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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Quake kills 150 in Balochistan

HC issues contempt rule against BB governor n Tribune Online Report n Tribune Report A powerful 7.7-magnitude earthquake

11kg gold seized n Tribune Report

Customs intelligence seized gold bars weigh around 11kg from an arriving passenger and detained the person at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in the capital yesterday. The detainee Masud Rana, was a passenger of Emirates Airlines, who landed from Dubai around 4:45pm. Custom officials said the seized gold is worth around Tk47.5m. Mustafizur Rahman, deputy director of customs intelligence and investigation, said on top-off, they searched Masud after his arrival and found 104 gold bars in his pant and in shoes. Another custom official said the detainee primarily confessed that he had was carrying the gold for few jewellery shop owners who ordered him to bring the gold. Just before the five days of yesterday’s incidence, the customs intelligence recovered another lot of gold bars that weight 100 tolas on September 19. On July 24, customs officials seized 1,064 gold bars weighing around 124kg from the luggage chamber of a Biman flight. A day before, a man was arrested with 146 gold bars that weight 17kg at Shah Amanat International Airport in Chittagong. On July 6, customs officials recovered 25.3kg gold bars from a Biman flight. The gold bars were found unattended and unclaimed. l

The High Court yesterday issued a rule against the Bangladesh Bank governor and one of its general managers, asking why it should not initiate the proceedings of contempt of court against them for not following its order. Following a contempt plea lodged by a private firm named International Designer, the HC bench of Justice Md Ashfaqul Islam and Justice Md Ashraful Kamal asked BB Governor Atiur Rahman and one his colleague in the Banking Regulatory and Policy Department to respond within two weeks. Hasan Rajib Prodhan, counsel of the petitioner, said Chittagong Power Development Board paid his client International Designer over Tk3.2m by six cheques of Standard Chartered Bank for a work. As his client could not draw any cash against the cheques, they asked the Bangladesh Bank to resolve the issue on November 29 last year, he added. They appeared before the HC on February 11 this year since the BB did not do anything in this regard, and the HC asked the BB to resolve the issue within one month, the counsellor said. Despite the HC order, the issue was not settled within the stipulated time, which prompted the filing of the contempt of court petition, the counsellor added. l

hit southwestern Pakistan yesterday killing hundreds in Balochistan and creating a new island off the Gwadar coastline in its wake, reports Express News. Tremors were felt as far as the Indian capital New Delhi. The deputy speaker of Balochistan Assembly stated that at least 150 people had died from the disaster in the province, says Karachi-based Express Tribune. The quake struck at 4:29pm local time (1129 GMT) around 100 kilometres (60 miles) southwest of the city of Khuzdar in Balochistan province, at a depth of 15 kilometres. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) measured the earthquake at magnitude 7.7, recording its duration as eight seconds. The areas most affected by the quake were Awaran and Khuzdar, with over 90% of the villages or communities in Awaran were destroyed. Pakistan Army started an emergency rescue operation immediately. Director General of ISPR Maj Gen Asim Bajwa tweeted that 300 soldiers were already in the area, with the number expected to rise to 1000 by Wednesday morning. Khuzdar would be used as base for the rescue effort. On the Gwadar coastline, the quake created a small island about half a mile

Bangladesh receives IOSSC award n Tribune Desk

Five more coal-based power projects to get go-ahead

Professionals slam doctors for unethical practices

Orion and S Alam offer to generate over 2000MW in plants planned in Chittagong, Khulna, Barisal and Munshiganj

n Moniruzzaman Uzzal

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has received an award given to Bangladesh for its stellar performance in fighting poverty by the International Organisation for South-South Cooperation (IOSSC). Ambassador Francis Lorenzo, president of IOSSC, handed over the award to the Bangladesh premier at a function in New York on Monday, according to UNB. Haisna dedicated the award to the people of the country. PM’s Press Secretary Abul Kalam Azad told reporters that she had thanked the IOSSC for recognising Bangladesh’s achievement in reducing poverty. “I proudly accept the award as recognition of Bangladesh’s efforts, and efforts of the developing countries from the global south that are fighting to eliminate poverty,” Azad quoted Hasina as saying. Appreciating the continued support of Ambassador Lorenzo to the cause, Hasina said: “The award will inspire us to work harder to win the war against poverty.” Recognising the valuable support of development partners like the World Bank, the UN agencies and other international bodies, she said: “Their greater involvement in terms of financial resources and technological support would enable us to overcome poverty.” Hasina also highlighted her government’s achievements in other fields. “We have been implementing various activities for which Bangladesh has been able to make its place at the global stage as a dignified nation,” Hasina said. l

n Aminur Rahman Rasel The Power Division has cleared the way for awarding another five coalbased power projects to local private sector entrepreneurs having combined capacity to generate 2,087MW of electricity. The proposal is now awaiting nod from the cabinet committee on purchase, Power Division officials said. If the proposal gets the go-ahead, the Orion Group will be awarded with three more power projects having a combined capacity of 1,199MW while S Alam Group for the first time is likely get two power projects having a combined capacity of 888MW. “We forwarded the proposal last week for approval of the cabinet committee on purchase,” a top official of the Power Division told the Dhaka Tribune. According to the proposal, the Orion Group is likely to be awarded the 635MW Dhaka coal-based power project to generate electricity at Tk6.70 per unit and another 282MW project in Chittagong to produce power at Tk6.72 per unit for 25 years. Earlier, the government awarded Orion two units – one Khulna power project of 282.5MW capacity to produce power at Tk4.45 per unit and another in Munshiganj, which produces power at Tk4.79 per unit. Electricity produced at the country’s

Pakistani pedestrians and office workers leave an office building after an earthquake in Karachi yesterday. A powerful 7.7-magnitude earthquake hit southwestern Pakistan with tremors felt as far away as the Indian capital New Delhi AFP into the sea near an area called “Jhanda,” according to Express News. The newly-appearing island is said to have a mountainous terrain rising up to a hundred feet. A large crowd was seen gathering at the site to see the new island. The area of the epicentre is sparsely populated, but the USGS issued a red

lone coal-fired power plant at Barapukuria costs Tk6 per unit. The S Alam Group, which was mainly involved in transport sector and then expanded its role to other ventures, is eyeing two coal-fired power projects having a combined capacity to generate 888MW of electricity in Chittagong and Barisal. It offers to sell electricity at Tk6.60 per unit from the proposed 612MW Chittagong plant and at Tk6.75 per unit from the 276MW Barisal power project. Orion Group, a big local conglomerate having presence indifferent sectors, has already been awarded three coalfired projects to be set up in Khulna and Munshiganj having a combined capacity to generate 1,087MW of electricity. On June 27 last year, the government signed an agreement with the Orion Group to this end. The Orion Group planned to install one of the plants at Mawa of Munshiganj with a capacity of 522MW while two others with a total capacity of 565MW in Khulna region. According to the agreements, the company was supposed to complete financial closings by March 25 this year. However, it is yet to mobilise funds, a top official of the Power Development Board told the Dhaka Tribune. The government has extended the time until this month to arrange fund

alert for the quake, which left aftershocks of up to 5.9 magnitude, according to the meteorological department. Minor tremors were felt as far away as New Delhi, while office workers in the city of Ahmedabad near the border with Pakistan ran out of buildings and into the street.

for the projects, granting time extension by six months, the official said. The Dhaka Tribune contacted several times over the last two days with the spokesman of Orion Group, Chowdhury Khaled Masud, but he refused to make any comment on the issue. State Minister for Power and Energy Muhammed Enamul Huq told the Dhaka Tribune that he was yet to say anything about this power plant as the purchase committee would not permit the order till date. The government has so far taken initiatives to set up eight coal-based power projects in public and private sectors. Of them, the Orion Group was supposed to build three 1,087MW coalbased plants while two 1,450MW plants are under government initiative and three 7,960MW plants are joint-venture projects. The government has a target to generate around 20,000MW of electricity from coal-based power projects by 2030. The Orion Group is involved in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and toiletries, infrastructure, real estate and construction, power, and textiles and other sectors. The S Alam Group has its presence in transport, cement, shrimp hatchery, gas refuelling, edible oil, refined sugar, agro and other sectors. l

‘Destiny’ throws little girl into dustbin n Mohammad Jamil Khan

At lunchtime at the neurology ward of the Dhaka Medical College Hospital, a small girl opens her eyes slightly and glances at the plate of rice and fish set next to her. With a smile on her lips, she starts eating eagerly, lying down as she is unable to lift her head from the pillow. But after eating just a little, she stops and is not able to continue. The girl, who came to the capital a couple of months ago dreaming of square meals, is now languishing on a hospital bed with head wounds and injury marks all over her body. Calling herself Aduri, which means “beloved” in Bangla, she says she is 11 years old, but due to malnutrition, she looks about seven. She says her father’s name is Khaleq Mridha and her mother is Shafia Begum. But she is too traumatised to remember the name of her village, or recall the person who brought her to Dhaka to work as a house maid. Talking to this correspondent yesterday, she said her employers used to call her Monika, but she did not know their names. In a feeble voice, she

Aduri, a housemaid, found in a declining condition at a dustbin of the city’s Banani area, is now undergoing treatment at the DMCH. The photo was taken yesterday NASHIRUL ISLAM claimed they often beat her and did not feed her properly, despite her repeated prayers. And then one day, they threw her out like garbage. Aduri was rescued by a police officer a day earlier from a dustbin in the city’s Baridhara area. Abdul Mannan, an assistant sub-in-

spector of Cantonment police station, told the Dhaka Tribune that while he was patrolling the area on Monday, he noticed a crowd in front of an open dustbin and stopped to have a look. There was something moving in the mound of rubbish, and Mannan discovered it was but a little girl, barely alive.

He immediately rushed her to the hospital. Mannan said the owners of the house where she worked might have dumped her in the dustbin after torture, thinking she was dead. “We are investigating the incident. Once she is able to give a statement and her guardians are found, it will be easier to take action against the people who did this to her,” he said. Rajiul Haque, a doctor of the neurosurgery department, said they were treating the child with medicines and food to help her recover from her injuries. “When she was admitted, she was unable to utter a single word. We gave her saline and some medicines. Now, she is able to speak a little, and we hope she will regain her health with good treatment and care,” Haque said. Momtaz Begum, a patient in the bed next to Aduri’s, expressed her disgust at how some people were able to torture such a small child. “They are nothing but a group of animals who are living in the capital wearing the mask of people,” she said angrily, demanding capital punishment for such people. l

Mumtaz Baluch, senior local administration official in Awaran district, 350 kilometres southwest of Quetta, told the AFP: “There are reports of houses being collapsed in the district due to earthquake. We have dispatched our teams to the affected area to ascertain the losses.” l

Unethical practices by doctors have emerged as a big obstacle for ensuring quality healthcare at low cost for everyone in the country. Statistics show that more than 40,000 doctors, whose primary job is to treat patients in the public hospitals, spend more time in private engagements that bring them more money. Professionals said many of these doctors have developed “unholy alliances” with the private medical colleges; non-government hospitals, clinics and diagnostic centres; and the pharmaceutical companies. They allege that many doctors these days prescribe unnecessary drugs, including high-power antibiotics, pathological tests and even surgeries, jeopardising the lives of the hapless patients because they benefit financially by writing such prescriptions. It is an open secret that many doctors accept gifts from pharmaceutical companies in exchange for prescribing their drugs. Sometimes even their families enjoy pleasure trips abroad sponsored fully by these companies. There are allegations that some doctors, who work in the private medical and dental colleges, give pass marks to incompetent students in exchange of bribes. Noted health experts and professionals expressed concerns with the alarming picture at a consultative meeting titled “Ethical guidelines for medical practice,” organised by the Bangladesh Medical and Dental Council. The Rockefeller Foundation supported the meeting held at the confer-

ence room of BMDC on Monday. National Professor Dr MR Khan said: “Our backs are pressed against the wall. We should immediately find a way to stop such unethical practices by doctors.” He also said: “Nowadays, doctors want to own money, car, flat and everything overnight. And for that they get involved in unethical practices. I have reached this position after going through 40 years of hardship in this field.” Professor Dr Abu Shafi Ahmed Amin, president of BMDC, said a two-year programme had been undertaken to raise ethical awareness among the doctors and the process of formulating a “medical ethics guideline” was underway. He added that starting this year, three new courses, namely medical ethics, communication skills and behavioural science, were being included in the new undergrad syllabus. Prof Dr Moazzem Hossain, former treasurer of the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, said: “There is no control over the private medical colleges, clinics and diagnostic centres. We will have to build a social movement.” BSMMU Pro-VC Shahidullah said: “Doctors are taking commission from hospitals and clinics. But it is like ‘haram’ [prohibited] for them.” Professor Azad Chowdhury said: “We have recently interviewed some doctors who had passed from private medical colleges. I was surprised to see that they do not have even the basic knowledge about medical science. Some even seemed like they were not doctors at all.” Dr Nihar Ranjan said the standard of education in private med schools had slid to the level of the primary schools. l

Bishwajit murder case likely to end soon n Md Sanaul Islam Tipu Detective Branch (DB) Inspector Md Tajul Islam, also the current investigation officer in Bishwajit Das murder case, will testify on September 26. The cross-examination of the previous IO, Md Mahbubul Alam, ended yesterday at the Speedy Trial Tribunal 4. The defence counsels of eight detained accused questioned him. Mahbub, who was the then sub-inspector of Sutrapur police station, during his deposition on September 22, said he identified 16 accused, who had chopped and beaten Bishwajit in public, through print media reports and video footage. He handed over the case docket and necessary documents to the present IO on December 15 last year. Public prosecutor SM Rafiqul Islam said deposition of all the important witnesses had been complete. “We will decide after the testimony of the current investigation officer whether we need more witnesses in the case or not.”

Generally, an IO is placed as the last witness in a case. The tribunal has so far recorded depositions of 31 out of 60 prosecution witnesses in the case. The trial began on July 14 with the first witness’ statement. The case was transferred to Speedy Tribunal 4 from the Dhaka’s Metropolitan Sessions’ Judge’s Court on June 30. Charges were framed against the 21 Chhatra League activists on June 2. The Speedy Trial Act stipulates wrapping up of a case within 135 working days. However, the judge can extend the time with valid reasons. Of the 21 accused, all activists of Bangladesh Chhatra League of Jagannath University unit, eight are currently in jail. They were placed at the court yesterday. Bishwajit, a 24-year-old tailor, was hacked to death near Victoria Park in Old Dhaka by the Chhatra League activists during the opposition’s countrywide road-blockade programme on December 9 last year. l

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September 25, 2013  
September 25, 2013