational matters were discussed at the Awami League Central Working Committee meeting. He said the AL would hold an extended meeting on January 30.
He said a press conference would be held on January 7 on the one-year anniversary. The AL will also hold a discussion on January 10 marking the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's Homecoming Day at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre.