Page 1

Boishakh 3, 1421 Jamadius Sani 15, 1435 Regd. No. DA 6238 Vol 2, No 17




20 pages plus 8-page Treehouse children’s supplement | Price: Tk10



Toughest time for Teesta farmers

No trace of 4 Ahsanullah students missing in the Bay

Boro growers struggling with irrigation as India is not releasing enough water The boro paddy growers in Bangladesh’s north are struggling with irrigation this season because India has been reportedly holding back more water than ever to irrigate an expanded stretch of arable land on the Teesta basin. These growers are having to resort to expensive extraction of underground water using shallow pumps. Farmers

‘On March 9, flow was only 409 cusec – the lowest in history’ say irrigation with underground water is over 12 times more expensive that irrigation with river water. Since India installed a barrage at Gajoldoba in West Bengal in 1977, Bangladesh has been getting around 5,000 cubic feet per second (cusec) water on an average during the lean season. The Teesta Irrigation Project, actively providing irrigation in three northern districts – Nilphamari, Dinajpur and Rangpur – since 1993, requires around 2,000 cusec of water for watering 65,000 hectares of boro land.

But during this boro season, the flow has alarmingly come down to as little as 500 cusec – one-tenth of the usual flow – with which only about 20,000 hectares of land is being cultivated. That is why, the project authorities have no other option but to do water rationing, which then again is said to be harmful for this particular breed of paddy because it needs constant presence of water. “Over the last one and a half months, we have been releasing water one at a time for each of the districts. We do not have enough water to meet everyone’s demand [in three districts under the project] simultaneously,” said Sub-Divisional Engineer Moinuddin Mondol, who has been working with the Teesta Irrigation Project for more than 30 years. Anowarul Alam, deputy director of the Department of Agriculture Extension in Dinajpur, told the Dhaka Tribune that: “The rationing system of irrigation is not a solution because boro paddy requires regular water flow.” Boro is one of the major crops in Bangladesh, contributing a giant portion of the annual demand for food. On papers, the Teesta runs along nearly 19.63 lakh hectares of arable on its basin. Of that stretch, 7.49 lakh falls within Bangladesh and the remaining

n Tribune Report


Teesta barrage upstream running dry near Dalia Point in Nilphamari. Photo taken on April 9, 2014

Cost of irrigation with shallow pump

Project targeted irrigation for



Cost of irrigation with river water

This season only



per 0.4 hectare

hectares of land

hectares of land can be irrigated


Average water flow this season

500 cusec

Usual flow at this time of the year

5,000 cusec

Needed for the Project

2,000 cusec



Bakar Siddique, n Abu back from the north

A day after four students of Ahsanullah University of Science and Technology went missing in the Bay of Bengal, the search teams were still trying to track down their bodies until yesterday evening. The students were Istiaq Bin Mahmud alias Uday, Shahriar Islam Noman, Sabbir Hossain Sagoto and Golam Rahim Bappi. All were final year students of the Computer Science and Engineering Department of the university and they did not how to swim. Lieutenant Kazi Harun-or-Rashid, commander of the Teknaf Coast Guard and also head of the search team, said their search drive would continue until the bodies of the missing students were found. A Bangladesh Navy team was also helping them in the drive, he continued. Professor Abdullah Al Mamun, chairman of the CSE Department of the university, told the Dhaka Tribune: “We will wait on the island till Wednesday night for the bodies and hope that the corpses will be found by that time.” The students’ families were agitated and crying. While visiting Sabbir Hossain Sagoto’s house in the Mohammadpur area, the correspondent found his father Hasan-or-Rashid and mother Selina  PAGE 2 COLUMN 5

Partial trade union facilities in EPZs 9 dropped, 12 charged

Nation celebrates Pahela Boishakh n Tribune Report n Asif Showkat Kallol The nation yesterday said goodbye to Bengali year 1420 and celebrated Pahela Boishakh amid customary festivities to welcome the new year. Hundreds of thousands of people from all walks of life, including women and children, came out on the streets in celebration of the day, also a public holiday. Wearing traditional clothes, they gathered in different places in the capital and elsewhere to observe the day with fun, merriment and joy. People in large numbers thronged Ramna Batamul in the capital where cultural programmes were arranged. Since the morning, different cultural organisations and artistes performed there. A longstanding custom of celebrating one of the most colourful festivals of the country is to eat “panta bhat”  PAGE 2 COLUMN 1

Workers of the export processing zones (EPZs) in the country now have partial trade union privileges as the government has not extended Industrial Relations Act 2010, which restricted EPZ workers’ demonstration rights. With the law having expired on December 31 last year, the government has since allowed EPZ workers to go on strike as part of its steps to meet the conditions outlined by the US government for reinstating GSP facilities to Bangladesh. Labour Secretary Mikail Shipar yesterday told the Dhaka Tribune that EPZ workers’ right to demonstration and strike had been suspended until December 31, 2013. “The EPZ workers have since been allowed the right to observing strike since January 1, 2014.” In its latest report to the US Trade Representative on Bangladesh’s action

plan for fulfilling 16 conditions to retain the GSP, the government has promised that the authorities concerned will not black-list any EPZ workers for observing activities to press home their demands. It has also claimed that the Workers’ Welfare Association has not reported

Progress report on GSP action plan sent to USTR any allegations of violation of workers’ rights at the EPZs. One of the major USTR conditions for retaining the GSP was amending the laws of the EPZs to allow workers the right to demonstrate to realise their demands. A high-level committee was formed under the senior secretary of the Prime

Birdem doctors protest ‘assult,’ causing patients to suffer


INSIDE Business

B1 Deposit growth in the banking sector dropped substantially in last one year as banks are reluctant to mobilise funds at higher rate due to lack of credit demand and sluggish investment.

n Ashif Islam Shaon Doctors at Birdem Hospital went on strike yesterday morning protesting an alleged attack on their colleagues by the family of a patient who had died on Sunday night. The doctors said they would not attend patients until the attackers were brought to book. However, the hospital’s emergency wing, Coronary Care Unit (CCU) and Intensive Care Unit (ICU) continued its operations. They staged a human chain at the Shahbagh intersection for an hour, starting from 10:45am, which created traffic congestion. Many patients also suffered due to the strike. However, the accused family claimed they had not assaulted the doctors. They said they had only protested the patient’s death, which had happened due to negligence and wrong treatment. According to the doctors, relatives of the patient Sirajul Islam, assaulted a female doctor and vandalised the hospital’s 14th floor of the hospital after he died on Sunday night. They also claimed Additional Police Superintendent Masud was among the attackers. Two interns, Dr Anwar Hossain and Dr Kalyan Debnath, were injured when they tried to stop the attack, the protesters claimed.

Minister’s Office. The committee will work to upgrade the Export Processing Zones Act in line with international standard. However, the government failed to fulfil the condition. The government sent the progress report on its action plan to fulfil the USTR conditions yesterday and Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed claimed that the progress was satisfactory. “Most of the conditions of the GSP action plan have been fulfilled. The remaining conditions are time-consuming and will be completed as soon as possible” he told a group of reports at the Secretariat yesterday. The government submitted the first progress report in November last year. Meanwhile, the government could not complete the recruitment of 200 more factory inspectors by the April 15 deadline.


5 Traffic in Paribagh area had been impeded for long as a lane of the main road had become a regular waste dumping station of the Dhaka South City Corporation.


11 Friends, Bengalis, and countrymen – cheer up and rejoice. Finally, we made it. We have reached the bottom of the terrain, the cradle of the Pacific. Birdem doctors, protesting a colleague’s harassment, stand and watch as a patient, who has come from out of Dhaka, waits in agony outside the hospital RAJIB DHAR According to a press release issued by the doctors, the attackers also dragged out Dr Shamima who was hiding in a washroom during the attack. The doctors refrained from staging protests on Monday over the issue since it was Pahela Boishakh, they claimed. However, the hospital authority did not allow journalists to speak with the injured doctors. Senior doctors and

protestors also could not say where the injured doctors were being treated. After the human chain, doctors sat in a meeting where they instructed their fellow protesters not to talk with journalists about the issue. “We will arrange a press conference tomorrow (today). There, you will be informed about our next step,” said Purabi Debnath, a consulting doctor.  PAGE 2 COLUMN 1

for Milky murder Sanaul Islam Tipu and n Md Ashif Islam Shaon Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) has dropped the names of nine Jubo League activists as it pressed charges against 12 people, including 11 Jubo League men, for killing party leader Riazul Haque Khan Milky last year. Milky, who was the organising secretary of the Dhaka city (south) unit of Jubo League, was gunned down in the capital’s Gulshan area on July 30. Md Kajemur Rashid, assistant superintendent of police (ASP) of RAB 1 who investigated the case, submitted the charge sheet to the Court of Chief Metropolitan Magistrate in Dhaka yesterday. The charge-sheeted accused are SM Zahid Siddique alias Tarek, Shakhawat

Hossain Chanchal, Fahima Islam Lopa, M Jahangir Mondal, M Shahidul Islam, Aminul Islam Habib, Sohel Mahmud, M Chunnu Mia, Mohammad Arif, Ibrahim Khalilullah, Rafiqul Islam Chowdhury and M Sharif Uddin Chowdhury. Fahima is the wife of Maruf Reza Sagar, a close aide of Milky. In the charge sheet, 26 people were named as prosecution witnesses and the investigation officer dropped the names of Wahidul Alam Arif, Tuhinur Rahman, Syed Mostafa Ali, Rashed Mahmud, Saiful Islam, Sujon Howladar, Jahidul Islam Tipu, Dr Dewan M Farid uddin and Mahabubul Haque Hirok from the charge sheet as charges brought against them were not primarily proved. In his reaction, Kayser Milky, brother of the victim, told the Dhaka Tribune  PAGE 2 COLUMN 5




Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Over 100 MPs yet to submit Fakhrul backs Tarique’s claim poll expenditure returns n Mohammad Al-Masum Molla


Mohammad Zakaria

The Election Commission has asked the authority concerned to file cases against those who stood as candidates in the 10th parliamentary elections, but did not submit their election expenditure returns in time. The commission has also asked them to inform it as to how many candidates submitted their expenditure returns within the stipulated time and how many cases have been filed against the candidates for not to submit their expenditure returns. The EC yesterday sent letter, signed by Senior Assistant Secretary Mizanur Rahman, to returning officers, asking them to send a list of such candidates within seven days. The letter stated that as per the Representation of the People’s Order (RPO), elected candidates or their agents must submit the polls expenditure returns to the returning officers by 30 days. The returning officers would inform the commission about filing of cases against those who did not submit

the expenditure returns by this time. The commission has asked those candidates who submitted their returns in time to send all information to the EC. It also asked the returning officers to send information about how many MPs submitted their expenditure returns and how many did not. About the matter, Election Commissioner Mohammad Abu Hafiz said the commission would take decision as per the laws. “If any candidate does not submit his/her expenditure return in time, the commission will take action against them as per the laws.” The deadline for submitting election expenditure returns was February 7. According to the EC, it received election expenditure returns from some candidates after the scheduled time. Of them, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina submitted her election expenditure returns for Gopalganj 3 and Rangpur 6 parliamentary constituencies. Most of MPs and ministers are yet to submit their election expenditure returns. Over 100 MPs are yet to submit their expenditure returns to the commission.

Mihir Sarwar Morshed, deputy secretary of EC, said all the candidates who contested the 10th national polls must submit their election expenditure returns to the returning officers and submit the copies of affidavits to the EC by February 7. Those who were elected uncontested must submit their expenditure returns by this timeframe, he also said. If they fail, the commission will take legal action against them. EC officials said due to publication of the gazette of 10th parliamentary polls results on January 8, all winning and losing candidates must submit their election expenditure returns within a month as per the laws. According to the RPO, if any candidate violates the laws, they would get punishment and fine or both. Without permission of the EC, the returning officers could file cases against the candidates who failed to submit their expenditure returns. A total of 543 candidates contested the 10th parliamentary polls held on January 5 while 152 candidates were elected uncontested. l

Ruling Awami League leaders have been out to malign BNP’s Senior Vice Chairman Tarique Rahman for speaking the historical truth, said party’s acting Secretary General Fakhrul Islam Alamgir yesterday. Earlier on March 25, Tarique claimed in London that late President Ziaur Rahman, also his father, was the first president of Bangladesh and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was the illegal prime minister. Ever since the ruling party men have been criticising him for coming up with such a startling claim, one that was apparently never heard of before. “If there is anything wrong with his statement, Awami League could come up with an explanation proving his statement as untrue. Instead, Awami League ministers and leaders are propagating lies against him,” Fakhrul said. Tarique Rahman revealed the historical truth, referring to many books, “but the way the Awami League leaders are making comments, it proves that they have gone politically bankrupt.” Earlier on April 11, Commerce Minis-

ter Tofail Ahmed termed BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia’s son Tarique an idiot. “What a foolish…Was your father an elected representative? Did he see the election? Your father used to spew spit calling us sir,” he had also said. Referring to Tofail, BNP leader Fakhrul said, “Where was he on August 15 in 1975? Rakkhibahini was under his leadership.” “None but Bangabir Kader Siddiqui was then seen protesting the killing (of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his family) but now many are talking big.” Propaganda against Ziaur Rahman, Khaleda Zia and their son Tarique is not anything new. It has been going on against them for so long as part of a conspiracy, he said. “Tarique is not only a person, but also a politician. He does politics to protect the country’s independence and sovereignty,” said the BNP leader. ‘BNP does not want to involved in any sort of controversy and debate like,’ who proclaimed the independence of the country and who crossed the border in 1971, said the party spokesman. l


Indian national put on remand n Md Sanaul Islam Tipu A Dhaka court on Monday placed Indian national Atanu Datto (40) on a oneday remand for interrogation. Atanu Datta, son of Manindra Datta from Dinesh Palli Municipal Park, South 24 Pargana district in West Bengal, came to Bangladesh on March 15 last month. Metropolitan Magistrate Muhammad Anwar Sadat passed the remand order when sub-inspector and also Investigation Officer Anamul Haque of Mirpur police station produced the accused before the court seeking a seven-day remand for interrogation. In the remand prayer the IO said Atanu was arrested from in front of Galaxy Hospital at Mirpur 10 when he was trying to flee after he had sensed the presence of policemen. Police arrested the Indian national on charge of his involvement with different criminal organisations in the capital. The accused is involved with organised gangs of criminals and that is why he needs to be put on remand for interrogation to hunt down the other members of the criminal gang, the IO said in the petition. l

Toughest time for Teesta farmers  PAGE 1 COLUMN 2

12.14 lakh in India. Reportedly, India has seldom managed to bring the entire stretch of its land under cultivation during the lean season. In an interview with BBC Bangla Service on March 14, Rajib Banerjee, minister of irrigation of West Bengal, said the state government had been planning to expand its farmland coverage this season; as a result they would be needing more water for irrigation. In that interview, he also said since there was no legally binding treaty on sharing Teesta water, it was only logical for India to fulfil its own irrigation demand and then think about releasing water for Bangladesh. The lives and livelihoods of around ninety lakh people from Nilphamari, Kurigram, Lalmonirhat, Rangpur and Dinajpur districts are directly and indirectly dependent on Teesta water and boro farming. The boro growers have been for years irrigating their boro land with water from the Teesta project canals that run along their fields. However, this season, many of them had to install shallow pumps to suck up water from underground because the canals have all dried up. Sultan Ali, a boro grower from the Chirir Bondor Upazila of Dinajpur, shared his predicament with the Dhaka Tribune. “Despite having a canal of the Teesta Ir-

rigation Project right beside my fields, I was forced to set up a shallow pump to irrigate my 2.02 hectares of land,” He said. “I have to pay around Tk15,000 per hectare from my pocket for irrigating my land with underground water. On the other hand, I pay the government only Tk1,200 per hectare for using water from the project,” Sultan said. “Most medium and large farmers have already set up shallow pumps because they do not want to risk their investments. But the small growers are turning out to be the worst sufferers because they cannot afford pumps,” said, DAE Deputy Director Anwarul Alam. He also feared that boro production in the region could suffer a major blow this year because there had been no regular flow of water. Mir Sajjad Hossain, member of the Joint River Commission, said the situation in the Teesta basic had never been worse. “This is an unusual situation. On March 9 this year, flow was only 409 cusec – the lowest in history. This is happening because India is unilaterally deciding on the water flow from upstream,” Sajjad said. “The government of West Bengal might not be interested in the Teesta treaty at all, but we have no other option but to immediately sign a bilateral agreement in this regard,” he suggested. l

No trace of 4 Ahsanullah students missing in the Bay  PAGE 1 COLUMN 6

Doctors of Birdem hospital block the four thoroughfares at the Shahbagh intersection following allegations of a colleague's being abused yesterday


Birdem doctors protest ‘assult,’ causing patients to suffer  PAGE 1 COLUMN 3

The accused deny allegations, claim it is a drama The Birdem doctors staged a drama to save themselves from the allegations of negligence while on duty, which caused Sirajul’s death, claimed his relatives at a press conference in the capital’s Press Club around 3pm. Sirajul’s daughter Farhana Nasreen said the hospital authority had lied. “After my father died, they handed his body to us before the bills were cleared. They feared we would sue them for wrong treatment. Deputy Director (Admin) Dr Nazim called us over phone several times until this morning for a negotiation. As we refused his offer, they staged the drama,” she said. When asked about the additional su-

perintendent, Farhana said he was her uncle and had come with the family to receive Sirajul’s body. “We admitted our father on April 9 in ward No 132 on 13th floor under Professor Faruk Pathan. On Sunday, he started having breathing problem. We called the doctor on duty, and they put him on oxygen,” she said. “Around 6pm, his condition deteriorated. We called the doctors but nobody came. Around 7:20pm they came and gave him an artificial air mask. Once oxygen was pumped, my father died,” she said. “Anwar and Kalyan were on duty that time. They did not consult with Professor Pathan about his condition. After he died, a senior doctor admitted that the patient should have been

transferred to the ICU,” she added. Even the ECG machine was not functioning properly, she claimed. Later, Assistant Professor Dr Md Firoz Amin went to the ward and apologised for wrong treatment. Heated words were exchanged between the family and the doctors then, said Farhana. “We wanted to take my father’s body from the hospital, and they handed the body over to us. I think the doctors staged the drama of protest to save themselves from legal action,” she claimed. When contacted, Professor Dr Nazmunnahar, director general of Birdem, said they had had a meeting with high police officials to file a complaint against the additional superintendent. “We will go back to work next morn-

ing (today),” she said. The patient’s family members said they would take legal action against the doctors.

Doctors protest, patients suffer

The doctors’ strike left a huge number of patients suffering. Mahidul Islam, who came with his ailing mother to see a doctor at Birdem, said: “Doctors can take legal action if they are attacked. They cannot stop providing medical help. If a doctor really gives wrong treatment, he could be fined a huge amount as compensation. Why should we have to suffer for this?” Other patients also complained about the strike and said no one was attending to them. Many claimed they were given release orders before time. l

Pahela Boishakh Partial trade union facilities in EPZs  PAGE 1 COLUMN 1

(watered rice) with ilish fish, green chilli and onion. People were seen taking the food usually in makeshift stalls set up in different places. Many, especially children, had the country’s map and other emblems painted in their cheeks. Mongol Shobhajatra, the traditional colourful procession to celebrate Pahela Boishakh, was brought out from the Institute of Fine Arts premises at Dhaka University around 9:45am. Scores of people joined the procession and marched together. As people were celebrating the day, security was tightened to avert any untoward situation and members of law enforcement agencies were also on alert. State-owned BTV, Bangladesh Betar (radio), and private TV channels broadcast special programmes while newspapers also published special supplements to mark the arrival of Bangla year 1421. l


The commerce minister said he was “confident to recruit the required factory inspectors by June.” In reply to a question, he said the US government had expressed satisfaction over Bangladesh’s progress in line with the 16-point action plan. Bangladesh would not be able to regain the GSP facilities if the issue was politicised, Tofail said. An official of the Commerce Ministry told the Dhaka Tribune that there had been no satisfactory progress in the trial of labour leader Aminul Islam murder. The trial was a major condition set by the USTR for GSP reinstatement. The report to the USTR says a total of eight cases against EPZ labour leaders Kalpona Akter and Babul Akter have been withdrawn while the Bangladesh Centre for Workers Solidarity and the Social Activities for Environment have been operating since 2013.

According to the report, 30 teams of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet), Accord, and Alliance completed inspection of 722 factories. A project of construction and repair work of vulnerable factory buildings funded by Jica is also underway. A database website on the country’s garment sector started on March 30 and the fire service department will set up two hot lines shortly, the report says. It reveals that the government has transferred $80 million and $23 million from two projects of the International Labour Organisation named Bangladesh Economic Growth Program and the World Fish Centre for developing relationship between workers and owners in shrimp sector. A reporting system has already been developed in the shrimp industry and others, according to report. The commerce minister, however, did not say when the review of rein-

stating the GSP benefits will take place. The legal authorisation for the GSP programme expired on July 31 last year and the US Congress is considering a legislation to extend the authorisation beyond that date, according to the USTR. As long as the GSP programme remains with no authorisation, there will be no public hearing and no request for public comments for the ongoing GSP country and product reviews and no final disposition of these reviews. On June 27 last year, US President Barack Obama announced his decision to suspend Bangladesh’s trade benefits under the GSP in view of insufficient progress by the Bangladesh government in affording Bangladeshi workers’ internationally recognised rights. Only 0.54% of the country’s total exports to the US used to get the GSP benefits which included the ceramic and plastic products and golf equipment. l

Akter were in excessive grief and repeatedly praying, “God, I beg you to give my son back.” On Friday night, the missing students along with 30 fellows set out for Cox’s Bazar from the capital to celebrate Pahela Baishakh and then on Sunday they went to Saint Martin’s Island and were staying at a hotel there. On Monday, ten of them were washed away by strong current while they were bathing. Six managed to swim ashore and two of them died later during treatment. The deceased were Saddam Hossain Ankur, 23, and Manfezul Islam Evan, 23, whose bodies were already handed over to their family members, said Teknaf police station OC Ranjit Kumar Barua. When Ankur’s body reached his Farmgate residence, a pall of gloom

descended there. He was the younger of two children of banker Golam Faruk. Teary-eyed Golam Faruk said his son was a very good student and he had a plan to gain a higher degree from BUET, but the dream came to a premature end with his death. While visiting, our corresponded found no one at Evan’s house, situated on Tazmahal road in the Mohammadpur area, as all of his family members were visiting their village home in Thakurgaon to bury the body, said Jahir Rayhan, security guard. Farhanul Morteza Farhan, a survivor, said there was no cautionary red flag on the spot, which is mandatory during ebb tide. Soon after the incident, however, the authorities concerned hoisted a red flag there. l

9 dropped, 12 charged for Milky murder  PAGE 1 COLUMN 6

over phone: “We will not accept the charge sheet. They [RAB] deliberately scrapped some names as a vested interests quarter is trying to weaken the case.” The names of Wahidul, the general secretary of Jubo League’s city South unit, and Jahidul, general secretary of Motijheel unit Awami League, were dropped from the charges. “Jahidul planned my brother’s murder. Wahedul was around the spot while the plan was executed. We assume that those whose names have been dropped were also involved in the murder,” he said. The investigation officer pressed the charge sheet under sections 302, 212, 34 and 109 of the Penal Code. He also submitted 16 rounds of bullet shells, CCTV camera footage showing the murder incident and other evidence of the killing. He sought court’s order to issue warrants for the fugitives’ arrest. Of the accused, Jahangir Mondal, M Shahidul Islam, Aminul Islam Habib, Sohel Mahmud, M Chunnu Mia are in

jail while the rest six are on the run. Among the accused Aminul, Lopa, Sohel, Chunnu, Jahangir gave confessional statements before the court under 164 of the CrPC on different dates. It was mentioned in the charge sheet that Milky was gunned down by his close associate Tarek who was also joint secretary of the unit in front of Shoppers World at Gulshan. According to the charge sheet, Tarek killed Milky over political conflict and to establish supremacy in Motijheel area. The charge sheet also reads that Tarek, Aminul, Mahmud, Arif, Chunnu, Shakhawat directly participated in the killing mission led by Tarek while Lopa, Shahidul, Jahangir, Rafik, Ibrahim and Sharif aided and abetted the killers. Of the accused, the RAB arrested prime accused Tarek from a hospital at Uttara hours after the killing. But he was killed in a “shootout” with Rab members on August 1. Milky’s brother Major Rashedul Haque Khan filed the murder case with Gulshan Police Station on the day of murder. l




Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Hearing ends in Sayedee war crimes appeals case n Nazmus Sakib The hearing on the war crimes appeals case of death row convict Delawar Hossain Sayedee concluded yesterday. However, the Appellate Division will pass its order today on petitions by both government and defence regarding calling the records of the case on Ibrahim Kutti’s murder, on which charge the Jamaat leader was handed the death penalty at the tribunal. During yesterday’s proceedings, defence lawyer SM Shahjahan pleaded for Sayedee’s acquittal, claiming that the accused was innocent. After his arguments, government lawyer Attorney General Mahbubey Alam started his contention on the Kutti murder case. The top law officer of the country

said the photocopy of the charge sheet submitted by the defence to the apex court was fake, as the document had not been numbered by the special tribunal formed to try the collaborators. “I went to the lower court of Barisal and scrutinised the registers which contained the cases of 1972 to 1976. But I found no such charge sheet,” the attorney general said, and petitioned for calling the records of the collaborators tribunal of 1972 to 1976. Later, another defence lawyer Khandker Mahbub Hossain, also the BNP chairperson’s adviser, pleaded for calling the case register of Pirojpur police station, claiming that Sayedee’s name was not mentioned in the case filed by Kutti’s wife Momtaz Begum for the killing of her husband.

After being questioned by Justice AHM Shamsuddin Choudhury about the credibility of the photocopy, Khandker Mahbub asked the court to call the original documents to verify their contention. Justice SK Sinha also said the tribunal law did not allow any photocopy. Later, Khandker Mahbub urged the court to allow him to argue on the appeal that sought Sayedee’s acquittal, but the court said the defence had been given enough time for arguments. Speaking on the charge of killing Bisabali – for which Sayedee was also awarded death penalty – Khandker Mahbub said Sukhranjan Bali, brother of Bisabali, was picked up from the tribunal gate by plainclothed men and forced to go to India. At this, Justice Shamsuddin said it was published in the media that

Sukhranjan told the Kolkata High Court that he came to India at his own will. Mahbub started reading an interview of Sukhranjan broadcast in Diganta Television, where he said Sayedee was not involved in the killing of Bisabali. However, when the Appellate Division questioned the defence lawyer whether the interview was submitted to the tribunal, Mahbub replied in the negative. The court then said it could not entertain this document at this stage. Khandker Mahbub also termed the tribunal “biased,” mentioning a leaked Skype conversation which revealed that charges against Sayedee were framed following the dictation of a legal expert. Chief Justice Md Muzammel Hossain, however, asked the defence not to argue on the Skype conversation

as there was a restriction from the tribunal on the issue. On February 28 last year, the International Crimes Tribunal 1 awarded death sentence to Sayedee in two out of eight charges that were proved. He was acquitted in twelve other charges. On March 28 last year, Sayedee moved to the apex court with an appeal against the verdict, seeking acquittal, while the government appealed for specifying punishment in the other six charges that were proved but without the handing of any sentences. Hearing in the case began on September 24 last year. The Appellate Division has so far disposed of one appeals case, against war criminal Abdul Quader Molla, penalising him with a death sentence that was executed. l

Son witnessed his father’s death at Subhan’s hands n Udisa Islam The second prosecution witness in the war crimes case against Jamaat Nayebe-Ameer Maulana Abdus Subhan yesterday testified before the ICT 2, who claimed that he witnessed the death of his father at the hands of the accused. Tohurul Alam Mollah, son of martyr Moazzem Hossain, said his family fled their house when the Pakistani army entered Ishwardi, but Moazzem stayed behind in the central mosque with his brother Habibur Rahman and nephew Nazmul Huq Khan. The defence counsels began cross-examining Tohurul before the tribunal adjourned proceedings for the day. In his deposition, Tohurul said: “On April 12 [in 1971], I started for the central mosque, but on my way an anonymous person stopped me to say Jamaat leader Khoda Box had established a torture cell just outside the mosque and was killing people who were in favour the country’s independence. “After that, my friend Fozlur Rahman Fantu and I discussed about the possibility of rescuing my father and other relatives. On April 17, we again started for the mosque. We saw Motiur Rahman Nizami and Abdus Subhan when we reached there. Under Subhan’s order, his accomplice dragged my father to a coal depot near the mosque and hit my father with a sword before his cohorts chopped him up,” Tohurul testified.

Under Subhan’s order, his accomplice dragged my father to a coal depot near the mosque and hit my father with a sword before his cohorts chopped him up Earlier, the first prosecution witness AKM Shohiduzzaman Nasim, the then secretary of Bangladesh Student Union of Pabna’s Ishwardi and a cousin of Tohurul, told the tribunal that he saw Subhan kill three of his family members. Tohurul – who was also a witness in the case against Jamaat leader Motiur Rahman Nizami - yesterday said he saw the incidents while hiding in a nearby bush, while his cousin – AKM Shahiduzzaman Nasim – also witnessed the murder of Tohurul’s father while hiding in a separate bush. Tohurul later trained as a freedom fighter after crossing into India through the Jalangi border, and later returned to the country in mid-June with a team of 56 freedom fighters. It was then that he heard that Subhan had been carrying atrocities with his cohorts after creating Razkar, al-Badr and al-Shams groups in all thanas in Pabna, Tohurul said. On December 31 last year, the ICT 1 indicted Subhan on nine charges of crimes against humanity; but on March 27, the case was transferred to the ICT 2. Meanwhile, in the war crimes case against Mir Kashem Ali, defence counsel Mizanul Islam cross-examined the investigation officer of the trial for half an hour, before the tribunal adjourned the proceedings until Wednesday as the defence counsel was not physically fit. During cross-examination, the defence asked the IO about the process and duration of his investigation. Asked if he had collected any news report on Dalim Hotel, the officer said he could not remember the issue. Kashem, facing 14 charges for committing crimes against humanity during the Liberation War in 1971, was produced at the tribunal during the deposition. l

In this recent photo, rows of boxes containing digital number plates for the cars are seen stacked up at the BRTA office in the capital’s Mirpur

Third security dialogue with US next week n Sheikh Shahariar Zaman The third security dialogue between Bangladesh and the US to be held on April 22 will discuss wide ranges of political and military issues to broaden and strengthen bilateral cooperation. “It will enhance partnerships in peacekeeping, counterterrorism and security cooperation as well as joint military exercises and exchanges,” Foreign Secretary Md Shahdiul Haque told the Dhaka Tribune yesterday. Secretary Mustafa Kamal will lead the Bangladesh side at the dialogue while Acting Assistant Secretary Thomas Kelly will lead the US side. The Foreign Ministry organised an interministerial meeting to finalise the agenda of the dialogue. The foreign secretary said cooperation between the countries had increased – in training, information sharing, counterterrorism – and collaboration in other areas had increased since the first dialogue in 2012. About regional briefing, he said both the countries would discuss strategic relationship with regional countries in

terms of security issues. “Bangladesh would like to know US-India relationship while the US side might want to know about Bangladesh-Myanmar relationship,” Shahidul said. Military-to-military engagement would be a major part in the security dialogue, he said, adding that the third military-to-military dialogue would be held soon. Defence trade under the security assistance and arms purchase under the Excess Defence Article would be discussed at the dialogue, said an official of the Foreign Ministry. “Bangladesh usually procures US arms under the Excess Defence Article initiative,” the official said. Dhaka has recently procured a cutter and a Jarvis naval ship from Washington under the initiative. In his recent visit to the US, the foreign secretary had a meeting with Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for South and Southeast Asia Vikram J Singh at Pentagon. They discussed anti-terrorism, natural disaster, climate change and other security issues in the meeting. l


14 to face contempt rule n Tribune Report

The High Court yesterday issued a rule seeking explanation in two weeks as to why 14 former and present government officials including the industries secretary should not be punished for contempt of court for their failure to implement its judgment on relocation of tanneries from capital’s Hazaribagh. The bench of Justice Ashfaqul Islam and Justice Ashraful Kamal issued the rule following a petition lodged by the Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh. The other officials facing contempt are Department of Environment DG Raisul Alam Mondol, former industries secretaries Zakir Hossain, Khan Amin Chowdhury, AKM Sarowar Kamal, Shoeb Ahmed, Ayub Kadri, Nurul Amin, Sheikh Enayet Ullah, former DGs of DoE Nazibur Rahman, Khandker Rashidul Haque, Hedayetul Islam, Omar Faruq and Khan Md Ibrahim Hossain. The HC in a verdict in 2001 ordered to relocate the tanneries from Hazaribagh in two years, while the deadline was later thrice extended. The contempt rule was issued after the last deadline on April 2011 was missed. l

RAB personnel seize fake cattle medicine during a raid in the capital’s Rampura yesterday. The medicine factory was later sealed by authority DHAKA TRIBUNE


Prosecution: Khokon Razakar burnt people alive n Udisa Islam During the second day of placing closing arguments against BNP leader Zahid Hossain alias Khokon Razakar, the prosecution yesterday pointed out Khokon’s viciousness during the war, mentioning that Khokon – who is currently facing charges of committing crimes against humanity during the Liberation War – had burned people alive in 1971. Prosecutor Mokhlesur Rahman Badal said the prosecution, along with the depositions by the witnesses, have been successful in proving the crimes that Khokon committed during the war. He also claimed that the accused was responsible for all the crimes against humanity committed in and around Faridpur’s Nagarkanda upazila during the war. After half session, the ICT 1, led by Justice M Enayetur Rahim, adjourned the hearing until Wednesday. During yesterday’s session, the prosecution told the tribunal: “Khokon was so vicious that he killed innocent people, even dragging them out of the mosque, the house of Allah.” The prosecution further argued that Khokon burnt at least three ailing people to death by setting their homes on fire. Earlier on Wednesday, the prosecution completed arguments on five charges – out of eleven – against the accused, while prosecutors yesterday argued on four more charges. The prosecution quoted witnesses as saying that even a two-year-old child was not able to escape the brutality of Khokon Razakar, adding that Khokon turned into an animal and went on a killing spree following the death of his brother Zafar during combat with freedom fighters. During the case proceedings, the prosecution placed 24 witnesses against Khokon, while no witness stood for the fugitive accused. Khokon, former mayor of Nagarkanda municipality and a BNP leader, was indicted in absentia on October 9 last year, on 11 charges of crimes against humanity. The accused is currently hiding in Sweden, according to the prosecution. l

Online media operation policy finalised n Mohosinul Karim The government has finalised the draft of the Online Media Operation Policy keeping a provision that makes it mandatory for all operators to obtain a license for TK5 lakh and make a payment of TK2 lakh as earnest money. The license holder online operators will be able to publish advertisement only 20% of their total contents on their portal or website. They have also to deposit 2% of the total advertisement bill in the government treasury. A sub-committee formed by the information ministry led by ICT specialist Mustafa Jabbar has submitted the draft to the ministry recently after consulting with the stakeholders. It will be placed before the inter-ministerial committee led by the information secretary soon. Later, it will be made public through the ministry website to take opinions of general people, owners and stakeholder. It will be finalised after getting approval of the cabinet and prime minister. The government will implement the online media operation policy to control the vibrant online media sector, Information Ministry’s Joint Secretary Motiur Rahman Khan and Abul Hossain told the Dhaka Tribune. They confirmed that the draft was under consideration and would not be finalised without taking opinions from stakeholders. The draft makes it mandatory for operators to set up a hosting server in Bangladesh and keep the contents, once uploaded, for at least 90 days on the website. It will be strictly prohibit-

ed from linking any other local or foreign websites to the local ones. A 13-member National Regulatory Committee will be formed led by Information Secretary and a monitoring committee led by the ministry’s joint secretary (Broadcasting) to monitor if there is any violation of the rules. The existing online news agencies or portals will have to get license from the government to operate the online media. The persons or companies that are loan or tax defaulter, accused or convicted in criminal cases and crimes involving moral turpitude will not be able to apply for a license. The license holders will also have to get Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Authority’s approval for operating the online portals, news agencies, newspapers’ web portal or personal websites. The licenses will be cancelled or become invalid, if license holder violates any condition of the BTRC or licensing authority and fails to pay the fees according to the policy or violates the instruction of the government. The applicant who will apply for a license as an editor of an online newspaper must have an experience of two years journalism in Class-I daily newspapers including academic background of minimum graduation. It will be restricted to publishing any report or news that are against the interest of the country, independence, national security and the spirit and ideology of the liberation war, main principles and policies of the country, violent and malicious, instigates communal sensitivity and indecent in the newspapers or portals, reads the draft policy. l




Wednesday, April 16, 2014

People from all walks of life and of all ages and ethnicities celebrated Pahela Boishakh, the first day of the Bangla New Year 1421, across the country on April 14. Wearing colourful attires and holding festoons and floats, they participated in the Mangal Shobhajatra on Dhaka University campus. Even foreigners took part in the celebration. Indigenous villagers took out a procession in Rajshahi to celebrate Pahela Boishakh. Children enjoyed various rides at fairs across the country PHOTOS: SYED ZAKIR HOSSAIN/ MAHMUD HOSSAIN OPU

Sixth phase upazila polls schedule likely today

Four female workers injured in abandoned bomb explosion

n Mohammad Zakaria

Besides, elections at 169 polling stations of Thakurgoan sadar upazila were to be held today, having been postponed on March 30 following a High Court stay order. The poll was expected to be held on March 31 with the fifth phase upazila parishad polls. For the polls, the commission issued a letter appointing six EC officials to formulate its own election observer team. The EC issued a circular yesterday to announce that the polls of Boalkhali municipal election will be held on May 21. According to the circular, the last date for filing nominations is April 24 and the nomination will be scrutinised on April 27. The last date for withdrawing nominations is May 5. l

n Kailash Sarkar

Road accidents kill five in Gazipur n Tribune Report

Mozena expresses concern over telecom officials’ misdeed

The Election Commission is expected to announce the schedule of the sixth phase of the upazila polls today, just a day after Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad resumed office after a one and a half month long personal visit to the US. The CEC joined office yesterday and called a full commission meeting today to discuss several agendas, including the poll schedule of the sixth phase of upazila parishads elections and the recruitment ordinance of EC officials and employees, among others. An EC deputy secretary told the Dhaka Tribune yesterday: “We have

already prepared the working papers of 21 upazila parishads for the sixth phase, keeping the polls date on the last week of May. The polls schedule of these upazilas can be declared in the middle of April. But, the commission is expected to decide on when to announce the polls schedule of these upazilas at the meeting.” Rakibuddin, who went on a leave on March 3 amid speculations that he had resigned from his post during the fourth upazila parishads elections, returned home from the US yesterday. EC officials said the CEC joined at his office at around 9:00am and then he held discussions with the four election commissioners.

BAPEX ready to start drilling at Pabna’s Mobarakpur n Aminur Rahman Rasel State-run Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration and Production Company Limited (Bapex) is all set to start digging an exploration well at Mobarakpur in Pabna next month. “Mobarakpur is a potential structure. Necessary preparations have been taken to start digging at Mobarakpur from the next month,” Ataur Rahman, director of the well-drilling project at the Bapex, told the Dhaka Tribune yesterday. “Necessary preparations for digging well, like setting up rig and other necessary machineries have been completed,” he added. Mubarakpur was identified as a prospective site after a five-year joint seismic survey by Petrobangla and German company Prakla Seismos was completed in 1984.

The cost of digging the experimental well, under the Mobarakpur Oil/Gas Exploration Well Digging project, has been estimated at Tk89.26 crore. Ataur further informed the work at the well location, situated at Mobarakpur under Santhia upazila of Pabna, began in 2010 after Bapex acquired 8.8 acres of land for the project. The digging is supposed to finish within 90 days. “We will dig with rig Bijoy-12 which has a vertical drilling capacity over 4,000 meters. We have plans to go up to 4,500 metres below the surface,” Ataur said. Bapex is currently producing and supplying 105 million cubic feet gas to the national grid every day from its six gas fields in Saldanadi, Fenchuganj, Shahbazpur, Semutung, Sundalpur and Srikail. l

At least five people, including a woman, were killed and five others injured in a head-on collision between a truck and a human-haulier on the Dhaka-Tangail Highway in Kaliakair upazila, yesterday morning. The deceased were identified as Sobhan, 35, Abdul Khaleque, 35, Abdul Hakim, 40, Md Jahangir Alam, 35, and Khadija Begum, 20. Quoting witnesses, Alamgir Hossain, in-charge of the Chadra police out post, said a bus collided with the Kaliakair-bound human-haulier at Chandra around 6:30am, leaving a human-haulier passenger dead on the spot and eight others injured critically. Two of the injured later died on the way to hospital. Police recovered the wrecked bus and human-haulier from the spot. Meanwhile, a woman was killed in a road accident in the Shilmun area of the district. Police said the woman had died on the spot. The identity of the deceased could not be ascertained immediately. l

An explosion of an abandoned bomb left four female day labours injured while they were digging soil for a road-construction site at the capital’s Tilpa Para in Khilgaon yesterday. The victims were identified as Selina Begum, 40, Ambia Akhter, 35, Ratna Begum, 30, and Hiron Basi, 45. They were first rushed to nearby Khidma Hospital from where they had were shifted to the Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH). According to DMCH sources, the condition of Selina Begum was stated to be critical among them as she sustained massive wounds at different

n Muhammad Zahidul Islam US Ambassdor to Bangladesh Dan W Mozena expressed concern to Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) Chairperson Sunil Kanti Bose over a fraud committed by three government officials, in a meeting at the BTRC office yesterday.

This was Mozena’s third visit to the BRTC office, where he also addressed the ongoing satellite project Media officials at the telecom regulatory body confirmed Mozena’s visit, but they refused to make a comment on it. The government officials – Mahbubul Alam, deputy secretary at Post,

parts of her body. Abdul Majid, a sub-contractor of the project and is also a witness to the incident, said the explosion took place at 10:30am while the workers had been working for the construction of Road No 17 in Khilgaon. “When Selina was digging the soil with a spade, a bomb wrapped with red tape exploded with a bang and left Selina and three others injured,” said Majid. He said the injured were first rushed to the Khidmah Hospital, but later the doctors recommended shifting them to the DMCH for their massive wounds. Police sources said they bomb might have been left abandoned by criminals. l

Telecommunication and Information Technology Ministry, M Shah Newaz, member (admin) of Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Limited (BTCL), and M Shahab Uddin, BTCL director – had allegedly presented fake inivitation letters to the US embassy for visa applications. Earlier, the US embassy had requested the Foreign Ministry to take action against the accused officials. This was Mozena’s third visit to the BRTC office, where he also addressed the ongoing satellite project. His earlier visits were about the satellite project only. A US consulting firm named Space Partnership International is working with BTRC to build the first ever satellite – named Bangabandhu 1 – for Bangladesh. Mozena was a special guest at the agreement signing ceremony between BTRC and the consulting firm at the BTRC office. l

Ekota train drivers ‘blamed’ for Sirajganj train crash n Our Correspondent, Sirajganj An investigation committee has found the driver and his assistant of the Ekota Express train guilty of the collision that killed two people and injured at least 30 others in Sirajganj on Sunday. “We have found the driver and his assistant primarily, either directly or indirectly, responsible for the crash,” said additional district magistrate Shafiqul Islam, who is leading the committee formed by the deputy commissioner’s office, yesterday. “Though the red light was on, they drove into Platform No 1, ignoring it,” said Shafiqul, adding, “so then it collided with the Lalmonirhat Express train which was parked there.” Both the driver, Bankim Chandra Roy, and his assistant Abdus Shafi were suspended immediately for their alleged negligence while driving. The station master of Ullahpara rail station Khan Moniruzzaman was also suspended. The secretary of the Ministry of Railways Abul Kalam Azad and Railway director general Tofazzal Hossain ordered their suspensions. More than one railway officer and employee said such accidents are a result of the train drivers being physically weak or incapable due to their old age. Driver Bankim retired several years ago, but he had been brought back into service on a contractual basis. People often retire when they are incapable of serving well, sources said. Additional director general of the Railway Division (Infrastructure) Amzad Hossain admitted this and said, “We are working with a shortage of 15000 staff. How can we run the sector without hiring retired drivers on a contractual basis?” Meanwhile, a five-member committee led by the Pakshi divisional office was cancelled as a higher level inquiry committee has been formed by the Ministry of Railways and the director general of the Bangladesh Railway. l




Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Waste, garbage cans block public road in Paribagh n Abu Hayat Mahmud Traffic and pedestrian movement on a section of the capital’s Paribagh area had been impeded for long as a lane of the main road had become a regular waste dumping station of the Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC). As several DSCC garbage containers had been kept on one side of the twoway Paribagh road, which connects the Shahbagh road and Paribagh intersection, the thoroughfare frequently becomes victim to traffic congestion. Locals, pedestrians and drivers allegedly said the Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) waste management department had been dumping wastes and kept its heavy garbage disposal containers and waste caring vans in such a manner on the road that the road and its footpath had become unusable to the public. Paribagh residents also said the wastes being kept on the road fills the entire area with a terrible stench and expressed concerns over the health hazards which might arise from such unhygienic disposal system. “Wastes and the garbage disposal containers kept on the main road often lead to traffic congestions in the area,” Nasrin Akter, a local resident. “The city corporation must remove the garbage and its containers before it becomes a health risk for residents of this area,” she added. Saidul Islam, another resident of the area, suggested the DSCC should relocate the dumpsters to somewhere else. Contacted, DSCC Chief Waste Management Officer Captain SM Javed Iqbal told the Dhaka Tribune: “If the

Tribune Business Desk

Police detained a young man for allegedly attempting to vandalise a teacher’s bus of Chittagong University (CU) at the campus yesterday. The detainee was identified as Imtiaj Chowdhury Ripu, son of late Shamsul Alam of Hathazari upazila in Chittagong, said police sources. Campus sources said an altercation ensued between an activist of Varsity Express, a shuttle train boggy based faction of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL), CU unit and some locals at university gate no 1 area around 2:30pm. The scuffle triggered animosity between the BCL man and Ripu who was among the locals. Later other BCL activists joined their fellow and rescued him by chasing off the locals. Following the incident the agitating locals put a blockade on the road in front of the gate and tried to vandalise a CU teacher’s bus. Md Moin Uddin, officer-in-charge of CU police outpost told Dhaka Tribune that police rushed to the spot after being informed and caught Ripu red-handed. l






















Cox’s Bazar




39.5ºC Rangamati

19.4ºC Srimangal

Source: Accuweather/UNB

PRAYER TIMES Fajar Sunrise Zohr Asr Magrib Esha

Several garbage containers of Dhaka South City Corporation have been kept on one side of the two-way Paribagh road, causing sufferings for people


Chevron, Brac launch road safety campaign Drives from next month n against highway congestion

One held for attempting to vandalise CU teacher’s bus n CU Correspondent


road and footpath of the Paribagh were being blocked by these wastes, then we would take measures to free it.” Meanwhile, the two city corporations of Dhaka continue to dump wastes on portions of most of the roads. Although the DSCC and DNCC took various steps in collaboration with ADB, JICA and LGD to relieve the city people of malodorous smells, there was no significant effect as the waste disposal management systems of the two city corporations remain in an awful state. The two city corporations already launched urban public and environmental health development projects, community-based waste management  activities, development of sanitary landfill to manage the city’s waste. However, both the city corporations blame the Rajdhani Unnayan Kartipakkha (Rajuk) saying that its unplanned urbanisation had put a bar on implementing an effective waste management infrastructure. DNCC Chief Waste Management Officer Captain Bipon Kumar Saha told the Dhaka Tribune: “We are forced to place waste containers on the city roads due to lack of space due to the unplanned urbanisation.” He also said a special project, namely secondary transformation station, had been adopted to ensure routine collection of household wastes from different wards and accumulating the wastes at a specific point for safe disposal. “A project, namely secondary transformation station, has already been introduced in a number of wards in DNCC and it would take two to three years to complete,” he added. l

4:19am 5:36am 11:59am 4:26pm 6:21pm 7:39pm Source:

Chevron Bangladesh has joined forces with Brac to launch a comprehensive three-year road safety awareness programme for communities living in Sylhet city and near the Bibiyana gas field. The programme was recently launched at Brac’s office by Brac Founder and Chairperson Sir Fazle Hasan Abed KCMG and Chevron Bangladesh President Geoff Strong. Tapping into the urgent need for a robust public campaign for road safety awareness, this programme will provide training and build awareness on defensive driving and safe pedestrian behaviour to 1,000 drivers. In addition, information, education

and communication materials will be used to teach safe pedestrian behaviour among 4,500 students from 25 educational institutions around the gas field. Up to six community road safety groups will be formed and groomed to build institutional and community capacity for the initiative’s sustainability in the future. Roads and Highways Department, Bangladesh Road Transport Authority and Bangladesh Police will collaborate in the campaign. The National Road Safety Strategic Action Plan (NRSSAP) for 2011-2013 cites Bangladesh as having one of the world’s highest road fatality rates, with 85 deaths per 10,000 registered motor vehicles every year.

According to NRSSAP, road accidents cause economic losses worth as much as $614mn every year in Bangladesh. This campaign, implemented through Brac’s own road safety programme that started in March 2001, will work as a measure to tackle the alraming increase in road accidents. Also present at the launch ceremony were Babar Kabir, senior director, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, and Disaster, Environment and Climate Change, Ahmed Najmul Hussain, director, Procurement, Estate and Management Services, and Road Safety, Rachel Kabir, director, chairperson’s office, Brac, and Naser Ahmed, director, external affairs, Chevron Bangladesh. l

n Our Correspondent, Gazipur Communications Minister Obaidul Quader said his ministry would launch a coordinated drive on highways across the country from the next month to minimise traffic congestion and road accidents. The minister said this while visiting renovation works on Ghorashal-Tongi road in Mirerbazar area of Gazipur yesterday. The minister said two committees have been formed by the Communications Ministry to ease traffic jams and reduce road crashes on the highways and observed that accidents on high-

ways have turned into a matter of grave concern for his Ministry. “We’ve already received one report and another will be available by this month. We’ll then take effective and strict decisions,” he added. When asked about the renovation work of the Ghorashal-Tongi road, Mr Quader said the work would be completed by June next. The expenditure of the project was estimated to the tune of Tk16 core. During the visit, M Shahabuddin Khan, Dhaka divisional superintendent engineer of Roads and Highways, Executive Engineer Muhibul Islam, accompanied the minister. l

University student drowns n CU Correspondent

Grocery owner shot in Ctg n Our Correspondent, Chittagong

A private university student drowned in Karnaphuli River, which falls under the Sadarghat police station jurisdiction, in Chittagong city on Monday. The student was identified as Ridwanul Haque Raktim, 26, a BBA student of International Islamic University Chittagong (IIUC), said police sources. The youth remained missing while the Fire Brigade and the Coast Guard were jointly conducting rescue drives in search of the body in the Karnaphuli River. Kutub Uddin Kucky, a friend of Raktim told the Dhaka Tribune that they had boarded a Sampan (a local passenger boat) from the Sadarghat area at noon. Raktim was taking photos standing on the boat. At one stage, he toppled from the moving boat while it was near the Anu Mazhir Ghat area, added the witness. l

A grocery shop owner at Chambol Bazar in Banshkhali upazila, Chittagong was shot on Monday night and died early yesterday at Chittagong Medical College Hospital. The deceased was identified as Fazlul Quader Manik, 28, resident of Azanipara in Chambol union, said police sources. Assistant Sub-Inspector Gopi Nath Odhikari of Banshkhali police station told Dhaka Tribune that Manik was shot by unidentified miscreants on his way home around 10:30pm near Patla Market. Later, he was rushed to the medical college hospital where the on-duty doctor pronounced him dead around 3:30am, said the ASI. Based on allegations made by family members as well local people, police suspect Manik was killed over land ownership dispute, he added. The body was sent to the medical college morgue for post mortem and a case was filed with Banshkhali police station in this regard. l

Models take part in a fashion show arranged on the occasion of Pahela Boishakh at Bangladesh-China Friendship Conference Centre in the city on Monday RAJIB DHAR

17.5kg of gold seized in capital, 1 smuggler held Regional gold smuggling intensifies as India imposes restrictions on gold import Assistant commissioner of Police as the gold smugglers have intensified other member of their gold smuggling n Kailash Sarkar ring from the capital’s Paltan area and (Mirpur Zone) Shakhawat Hossain said their activities over the last one year. Police have recovered around 17.5 kg of smuggled gold and arrested a member of a gold smuggling ring from the capital’s Mirpur area on Monday morning. Darussalam police station officer-in-charge Rafiqul Islam said they seized 150 pieces of gold bars, weighting 17.441 kilogrammes, from a gold smuggler at Mirpur Majar Road near Gabtoli at around 8:00am. “Identified as Mohammad Zahidul Islam, the 35-year-old gold smuggler was arrested when he was trying to board a bus from the Gabtoli Bus Terminal for his village home in Kaliganj of Jhenidah with the gold worth around Tk65 million,” he added. Police also said during the primary interrogation, the arrested confessed that he had received the gold from an-

was supposed to smuggle the gold to India through the Jhenidah border.

Sources in the Customs department said the gold smuggling activities have intensified and seizure of such smuggled caches have also turned frequent When asked, the OC refused to disclose the details of the smuggling ring saying: “Zahidul has been placed on a 4-day remand for questioning.”

a police team, who had set up a check post on Majara Road, recovered the gold during a body and luggage search of the detained person who was on his way to the Gabtoli bus terminal. “The man had been passing through the area on foot with a bag in his hand. When the police questioned him, finding his attitude suspicious, he had tried to run away. But the police caught him and recovered the gold from his bag,” he added. According to sources, the gold has been smuggled into the country through air freight from a Middle Eastern country. Sources in the police, Rapid Action Battalion and Customs Department said seizure of smuggled gold has become a recurring issue in the capital and elsewhere in the country, mainly at airports,

Meanwhile, another source said as the country’s entire jewellery sector usually depends on smuggled gold since there are no provisions or laws for importing gold commercially, the smuggling trend has been intensified since the Indian government imposed restrictions on gold imports last year. They also added, smugglers have chosen Bangladesh as a stopover point along its smuggling routes into India from various Middle Eastern countries. Sources in the Customs department said as the gold smuggling activities have intensified, seizure of such smuggled caches have also turned frequent and around a thousand kilogramme of gold was seized in the last fifteen months from different airports and other points of the country. l

Husband kills wife over feud n Our Correspondent, Chittagong A man killed his wife over a family feud in the port city’s Chawkbazar area on Monday morning, police said. Anwarul Islam, inspector (investigation) at Chawkbazar police staiton, said Mohammad Masud, 24, slit the throat of his wife Hamida, 20, an RMG worker around 8:30am in their home at Shah Mohammad Ali Lane in Chawkbazar. Hamida died on the spot from excessive bleeding. Upon receiving information, police arrested Masud with the assistance of the locals in the local kitchen market, while he was attempting to flee, said Anwar. Hamida’s body was sent to Chittagong Medical College Hospital morgue for post mortem. Masud confessed to killing his wife, the inspector added. A case was filed. l

6 19 AL men sued in Habiganj double murder case n Our Correspondent, Habiganj A case was filed against 19 local activists of AL yesterday for allegedly being connected with the death of two people in a clash at Dharmaghar of Madhabpur upazila here on Sunday. On Sunday night, supporters of Dharmaghar union unit of AL, secretary Farid Miah and one of its leaders, Mejbah Uddin Polash, engaged in a clash with one another at the Dharmaghar bazaar over a tender, leaving Sohel Miah and Kala Miah critically injured with bullet wounds. Both of them succumbed to their injuries. Madhabpur police station OC Abdur Baset said Ruku Miah, the father of college student Sohel Miah, one of the deceased, filed the case against 19 activists from Madhabpur upazila and Dharmaghar union unit of AL in the morning. The other victim was Kala Miah, 55. Both of them were also local activists of AL. Necessary actions will be taken against the persons responsible for the killing after the investigation is complete, the OC added. l

Husband kills wife n Our Correspondent Khagrachhari

A husband allegedly beat his wife to death in Purba Thana Para under Dighinala upazila, Khagrachhari, yesterday. The victim was identified as Rumi Akhter, 25, the wife of Monirul Islam. Quoting family members and locals, officer-in-charge of Dighinala police station Mohammad Shahdat Hossaun Titu said Rumi had been inhumanly beaten by her husband over a trivial matter. Later, Monirul hanged the body from a ceiling fan and said that she had committed suicide. A case was filed. l

Banks to remain closed in Thakurgaon

n Tribune Report All the bank branches in Thakurgaon Sadar Upazila polls area will remain closed today. Bangladesh Bank made the directive through a circular yesterday to facilitate the bankers exercise their voting rights. The Election Commission (EC) had postponed polls in Thakurgaon Sadar Upazila on March 30 a day ahead of the fifth phase of polls to avoid legal complications following a rule of the High Court Division. l

Female doctor commits suicide n Our Correspondent, Barisal A female doctor of Barisal General Hospital committed suicide by hanging herself from a ceiling fan in the city yesterday. The deceased was identified as Lubna Jahan, 31. She was serving at the radio-pathology department in the hospital. She was a mother of two children and wife of Shahriar, dental surgeon of Barisal Sher-e-Bangla Medical College. Family sources said Shahriar had found the door closed from inside and failed to get response. Later, he broke the door and found the body hanging from the ceiling fan. She was sent to the hospital where the attending doctors declared her dead. Kotwali police station Officer-inCharge Shakhawat Hossain said a family feud might be cause behind the suicide. l



Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Villagers in peril for illegal sand lifting

NEWS IN BRIEF Bomb damages shop

10 villages on the edge of erosion, over 500 sand workers jobless in Mymensingh

n Our Correspondent, Mymensingh 10 villages in Khagdahar union of Mymensingh Sadar upazila have become vulnerable to erosion because of sand lifting by illegal dredgers in Brahmaputra river. Erosion has badly damaged arable lands and housing while posing risk to mosques, markets and educational institutions. At least 500 sand workers, meanwhile, have become jobless because of the illegal sand lifting act and are now living a miserable life with family members. We have been living here for ages but now the unhealthy competition among sand traders are taking a heavy toll on our lives, said Md Lal Miah, a resident of Kismat village in the area. Although the traders are making money by lifting sand and supplying that across the country, this has put people in our area at a disadvantage, Lal Miah said, adding that nearly 500 workers who use boats to lift sand have now lost their jobs. Another villager Sirajul Islam said the only road used by residents of Kismat, Taragai and Kalyanpur villages had developed cracks because of frequent movement of sand-laden trucks. “The road stretching from Ghunti of Khagdahar to Begunbari needs to be paved and repaired. A dam should also

be constructed there,” he said. Stating that the general people, especially students, using the road are now at risk, Sirajul said almost 5,000 people living close to the banks of the river could become homeless during the rainy season. “Illegal sand lifting should be stopped immediately to avoid that disaster.”

Mobile courts have fined some traders involved in this illegal practice and have even sentenced to prison. Nonetheless, the activity cannot be stopped entirely Moslem, a driver by profession, said they had written to the deputy commissioner two years before about the danger they could face but that seemed to have fallen on deaf ears. Villagers have mentioned several names who they say are involved in the illegal sand lifting trade. Among them are Ataur Rahman from Kismat village, Asadul, Alamgir, Esaq Ali from Char Jela Khana road, Jahangir, Alamgir from Khagdahar village, Tapan, Bacchu

Miah, Farhad Ali from Taragai village and Musa Miah. Sand worker Rustam Ali said use of dredger to lift sand had been disadvantageous to them because they cannot keep pace with machines. “Dredgers can lift tonnes of sand in a very short period but we only do that using our hands while on boats. This is why we have become almost redundant and are losing our jobs fast. We used to make Tk300-400 a day after manually lifting sand from the river and selling it to sand traders. Now, the story is different as machines have replaced us. We are suffering from extreme financial woes,” the worker explained. Apart from lifting sand and using pipelines to carry it to the banks of the river for storing, dredger owners are also directly selling to contractors every day by using trucks as the means of transport. While a truck of sand lifted manually is priced at Tk800-1,000, dredger owners are selling the same amount of sand for Tk500-600. This has, like sand workers, put many traders, who store manually lifted sand, out of business. Ataur Rahman, one of the many who uses dredger to lift sand, however, has shrugged aside all the allgeations against them, saying they are complying with the rules to lift sand. He said no disharmony exists between them

and the sand workers. “Workers are lifting sand from places suitable for them. I’m not aware of any incident where workers were resisted to work or were assaulted,” he observed. There have been movements against the use of dredgers to lift sand but to no avail, said Nurul Islam Nur Munshi, president of Mymensingh District Sand Workers Union, and its general secretary Makbul Hossain. “Ironically, the more we staged movements, the more dredgers were installed. The situation continues unabated. Moreover, there were attacks on innocent workers that destroyed their boats and they are now living in impoverished condition,” they added. Mymensingh District Sand Traders Association president Md Ali said movements against illegal sand lifting and sand trade from Rammohon to Darikushtia had become stronger as the issue had been brought to the attention of multiple workers’ rights bodies. Deputy Commissioner Mustakim Billah Faruki admitted illegal sand lifting using dredgers and promised necessary action against the wrongdoers. “Mobile courts have fined some traders involved in this illegal practice and have even sentenced to prison. Nonetheless, the activity cannot be stopped entirely,” he said. l

Amarkhana border turns into ‘Milon Mela’ of Bangalees n Our Correspondent, Panchagarh The Amarkhana border in Panchagarh Sadar upazila becomes Milan Mela, congregation, on Pahela Baishakh, the first day of the Bangla New Year, as thousands of Bangla-speaking people living on either side of the border got a unique opportunity to meet their relatives. Local sources said standing on both sides of the barbed wire of the Amarkhana border, people of neighbouring Bangladesh and India exchanged greetings on Pahela Baishakh and talked with their near and dear ones. People who came on Monday to meet their relatives from different parts of the country said they and their ancestors had been related in various ways for a long time but the 1947 partition made it hard for those living on either side of the border to meet. They were seen exchanging various gifts including biscuits, chanachur (crispy local snack), pens and clothes as a token of good wishes. Many could not check their tears as they saw near and dear ones after such a long time. Younus Ali, 65, a resident of Vimvita village in Jalpaiguri, India, came to meet his brother Solaiman Ali of Maydandighi village in the Boda upazila in Panchagarh. Solaiman told the Dhaka Tribune that he had met his elder brother after 20 years. Sultana Nasrin came from


said Mobin Chowdhuri, ex-chairman of Amarkhana union in Panchagarh. He urged the authorities to give them a chance to meet near and dear ones at the border every year on Pahela Baishakh. Many people, especially those who cannot afford the cost of visiting their relatives via the legal process, come here every year to meet their friends

and relatives. Sources at the Bangladesh Border Guard said they had unofficially allowed people to meet with their relatives on the special occasion considering the emotional nature of the issue. BSF opens the door of the barbed wire fence to the people who come to the border after 11am and keeps it open for five hours. l

At least 50 people were injured in Natherpetua Bazar in a clash between two groups of Awami League activists in Monohorganj village, Comilla, early yesterday over the distribution of money collected from gambling. The groups also torched at least 35 shops set up on the fair ground. Local sources said an altercation had taken place between rival Awami League groups over the distribution of money collected from gambling, at about 9pm.

Later, the clash spread among the residents of the Hatimara and Binaygachhi villages, leaving 50 people of both groups injured. Police rushed to the spot and brought the situation under control with baton charges and by firing blank shots. The injured were sent to Comilla Sadar Hospital while many received primary treatment. At one stage of the clash, inhabitants of Hatimara village set 35 shops on fire and vandalised 30 more.

On receiving this information, firefighters from Laksam and Sonamuri upazilas rushed to the spot and doused the fire. Traders claimed that valuables worth about Tk2 crores were gutted in the fire. The firefighter units managed to extinguish the fire by around 3am. Local people said clashes over trivial matters have become a common phenomenon at Natherpetua Bazar. They urged the district administration to set up a police out post in a bid to avoid frequent clashes.

Md Harun-or-Rashid, officer-incharge of Monohorganj Sadar police station, said additional police have been deployed to the locality to avoid any untoward incidents. Meanwhile, at least 20 people, including three women were injured following a clash between two rival groups in Baralidah village under Sripur upazila, Magura. Police said the clash broke out in the morning between the two rival groups of villagers over irrigation of crop fields in the area. l

Jasad leader shot dead in Kushtia Correspondent, n Our Kushtia

A boat race was held in Dharmasagar in Comilla on the occasion of Pahela Baishakh, the first day of Bangla New Year


A local leader of Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (Jasad) was shot to death by miscreants in Mirpur upazila of Kushtia on Monday, the first day of the Bangla New Year. The deceased was identified as Imsail Hossain Panjer, 56, former vice-president of the Mirpur upazila unit of Jasad. An Awami League leader Shafiqul Islam, 50, was also injured in the attack. He is the general secretary of the ward9 unit Awami League of Poradah union of the upazila. Mitul, son of the deceased, said a gang of three

miscreants riding a motorbike opened fire on Panjer and Shafiqul in the morning while they were taking tea at Abdur Rashid’s shop in Ahmedpur Bazar after a morning walk, leaving them injured. They were then rushed to Kushtia General Hospital where doctors declared Panjer dead. Critically injured Shafiqul is still receiving treatment at the hospital. Panjer, who was accused in several cases, including for murder, was released from jail on bail recently. A case was filed with the Mirpur police station, accusing 13 people yesterday. l

The Hindu devotees of Majapara village in Lalmonirhat Sadar upazila celebrated Charak puja on Monday. A good number of devotees joined the event, a traditional Bengali festival which is celebrated mainly on the occasion of Chaitra Sangkranti. Rajani Kanta Roy, general secretary of the puja celebration committee, said those of the Hindu persuasion celebrate Charak puja on the last day of the Bangla month Chaitra. “The devotees believe that the festival brings prosperity by eliminating the sorrows and suffering of the previous year,” he said. During the puja, one of the devotees dances while wearing a mask depicting the “Goddess Kali” and plays “human skeleton.” A good number of people from the Hindu and Muslim communities, crowded around watching the human skeleton game. – Our Correspondent

Man held for trafficking girl in Lalmonirhaat

A man was arrested on Monday for allegedly trafficking a girl from Chandanpat village of Kamlbari union under Aditmari upazila, Lalmonirhat district. The arrested was identified as Usuf Ali, son of late Abdul Motaleb of Chandanpat village in the upazila. Police said Usuf took a girl of a poor family claiming to get her household work with an attractive wage in the capital six months back. But he sold the girl to one Hasi Begum in Narayanganj who forced her to work as a sex worker. “I was tortured physically when I refused the proposal of the woman,” the victim said. “I managed to flee from her clutches after six months,” she added. The victim’s father said: “Usuf assured me that my daughter was in an officer’s house and that she would come back after earning a handsome figure of money.” SI Shamiul Islam said: “The victim fled from Narayaganj on Sunday morning and she filed a case that night.” – Our Correspondent

Two houses were burnt in a fire in the Thanapara area of Khoksa upazila, yesterday noon. Sources at Khoksa Fire Service and Civil Defence said the blaze originated from kitchen of Lalto Master and soon spread, leaving two houses in ashes. Later, a team from the station rushed to the spot and doused the blaze. The fire caused damages of about Tk3 lakh. – Our Correspondent

Missing child’s body found in Chandpur river

50 hurt in clash over collecting gambling money n Our Correspondent, Comilla

Hindu devotees celebrate Charak puja

Two houses burnt down in Kushtia

The photo taken from Amarkanda border in Panchagarh yesterday shows that Bangladeshis talk to their relatives living in India

another village of Shiliguri in India to meet her sister Anjuman Smritee, an inhabitant of Panchagarh town. Yasin Ali came from Birganj to meet with her daughter and son-in-law. “Following the 1947 partition, relatives of many people became residents of the different countries on either sides of the border. I am one of them,”

A shop was damaged at Kakoli Market in Shaheed Bulbul Road area of the town as miscreants set off a bomb on Monday night while the people were preparing to celebrate the Bangla new near. Witnesses said locals heard the sound of a powerful explosion when two unknown miscreants from a motorcycle threw a bomb at the Habib Watch Co. in the market around 7:45pm. No casualties were reported. Muhibul Islam, additional super of police confirmed the incident. The reason behind the explosion remains unknown, he said. – Our Correspondent

Members of the Coast Guard recovered the body of a seven-year-old girl from the Dakatia River yesterday, 14 hours after she went missing. The deceased, Mim, was the daughter of Md Khalilur Rahman, of Purba Sriramdi of the district town, and was a class-II student of a local primary school. Chandpur Fire Service and Civil Defence Station master Faridul Islam Manir said Mim slipped into the river on Monday afternoon while she was roaming around with one of her relatives on the occasion of Pahela Boishakha and had remained missing since. In the morning, – Our Correspondent

LEGAL NOTICE In the Supreme Court of Bangladesh High Court Division (Statutory Original Jurisdiction)

Company Matter No. 121 of 2014 Mrs Shanti Bala Basak and others -versusEastern Produce Limited and others

.............Petitioners. .........Respondents.

Notice is hereby given for all concerned that a petition u/s 43 of the Companies Act, 1994 for rectification of Share Register of “EASTERN PRODUCE LTD”, was filed and moved before the High Court Division of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of Bangladesh. After preliminary hearing Mr. Justice Md. Rezaul Hasan was pleased to admit the petition on 07-04-2014 and directed to post the matter in the daily cause list on 06-05-2014 for appearance. If anyone is interested to oppose the said petition may appear in person or through an Advocate before the Hon’ble Court and submit his statement. Copy of the petition may be obtained from the undersigned on payment of costs. Mohammad Bakir Uddin Bhuiyan, Advocate, Supreme Court of Bangladesh 32/1, Circular Road, Dhanmondi, Dhaka-1205 Mob: 01711-709194


Long Form

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


History wars : Zia and BNP’s future The reactions arising from the claims made by Khaleda Zia and Tarique Rahman regarding the role of Ziaur Rahman in the war of independence, demands more in depth analysis


n Rumi Ahmed he validity of the claims of opposition leader Khaleda Zia and her son Tarique Rahman, that late Ziaur Rahman was indeed the first leader of resistance of independent Bangladesh against the genocidal aggression of Pakistan’s mighty military, has been discussed in the op-ed page of Dhaka Tribune last week. As mentioned there, the discussion about the validity of the claims is quite straight forward and based on simple, irrefutable facts. However, the analysis of the reactions, especially of the reactions of present day BNP supporters, demand more in depth analysis - as it explains, to a great extent, the current state of BNP politics and its future. Awami League’s (which includes Awami League leadership, Awami League block intellectuals and media commentators) response has been swift, overwhelming and dismissive. Starting from the top leaders to their minion facebook users, each one had to say something – decrying “unbelievable and ludicrous claim of Tarique and Khaleda Zia’s brazen attempt at re-writing history.”

To the generations who grew up after Zia’s death, irrespective of whichever of the above mentioned groups they fall into, Zia is an unknown character

However, in doing so, no “evidence was martialed,” no “facts were presented” to discredit the claim of Mr Tarique Rahman. Rather, in typical Awami League style, a case was lodged in the court to force-feed an approved narrative of the airbrushed history. Awami League’s reaction is not surprising – at the root of their revival 21 years after they lost power, due to poor governance from 72-75, is their clever play of history and young peoples’ nationalistic instinct and bloodlust for vengeance. Using history as a political tool, making larger than life hallowed figures out of flesh and bone human leaders and inciting communalistic bloodlust by drawing an artificial line to separate “us and them,” have been the hallmark of Awami League politics of the last three decades and this politics has paid off Awami League enormously. So now, if the other party tries to, albeit half-heartedly and in the weakest possible way, play the same game, Awami League certainly will have reasons to get alarmed and lash back with its full force. However, the reaction from BNP supporters may have been very puzzling to political commentators not much attuned to the current state of BNP. Overall, BNP supporters’ reaction to the Zia presidency issue is fairly

muted. Either they could not care less about it or they indeed got annoyed at this “useless” exercise of digging the past. BNP policy makers should take note of the reaction, as this reaction may have great impact on future plans of BNP and the impact may be a devastating one. If the reaction is examined in detail, the following pattern will emerge. A small core group of active BNP activists cheered the revelation and was ready to defend this newly focused historical fact. However, it is not clear whether this group is standing behind the fact out of their respect for Zia or for the truth, or whether they are simply defending the claim because Tarique Rahman made this assertion. It is quite plausible that this group cheered the announcement more because Mr Rahman made this assertion. This group comprises core Tarique Rahman loyalists and will defend anything Mr Rahman says. A second, much bigger and more heterogeneous group is not excited about BNP’s half-hearted efforts at fighting back in history wars at all. This group’s reaction emanates from their core reasoning and passion behind supporting BNP in 2014. A big number of this group had nothing to do with BNP; in fact, they may not have been a BNP voter as late as 2008. They are gathering behind BNP because being reasonable and intelligent people, they have concluded that currently, BNP is the only viable answer to what they perceive as Awami League fascism. Some in this group, who are already tired of Awami League’s politics with history, do not have the appetite for BNP to resort to the same 1971 centric politics of the past. As a result of three decades of constant feeding of airbrushed history – a large portion belonging to the second heterogeneous group developed an apologetic attitude towards 1971, Zia and a tendency of appeasement of the Awami League narrative of the history. They are not passionate enough to fight for upholding Ziaur Rahman’s rightful role in our history and present day discourse. One other component of this second group is the Islamic nationalists. They are more driven by their anti-secular, anti-India passion and are more passionate about Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan than Ziaur Rahman. They are more hateful towards secular figures in Bangladesh or fearful of “Indian hegemony” than they are passionate about Zia’s politics of synthesis. The third major component of the BNP support base is the so called Islamists. This is also a loose heterogeneous collection of Jamaat supporters, Hefazat-e-Islam sympathisers and global caliphate believers who are supporting BNP as the lesser of two evils. For this group, Zia is hailed for his personal honesty and his role in making space for Islam in the constitution. But Zia, by no means, is the hero or idol of these groups. Certain factions of this group even despise Zia for his role in 1971 - Zia’s refusal to allow registration for Jamaat and Zia’s heavy-handed crushing of Islamic revival attempts led by Air Vice Marshall MA Tayeb or Colonel Faruq. To the generations who grew up after Zia’s death, irrespective of which-


ever of the above mentioned groups they fall into, Zia is an unknown character. This is due to BNP’s pathetic historical failure to project Zia appropriately and the relentless negative campaign on Zia by the Awami League media-political clique. Furthermore, lost and silenced among the above mentioned groups are the Zia loyalists. This small remnant of Zia admirers are either totally sidelined or ignored by loud Tarique Rahman followers, Islamists or apologetic Awami League appeasers. In many cases, within present day BNP circles, the relentless promoters of Zia are often ridiculed as hopeless Zia worshippers – backward looking history huggers. The above description of the BNP support base clearly shows that unlike Awami League activists, young and old, who are united and motivated in their passion about their political leader Bangabandhu – his patriarch role to this nation and his leadership in our war of independence, BNP activists do not have a central idol figure for whom they are passionate and unified. BNP has not created any father figure for its activists, it has done nothing to keep the memory of Zia fresh in the minds of its activists. Unlike BNP activists of the 80s, when Zia and his 1971 role were still sharp in memory,

BNP policymakers should take note of the muted reaction of the BNP supporters as this reaction may have great impact on the future plans of BNP

BNP activists of this decade do not have any nationalistic bravado to be inspired with. Perhaps this is the reason, despite being a massive political party with widespread grassroots organisation, despite supposedly historical low ap-

upazilla local government elections. Despite unbelievable repression and wrongdoings of the government, BNP has failed to bring the youth out in the streets and stage their defiance. BNP needs to understand why it is failing to excite its activists so

The description of the BNP support base clearly shows that unlike Awami League activists, young and old, BNP activists do not have a central idol figure for whom they are passionate and unified

proval rating of PM Hasina and Awami League and despite its huge popular support, BNP has been an utter failure in materialising this favourable public mindset into tangible street movements or election campaigns. It could not stop the government from holding the sham national election and mount any resistance in curbing the blatant rigging during


miserably. A party cannot build an army of selfless street fighters without positive reinforcement of an idol father figure. Without the memory of Zia and his pragmatic politics of synthesis, BNP is now a loose collection of people of varying negative sentiments like antisecularism, anti-India sentiment or other competing interests. Zia’s bravado in 1971, Zia’s pragmatic politics of synthesis do not have much space here. That’s why there is a general lack of excitement about Zia’s newly defined role in history. This may be a major reason why there is this terrible inertia among its activists that is preventing BNP from launching an all-out decisive movement. And that is exactly why BNP needs Ziaur Rahman again and simultaneously, it needs Khaleda Zia of the 80s. Otherwise, with Tarique Rahman’s motorbike riding followers, anti-Hasina 1971 apologetics, anti-secular, anti-India and Islamists – BNP will not be able to go too far from where they are now. To infuse enthusiasm and passion among its loose collection of seasonal silent supporters and voters, as well as in the upcoming generations, BNP has no better alternative than reviving the brand Zia. And the lukewarm reaction among BNP supporters to Mrs Zia’s and Mr Tarique Rahman’s shots at history wars makes a case that they need to do it more often and more efficiently. l Rumi Ahmed is a political commentator and blogger.




Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Iran asks for UN committee meeting on US ban on envoy n Reuters, UN Iran requested a special meeting of a UN committee on the United States’ refusal to grant a visa to Tehran’s new UN ambassador appointee, describing the decision as a dangerous precedent that could harm international diplomacy. The United States said on Friday it would not grant a visa to Hamid Abutalebi because of his links to the 19791981 Tehran hostage crisis when radical Iranian students seized the US Embassy and held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days. Abutalebi has said that he acted only as a translator. “This decision of the US government has indeed negative implications for multilateral diplomacy and will create a dangerous precedence and affect adversely the work of intergovernmental organizations and activities of their Member-States,” Iran’s Deputy UN Ambassador Hossein Dehghani wrote to the UN Committee on Relations with the Host Country.

Twitter agrees to close some Turkish accounts n Reuters, Istanbul Twitter (TWTR.N) will close some accounts in Turkey but will not for now set up an office there as the government wants, a senior Turkish official said after talks over a dispute which saw the government ban the site for two weeks. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s government blocked Twitter and YouTube (GOOGL.O) in March, drawing international condemnation, after audio recordings, purportedly showing corruption in his inner circle, were leaked on their sites. The Twitter block was lifted 11 days ago after the constitutional court ruled that it breached freedom of expression, a decision Erdogan has since said was wrong and should be overturned. YouTube remains blocked in Turkey. But there was no immediate deal to open a Twitter office in Turkey or for it to pay Turkish tax, two of Ankara’s key requests. l

Syria to announce presidential vote date next week n AFP, Damascus The speaker of Syria’s parliament will next week announce the date of the country’s presidential election, expected to be held around June despite the conflict, Al-Watan newspaper reported. The daily, which is close to the government, said Mohamed Jihad Lahham would make the announcement next week, but gave no details on the date for the vote. President Bashar al-Assad, who succeeded his father Hafez in the post in 2000, will end his seven-year term on July 17. In the past, the country’s head of state has been chosen by referendum, but a new constitution passed in 2012 mandates presidential elections for the first time. Assad has all but officially said he will stand again, and the rules for competing against him will prevent any of the country’s main opposition figures in exile from standing. l

“It requires to be well addressed in the Committee on Relations with the Host Country. The Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran requests that the committee addresses this issue in an extraordinary and urgent manner,” he said. Under a 1947 “headquarters agreement,” the United States is generally required to allow access to the United Nations for foreign diplomats. But Washington says it can deny visas for “security, terrorism, and foreign policy” reasons. A 1947 Joint Resolution of Congress said nothing should be seen as “diminishing, abridging, or weakening the right of the United States to safeguard its own security and completely control the entrance of aliens” into any part of the United States aside from the UN headquarters. Tehran has steadfastly stuck by its choice for UN ambassador, describing Abutalebi as a seasoned diplomat and is not known as a hardliner or for having staunch anti-Western views. l

Iraq shuts infamous Abu Ghraib prison n AFP, Baghdad Iraq has closed Abu Ghraib prison, made infamous by Saddam Hussein’s regime and US forces, due to security concerns following a mass breakout last year, the justice ministry said yesterday. The country is suffering a protracted surge in violence that has claimed more than 2,550 lives so far this year, and the area west of Baghdad where the prison is located is particularly insecure. “The ministry of justice announced the complete closure of Baghdad Central Prison, previously (known as) ‘Abu Ghraib,’ and the removal of the inmates in cooperation with the ministries of defence and justice,” it said in an online statement. The statement quoted Justice Minister Hassan al-Shammari as saying that 2,400 inmates arrested or sentenced for terrorism-related offences have been transferred to other facilities in central and northern Iraq. “The ministry took this decision as part of precautionary measures related to the security of prisons,” Shammari said, adding that Abu Ghraib prison is “in a hot area.” It was not immediately clear whether the closure was temporary or final. The prison is located between Baghdad and the city of Fallujah, which has been held by anti-government fighters since early January. l

An Iraqi shouts anti-US slogans prior to a joint, Shiite and Sunni, Friday midday prayer outside the Abu Ghraib prison, west of Baghdad, 24 September 2004

Egypt court bans Ukraine crackdown on Brotherhood from polls separatists starts slow n AFP, Cairo A court yesterday banned members of the Muslim Brotherhood, a movement listed as a “terrorist group”, from running in Egypt’s upcoming elections, a lawyer and state media said. Egypt’s military-installed authorities are engaged in a deadly crackdown against the Islamist movement, which swept all elections in Egypt since the fall of former president Hosni Mubarak in 2011. A court in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria ordered authorities to bar any candidacies from Brotherhood members or former members in presidential and parliamentary elections. The ruling came after an anti-Brotherhood group filed a petition calling for the ban. “It is illogical to receive such can-

didacies after the government designated the Brotherhood a terrorist organisation,” Tareq Mahmoud, a lawyer from the group told AFP. “We submitted videos, photos and documents showing terrorist acts carried out by the Muslim Brotherhood, which is why it is illogical that they lead the country or represent its people in elections.” In December, the authorities blacklisted the Muslim Brotherhood as a “terrorist group” after blaming it for a deadly bombing north of Cairo. Egypt is to hold a May 26-27 presidential election, widely expected to be won by ex-army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, to be followed by parliamentary polls. Sisi is riding a wave of popularity after he ousted Egypt’s Islamist president Mohamed Morsi last July. Morsi belongs to the Brotherhood. l

n Reuters, Kiev/Slaviansk, Ukraine Russia declared Ukraine on the brink of civil war yesterday as Kiev said an “anti-terrorist operation” against pro-Moscow separatists was underway, though the crackdown got off to a slow start. Twenty-four hours after an Ukrainian ultimatum expired for the separatists to lay down their arms, witnesses reported no signs yet that Kiev forces were ready to storm state buildings in the Russian-speaking east that the rebels have occupied. Police said separatists had voluntarily surrendered the police headquarters in the city of Kramatorsk. Interim president Oleksander Turchinov insisted the operation had started in the eastern Donetsk region, although it would happen in stages and “in a considered way.”

Amidst the deepest East-West crisis since the Cold War, the leaders of Russia and the United States called on each other to do all in their power to avoid further bloodshed. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev gave a gloomy assessment after at least two people died on Sunday when Kiev unsuccessfully tried to regain control in Slaviansk, one of about 10 towns and cities where the separatists have seized buildings. “Blood has once again been spilt in Ukraine. The country is on the brink of civil war,” he said on his Facebook page. Turchinov said the offensive, which he first announced on Sunday, was finally underway. “The anti-terrorist operation began during the night in the north of Donetsk region. On Tuesday morning a Reuters correspondent in Slaviansk had heard no shots or explosions in the town. l

Russia tests Obama’s ability to stop its advances n AP, Washington

With the White House asserting that Russia is stoking instability in eastern Ukraine, President Barack Obama is once again faced with the complicated reality of following through on his tough warnings against overseas provocations. Obama has vowed repeatedly to enact biting sanctions against Russia’s vital economic sectors if the Kremlin tries to replicate its actions in Crimea, the peninsula it annexed from Ukraine, elsewhere in the former Soviet republic. Despite those warnings, Russian President Vladimir Putin appears to be testing Obama’s limits, instigating protests in eastern Ukraine, the White House says, and massing tens of thousands of troops on the border, but so far stopping short of a full-scale military incursion. “They have been willing to do things to provoke the situation that no one anticipated,” Matthew Rojansky, a Russia analyst at the Wilson Center, said of Russia. “It’s such a high-stakes,

high-risk situation, and here they are right in the middle of it.” For Obama, the US response to the chaos in Ukraine has become more than a test of his ability to stop Russia’s advances. It’s also being viewed through the prism of his decision last summer to back away from his threat to launch a military strike when Syria crossed his chemical weapons “red line” — a decision that has fed into a narrative pushed by Obama’s critics that the president talks tough, but doesn’t follow through. While there has been no talk of “red lines” when dealing with Putin, Obama has said repeatedly that the Kremlin’s advances into eastern Ukraine would be a “serious escalation” of the conflict that would warrant broad international sanctions on the Russian economy. But perhaps trying to avoid another Syria scenario, White House officials have carefully avoided defining what exactly would meet Obama’s definition of a “serious escalation,” even as they make clear that they believe Russia is fomenting the violence in cities through-

out Ukraine’s vital industrial east. “We are actively evaluating what is happening in eastern Ukraine, what actions Russia has taken, what transgressions they’ve engaged in,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said Monday. “And we are working with our partners and assessing for ourselves what response we may choose.” As with the situation in Syria, Obama faces few good options as he watches Russia destabilize Ukraine, the former Soviet republic that has sought greater ties with Europe. There’s little appetite in either the US or Europe for direct military action, and the White House said Monday it was not actively considering sending Ukraine lethal assistance. That’s left Obama and his international partners largely reliant on economic and diplomatic retaliation. The president has wielded some of his available options since the situation in Ukraine devolved in late February, but those actions so far have had little success in stopping Russian advances. Obama’s initial warning that Putin

would face “costs” if he pressed into Crimea was largely brushed aside by the Russian leader, who went so far as to formally annex the peninsula from Ukraine. Economic sanctions on several of Putin’s closest associates followed, as did Russia’s suspension from the exclusive Group of Eight economic forum, but neither appears to have discouraged Moscow from making a play for eastern Ukraine. With tens of thousands of troops massed on Russia’s border with eastern Ukraine, Obama is facing calls from some Republicans to take tougher action now. Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, sent Obama a letter over the weekend calling on the administration to immediately ratchet up economic penalties against Moscow. “Rather than wait for a Russian invasion of eastern Ukraine to implement additional sanctions, which seems to be US policy at the moment, we must take action now that will prevent this worst-case scenario before it becomes a reality,” Corker wrote. l


Death toll in Ebola outbreak rises to 121

n AP, Dakar, Senegal An outbreak of Ebola in West Africa has been linked to the deaths of more than 120 people, according to the latest World Health Organization count. There is no vaccine and no cure for the deadly virus, and its appearance in West Africa, far from its usual sites in Central and East Africa, has caused some panic. Health workers are trying to contain its spread, tracking down anyone with whom the sick have had contact. Mali announced Tuesday that samples from all its suspected cases had tested negative for the disease. Malian Health Minister Ousmane Kone said that the country had sent out 10 samples for testing at labs in the United States and Senegal, and all were declared negative for Ebola. There are no other known suspected cases in the country. Officials have said the current outbreak could last months. l

Berlusconi ordered to do community service n AFP, Rome An Italian court yesterday ordered former prime minister andbnaire tycoon Silvio Berlusconi to do a year of community service in an old person’s home in a symbolic but humiliating punishment for tax fraud. The flamboyant 77-year-old media magnate will have to work at the centre “one day a week and for not less than four hours,” Milan judge Pasquale Nobile De Santis said in his ruling published by Italian media. The ANSA news agency identified the centre as the Fondazione Sacra Famiglia – a Church-run centre for disabled and elderly people with 2,000 patients in Cesano Boscone, a southwestern outskirt of Milan. The court in Milan said Berlusconi would have to stay in the Lombardy region most of the week but would be granted special dispensation to travel to Rome between Tuesdays and Thursdays for political engagements. l

Washington Post, Guardian win Pulitzers for NSA leaks

‘Scottish independence could weaken Britain’

The Washington Post and The Guardian won the Pulitzer Prize in public service for revealing the US government’s sweeping surveillance programs in a blockbuster series of stories based on secret documents supplied by NSA leaker Edward Snowden. The Pulitzer for breaking news was awarded to The Boston Globe for its “exhaustive and empathetic” coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing and the manhunt that followed. Two of the nation’s biggest and most distinguished newspapers, The Post and The New York Times, won two Pulitzers each, while the other awards were scattered among a variety of publications large and small. The stories about the National Security Agency’s spy programs and the resulting furor led President Barack Obama to impose limits on the surveillance. l

n Reuters, London

n AP, New York

A child with her face painted with the Scottish flag looks on as pro-independence supporters gather for a rally in Edinburgh on September 21, 2013. Voting for Scottish independence is ‘common sense’ AFP

Scottish independence would weaken Britain’s maritime defences by splitting up bases, infrastructure and staff, the country’s navy chief said, the first serving military boss to give a view on the consequences if Scots vote to break away in September. Writing in the Daily Telegraph newspaper yesterday, Admiral George Zambellas said the nations that remained in the United Kingdom would cope eventually if Scotland left the three-centuries-old union, but Scotland would feel a “deeper impact.” Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond faces increased pressure over defence issues in an apparently choreographed campaign this week ahead of the independence referendum scheduled for September 18. On Sunday defence and aerospace

industries cautioned Scotland could lose its competitive edge because of uncertainty over the future of the currency and taxation.. A group of 12 retired military chiefs on Monday said moving to evict the nuclear submarine base from the Clyde River in the event of a “yes” vote would costbns of pounds, cut thousands of jobs and create international resentment. Defence Minister Philip Hammond will say in a speech to an electronics company in Scotland on Tuesday that shared defence forces provide “security and peace of mind” for the people of Britain and Scotland’s bond with the rest of the United Kingdom is “precious.” He will also talk about the complexity of what he calls “protracted” negotiations on the future of nuclear-armed submarines should Scotland vote for independence. l




Wednesday, April 16, 2014

An election of quid, dope, booze Indian election officials seize $36m in cash, 10m litres of liquor, 100kg heroin

Sikkimese voters queue to cast their ballot at a polling station in Gangtok, the capital of the northern state of Sikkim, on April 12, during the elections dedicated to the Lok Sabha and the Sikkim Assembly elections AFP

n Reuters, New Delhi Indian election officials have seized a record $36m dollars of cash concealed in cars, private planes and even ambulances that they say was destined to buy off voters and pay for expenses over and above the spending limit. Opinion polls show the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies coming to power thanks to the popularity of Hindu nationalist leader Narendra Modi and widespread disgust with the Congress party, whose last years in power have been dogged by corruption scandals and a sharp economic slowdown. Despite the dramatic political change it could bring, the 2014 election would appear to be the same grubby game of cash-for-votes that has marred previous ballots in the world’s largest democracy, only this time on a far bigger scale. Cash seized in the three weeks since the staggered election was announced has already surpassed the 1.9bn rupees

for the whole of the 2009 ballot period, the commission said. Voting in this year’s election began on April 7 and winds up on May 12. The Election Commission has also recovered 100 kg (220 lb) of heroin, most of it in the northern state of Punjab that has long been a transit point for drugs from Afghanistan, but is now itself India’s heaviest consuming opium state. More than 10 million liters of liquor have been seized, too, over the past 20 days as politicians pour resources into an election that will cost an estimated $5bn by the time it ends, second only to the last US presidential election. “The seizures that we have made of cash, liquor and drugs are far bigger than we had anticipated. The scale of the problem is immense,” P.K. Dash, who leads the expenditure monitoring effort at the independent Election Commission, told Reuters. He attributed the increase to the growing number of business leaders getting involved in politics, as Asia’s third-largest economy gears up for an

expected second generation of reforms to restore rapid growth. “A couple of elections ago it was not such a game of money,” Dash said. “Now you have business people in politics, whereas earlier they were involved in managing their empires.”

Spending goes underground

Political funding remains opaque in India, with political parties refusing to disclose fully their sources of finance. State funding has been mooted in the past to stop illicit spending, but the idea has never taken off. Critics say a first-past-the-post system for electing lawmakers means the pressure on candidates to outspend their rivals is intense. And in a country where nearly a third of the population of 1.2bn is estimated to live on less than $1 a day, relatively little money can go a long way. With a legal spending limit of 7m rupees ($116,200) for each parliamentary seat at stake, much of the money being spent by candidates has

been driven underground. They splash out on political rallies, luring voters and party workers with free meals, cash in envelopes, plastic pouches of alcohol and - in the case of the youth of Punjab - small black balls of opium paste that they drink with tea. Dash said his team had found cash in the dashboards of cars, liquor in milk vans and synthetic drugs in trucks carrying vegetables. One man caught with 40m rupees in a small car at a checkpoint in the northern town of Ghaziabad three days before polling there said he was a businessman. But he could not explain what his business was and he seemed to have no source of income. Police filed a case against him, one of 9,000 lodged across the country since the campaign began. In two southern states, vans carrying banknotes for bank ATMs were discovered with sacks of unaccounted-for additional money. Cash was also found in an ambulance in Odisha after a policeman noticed a suspiciously high number of the vehicles on the move in a remote corner of the eastern state. To escape detection, politicians are handing out coupons to voters that they can use to get free alcohol and food. In Punjab, the commission has seized cartons of pink coupons that voters can exchange for a free chicken, blue coupons for local liquor and green ones for branded spirits.

Rolling pin brigade

More worrying is the distribution of drugs that is worsening an already serious problem in Punjab. Besides heroin smuggled from over the border with Pakistan, record seizures of synthetic drugs have been made in the past month, the state’s additional electoral officer Raminder Singh said. “It is contraband goods. You can’t say for sure for what purpose, (but) the fact that it has been caught during the election period makes it suspect,” said Singh. Anita Sharma, an architect-turned-civil rights activist who is leading a campaign against drug abuse in elections in Punjab, said political workers hand out capsules of homemade drugs to youths who campaign for a candidate. l


Vikas Mahante (C), a Narendra Modi lookalike

Modi’s double in demand in Indian election n AFP, Mumbai A Mumbai steel manufacturer is finding himself much in demand during India’s election season thanks to his uncanny resemblance to prime ministerial frontrunner Narendra Modi. Sporting a grey-white beard, glasses and the politician’s trademark shirt and waistcoat, Vikas Mahante is now a regular sight on the campaign trail with right-wing candidates in the financial capital who are keen to cash in on Modi’s popularity. Mahante, 52, keeps a portfolio at home of his various Modi outfits, scours YouTube


for videos of the political leader, and is often stopped on the street for photographs – yet he does not charge for his services. “I am not doing this for any party. I am only doing it for Mr Modi, because I want to make my contribution in his efforts to become PM,” he told AFP. “I have seen volunteers and people start emanating energy after meeting me, it is like they have just met the real Modi.” As well as campaigning with Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Mahante has come in useful for the regional hardline Shiv Sena party. l

Sonia in TV appeal to stop ‘divisive’ BJP n Reuters, New Delhi Sonia Gandhi, president of India’s ruling Congress party, has issued a rare direct appeal to the nation not to return an opposition she said was motivated by “hatred and falsehood” in the country’s general election. The three-minute TV address was aired at prime time on Hindi-language channels just as an opinion poll showed for the first time that an alliance led by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) could win an outright majority. “Their vision, clouded with hatred and falsehood, their ideology, divisive

and autocratic, will drive us to ... ruination,” the Italian-born widow of 1980s prime minister Rajiv Gandhi said in the clip broadcast on Monday night. Gandhi, 67, has taken centre stage in a bid to avert what polls predict will be the worst-ever election defeat for Congress, after a weak campaign led by her son and political heir apparent, Rahul. The BJP dismissed the address as “a farewell speech given in desperation,” driving home an advantage it has reaped from recent accounts by former government insiders that Sonia Gandhi had kept Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on a tight leash. l

Undersea drone hunt for Malaysian plane may take two months n Reuters, Sydney/Perth A US Navy underwater drone sent to search for a missing Malaysian jetliner on the floor of the Indian Ocean could take up to two months to scour a 600 sq km area where the plane is believed to have sunk, US search authorities said yesterday. The prediction coincided with the end to the abbreviated first mission by the Bluefin-21 autonomous underwater vehicle six hours into what was meant to be a 16-hour operation on Monday after it exceeded its 4.5 km (14,750 feet) depth limit and was automatically returned to the surface. The introduction of the undersea drone marks a new slower paced phase in the search for Malaysia Airlines MH370 which disappeared on March 8 and is presumed to have crashed thousands of km (miles) off course with the loss of all 239 people on board. Authorities, who soon plan to scale back the air and surface search, are confident they know the approximate position of wreckage of the Boeing 777,

some 1,550 km (960 miles) northwest of Perth, and are moving ahead on the basis of four acoustic signals they believe are from its black box recorders. But having not heard a “ping” for almost a week and with the batteries on the locator beacons two weeks past their 30-day expected life, the slow-moving “autonomous underwater vehicle” was launched on Monday to try and locate wreckage. “The AUV takes six times longer to cover the same area as the towed pinger locator. It is estimated that it will take the AUV anywhere from six weeks to two months to scan the entire search area,” Lt. JG Daniel S. Marciniak, a spokesman for the US Seventh Fleet, said. From its aborted first mission, the Bluefin-21 produced six hours of data which authorities analyzed to find no objects of interest, Marciniak added. The drone was expected to embark on its second search mission late yesterday. The deep sea area now being searched, the Zenith Plateau, has never been mapped in detail because it is not in any country’s economic zone. l

Ageing Japan population shrinks again n AFP, Tokyo

Top) Tourists splash water at elephants as people celebrate ahead of the Songkran Festival for the Thai New Year with water battles in Ayutthaya province. The Thai New Year started on April 13. Left) Indian Sikh pilgrims gesture as they arrive at Wagah Railway Station in Wagah on April 10, 2014, to celebrate the three-day Baisakhi, or the Sikh New Year. Right) A Nepalese Hindu devotee takes part in Bisket Jatra, a festival held in celebration of the Nepalese New Year in Bhaktapur, some 12 kms east of Kathmandu AFP

Japan’s population has shrunk for the third year running, with the elderly making up a quarter of the total for the first time, government data showed yesterday. The number of people in the world’s third largest economy dropped by 0.17% or 217,000 people, to 127,298,000 as of October 1 last year, the data said. This figure includes long-staying foreigners. The number of people aged 65 or over rose by 1.1 million to 31.9 million, accounting for 25.1% of the population, it said. With its low birthrate and long life

expectancy, Japan is rapidly greying and already has one of the world’s highest proportions of elderly people. The ageing population is a headache for policymakers who are faced with trying to ensure an ever-dwindling pool of workers can pay for the growing number of pensioners. The country has very little immigration. Any suggestion of opening its borders to young workers who could help plug the population gap provokes strong reactions among the public. The proportion of people aged 65 or over is forecast to reach nearly 40% of the population in 2060, the government has warned. l




Letters to

Personal views no cause for suspension


he suspension of a professor of the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University (BSMRAU), for allegedly making derogatory comments about the prime minister, bodes ill for the state of freedom of expression in our country. Undue influence of politics is already a big problem in our public universities. It undermines proper governance and leads to mismanagement in our educational institutions. Suspending a professor for his alleged political opinions adds a frightful dimension to the status quo. It is concerning that the suspension for the alleged remarks, which were made in a private moment, came about after disruptive protests by students and teachers at the university last week demanding the professor’s removal. The lecturer denies making derogatory remarks about the PM and has claimed that he is being victimised for his private political views. Even if the allegations being made are true, this should not provide sufficient grounds for suspension. Professors at public universities, are like any other government employee entitled to their own political opinions and the right to express them. They should only be penalised if they fail to perform their job duties properly. The university must show that this suspension was invoked for just cause, relating to job performance and not to placate protestors seeking the removal of a professor at the university. If just cause cannot be demonstrated, he should be reinstated to his post. Otherwise, this incident sets a dangerous precedent which can only curtail freedom of expression in our public institutions.

This incident sets a dangerous precedent which can only curtail freedom of expression in public institutions

Cut subsidies to fossil fuels


he government is aiming to increase the total proportion of power generation from renewable sources to 10% by 2020. As part of a policy review, the State Minister of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources has announced plans for subsidies to help the country’s renewable energy sector to flourish, with two separate schemes for renewable production in urban and rural areas. There is already a healthy level of interest in off grid power generation in rural areas, and new guidelines on the use of land for the installation of solar power plants are certainly welcome. However, subsidies for renewable energy should only be adopted as part of a joined up approach to energy policy. It does not make sense to spend scarce funds on renewable subsidies, if at the same time a large proportion of taxpayer funds are also used to subsidise fossil fuels. It is estimated that a quarter of the government’s budget is presently spent on subsidies and soft loans, mostly for energy. Most of these subsides are for non-renewable fossil fuels, including gas and diesel for private vehicles. These subsidies are neither desirable as they encourage waste, nor sustainable as they are tied to rising international energy prices for fossil fuels. Cutting these inefficient subsidies for fuel and power should be the first step. This would in itself create more incentive for investment in renewable power generation. It would also free up taxpayer funds to support further tax and import incentives to encourage investors in the renewable energy sector.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

the Editor


The negligible role of government in dissuading political killings April 14 During the Language Movement and Liberation War, the students played a praiseworthy role to ensure our freedom. According to some intelligentsia, had student politics not been introduced, we would not be walking free today. However, we have also seen the evil side of politics. Let alone politicians, even students do politics for themselves, and perform illegal work for the sake of their parties. The most horrible thing is they don’t hesitate to kill their classmates! Two students of Agricultural University and Rajshahi University are the recent victims of political malice. Hundreds of students have been murdered so far because of political violence. Ironically, the government is still turning a blind eye on such heinous crimes. Student politics need not be banned but they should be placed under controlled observation. We implore to the government to assume exemplary initiatives. Mahmudul Islam

Modi-fying our strategy

April 7 Mephisto the negotiating table quick smart. Think about “A one-sided affair does not last long.” The last Singapore, a tiny dot of a nation surrounded by sentence says it all. behemoths like Malaysia and Indonesia, who won’t And if the past 40+ years’ history is any guide, bat an eyelid to gobble her up, but grudgingly they India is unlikely to reverse her policy towards her accept her as their equal partner primarily because smaller neighbour any time soon. Unless of course of the former’s economic pre-eminence. Bangladesh is inclined to think outside the box, something her policymakers are incapable of or un- nds willing to do. Mephisto: The list you have prepared to be done to As a small, densely packed and ethnically ho- surpass India is neither iconoclastic nor audacious, mogenous country, Bangladesh is well-placed to but simply a pipe dream. Good governance, rule of surpass India economically and that within a shorter law, functional polity etc sound very sweet as long period than one might think. Audacious and icono- as one is dreaming. clastic as this might sound, there are other nations who have done this. In our case, take for example, Lalon Shah simple things like good governance, a functional nds: The last time I checked, the per capita GDP of polity, rule of law, mass literacy, well-thought out in- Sri Lanka was double of India’s. So I guess to aspire vestment in infrastructure, financial sector reform, a for something similar or better for Bangladesh carefully crafted industry and trade policy, and voila! is a pipe dream to a naysayer, but it’s a dream You have nearly 10% economic growth. nonetheless to the multitude of true believers. Further, because of demographic quirk – the sizeable and growing internal market, for example, nds as a buffer against external shock – this rate can be Lalon Shah: Okay, best of luck. Let the soothsayers sustained for years. So, there you have it – within flourish with full measure. May the path of good a short period of time, Bangladesh emerging governance and rule of law get smoother by the as the jewel of South Asia, and India coming to blessing of God-sent soothsayers.

Taxi fare debates show folly of regulation in the wrong place April 7

The author is absolutely correct. Price regulation is now an antiquated idea. It only serves the interest of the so-called regulator not the consumers. CNG fare is a burning example.

Only solution is to create a market of intense competition so that prices automatically get fixed at the appropriate level. Anon

58 load-shedding free days in Dhaka! April 6

Chhagoler Dim Complete hogwash. I live in Bashundhara Residential Area, and this morning, there was no electricity. In fact, load-shedding has been pretty frequent all week. Ahnaf Saber We can also add dancing unicorns and pink coloured dragons while we’re at it.

3 Bangladeshis beaten to death in India

April 6 The three men attempted to rape a Tripuri girl in Tripura. That’s why the villagers gathered on the men and attacked them. Bitul Chakma

Examine Khaleda’s finances

April 8 So, unlocking Khaleda’s bank accounts is Hasina’s call, not the call of the NBR or finance ministry? I wonder why the prime minister has to deal with the account of an individual. Any hidden agenda? The prime minister should deal with more important issues than Khaleda’s finances. deep purple blue

Be Heard Write to us at: Dhaka Tribune FR Tower, 8/C Panthapath Sukrabad, Dhaka-1207 Email us at: Send us your Op-Ed articles: Visit our website: Come join our Facebook community:


New guidelines on the use of land for the installation of solar power plants are welcome



SUDOKU ACROSS 1 Domestic animals (4) 5 Copies (4) 10 Destructive insect (4) 11 Vote in favour (3) 12 Hooded serpent (5) 13 Obtain (3) 14 Entangle (5) 16 Builds (6) 18 Landed property (6) 21 Garden tool (5) 23 By way of (3) 24 Elevate (5) 26 Everybody (3) 27 Of the ear (4) 28 Swarm (4) 29 Snow vehicle (4)

DOWN 2 Easy walk (5) 3 Hill (3) 4 Commenced (7) 6 Court attendant (4) 7 Lace hole (6) 8 Become firm (3) 9 Summit (4) 15 States as true (7) 17 Spring back (6) 19 Vestment (5) 20 Level (4) 22 Wan (4) 23 Fermentation vessel (3) 25 Afflict (3)


How to solve Sudoku: Fill in the blank spaces with the numbers 1 – 9. Every row, column and 3 x 3 box must contain all nine digits with no number repeating.





Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Under the shades of grey


n Irfan Chowdhury o expect clear answers in our quandaries is to set ourselves up for disappointment. In many scenarios, we are likely to get the explanation: It is not quite that simple, black and white, it is much more complex and grey. But is it because explaining an issue, especially to non-specialist ordinary people, is hard? Or is it because the explanation involves intricate technical issues, or simply that there are so many factors, interdependencies, and variables involved that a straightforward answer would convolute the matter rather than clarifying the doubts? Posing such queries as what is good or bad, right or wrong, just or unjust, noble or ignoble, not only means setting oneself up for a futile exercise in philosophy, but it is also likely to produce an unsatisfactory result, even if the queries are instinctive.

Perhaps it is easier to take a position at one extreme or the other, though it may not always be satisfactory

Yet it is natural to be provoked by their inconclusiveness, and they remain topics for investigation – in fact, the subjects of much past and present post-doctoral research. The expedition must be interesting.   Consider our approach to human inequality. We (me included) pay a lot of lip service to overcoming it, but when it comes to demonstrating our belief through our actions, we fall terribly short. To be sure, our collective attitudes don’t support the promotion of equality. There are as many generous souls as there are shrewd competitors, and there is also an understanding that “perfect equality” is not only impractical, but also undesirable, probably unachievable. The subcontinent has made good

progress in obliterating the millennia-old prejudice (and pride and dominance) of a caste system, but there is plenty more to do. Social segregation – by caste, by income, by education, by sex, or in some instances by religion and ethnicity – is still very noticeable, and in fact it could be argued that it is the root of many problems. Though there are rules supported by liberal constitutions, governments run positive discrimination schemes to advance the deprived, and “untouchability” in its literal sense is almost non-existent in practice, the gulf of discrimination is still vast.   Mental “untouchability” is prominently prevalent. One only needs to look at the matrimonial advertisements or talk to match makers in India; the conjugal aspiration still is: Brahmin looking for Brahmin, Shudra looking for Shudra and so on. Within other non-Hindu religions, aspiration to marry well continues to be the norm. Consequently but unsurprisingly, during an election campaign (such as that scheduled for India in May), the politicians are likely to use anything to secure votes. For politicians trying to appeal to the majority, namely the poor and underprivileged, using a “caste card” would make sense.    A similar example from Australia would be the wedge politics in which both sides of politics engage when they try to use an issue, such as the treatment of refugees, for political gain. In recent times, especially since the 9/11 incident, there has been animosity towards refugees, in some cases even against migrants. How do the right and left act? On the surface, left would appear to be kinder than right, but in reality, the issue is very suitable for wedge politics. So we have seen both left and right try to sell their offshore plans (ie to block refugees to enter Australia) for dealing with boat people, which both parties considered a much safer ploy as far as getting votes was concerned. But where are the ethics in this – either from the politicians or from Australian society? Can we only blame the politicians for such social backwardness? Think through political issues of your liking, and in any context. We are likely to find that political parties are trying to use a set of random conditions to their own advantage, although in some

Did the Aam Aadmi Party understand the grey areas? instances, it would be reasonable to say the issues are not black and white, there are many grey areas. It is likely that we and our buddies have similar ethical standards, yet it is common for us to consider ourselves as more moral than the next person. If questioned, we promptly respond with a list of shortcomings among our competitors or opponents. Politicians are no different. So if in Australia, each side of politics vies to be deemed the better in their treatment of unwelcome refugees, or “boat people” as they are commonly referred to here, in India all major political parties may be playing the “minority,” “rural development,” “reducing/ eradicating poverty” or advancing the “backward castes” cards to outmanoeuvre their opponents. Perhaps this is a context in which wish for an all-conquering “Third Forces” intervention should be seen. Though there have been phenomenal hype and support for, let’s say, either for Tehreek-e-Insaf or Aam Aadmi Party, and when both approaches in different contexts have been analysed with hope, following the hype,

Is there an escape? n Mohammad Ali Sattar


riends, Bengalis, and countrymen – cheer up and rejoice. Finally, we made it. We have reached the bottom of the terrain, the cradle of the Pacific. We have been rejoicing as the host of the T20 World Cup cricket tournament. We are proud of hitting the pages of the Guinness Book for the largest congregation singing the national anthem – yet another indicator of Dhaka being the most unlivable city in the world. We have bravely outwitted the World Bank over the kick-back scam involving the Padma Bridge and have managed to hush our faults by all means. The world community has been taken by surprise by our strength and wit. Our forceful logic has floored the wisest of the world community. Human rights bodies have been handled with efficiency and gagged effectively. We have indeed impressed upon the world that Bangladeshis are good enough to be left alone and decide their own course of action. Although we belong to the world community and have made our presence felt in all global forums, we still like to be left alone when the question of convenience arises. We look for friends during our time of need, but we do not return the courtesy. We choose to thrive on the principles of “friendship when we require.” In other words, these friendships are friendships of convenience. Let’s now closely watch the steady decline of our political culture, not that we ever had one that we could be proud of. In fact, we started on a rough surface back in 1972. With the gradual evolution of our political process and the slow progression of political customs, we have only managed to drift apart from each other. Strangely, “unity” never seemed to beckon us. With the party ideology

shifting every day, the political faces also modify their hues and expressions. The entire exercise of politicking, acts and speeches alike, have taken a dangerous twist. In the early 70s, we had the ruling party and the emerging opposition comprising of fire-brand leaders, mostly left-leaning youths and their seniors, involved in verbal dual. All sorts of political intrigue and fiery speeches were obvious acts of the day.

The entire exercise of politicking, acts and speeches alike, have taken a dangerous twist

The rift grew larger with the time and the jargon used to criticise or attack the opposition, and the words exchanged gradually got more blistering and abusive. Although we never trusted or practiced “constructive” criticism of our rivals, we did not resort to obscenity in the early years of our politics. We were limited in most instances to criticism of party and policies. Individual onslaught was not readily thought of. That legacy was still left with some of us. But these people exited from active politics. There was a time in independent Bangladesh when thinking minds and successful bodies were called on to step into political platforms. Some joined, others declined. But that class of politicians and politics did not mature. Rather, the augmentation of healthy social norms and political practices were deliberately stunted.

increasingly the evidence is that good will, honesty, sincerity, commitment, or dedication may not be enough. As Jyoti Rahman explained in his article, politics is hard work (Dhaka Tribune, December 9). It is a very dirty work involving myriads of shoddy deals and tricks. The “Third Force” usually easily articulates the moral high grounds, promising to take action to reduce corruption and bring much needed change. Yet, along with its moral rightness and tireless motivation to clean a system, it also needs to show the maturity (at least an understanding) that governance means dealing with trade-offs. Sometimes painfully undesirable trade-offs. Naturally, idealists would be disappointed. Would their disappointment be lessened, if they could accept that issues are not clear and indeed there are many shades of grey? How about the actions of your heroes? As an example, if you have been tantalisingly entertained by a Scarlett Johansson performance where her seductive mix of empathy, smartness, and reckless self-control took you though some irresistible but disastrous


joy rides, her much talked about and analysed script involving SodaStream, Oxfam, and the Palestine-Israel issue ended disappointingly. In line with her silver screen indecision, she tried at first to have it both ways, but eventually dropped the international charity in favour (many would conclude) of money or her Jewish ancestry, or both. While many, and most certainly she herself, may choose to give her the benefit of the doubt, the issue falls into a grey area. How about the actions and reactions of loved ones? Who do you prefer, detest, or show indifference to – practicing believers who are trying to obey their religion as much as possible, those practicing only occasionally, those non-practicing, or those non-believers? How about our own actions? Can we explain our own actions in black and white? Imagine the role of an analyst or a policy officer – whether in government or in a private enterprise – when one collects and analyses data and other information, and provides it to their superiors or employers. How do they manage tensions between the short-

term goals of government or private enterprise, and responsibility for the public good? The answer would obviously vary significantly for individuals – perhaps it is easier to take a position at one extreme or the other, right-left, liberal-conservative, pro-anti “anything,” though it may not always be satisfactory. And supporting any political party (or an individual leader) wholeheartedly can often result in supporting things we opposed only a few days ago, as our parties or leaders routinely making contestable decisions and dirty deals for political survival. So are we supposed to empathise with them or denounce them, in their roles as our servants, however illegitimate or unfair? As you can see it gets messy. Doing your own thinking is hard work. As much as I would want to live in a pristine black and white world, more than often I find myself living under unsatisfactory shades of grey, sans satisfaction. l Irfan Chowdhury is a freelance contributor.

Fair enough? Hopes of good policies and socio-economic emancipation were very cautiously replaced with the opposite. The hegemonic, communal, and extremely distorted minds governed by the invisible masters from other planets sowed their roots. So far, they successfully kept the nation divided and are relentlessly at work to destroy us as a potential lot of the region. Our perseverance and agility is being neutralised each moment. We shall soon relapse into long hibernation. Look at the sudden uproar with history and its distortion. We so conveniently forget the oldest truth that history is always written by the victors. The vanquished has to swallow whatever the victors feed. History is never on the straight line. The authors of the time decide what to write and how to pen the events. Tarique’s claim of the first president of the republic and the illegal prime minister is a reaction of the frustrated mind that finds his parents being bullied and bruised every day in the one-sided sport refereed by the Awami League and its allies. As we go along, we find the definitive loss of virtue on the part of our politicians. A senior ruling-party member yells at Tarique Rahman in the parliament with the world watching him. He makes remarks, in the most disturbing tone and words, about his father. Then another senior member of the AL and a state minister draws a comparison between Khaleda Zia and her son Tarique to the devil. Dear readers, from name-calling and abusing them with the harshest (and sometimes unprintable) words, we have come down to quite a low. Watch further, since there is no opposition to rock the ruling-party boat, the palpable answer is “internecine feud.” All hell will break loose. Where’s the escape route? l Mohammad Ali Sattar is a journalist and a DT columnist.

n Mahdin Mahboob


he television has long been considered one of the greatest innovations of science, and with the arrival of super large screen LCD, LED, plasma, and smart TVs with HD quality video, it has continued to hold on to its market worldwide. In Bangladesh, with Chinese, non-brand inexpensive television sets entering the market, the average prices have gone down and have reached the masses. Getting access to satellite channels is not a luxury that people cannot afford, thanks to the cable service providers who supply it to hundreds of their subscribers by sharing the received signals. People use it to watch news, movies, sitcoms, and all sorts of different programs. To be honest, I am not much of a TV person myself, and end up watching only news and sports on it. Recently, the T-20 Cricket World Cup has ended, and like many other people, I was glued to the TV as often as possible. This, however, came at the cost of having to withstand countless hours of commercials, most of which gave the impression that you must become an extremely fair-skinned person using fairness creams. If you don’t, your life is doomed! Whether you are an actor, a dancer, a singer, or even a macho guy riding a motorbike, the most important thing in your life is apparently a packet of fairness cream or a fairness face-wash that will magically transform you from a very dark person to a very white person. Although women have primarily been targeted, men are no longer safe either. Gone is the concept of a “tall, dark, and handsome” man, all you now need to be is a “fair, fair, and fair” man. Skin colour is not something we can choose, it is set by nature according to which part of the world you are from. Dark-skinned people are seen in places where there is more sunlight and heat, and fair-skinned people where there is less sunlight. This is caused by a pigment present in the skin called melanin, which is basically our body’s

defence mechanism against the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun. A darker person simply has more melanin. The numerous brands of fairness products available in Bangladesh capitalise on the socio-cultural tendencies in these parts of the world to regard fair as beautiful. In Bangladesh, unfortunately enough, parents with daughters with darker complexions find it much more difficult to find a suitable groom, compared to parents who have fairer-skinned daughters, as if that is all that matters. We claim that we are now civilised and educated, but open any major daily newspaper, and you would find advertisements from seemingly educated and respectable men who require “forsha” (fair) brides for themselves.

to value them more because they are more “exotic”? The third explanation is likely to be the least true, given the fact that many foreigners in Bangladesh, especially the non-white ones – people from Africa, Sri Lanka, or South India – have claimed that they have found themselves to be less socially “acceptable” in our society. Yes, it is tempting to use these fairness enhancement products, given the fact that so many movie celebrities, and now, surprisingly enough, cricketers, are endorsing them. But these are extremely harmful for the skin, as stated by many doctors and researchers. Bleach, used in most, if not all, fairness products, causes great damage to the skin.

Skin colour is not something we can choose, it is set by nature according to which part of the world you are from

Women are now getting increasingly educated and self-dependent, but we still continue to be “racist” and somehow give preference to women with lighter complexions or skin tones. I personally believe in respecting all women, who are beautiful in their own special ways, irrespective of their skin colour, ethnicity, or background. So, why do we tend to prefer fairer skin? Is it because the British had ruled us for 200 years, and we still cannot get out of the colonial mindset? Or is it because, in the Indian subcontinent, of which we are a part, fair-skinned priestly Brahmins have, since ancient times, made people believe that they are somehow superior to the rest of the people? Or is it because fairskinned people are less common in these parts of the world and we tend

I personally think advertising the use of such products should be banned. If cigarette/tobacco advertisements can be banned because the product increases the chances of getting lung cancer and other diseases, fairness creams and products should be banned too. They not only cause harm to the skin, but are also forcing people to waste money on worthless products. Also, more importantly, it is causing young girls (and boys too) to believe they are unworthy because of their skin colour. Who can possibly measure how many people are not living up to their full potential because of this social nuisance? l Mahdin Mahboob is the FounderChairperson of Savar Foundation, working towards the rehabilitation of Rana Plaza collapse victims.




Wednesday, April 16, 2014

TV series Nojir Bihin Nojor Ali starts today n Entertainment Desk The first episode Nojir Bihin Nojor Ali, a new TV series, will air tonight at 9:50pm Rtv. The series premiered today. Written and directed by Himu Akram, the story is about Nojor Ali (portrayed by Zahid Hasan), a BA graduate from Avirampur village, who returns home after struggling to find a lodging house in town. His girlfriend Nupur, Alauddin who has returned from Dubai, his sister Shefali and brother-in-law Harun – all takes advantage of his naivety. Annoyed by the exploitation, Nojor eventually leaves home and heads towards Dhaka, where he comes across a different sort of trouble. While talking about his character, Zahid said: “After a long while I played the role of such a simple and innocent character. I loved playing Nojor Ali and I think the audience will accept him positively.” The cast also includes Kusum Sikder, Marjuk Rasel, Ahona, AKhM Hasan, Siddikur Rahman, Khaleda Akter Kalpana, Dihan, Wahida Mallik Jolly, Munira Mithu and others. Nojir Bihin Nojor Ali will air on Wednesdays through Saturdays at 9:50pm. l

The five-day Shatkahon Rongeela Mela, an initiative by Jatra, ended on Pahela Boishakh amid huge festivity. Celebrated folk fusion singers and musicians Arnob, Anusheh, Waqeel, Shoeb, Pandu, Buno, Pantho Kanai, Nazrul presented an array of Baul songs at Jatra’s Dhanmondi outlet. The audience seemed to have great fun as the musicians played popular songs like Jat Gelo Bole, Mon Amar Deho Ghori, Shona Dia Bandhaiachhi Ghor and many more. The programme also highlighted traditional food, local crafts, products of our cottage industry and dance performance by Shadhona’s Dance Company SYED LATIF HOSSAIN

Purnima embraces motherhood n Entertainment Desk The prize giving ceremony of Pond’s Age Miracle Diamond Ring contest was held on April 12 in the capital. Recently Pond’s offered its consumers an opportunity to get a diamond ring by participating in a contest to write a short message for their loved one


Exile in Calcutta by Thomas Meyer Time: 3pm – 8pm Drik Gallery, House 58, Road 15/A (New) Dhanmondi Water Colour Exhibition By Mintu Dey Time: 3pm – 8pm Dhaka Art Center (DAC) House-60 Road-7A Dhanmondi

Dhallywood’s famed actor Purnima gave birth to a baby girl on April 13, on the eve of Bangla New Year 1421. She took time off from the silver screen to welcome the newborn in her life. “I feel proud to share the good news that I have been blessed with a daughter,” she said. “I am glad as I was expecting my first child to be a girl.” Many actors in the showbiz has been irregular after marriage, but Purnima is exceptional. She married businessman Fahad Jamal on November 4, 2007. She took several days off after marriage and then returned to work to finish her projects. The popular actor, who made her debut with E Jibon Tomar Amar in 1998 when she was an eighth-grader, has around 50 films to her credit. Among her films, Moner Majhe Tumi has been most commercially successful so far. The actor won National Film Awards in 2010 and Meril-Prothom Alo Best Actress Awards in 2011. l

Jacqueline in a love triangle

Professional photography at Pathshala

n Entertainment Desk

n Entertainment desk

Bollywood sensation Jacqueline will play an NRI in Bangistan which will see her in a love triangle with Riteish Deshmukh and Pulkit Samrat. The film is being directed by former movie critic Karan Anshuman who is currently in Ladakh finalising the locations. It has been reported that Jacqueline plays an NRI, a character somewhere on the lines of Lisa Haydon’s in Queen, but with an entirely different personality. The film being produced by Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani will see Jacqueline reunite with Riteish after a long gap. She had made her Bollywood debut in Sujoy Ghosh’s Aladin opposite him in 2009. They also starred in Milap Zaveri’s Jaane Kahan Se Aayi Hai. Mirror has it that the film will also feature Chandan Roy Sanyal of Kaminey and Tom Alter in pivotal roles. Anshuman’s crew will be heading to the Polish city of Krakow to shoot pivotal bits of the film When contacted, Karan Anshuman confirmed the news saying: “I wanted to cast Jacqueline as her global experience gives her a great edge. She’s lived all over the world and that gives her good insight.” l

The professional photography programme offered at Pathshala is providing scholarships to students who are eligible for the course. Students who has acquired a CGPA of 2.5 in their higher secondary level and has basic knowledge of photography are eligible to apply. Scholarships will be given to deserving students while all the learners will develop body of works in a supportive and explanatory environment. The best professionals in the industry and respected tutors such as, Shahidul Alam, Abir Abdullah, Munem Wasif, Tanzim Wahab, Taslima Akhter are the instructors of the programme. Details of the course is available at Pathshala’s official website. Pathshala has a rich heritage of photography education. The alumna of the school have been awarded and widely recognised by organisations such as World Press Photo, Alexia Foundation, Joop Swart Master Class, Ian Parry Scholarship and others. l


A group performance on the second day of Bengal Foundation’s three-day programme celebrating Pohela Boishakh on April 14 at the Bengal Shilpalaya in Dhanmondi

I am busy reviving my career: Prova n Hasan Mansoor Chatak Sadia Jahan Prova, a popular TV actor and model began her career in 2005 with modelling. She has appeared in numerous telefilms and TV series and has garnered applause with her performance on stage, appearing in several plays including Dhup Chhaya, Lucky Thirteen, Version Za and Khunsuti. She recently podcasted a song in social media that created excitement among her fans about her singing competency. She performed the Tagore song Amar Mukti Aloy Aloy while her husband composed the music. Dhaka Tribune caught up with the sizzling model and actor on her recent ventures and more.

Recently a song sung by you appeared on social media. Do you want to say anything about it?

It was not a seriously planned work to be honest. I was listening to the song and was singing along when my husband recorded it, and later he composed the music with his guitar. It was an amateur work, done ina whim and nothing serious at all.

So do you not want to try your hand in singing professionally?

Acting is my passion and I intend to nurture my love for acting. I get in touch with the audience through my performances on TV. I don’t want to sing professionally.

Tell us about your recent work.

I am busy reviving my career with consistent performances in one-hour plays, telefilms and series. I just completed the shooting of TV series Nat Bou Ashchhey, directed by Pankaz Ghosh. I’m also working on another TV show by Aronno Anwar. A few others are already in queue to air on various TV channels.

Do you have any interest in the big screen?

When I started my career, I did not want to act in films. But now, I have changed my mind. If the script and the director impress me, I will definitely act in films, as many of my favourite TV actors have started their career on the silver screen. Working in the film industry lets an actor explore their potential to the fullest. l

Prosenjit to play Bhupen Hazarika in biopic n Entertainment Desk Director Kalpana Lajmi, Bupen Hazarika’s companion for over 40 years, is ready to make a film on the departed legendand the big scoop is that Prosenjit Chatterjee will star as Hazarika. Prosenjit is happy that Lajmi has considered him for the coveted role. “It is a huge honour. Whatever time I am getting, I am reading up on the master,” he said. The film will be shot in West Bengal, Bangladesh, Assam and New York. The film, a trilingual project, has been tentatively titled The Tempest in English, Kal Boishakhi in Bengali and Dhumuha in Assamese. “Yes, Prosenjit is playing Bhupen Hazarika. Who better than him to bring alive Bhupenda’s dynamic character on screen? In fact, it was a mutual decision he and I took after he heard I was making this biopic. Bhupenda was a very romantic man and only Prosenjit can bring that alive. He also had a fiery aspect and I’m sure Prosenjit will portray that ably as well. As of now, I don’t know who will play my character, but preferably someone from western India,” said Lajmi,in a recent interview with Times of India. The Assamese maestro, remembered for numerous timeless songs, passed away in November 5, 2011. Lajmi said the film will be a biopic seen through the prism of her relationship with Hazarika. “For the whole of 2013, I was collaborating with Sunanda Shymal Mitra as we jotted down my memories. The final script will be readied now,” said Lajmi.

With Santosh Sivan as the DoP, the film is slated to go on the floors in the second half of the year. “Music will play an important role in the biopic. We will remaster Bhupenda’s songs and use them. For the background score I want to rope in Debajyoti Mishra, though I haven’t yet spoken to him. He is brilliant,” said Lajmi. l

Did you know? Romelu Lukaku has scored a total of 30 goals while on loan in the Premier League, 13 more than any other loanee


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

14 Barca seek

Cup consolation against Real

14 Juventus



15 Top four

restore eight points lead

post massive wins in NCL

Five-star Russell outplay Baridhara n Holders Sheikh Russell kicked off their NitolTata Bangladesh Premier League second phase campaign with a facile 5-2 victory over the newly promoted Uttar Baridhara at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday. Superior to their opponents in all departments, Russell dominated the match from the very beginning but were unhappy because of the manner in which they conceded two goals. Also the failure to finish off a couple of easy chances left their coach Maruful Haque disgruntled. “The way we conceded two goals worries me. We have to work hard because if Uttar Baridhara can score two goals, I wonder what the other strong teams will do,” said Maruf.

Russell now have 15 points from 10 matches while Uttar Baridhara remain on their previous aggregate of six points The proceedings saw Russell taking the lead as early as the 6thminute as Mithun Chowdhury, playing as an attacking midfielder, put his team ahead with a tricky header. Midfielder Sohel Rana sent an inviting low cross from the left flank and Mithun obliged by heading the ball in the near post. The lead was doubled in the 32nd minute with Haitian forward Pasacal Milien’s intelligent finishing. The long-haired forward followed the low cross of Sohel Rana which was actually missed by his Jamaican attacking partner Ricardo Cousins. Thankfully Pascal was there to follow up and made sure he took the chance by rifling a shot at the roof of the net. Ricardo Cousins, however, made amends in the 55th minutefor his ear-

lier mistake. Duly anticipating the looping ball from Pascal, he made an angular run down the right flank and completed the job with a flat footed shot in the near post to make it 3-0. Uttar Baridhara hit back in the 38th minute when Nigerian attacker Kosko’s neat placing shot from a low cross from Lucky Divine beat Russel goalie Biplob in the near post. The Russell defense provided a big space to Kosoko and goalie Biplob was hapless under the bar. But Russell’s three goal cushion was restored in the 73rd minute by substitute winger Shakil Ahmed who snatched the ball from a Baridahra defender, kept his cool to head the rebound home after his initial effort was blocked by Barridhara goalie Sony Dutta.

Ricardo Cousins scored his second in the 82nd minute after the unmarked Jamaican found the ball in the middle of the box and blasted the ball home. Uttar Baridhara scored their second in the last minute of the match after their midfielder Dulal Hasan’s shot hit the hand of Russell defender Reza inside the D.Referee awarded a penalty which was converted by Russel skipper Swapan. Russell now have 15 points from 10 matches while Uttar Baridhara remain on their previous aggregate of six points. l

BPL suspended for two days n Raihan Mahmood Bangladesh Football Federation suspended the Nitol-Tata Bangladesh Premier League for two days due a ridiculous reason yesterday. A number of BFF officials and the members of the Professional League Committee will go to Feni, Gopalganj and Chittagong by helicopter today to inspect the venues and BFF deferred the matches till the issue will be solved. The matches of Wednesday and Thursday had been shifted to Friday and Saturday.

Sheikh Russell’s Haitian forward Pasacal Milien (2L) heads a ball during their Nitol-Tata Bangladesh Premier League match against Uttar Baridhara at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday MUMIT M

Maiden tour to India in 2016 n Bangladesh will be touring India for a full fledged series for the first time in 2016, informed Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) president Nazmul Hasan, who returned from Dubai after attending the ICC’s executive committee meeting, on Monday. The Future Tour Programme (FTP) was finalised till 2020 and the maiden tour to the

Bangladesh win away from title n Bangladesh inched closer to securing the Citycell South Asian Basketball Association (SABA) 3-on-3 Basketball Championship after winning their all three matches against Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Nepal yesterday. The two-day meet got underway at the Dhanmondi Basketball Gymnasium yesterday afternoon with the match between Bangladesh and Bhutan. The hosts got off to a flyer by earning a comfortable 22-9 points victory. Bangladesh captain Md Rasheduzzaman and Mithun Biswas caged eight points each while Shamsuzzaman Khan Soyab complemented well with his four points for the winning side. In their second game, the home side faced Sri Lanka, the other favorite of the tournament. Bangladesh didn’t

have to toil hard as they comfortably humbled the Lankans 20-9. Mithun scored 11 points and Rashed caged seven points for Bangladesh while Don Roshan Randima scored four for Sri Lanka. Nepal, however, put up a good show against Bangladesh who were playing their third match of the day. The match ended 20-18 in Bangladesh’s favor but it could have been the other way round too. “Strength and shooting in this format of the game is important. Height also matters. Our team is in good shape. We went to China two years ago to play 3-on-3 Asian Beach Games where we finished fourth out of 16 teams. So we have confidence that we would perform well in any 3-on-3 tournament,” said Bangladesh captain Rashed after the game against Sri Lanka.

India, the sub-continent powerhouse, couldn’t participate in the tournament due to visa complicacies which is the reason why the competition has now become a round robin one. “If India had taken part in this tournament, we would have fought well with them. Nepal and Sri Lanka are also good teams but our team is better and I think we will be the champions,” added Rashed from Bnagladesh Navy. Bangladesh will play their last game against Maldives at 2.30pm today and a win would ensure championship for the hosts. Rashed is confident of seeing off Maldives and win the silverware. Meanwhile, in the day’s other matches, Sri Lanka earned a hardfought 17-15 point victory over Nepal while Maldives narrowly edged past Bhutan 14-12 and Nepal outplayed Maldives by 18-11 points. l

neighbouring country is listed in the schedule while he also confirmed India’s arrival in June for a three-match ODI series. He also informed that during the meeting in Dubai they were able to secure full fledge series’ against bigger nations like England, Australia and South Africa in the coming years. “We are definitely in 2023 FTP schedule and the schedule till 2020 has

been finalised where India is coming to play a three match ODI series this June and we will be touring India to play a full fledge tour in 2016. Apart from that, the big teams like England, Australia and South Africa will be touring Bangladesh by 2020 which has also been finalised and Bangladesh team will also tour those countries,” said Nazmul. Earlier the BCB boss had said Bangladesh will be benefited by the Big

Right thumb goes wrong for Tamim again n

National and Chittagong opener Tamim Iqbal has fallen victim to an injury to his right thumb again during batting against Rajshahi division yesterday in the National Cricket League. He has been advised two-week rest, meaning the 25-year-old will miss the last round of the first class tournament. Tamim, on one, left the field immediately after medium pacer Shafiul Islam’s delivery, which bounced a bit more than usual, struck his thumb. Unfortunately it was the same finger he injured a year ago while fielding in a match against Sri Lanka which forced him to miss the remaining series. “The ball hit my right thumb when I was facing Shafiul. It’s the same place

where I got injured against Sri Lanka last year. Doctors have advised me two weeks rest after they saw the X-ray report,” said Tamim to Dhaka Tribune yesterday. The setback was the latest inclusion to the left-hander’s series of injuries recently. A freakish neck injury prevented him from playing in the Asia Cup in February which saw him fly to Singapore for treatment. Meanwhile, national skipper Mushfiqur Rahim also hurt his finger when he tried to stop a delivery from the same bowler, Shafiul, and sat out rest of the game. However, his Rajshahi teammate Farhad Reza informed Mushfiq was alright and even wanted to return to the field but it wasn’t required as the match was almost over by then. l

Akram OK with current shape n

An action from the match between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in the Citycell South Asian Basketball Association (SABA) 3-on-3 Basketball Championship at Dhanmondi Basketball Gymnasium yesterday MUMIT M

Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) cricket operations chairman Akram Khan has nothing negative in the national team’s dismal performance in the World Twenty20 report. Earlier, BCB president Nazmul Hasan had said major changes will be made in the team to ensure a better atmosphere and performance, but Akram said the changes can be made by the selectors, not him. “The selectors will decide on changes, but I won’t have anything of that sort in my report. What we should improve and develop on in the future, what the attitude was and what discipline we should have, is what I will focus on,” said Akram at the Sher-eBangla National Stadium yesterday. The former chief selector added that Bangladesh team did not perform up to their standard and said, “Coach and manager give a report after every series or tour. We didn’t perform up to our standards. We have to look for

lacking, what we need. Coach, physio and trainer are all on holiday after the World T20 so when they return, I will get their reports and forward it to the board president.” He was content with the discipline of the team though he said the players need to get mentally stronger. “I think we have to be mentally stronger. Our players fell into pressure after doing poorly in the Sri Lanka series. We have to find out way to take pressure off of them in the future,” he added. Akram thought more matches for the national and A team will benefit the players for the World Cup next year and he also revealed their brief schedule. “India is likely to come in June. Bangladesh A team will tour West Indies in May and we will host Zimbabwe A in the end of June, we will try to host more one-dayers there. We also have the senior team touring West Indies in AugustSeptember. Plus, we are trying to hold matches in the condition in which we will play 2015 World Cup,” said Akram. l

Three proposal and it was anticipated that the recently finished ICC’s executive meeting may disclose many unknown factors and the BCB will get something out of this meeting. As the next board meeting is likely to take place and it was learnt that Nazmul will announce the dates of the upcoming series’ and some other important issues after discussion with the board members. l

Nat’l table tennis champion in troubled waters n

National table tennis champion Manash Chowdhury found himself in an awkward situation as the training committee of the Bangladesh Olympic Association (BOA) asked the Table Tennis Federation to replace Manash in the Commonwealth Games training camp for his inconsistent attendance in training. Manash, a full time dentist by profession and a resident of port city Chittagong, urged the training committee of BOA to allow him three days off from training in each week as he has to complete his professional requirements too. It would be mentionable Manash appeared in all the five finals of the last five national table tennis championships and won four titles. He lives in Chittagong and also features in the league and the national tournament regularly. The BOA in a letter wrote to the Table Tennis Federation that Manash’s wish of attending the camp for four days is not acceptable and the federation should send the name of the replacement player on an emergency basis. The most interesting point - Manash will be representing Bangladesh national team in Japan this month and will be leaving the country on 25th of this month. The national champion won the title for consecutive three times and currently ranked number one in the country was asking how much training he requires. “I am not saying that I don’t require training but I was asking for relaxation, I also assured that before the games I will be attending the camp in full time basis. I request the sports minister for his interference and the BOA to reconsider the decision,” said Manash who is the son of renowned singer late Prabal Chowdhury. l



Toure out for ‘up to two weeks’


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Red Bull lose Ricciardo appeal

Premier League title contenders Manchester City expect to be without influential midfielder Yaya Toure for around two weeks due to a leg muscle injury, manager Manuel Pellegrini revealed on Tuesday. “Yaya has a muscle injury. We will see with the doctor how many days,” Pellegrini told a press conference. One of City’s outstanding performers this season, Toure appeared to sustain the injury as he shot at goal in the early stages of his side’s 3-2 loss at Liverpool in the Premier League on Sunday. –AFP

Marquez cruises to Texas triumph

Red Bull on Tuesday lost their appeal over Daniel Ricciardo’s disqualification from second place in last month’s Australian Grand Prix. The world champions had sought to overturn the stripping of Ricciardo’s runner-up finish behind Nico Rosberg in Melbourne for breaching fuel flow regulations. FIA’s International Court of Appeal issued a ruling after a six-hour hearing Monday during which Mercedes had called for the punishment to be harsher. Red Bull said they “accepted the decision” but were “disappointed”. –AFP

World champion Marc Marquez cruised to victory in the Grand Prix of the Americas on Sunday to register his second win in two races this season but he admitted it was a boring triumph. The Spaniard repeated his maiden Texas MotoGP success from 2013 when he also won from pole position. Marquez, who won the season-opener in Qatar last month despite breaking his leg four weeks earlier, finished 4.174sec ahead of Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa with Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso taking third place, a huge 20 seconds off the lead. –AFP

Gashed Costa shin typifies Atletico will to win n The deep gash to Diego Costa’s shin suffered in Atletico Madrid’s 2-0 La Liga win at Getafe on Sunday was more evidence that the leaders are putting everything on the line, including their own bodies, in pursuit of the title. Costa had a penalty saved at Getafe’s Coliseum stadium in the Madrid suburbs shortly before Adrian sent a low cross trundling towards the far post in the 84th minute. It looked like the Brazil-born forward would not reach the ball before it rolled out of play, but he flung himself full stretch to divert it over the line, colliding heavily with a post and opening a deep cut just below his left knee. With Costa carried off on a stretcher in apparent agony, there were fears the forward could miss significant playing time but Atletico said he sustained nothing more serious than a cut. Relieved coach Diego Simeone told a news conference the player was “happy and fine”. Costa’s goal made it 2-0 and killed off any hopes Getafe, who are battling to avoid relegation, might have had of snatching a point. Atletico’s advantage at the top is now three points with five games left, with Real Madrid in second and champions Barcelona, who crashed to a shock defeat at Granada on Saturday, a point further back in third. Former Argentina captain Simeone

Ronaldo out of Cup final: Ancelotti n World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo will miss the Copa del Rey final between Real Madrid and Barcelona on Wednesday due to a hamstring injury, Real boss Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed. The Portuguese star has missed Real’s last three games due to the problem and Ancelotti said he didn’t want to risk him with their Champions League semi-final. “Cristiano is not available because we don’t want to take risks and we have other very important games to come this season,” he said at his prematch press conference on Tuesday. However, Madrid have lost only once in 10 games without Ronaldo so far this season and Ancelotti believes the likes of Bale, Benzema and di Maria can compensate for the loss of the former Manchester United man. l

was a committed, never-say-die midfielder during stints for clubs including Atletico and Sevilla in Spain and Inter Milan and Lazio in Italy and he was in the Atletico team the last time they won La Liga in 1996.

RESULTS Real Betis Valencia Piatti 22, Parejo 61


0 2 2 1

Sevilla Gameiro 30-pen, 81

Elche Coro 28

0 2


2 2


Godin 40, Diego Costa 84

Espanyol Stuani 3, Colotto 88

Falque 42, Larrivey 49

His fierce competitiveness and thirst for victory appears to have rubbed off on his players, who have brought Atletico to the brink of what would be a remarkable domestic league triumph against vastly wealthier rivals. They are also through to the last four of the Champions League for the first time in 40 years having dispatched former winners Barca and AC Milan on the way. Costa’s goals have helped drive Atletico’s success this term. He has 26 in La Liga, two behind top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo of Real. The gash to his shin should not prevent him from playing in Friday’s La Liga match at home to Elche. Their final four games are away at Valencia and Levante, and at home to Malaga before a trip to Barca on the last day of the campaign. l

Barcelona's midfielder Andres Iniesta (L) and defender Javier Mascherano play with a rugby ball during a training session at the Sports Center FC Barcelona Joan Gamper in Sant Joan Despi, near Barcelona yesterday on the eve of their Spanish Copa del Rey (King's Cup) final match against Real Madrid CF AFP

Barca seek Cup consolation against Real n A week ago, Barcelona still had a chance of repeating the historic treble of 2009 but defeats in Europe and La Liga mean Wednesday’s King’s Cup final against Real Madrid may be their only hope of major silverware this season. A wounded Barca travel to Valencia to meet their arch rivals after crashing out of the Champions League to Atletico Madrid on Wednesday and suffering a shock 1-0 reverse at Granada in La Liga three days later that left them four points behind leaders Atletico with five games to play. Real, by contrast, are on a high after joining Atletico in the last four of Europe’s elite club competition and climbing above Barca into second in La

Liga, three points off the top, thanks to Saturday’s 4-0 drubbing of Almeria. Barca coach Gerardo Martino needs to lift his battered troops for the showpiece at the Mestalla, the venue where Real beat Barca 1-0 in the 2011 final thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo’s headed goal in extra time. The record Cup winners with 26 to Real’s 18, Barca have had the upper hand against their rivals in La Liga this season, winning 2-1 at the Nou Camp in October and 4-3 at the Bernabeu last month. However, Martino has come in for some heavy criticism after recent stumbles and the Argentine will have to shoulder the blame and suffer the consequences if he ends his first year in charge without any trophies apart from the season-opening Spanish Super Cup. Wednesday’s match features two teams whose focus is on attack and it


0 number of ‘Clasico’ games Real coach Car2 The lo Ancelotti and his Barca counterpart Gerardo The number of goals Real have conceded in eight matches on the way to the Cup final.

Martino have each presided over. Barca beat Real 2-1 at the Nou Camp at the end of October and won 4-3 at the Bernabeu last month, both in La Liga.

number of hat-tricks Barca’s Argentina 2 The forward Lionel Messi has scored in ‘Clasicos’. Messi netted a treble in his first ‘Clasico’ appearance at the age of 19, a 3-3 La Liga draw at the Nou Camp in 2007, and grabbed another in last month’s league clash.

including the extra-time winner in the 2011 final. Messi has not scored in five Cup matches against Real.

number of times Real and Barca have 22 The played each other in the Spanish Cup. Barca have 10 wins to Real’s six.

number of King’s Cups won by record 26 The winners Barca, three more than Athletic Bilbao in second with 23. Real are third with 18.

record number of ‘Clasico’ appear44 The ances made by Real’s Paco Gento. Among

active players, Barca playmaker Xavi has the most with 39, ahead of Real goalkeeper Iker Casillas on 34 and Barca defender Carles Puyol on 32.

number of cards the most booked have beaten Barca 90 times in official 18The player, former Real and Spain defender Fer90 Real matches, with 89 wins for Barca and 48 nando Hierro, collected in official ‘Clasicos’ (17 yellow and one red). Current Real centre back Sergio Ramos has 14 yellow and two red.


The number of goals Messi has scored in ‘Clasicos’. The four-times World Player of the Year is the record marksman in the fixture ahead of Real great Alfredo Di Stefano on 18. Current World Player Cristiano Ronaldo has 13 for Real,


number of official ‘Clasicos’ played 227 The since the pair’s first encounter in the last

four of the Spanish Cup on May 13, 1902, which Barca won 3-1.

number of goals Real have scored 383 The in official ‘Clasicos’, 13 more than Barca.

should be an open, entertaining spectacle between the world’s two richest clubs by income. It will be their 34th meeting in the Spanish Cup since they first clashed in May 1902. Barca have won 15, including a 3-1 success in that first game, drawn seven and lost 11. Real coach Carlo Ancelotti, whose team have not conceded a single goal in eight games on the way to the final, is sweating on the fitness of top scorer Ronaldo, who has missed Real’s last two matches with knee and thigh muscle complaints. Barca’s main injury worries are in defence, with centre backs Gerard Pique, Carles Puyol and Marc Bartra all sidelined, and Sergio Busquets may be drafted in to play in the middle alongside Javier Mascherano, another converted midfielder. l

PSG lose again to Spain pip Brazil as most expensive squad hold up title charge timated current market value is more coming in ahead of England at 398.6 n million euros for Les Bleus to 354.2 mil- than a third of the 287 million euros for Reuters, Paris n the entire Portugal squad. lion for Roy Hodgson’s hopefuls. Spain, Argentina and

Juventus's players celebrate after scoring against Udinese during their Italian Serie A match at the Friuli Stadium in Udine on Monday AFP

Juve restore eight-point lead n Spanish striker Fernando Llorente scored his third goal in two games as Juventus restored their eight-point lead over Roma at the top of Italy’s Serie A with a comfortable 2-0 win away to Udinese on Monday. Roma kept their slim hopes of a first scudetto since 2001 alive with a 3-1 win at home to Atalanta on Saturday which reduced the gap to five points. But any thoughts Antonio Conte’s men, beaten 2-0 away at Napoli two weeks ago, would suffer a slip-up at

the Friuli Stadium were quashed inside the first half hour of a largely one-sided contest. Sebastian Giovinco opened the scoring on 16 minutes, with Llorente adding a second 10 minutes later to leave a hapless Udinese with a mountain to climb at a near empty stadium. Udinese coach Francesco Guidolin tried to put a gloss on his players’ performance when he told Sky Sport Italia: “We had a good game, we were courageous and I’m moderately satisfied with our performance.” Roma have won all six of their games since a 1-0 reverse to Napoli at the start of March. l

Paris St Germain suffered another setback on Sunday when they were beaten 1-0 at Olympique Lyon to slow their pursuit of a second straight Ligue 1 title and inflict further disappointment after their midweek Champions League exit. Jordan Ferri scored the only goal for the hosts in the first half as PSG’s lead over Monaco, who beat Stade Rennes 1-0 away on Saturday, was cut to 10 points with five games left. The result left Lyon in fifth place on 54 points, two behind arch rivals St Etienne in fourth, and 25 adrift of PSG. A Monaco defeat and a PSG win would have handed Laurent Blanc’s side the title. PSG, whose 2-0 defeat at Chelsea in their Champions League quarter-final return leg ended an 11-game winning streak in all competitions, have now lost their last two matches despite Blanc ringing the changes after their elimination from Europe’s elite club competition. Yohan Cabaye started in place of Marco Verratti in midfield while fullbacks Christophe Jallet and Maxwell were replaced by Gregory van der Wiel and Lucas Digne respectively. In the absence of the injured Zlatan Ibrahimovic, forwards Edinson Cavani and Ezequiel Lavezzi have so far failed to rise to the occasion. l

Brazil have the most expensive squads of the 32 sides competing in the World Cup in June, Brazilian financial daily Valor reported on Monday. The squad of reigning champions Spain is worth an estimated 486.9 million euros ($674 million), ahead of 474.1 million euros for Argentina and 470.2 million for hosts Brazil, according to sports analysis consultancy Pluri Consultoria. The company valued Germany’s squad at 445.6 million euros with France

Belgium’s squad outranks Italy at 336.1 million to 322.4 million for the Azzurri. The report ranked Argentina and Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi as the highest-valued player at 138.1 million euros despite a 1.4 percent drop in his estimated price over the past year. Portugal and Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo saw his estimated value rise 11.4 percent over the past year after he landed the world player of the year accolade -- but he still trails Messi by more than 30 million euros. At 107.3 million euros, Ronaldo’s es-

Gerrard’s tears ‘were for Hillsborough 96’ n

Liverpool are close to a first league title since 1990 but Steven Gerrard’s tears after Sunday’s win over Manchester City were a mix of joy and sadness, the 3-2 triumph coming close to the anniversary of one of English football’s darkest days. Liverpool captain Gerrard has never won a league title in his 17 years at the club but following Sunday’s victory, the memory of the 96 fans who did not return home from Hillsborough, including

his 10-year-old cousin Jon-Paul Gilhooley, were at the forefront of his mind. “The reason I was so emotional was because of when this game fell,” Gerrard told the British media following the win which moved leaders Liverpool to 77 points, two ahead of Chelsea with four matches remaining, and seven ahead of City, who have two games in hand. “It wasn’t just because it was a big match in our season, it was because this week is always about more than football for everyone associated with Liverpool,” he added. l

Honduras bring up the rear with their squad valued at just 32.3 million euros -- or less than one quarter of Messi and half the estimated 67.4 million for Brazil and Barcelona star Neymar, whose price tag is up 22.5 percent on last year. The values are based on 77 criteria including age, technical ability, fitness and also marketing clout up to the date of the participating nations’ last outings. The consultancy will update its values after the final squads are unveiled on May 7. l

City ready to pounce if Reds slip up n Manchester City know they must keep themselves in a position to pounce if Premier League title favourites Liverpool slip up when they play the first of their two games in hand against bottom club Sunderland on Wednesday night. Four of City’s remaining fixtures are at home, starting against a Sunderland side which has failed to win in their last nine games and who were beaten by City in the final of the League Cup at the start of March. l




Wednesday, April 16, 2014


BRIEF SCORES Rajshahi v Chittagong

Sunnydale, Prayash reach girl’s team final

Rajshahi 675/9 and 128/2 Farhad Reza 259, Sanjamul Islam 172, Muktar Ali 168 Chittagong 208 and 128 Rajshahi won by 403 runs

Sunnydale and Prayash reached the girl’s team final in the Walton Dhaka Metropolis School Table Tennis winning their respective semi-finals at the Shahid Tajuddin Ahmed Indoor Stadium yesterday. Sunnydale beat Azimpur Girls School and College by 3-1 sets while Prayash also defeated Suede Ramna by the same margin. The finals of the boy’s and girl’s singles and the team events will be held today. Communication minister Obaidul Kader will distribute the prizes as the chief guest. –RM

Khulna v Dhaka Metropolis Dhaka 172 and 243 Abdur Razzak 9/91 Khulna 213 and 206/5 Khulna won by five wickets

Rangpur v Sylhet Rangpur 391 and 228/6 Naeem Islam 144, Tanveer Haider 111 Sylhet 143 and 162 Ranpur won by 314 runs

Dhaka v Barisal Barisal 323 and 229 Shahriar Nafees 129 Dhaka Division 443 and 112/2 Taibur 102 Dhaka Division won by eight wickets

Verdasco wins allSpanish Houston final Fourth seed Fernando Verdasco defeated Nicolas Almagro in an all-Spanish showdown to snap a six-match losing streak in finals and claim the US men’s clay court championship title Sunday. Former world number seven Verdasco earned his first title since 2010 with a 6-3, 7-6 (7/4) victory at the River Oaks Country Club. “It’s been a long time since I’ve won a singles title,” said Verdasco. “It’s a very important day for me to win a tournament after a few years and after the injury in my knee the last couple years.” Verdasco hammered four aces and saved six-of-seven break point chances in the match that lasted an hour and 52 minutes. –AFP

Ferrari F1 boss Domenicali quits Ferrari’s Formula One boss Stefano Domenicali quit on Monday over the legendary Italian team’s disastrous start to the 2014 season. “It is time for a significant change,” Domenicali, 48, said in a Ferrari statement announcing his resignation. The man who took over from FIA boss Jean Todt in 2008 stands aside with Ferrari having failed to climb the podium in the first three races of the season and languishing fifth in the constructors’ table. Ferrari’s North American CEO Marco Mattiacci will assume control of the team, his remit simple - to reverse the scuderia’s fortunes in a year when Mercedes are leaving all in their wake. Domenicali has faced growing pressure over the poor performances of drivers Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen. –AFP

Rangpur Division players leave the field after their win against Sylhet Division in the National Cricket League at Khan Shaheb Osman Ali Outer Stadium in Fatullah yesterday COURTESY

Top four post big wins

Dhaka Division inch closer to title with eight-wicket win over Barisal n The sixth round of the 15th National Cricket League (NCL) saw some big wins as Rajshahi Division beat Chittagong by a huge 403 runs, Khulna Division beat Dhaka Metropolis by five wickets, Rangpur clinched a 314 run win over Sylhet Division and Dhaka Division beat Barisal by eight wickets.

Rajshahi v Chittagong

It was a great outing for the Rajshahi Division not only for winning the match against Chittagong by a huge margin but for recording few achievements also. Man of the match Farhad Reza’s mammoth 259 in the first innings saw him become the third cricketer to smash a double hundred in the ongoing NCL while his 347-run partnership with Sanjamul Islam who smashed 172 was also a record. In addition, Muktar

Ali’s sixteen sixes in Rajshahi’s first innings was the most by a batsman in an innings which also happened to be Muktar’s maiden ton. Rajshahi posted a huge 675/9 in their first innings at the BKSP-3 ground where Tamim Iqbla’s Chittagong was bundled out for only 208 runs in the first innings. Rajshahi added another 128 in their second innings to set an impossible 596 run target for their opponent. But Chittagong could only manage 192 runs in the second innings on their way to losing by a huge 403 runs. This big win now places Rajshahi in the second position of the points table behind Dhaka Division.

Khulna v Dhaka Metropolis

After bundling out Dhaka Metropolis for just 172 runs in the first innings, Khulna took a lead of 41 runs after scoring 213 in their first innings, courtesy of two half centuries from Tushar Imran and Nizamuddin. Riding on Shamsur

South African smashes 10-second barrier Simon Magakwe became the first South African to break the 10-second barrier in the 100 metres when winning the national title this weekend. The 27-year-old clocked 9.98 seconds at the University of Pretoria to claim his sixth victory in the event. “I was aggressive ... I wanted it so badly ... I pushed so hard in the last 30 metres,” said the sprinter. Magakwe and Johan Rossouw shared the previous record of 10.06 established 26 years ago. Second-place Akani Simbine (10.02) also bettered the old mark during championships that doubled as qualifiers for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Caster Semenya, the women’s 800-metre silver medalist at the 2012 London Olympics, won the two-lap race in 2:03.05 -- well outside her 1:55.45 personal best. –AFP

DAY’S WATCH Ten Action 2:00AM Copa del Rey 2013/14, Final Barcelona v Real Madrid Ten Sports 1:00AM Dfb Pokal (German Cup), SF 2 Bayern Munich v Kaiserslautern Star Sports 2 AFC Champions League 3:30PM CC Mariners v FC Seoul 5:30PM Beijing Guoan v Sanfrecce Hiroshima English Premier League 12:35AM Everton v Crystal Palace Star Sports 4 English Premier League 12:35AM Man City v Sunderland 5:00PM AFC Champions League Buriram United v Shandong Luneng Sony Six 8:30PM Pepsi IPL 2014 Mumbai Indians v Kolkata Knight Riders NBA 2013-14 6:00AM Brooklyn v New York 8:30AM LA Clippers v Denver

Rahman’s 84, Dhaka scored 243 in their second innings where man of the match Abdur Razzak bagged 9/91 to give him 13 wickets in the match to set up a win for Khulna at the Sheikh Kamal International stadium in Cox’s Bazar. Chasing the easy target of 202 runs, Tushar Imran’s unbeaten 107 saw Khulna record their second win from six matches in the league.

Rangpur v Sylhet

Rangpur’s two centurions, Naeem Islam and Tanveer Haider helped their side to post 391 in the first innings while Sylhet’s Nasum Ahmed took seven wickets for the bowling side at the Khan Shaheb Osman Ali stadium in Fatullah. Sylhet faced a batting disaster when they came out to bat as they were sent packing for just 143 in their first innings where opener Shanaj Ahmed top scored with 71 for the batting side. Trailing by 248 runs, Sylhet saw Rangpur’s lead grow even further as Rangpur declared

after scoring 228/6 in their second innings to set a target of 476 for Sylhet. Chasing 476 in their second innings, Sylhet Division replicated their first innings batting display to manage only 162 runs as Rangpur’s left arm pacer Sajedul Islam’s four wickets facilitated the win for Rangpur.

Dhaka Division v Barisal Division

League leaders Dhaka Division took a lead of 120 runs after Barisal scored 323 in their first innings where discarded national opener Shahriar Nafees smashed 129 runs for Barisal. In reply, Dhaka posted 443 with Taibur Parvez scoring 102 for Dhaka. But Barisal could only score 229 in their second innings where middle order batsman Salman Hossain’s 62 was the highest score to set Dhaka Division an easy target of 110 runs which they chased down comfortably with eight wickets in hand to retain their number one spot in the points table. l

‘Tarnished’ ex-pros made Latif snub Pakistan job n Former Pakistan cricket captain Rashid Latif said Tuesday he turned down the job of national chief selector because he could not work with ex-players tainted by corruption. The 45-year-old, who famously blew the whistle on match-fixing in 1994 and 1995, last week refused to take up the chief selector’s post with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). Corruption, match-fixing and spotfixing allegations have dogged Pakistani cricket for two decades and Latif said he could not work with tarnished ex-pros. “I have my principles, which do not allow me to work with players who were punished for match-fixing in the past,” Latif told AFP. Latif refused to name anyone but appeared to be making a dig at former team-mate Mushtaq Ahmed, who has reportedly been offered a role in the national cricket academy. l

Kiwis pick rookie duo for Windies

Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, tries to hit a ball as she and her husband, Britain's Prince William, attend a promotional event for the upcoming Cricket World Cup in Christchurch on Monday REUTERS

Clemon Indoor Uni cricket n

Shaheed Sohrawardi Indoor Stadium turned in to a battlefield after supporters of Jagannath University and Bangladesh University of Business and Technology (BUBT) got involved in an ugly brawl during the two teams’ game in the Clemon Indoor University cricket tournament yesterday. BUBT were batting and the incident took place as soon after the second delivery of the game was bowled. Students from both the university clashed with each other that left a number of window panes and chairs inside the venue damaged. The game was postponed and the tournament committee

is yet to decide what action they will take against the students. Four other matches scheduled on the day had to be postponed due to the clash. Meanwhile prior the incident, Prime University defeated ASA University by five wickets; Atish Diponkar Bishawbiddalay outplayed Gono Bissobiddalay by 56 runs; United International University beat Prime Asia University by 44 runs; North South University handed UITS of Chittagong a 46-run defeat; Shanto Mariam University beat European University by three wickets; East West University defeated Southeast University by 38 runs and State University of Bangladesh earned a four-wicket victory over Northern University. l



New Zealand selectors included two new caps in a 15-man Test squad named Tuesday to tour the West Indies, with injury-hit spinner Dan Vettori’s future under a cloud. Otago slow bowler Mark Craig was plucked from obscurity in anticipation of spin-friendly wickets on the three-Test tour, alongside fellow rookie Luke Ronchi, a wicketkeeper batsman with one-day experience for the Black Caps but who had never made the Test side. Mark Craig , 27, who has not played international cricket at any level, will

Brendon McCullum (captain), Corey Anderson, Trent Boult, Mark Craig, Peter Fulton, Tom Latham, James Neesham, Luke Ronchi, Hamish Rutherford, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling, Kane Williamson. potentially form a spin partnership with Ish Sodhi after his surprise call up to replace the unavailable Jeetan Patel. New Zealand Cricket (NZC) said Patel was sitting out the June tour “for personal reasons”, although media reported that he ruled himself out in order to concentrate on playing Eng-

lish county cricket for Warwickshire, rather than try to revive a faltering international career. The 35-year-old all-rounder has been plagued by Achilles and back injuries and last played Test cricket almost two years ago. Vettori said in February that he was targeting the West Indies tour as the series that would determine if he could continue in the international arena. NZC said batsman Jesse Ryder and fast bowler Doug Bracewell were not considered after being dropped earlier this year for embarking on a late-night drinking spree ahead of the first Test against India in Auckland. l

Fognini dices with Watson outduels Spieth for defeat but survives second Masters title in Monte Carlo Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez fourth n on 284, Americans Rickie Fowler and n Matt Kuchar sharing fifth on 286 and Big-driving Bubba Watson captured his Italy’s Davis Cup hero Fabio Fognini rediscovered his game just in time to produce a 5-7, 7-5, 6-4 comeback over Joao Sousa to progress to the Monte Carlo Masters second round on Monday. The tenth seed who helped his nation into the Davis semi-finals over Great Britain a week ago, stood two points from defeat against a Portuguese opponent ranked 38th. Fognini suddenly seemed to realise the seriousness of his situation and began pulling himself together. l

second Masters title in three years on Sunday, pulling away from Jordan Spieth on the back nine for a three-stroke victory at Augusta National. The 35-year-old American fired a three-under par 69 Sunday to finish 72 holes on eight-under 280 and take his second major title, the top prize of $1.62 million from a record $9 million purse and another green jacket. Spieth and Sweden’s Jonas Blixt, shared second on 283 with 50-year-old

England’s Lee Westwood seventh on 287. Until a PGA triumph two months ago at Riviera, Watson had not won any title since defeating Louis Oosthuizen in a playoff to win the 2012 Masters, a slump he blamed this week on a hangover effect from his first major crown. But Watson bounced back in style this week in the year’s first major championship, becoming the 17th multiple winner of the Masters with his sixth career title. l

Volleyball circuit gets busy with major events n The volleyball court at the Bangladesh Volleyball Federation will be busy with a lot of spikes and blocks as two highly competitive fixtures - the final round of the Walton Inter District Volleyball and the National men’s and women’s Championship - one after another starts tomorrow. Due to accommodation problems the Chittagong zone qualifiers of the district based tournament could not be held last month and it will take place in Dhaka now prior the main event on the 17th and 18th April respectively. The final round beginning from

April 21st will be participated by defending champions Satkhira. Khulna, Rangpur, Dinajpur, Narail, Dhaka, Gazipur, Habiganj, Patuakhali, Pabna and Chittagong zone winners. The national men’s and women’s championship will kick off after four days the inter-district tournament ends. Holders Bangladesh Army, Bangladesh Navy, Bangladesh Air Force, PDB, Titas Gas, T&T, university zone champions and the 1st-4th placed teams of the inter-district meet will be playing in the men’s section. The women’s section will be participated by Ansar VDP, BJMC, Rajshjahi,

Chittagong, Pabna, Rajbari, Khulna, Kishoreganj and the university zone champions. Walton will be sponsoring both the meets and the best players from both sections will be awarded a LED TV. The champions will also receive gift hampers from Walton. The details of the event were disclosed in a press conference held at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday. Ashikur Rahman Miku, the general secretary of Volleyball Federation, advocate Fazley Rabbi Babul and AFM Iqbal bin Anwar Dawn, the additional director of Walton, were present during the conference. l

AFM Iqbal bin Anwar Dawn, the additional director of Walton speaks at the press conference of national volleyball at the BNS yesterday COURTESY



Back Page

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

TIB: 47% cooperative societies ineffective ‘Greedy’ managing committees accused of cheating society members with financial matters n Tazlina Zamila Khan Pointing out a number of flaws in the activities of the Department of Cooperatives under the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives, a Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) report has termed 47% of the cooperative societies ineffective. The report titled “Cooperative society management: Challenges and solutions for good governance” was revealed at a press conference held in the capital’s Mohakhali, yesterday. Addressing the conference, Iftekharuzzaman, executive director of TIB, said: “We divided corruption in cooperative societies into two parts – corruption of officials under the cooperatives department and that of members of different primary cooperative societies. We’ve found that 47% of the coop-

erative societies are ineffective.” “Clients of these institutions are being cheated by members of the managing committees who are greedy for more profit. The members are also taking additional money as interest, violating the policy of taking a maximum of 18%. People have been deceived many times by many cooperative societies like Destiny,” he added. An additional Tk7,600-9,600 is charged for registration of cooperative societies whereas the actual fee is around Tk400, mentioned the TIB report. Besides, officials also charge for inspection and transfer, though there is no provision that permits this. The amount of money varies according to area. According to the law, around 10% of the money or a maximum of Tk10,000 from the profit should be given to the department as survey fees every

year. Officials, however, are charging Tk15,000-Tk20,000 from primary cooperative societies operating in divisions and Tk25,000-Tk30,000 from Dhaka Metropolitan Police-based ones. Besides, officials hide the real profit figures and show less to top officials in order to pocket money illegally from managing committee members. It was stated in the report that a section of officials take transport expense from the members without actually inspecting the offices in person. They prepare inspection reports by talking to the members over the phone, though they are supposed to carry out inspections once a year. The report said Destiny Multipurpose Cooperative Society was registered in 2005 and collected Tk2,058 crore from over eight lakh clients. Of them, around 30% were fake. TIB deputy programme manager

(research & policy) Mohammad Hossain said: “Members of the managing committees take 30-45% of interest on loans in violation of the policy that permits a maximum of 18%. On the other hand, they give 18-30% to clients against investments of the latter. It means they take more from clients but give less.” The members maintain two account books – one for themselves and the other to be presented to the higher officials of the department. The reasons for corruption are the lack of competent people, the lack of leadership, the lack of training, the lack of logistic support, the greed for more profit, the ignorance of the departments and the concealment of information by the managing committees to members of the primary cooperative societies. “Cooperative societies are now less

important but could play a vital role in our economy,” TIB Chairperson Sultana Kamal said. The speakers made around 12 suggestions toward solving anomalies existing in cooperative societies and one of the key solutions was the formation of an “ethics committee” by the department to inspect the institutions with a view to reducing corruption and ensuring accountability. Besides taking actions against the corrupted, coordination between the department and the ministry, budget allocation for the sector according to the demand, forming a survey section under the department, providing adequate training to officials, increasing logistic support like computers and Internet connectivity and digitising several processes of the department, including online registration of the institutions, were also suggested. l

KSA toughens stance on illegal immigrants n Rabiul Islam A section of Bangladeshis expatriates were likely to be affected as Saudi Arabia on Monday announced tough punishment for expats violating the country’s residency, labour and business regulations. Punishment for such violations include fines up to SR100,000 (approximately Tk20.7 lakh), jail terms up to two years, a recruitment ban and deportation, Arab News reported yesterday. The move targets foreigners who have come to the Kingdom on work, visit, Haj and Umrah visas, and have overstayed their terms, the KSA interior ministry said. “Those who did not take the opportunity during the general amnesty may be affected,” Bangladesh Ambassador to Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Md Shahidul Islam told the Dhaka Tribune over phone yesterday. Terming the decision as a common phenomena, he also mentioned that a total of 7,99,000 Bangladeshis have already received benefits from the amnesty. The ambassador further added that Saudi authorities also allowed Bangladeshis to change professions and transfer iqama permanently. Sources at Bangladesh Embassy in Saudi Arabia said around 475 Bangladeshis are now serving various jail terms in the country. According to the Arab News: “Punishment will be increased depending on the number of violations and individuals involved, while convicted expats will be deported and prevented from entering the Kingdom for a specific period,” the ministry said in a statement. “Those arrested for violations will not be released, even on bail,” the statement added. Expats working independently will be fined SR10,000 and deported if the laws were violation for the first time, while second-time offenders will be fined SR25,000, jailed for one month and deported and third-time offenders will incur a SR50,000 fine, a six-month jail and deportation, the statement said. Expats overstaying their visas for the first time will be fined SR15,000 and deported, while second-time offenders will be liable to pay SR25,000, spend three months in jail and face deportation. Third-timers will incur a SR50,000 fine, a six-month jail term and deportation. “The Interior Ministry’s decision compliments the Labor Ministry’s efforts to flush out illegals and regulate the labour market,” said ALJ Community Managing Director Initiatives Ibrahim Badawood. Expats who fail to report delays in the departure of overstaying employees will be fined SR15,000 and face deportation for the first instance, SR25,000, jail for three months and deportation the second time, and SR50,000, a six-month jail term and deportation the third time. l

Motorbike riders ignore traffic rules at the capital’s Bijoy Sarani intersection yesterday as they wait their turn to cross the busy intersection

A schoolgirl allegedly killed herself yesterday in the capital’s Pallabi area protesting harassment by a group of Jubo League activists. Jamena Akter, 16, was a student of class seven at the Baunia Islamic Alim Madrasa in Pallabi.

After being illegal or failure to pass through immigration in destination countries, a total of 270,000 migrant workers were sent back home in last six years since 2008. Officials at Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training (BMET) said these migrant workers were forced to return home. But the government has no mechanism to keep statistical data on regular returnees, they added. “When a migrant worker overstays his or her visa, ultimately he or she has to return home through one way travel permit (out pass),” a senior official told the Dhaka Tribune, seeking anonymity. If a migrant fails to pass through immigration in any destination country due to lack of proper documents, he or she is deported from that country. Expatriates’ Welfare Desk at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport has been keeping data on these two categories of migrants since 2008 and sending it to BMET dealing with the issues of migrant workers. According to BMET, in the first three months of 2014, around 9,000 workers came back home from different countries, including Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Malaysia. A total of 54,000 migrant workers returned home in 2008 while 72,000 in 2009, 43,000 in 2010, 39,000 in 2011, 18,000 in 2012 and 35,000 workers in 2013. Talking to this correspondent at his office recently, BMET director (immigration) Abdul Latif said, “We have no data on deported migrant workers or those who came back with out-pass.” Bangladesh labour counsellor in Jeddah Md Mokammal Hossain told the Dhaka Tribune recently that many people came here to perform Umrah and overstayed. When they become illegal, the authorities sent them back by one way travel permit, he added. “Due to high migration cost, migrants usually want to overstay and work to recoup migration cost and ultimately they become illegal,” BMET Director General Begum Shamsun Nahar told the Dhaka Tribune over phone yesterday. “Migrants are sent back with out-passes as they lose passports and documents. As far as I know, on average 10,000 migrants are sent back home every year,” she said. l

‘Better sexual strength’ lures urban male Gonojagoron Moncho n Udisa Islam

A large section of Bangladeshi urban male – especially those from the low-income groups – tend to consult quacks instead of qualified physicians, especially about problems related to sexuality; and the trend has been on the rise. Everyone, who has ever travelled by a commercial bus must have come across women in burqa – a veil worn mostly by Muslim women – standing at busy intersections and throwing in small leaflets through the windows. These leaflets advertise for some so called medical houses, who claim that they have literally “magical” solutions to various problems and disease related to sexuality. These advertisements have in recent times been appearing on cable TV as well. Existing laws suggest that such distribution of leaflets, TV advertisements and sticking posters promising quick solution to problems related to sexuality without governmental consent is illegal. According to a rough estimation, there are around 500 such medical centres in the capital’s Farmgate, Mirpur, Mohammadpur, Jatrabari and Sayedabad areas; and the number has been rising. A few months ago, Shamsher Ali, a resident of Mohammadpur, went to such a “magician” in Kallyanpur to find a solution to “excessive” nocturnal emission – better known as wet dreams. The “magician,” who claimed himself to be a practitioner of herbal methods,

did not have any formal education on medical science. His diagnosis was that Shamsher, a young man in his twenties, had been thinking too much about sexual intercourses resulting in the “excessive” nocturnal emissions. The “doctor” gave him some herb roots to consume and told him not to worry because he would be cured in a few days.

Quacks at so called herbal medical centres illegally advertise about overnight solutions to problems related to sexuality Shamsher duly followed the prescription for three months. The only thing to have happened in these three months was a higher frequency of emissions. The leaflet that drew Shamsher to the “magician,” said the fees would be returned if the patient did not get cured. Neither has Shamsher got better, nor has he managed to get the return. Various researches suggest that frequent nocturnal emission is a very normal physical condition for adolescent and early adult male. Shamsher has very little idea about this. This correspondent recently met a couple in the capital’s Mirpur area who said they had failed to give birth to a child despite trying all scientific means. After watching an ad on local

cable TV, they had come to a so called herbal medicine centre, looking for a solution to their futility. There are some other medical centres, who also claim to use herbal means to make skinny people healthier and obese ones slimmer. Almost none of these medical centres have any government approval either. An employee of one of these centres told the Dhaka Tribune that their main customers were labourers and middle-aged men and women. According to the Drugs (Control) Ordinance 1982 amended in 1997, the publication of advertisements relating to the use of drugs or any claim about therapies or treatments without prior approval of licensing authority is illegal. Such offences are punishable with rigorous imprisonment of up to three years and/or fines of up to Tk2 Lakh. Medicine practitioner Dr Govinda Shil said: “The problem is they do not know the proper dosage even if they use the right chemicals. An improper dose can be really harmful.” He also said: “We have been talking about these mal treatments for more than a decade. But nothing has changed. Whenever media focuses on it, the government makes some moves. Then everything goes back to square one.” Ruhul Amin, deputy director of the Department of Narcotics Control, said: “Some criminals take advantage of Illiterate people, who often confuse these treatments as herbal methods. We are continuously monitoring their activities.” l

Schoolgirl kills herself protesting harassment n Mohammad Jamil Khan


270,000 migrant workers deported in last six years n Rabiul Islam

Her cousin Amir Hossain, a local Krishak League leader, told the Dhaka Tribune that Shahabuddin, Jony and Rubel – all supporters of Jubo League – addressed her with unpleasant words while she was returning home from madrasa in the morning. Severely upset with the incident, she tried to hang herself with a scarf

from the ceiling of her room. In critical condition, she was first taken to a local hospital and then to the Dhaka Medical College Hospital, where the on-duty doctors declared her dead around 8pm. The body was kept there for autopsy, police said. The culprits were all supporters of another local Jubo League leader Mo-

faction activist stabbed in capital n Tribune Report An activist from a faction of Gonojagoron Moncho was stabbed and injured by some unidentified miscreants in the Kathalbagan area of the capital, yesterday. The attack allegedly followed a conflict between factions of the Gonoganoron Moncho led by Kamal Pasha Chowdhury and Imran H Sarkar. The victim, Shishir Ahmed, was admitted to the Dhaka Medical College Hospital. The incident took place in front of the building of the private TV channel Bangla Vision, around 2:30pm. FM Shaheen, who was present during the attack, said 10-12 youths attacked him together. Two of his fingers also sustained stab wounds. “I spotted one of the attackers. It was Navendu Shaha Joy, Imran Sarkar’s follower,” he said. When contacted via mobile, Navendu denied his involvement in the attack, saying he was visiting his village home in Narayanganj to celebrate the Pahela Boishakh. In an April 3 press briefing, some pro-AL activists relieved Imran from the spokesperson post and replaced

him with Kamal Pasha Chowdhury. Kamal feels that this was the root cause for the violence and blamed Imran’s followers for the attack, an accusation which was denied by the latter. Kamal said, “Imran’s followers were threatening Shishir over the phone and online for a long time.” Imran is the convener of Bangladesh Online Activist Network (BOAN), who initiated the Shahbagh protest that began on February 5 last year when war criminal Quader Molla flashed a V-sign after getting sentenced for life imprisonment in the cases filed against him for committing war crimes during the 1971 liberation war. The verdict later triggered widespread outrage that drew thousands of youths to the Shahbagh intersection. To steer the movement, the Gonojagoron Mancha was formed, comprising pro-liberation student bodies, individuals, cultural organisations and online activists, and Imran was made its spokesperson. In this regard, Imran said there is no link between this and the movement of the Moncho. He has been blamed for being autocratic in decision-making by a faction of the platform. l

visit our website @

hammad Jewel, Amir said. He and Jewel had recently got involved in a conflict centring a business deal. He alleged that Jewel’s men, after failing to attack him, took their revenge on Jamena. Jewel however denied the allegation. No case was filed in connection with the incident until filing of this report late last night. l

Editor: Zafar Sobhan, Published and Printed by Kazi Anis Ahmed on behalf of 2A Media Limited at Dainik Shakaler Khabar Publications Limited, 153/7, Tejgaon Industrial Area, Dhaka-1208. Editorial, News & Commercial Office: FR Tower, 8/C Panthapath, Shukrabad, Dhaka 1207. Phone: 9132093-94, Advertising: 9132155, Circulation: 9132282, Fax: News-9132192, e-mail:,, Website:

B3 Eastern Bank Dhaka

B4 WTO raises outlook for

Travel Mart 2014 kicks off tomorrow

global trade in good sign for economy

Banks reluctant to mobilise deposits n Jebun Nesa Alo Deposit growth in the banking sector dropped substantially in last one year as banks are reluctant to mobilise funds at higher rate due to lack of credit demand and sluggish investment climate. It decreased to 16.48% in February from 20% in the same month last year. The credit growth of the banking sector decreased to 7.44% from 12.73% during the same period, according to the Bangladesh Bank data. The banks could not utilise the deposits they mobilised due to lack of investment opportunities, particularly before the general election on January 5, said a senior executive of a private bank. As a result, he said, the banks were reluctant to collect deposits and reduced the deposit rates to discourage the depositors. The average interest rate on deposits decreased to 8.34% in February from 8.68% in the same period of last year. The depositors are now searching for new opportunities to get lucrative return by investing their idle money, said a senior executive of another private bank. They turned their eyes on the share market to invest as retail investors got back confidence slightly after the demutualisation of the stock exchanges, he said. After the present government assuming office, the investors started speculating the market might boost

further as the history of 2010 and 1996 tells the market booms during the Awami League tenure, he said. “There is no more chance of disaster in the country’s share market as we reformed the rules and regulations, and started demutualisation process of the burses,” said Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission Member Helal Uddin Nizami. Investors already witnessed the reflection of reforming regulations on share market as the price index did not fluctuate abnormally during the political unrest ahead of general election. As a result, he said, inflow of funds toward the share market increased and price index remained within a range between 4,000 and 4,600. According to the Bangladesh Bank statistic released recently, the total deposits of banking sector increased by 1.49% to Tk580,652 crore in July-September period of 2013 as compared to 3% growth to Tk504,041crore in the same period last year. “The money will flow to somewhere where it will get maximum profit,” said Prof Abu Ahmed of Dhaka University. “Witnessing the current market indicators, we may say depositors’ money is flowing to the stock market. But how long it will continue will depend on the political situation.” The country’s stock market is showing an uptrend during last two and half months as the turnover at Dhaka Stock Exchange scaled up to an average of Tk400 crore per day. l

Tour operators for duty-free import of vehicles n Tribune Report Tour Operators Association of Bangladesh (TOAB) urged the government to allow duty-free import of vehicles and provide bank loan at easy terms for the sector. The association placed a set of demands at a pre-budget meeting with National Board of Revenue (NBR) yesterday. Eleven other organisations, mostly from service sector, also placed their demands in the same meeting with NBR Chairman Ghulam Hussain in the chair. “Though the government has declared the tourism sector as an industry, we do not get any financial supports including bank loan,” said Taufiq Rahman, director of TOAB. TOAB sought duty-free import of tourist vessels to encourage river tourism and demanded value added tax (VAT) withdrawal on service charges. It said the star-rated hotels were taking 15% Vat and 1012.5% other charge on the price. Taufiq Rahman said the hotels set room rents in US dollar but don’t follow the current exchange rate, making the cus-

tomers pay Tk3-6 more in every dollar. “We want the government to make following of current dollar rate mandatory for the hoteliers.” Bangladesh International Hotel Association President Hakim Ali urged the government to withdraw supplementary taxes on the sector. While placing demands, a hotel businessman wanted the government to keep rural resort centres out of tax as the rural tourism was just in its nascent stage but promising to help develop rural economy. NBR chief listened to demands of all organisations and came up with assurance that he would place them before finance minister. He also put stress on a guideline for hotels to ensure quality and suggested that the industry people should also work for such a guideline. If the country’s hotels follow a certain standard, the related industries including backward linkage will also develop, Ghulam Hussain said. He said the government recently announced duty-free import of goods for construction of luxury hotels. l


Regulator tightens listed company auditing rules n Kayes Sohel The securities regulator has tightened guidelines for conducting re-audit of the listed companies to check window-dressing of their financial reports. In a notification last week, it brought amendments to the Securities and Exchange Commission Rules 1987 for re-auditing financial reports at its own cost, if such reports are found faulty. Former BSEC Chairman Mirza Azizul Islam, also an adviser of the last caretaker government, said this is a good move as it might help reduce financial fraudulent practices, but proper implementation of the rules is required. He said authentic financial reporting by listed companies in accordance with globally accepted standards is important to facilitate the relevant stakeholders to use information for effective growth of the market. Auditors should play their effective role in preparing their financial reports, Aziz said, adding that the audit committees of the listed companies can also be pro-active to stop any malpractices, including insider trading. Under the amended guidelines, the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) said it may appoint an auditor in the public interest to undertake special audit of the financial statements of a listed company in consultations with respective primary regulators, if felt necessary. To conduct audit of listed companies, the commission will appoint audit firm to perform audit with special focus on the company’s proper books of accounts, register of members, minutes of meetings of board of directors and others. The audit firms would also check if the companies prepare financial statements in line with the Bangladesh Financial Reporting Standards (BFRS) and Bangladesh Accounting Standards (BAS)

BCS wants tax holiday for ICT industry n Muhammad Zahidul Islam Bangladesh Computer Samity (BCS) wants a seven-year tax holiday facility for information and communication technology (ICT) industry and Tk700 crore fund for the government’s specialised digitisation programme. The Samity also demanded withdrawal of value added tax (Vat) on Internet use to help e-business and outsourcing flourish. BCS president AHM Mahfuzul Arif placed a total of seven demands for the upcoming budget before the members of press in Dhaka yesterday. The organisation already submitted the budget proposals to the National Board of Revenue (NBR). “ICT can become a bigger sector than garment sector,” said AHM Mahfuzul Arif. “But Vat on Internet is a major barrier. We demand withdrawal of Vat.” He said Vat withdrawal from Internet bandwidth will help expand e-business and software outsourcing. Earlier in their own budget proposals, Association of Mobile Telecom Operators of Bangladesh (Amtob), Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) and other ICT sector associations also sought Vat withdrawal from the Internet bandwidth. “It is an urgent need to withdraw 9% Vat on house rent from ICT sector at least for next five fiscal years,” said BCS president. “The government should also allocate Tk700 crore for the digitisation programme in schools and other educational institutions,” he said. According to him, the fund, among other things, will help conduct researches on digital products and their market. The Samity proposed to change and rearrange some HS codes of ICT products. It said Vat withdrawal from computer and computer accessories will generate huge benefit for the country. If the demands are met, the ICT sector will witness a boost in business. l

Investors seen monitoring the market trading at a city brokerage house recently with particular reference to accuracy of turnover and major companies’ costs of sales, accuracy in reporting of business or segment or unit wise revenue. Position of current assets with particular emphasis on the realisation, collection and adjustment status of debtors, advance, loan and, or investment to sister and other concerns, if any, deposits and prepayments will also be brought under special audit, the guideline noted. As regard debtors and receivables, it said the auditor should obtain direct confirmations for such balances which constitutes for more than 5% of the total outstanding, if not realised subsequently. The auditor should also obtain direct confirmation for all the bank balances including loan balances, it said adding that the objective of giving advance, loan and, or investment to sis-

H&M CEO warns rising Bangladeshi wages may spook some firms n Reuters, Frankfurt Hennes & Mauritz, the world’s second-biggest fashion retailer, supports higher wages for textile workers in Bangladesh, its chief executive said, but warned that higher costs could also prompt some companies to go elsewhere. “After all, many companies source from Bangladesh, not just us. The country needs to take into account that jobs could be lost to other countries,” German daily newspaper Die Welt cited CEO Karl-Johan Persson as saying in an interview published on its website on Tuesday. “In Bangladesh, the clothing industry offers 4 million jobs that are relatively well paid compared with others. Textile workers earn about as much as teachers,” Persson said. Faced with growing competition from even cheaper rivals such as Britain’s Primark and US chain Forever 21, H&M has been seeking to differentiate itself by stressing a commitment to sustainability, including using more recycled materials and organic cotton as well as campaigning for better wages. It said last week that Bangladesh needed to speed up inspections of its garment industry, almost a year after the collapse of a factory that killed more than 1,100 people. It has also been lobbying officials in Cambodia to raise minimum wages. Persson told Die Welt that the Swedish government and labor groups were also encouraging H&M to source more from Africa. “We are testing countries like Kenya and Ethiopia. But those are still very small orders,” Persson said.

DSE starts T+2 trade settlement period today n Tribune Report Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) has made new share trading cycle settlement effective from today to bring dynamism in trading activities that currently remained dull. In mid-last month, it had decided to cut the trading settlement period to two days (T+2) from existing

three days (T+3). “Now buyers will have to make payment and sellers will have to transfer ownership of stocks within two days after the trade taking place,” said an official. The DSE in a statement yesterday said this is for kind information of all concerned that Dhaka Stock Exchange Limited is pleased to declare

April 16, 2014 as the effective date for T+2 settlement cycle. The move is to increase trading activities, thus increasing liquidity flow to the stock market, said an official. The decision of launching the reduced trading cycle on the DSE comes after discussion for many months. Earlier, the DSE submitted the proposal of introducing the T+2 to

ter and other concerns, if any, should also be verified. The auditor should check whether adequate provision for income tax has been made along with accuracy of deferred tax calculation, if applicable. As regard revenue, the auditor should verify the details of revenue with the control ledger and subsidiary ledger and confirm with invoices for its accuracy and completeness. The auditor should confirm that all the sales and its corresponding collection have been recorded and properly deposited to bank and there is no fake sale. As regard other income, the auditor should verify the details of other income and confirm the accuracy and thereof with the available documents or sources. Auditor will have to submit the audit report to the commission within two months from the date of its ap-

the securities regulator. After the submission of the proposal, it backtracked from introducing the short settlement period considering the market situation. The country’s second burse Chittagong Stock Exchange, however, has already shortened share trading settlement period of T+2 with effect from November 3 last year. l

H&M has said a drive to increase wages for Asian clothing workers was likely to dent its profitability as weak consumer demand and stiff competition made it hard to pass on costs to shoppers. It has been responding to competition by broadening its product offering, rolling out new mid-market brands such as COS and & Other Stories and investing in its online offering. Persson told Die Welt that H&M was “very happy” with margins at COS, that the online business was “very profitable” and that the company could expand into further new market segments after recently adding home textiles. “We have some ideas in the company. But it is too early to talk about them,” he said. l


pointment. However, the commission might extend the time for report submission in appropriate case, says the guideline. Various matters like valuation and physical existence of items of inventories, authenticity of purchases, cost of goods sold, expenses for the relevant year, investments and cost of acquisition will also come under the guideline. During the audit, the commission might request the auditor to conduct other areas of the listed company, if necessary, according to the guideline. According to a study of Chittagong Stock Exchange (CSE) in June, 2012, about 87% of the listed companies, other than banks and insurance, while preparing financial statements missed at least one of four accounting criteria – corporate governance guidelines, financial reporting standards, companies act and SEC rules. l

BTRC to introduce pre-paid system for IGW’s n Muhammad Zahidul Islam Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) is going to introduce a pre-paid payment system soon for the international gateways (IGW) as a good number of operators have so far failed to pay their outstanding bills in the last six months. To ensure proper realisation of the bills from the international termination calls, the telecom operator will take the crucial decision at a meeting to be held today at BTRC office in the capital, according to BTRC sources. Engineering and operations division of BTRC has already proposed three different slabs for different call termination limits. According to the proposal, IGWs will have to pay a deposit worth Tk10 crore as pre-paid balance against 10 lakh minutes per day, Tk30 crore against 30 lakh minutes per day while Tk50 crore for up to 50 lakh minutes termination volume. The governmenthad earlier proposed the BTRC to introduce this prepaid system for enhancing its due revenue collection from the telecom sector. As per the existing guideline, the IGWs share 51.75% of their revenues from incoming international calls with the government. Meanwhile, some nine operators have already gone out of the service as they failed to share their revenues worth Tk600 crores, which still remains pending as dues. BTRC high official said: The IGWs are currently providing ‘performance bank guarantees’ for operating their international calls. But troubles begin when the dues exceed the guarantee. “As the IGWs need to bear various costs to run their own business, the matter will have to be examined carefully before introducing a pre-paid payment system for them,” said a high official of Engineering and Operations division. l



Stocks gained yesterday as investors continued to bet on heavyweights that dominated the entire trading session. The benchmark index DSEX gained 33 points or 0.8% to close at 4,606. Shariah Index DSES closed 15 points or 1.6% higher to 1,036. The blue-chip comprising DS30 rose 25 points or 1.6% to end at 1,703. Chittagong Stock Exchange Selective Category Index, CSCX, closed at 8,892 with a gain of 26 points. Trading activities improved with DSE turnover standing at Tk547 crore, a jump of 144% from the previous session hit by technical problem. Top 20 companies in terms of volume of trade accounted for 68% of the total DSE turnover, reflecting that investors concentrated on few big issues. Fuel and power made up almost 24% or Tk120 crore, which was one-fifth of the total DSE turnover. Since investors put funds on heavyweights, other small or mid cap shares saw price corrections. Out of 292 issues traded at the DSE, 109 advanced, 166 declined and 17 remained unchanged. “Upswing in large caps, particularly from top ten market cap scrips, pulled up the market despite majority of the traded scrips faced price correction,” said IDLC Investments. As a result, DSEX


Turnover (Million Taka)


Turnover (Volume)

ended in green zone and crossed 4,600 points level and scrip-level swings were observed as 80 scrips changed more than 3% of their respective price, it said. Lanka Bangla Securities said market ran up on the back of fundamentals, and that gain from current levels has expedited as benchmark index made a crossover on upside clenching above 4,600-mark. It said investors might have become keen to move swiftly to MNCs (multi-national companies), manufacturing and financial stocks. All the major sectors ended positive except non-life insurance and non-banking financial institutions, which shed almost 2% and 1% respectively. Cement sector was the best performer with a rise of 4.5%, supported by the rally in Lafarge Surma Cement that gained 8.7%. Meghna Petroleum, a state-run petroleum products distribution company, was the most traded stock with shares valued nearly Tk57crore, followed by GP which accumulated Tk54.6 crore worth of turnover. Zenith Investment said Market starts to glow from the first trading day of the Bengali New Year, thanks to MNCs and other large cap scrips. “Investors optimism has resurfaced which has been further re-energised by the New Year’s Eve, healing the wounds that the market has endured up to last month.” l


Number of Contract


Traded Issues


Issue Gain (Avg. Price Basis)


Issue Loss (Avg. Price Basis)


Unchanged Issue (Avg. Price Basis)


Market Capital Equity (Billion. Tk.)


Market Capital Equity (Billion US$)


Turnover (Million Taka)


Turnover (Volume)


Number of Contract


DSE Broad Index :


(+) 0.73%

Traded Issues


DSE Shariah Index :


(+) 1.52%

Issue Gain (Avg. Price Basis)



(+) 1.53%

Issue Loss (Avg. Price Basis)


CSE All Share Index:


(+) 0.52%

Unchanged Issue (Avg. Price Basis)


CSE - 30 Index :


(+) 1.47%

Market Capital Equity (Billion. Tk.)



(+) 0.30%

Market Capital Equity (Billion US$)


DSE - 30 Index :

CSE Selected Index : DSE LOSERS

City Bank - A Pragati Gen. I -A Nitol Insurance -A Rahima Food -Z Central Pharm-A National Housing Fin.-B Modern Dyeing -Z Takaful Islami Insu-A

-16.58 -12.48 -8.33 -7.63 -6.82 -6.69 -6.63 -6.63

Average (% change) -16.79 -7.62 -5.58 -6.41 -5.34 -3.86 -6.38 -4.57

Rupali Life Insur.-A Meghna PET Ind. -Z

-6.27 -6.15

-5.75 -7.69


Closing (% change)


Closing (% change)

City Bank - A Midas Financing-Z Central Pharm-A Apex SpinningA ISN Ltd. -A Delta SpinnersA Rahima Food -Z Sinobangla Indu.-A

-14.66 -9.85 -9.47 -8.99 -7.69 -7.61 -7.37 -6.95

Average (% change) -16.49 -9.85 -8.36 -8.28 -6.55 -7.84 -7.43 -2.95

Samata LeatheR -Z Nitol Insurance -A

-6.86 -6.85

-7.49 -6.85


Closing average


Sector Bank NBFI Investment Engineering Food & Allied Fuel & Power Jute Textile Pharma & Chemical Paper & Packaging Service Leather Ceramic Cement Information Technology General Insurance Life Insurance Telecom Travel & Leisure Miscellaneous Debenture

Turnover in million

Daily low

Latest EPS

Latest PE

16.21 52.70 33.99 36.79 37.90 28.87 80.00 31.71

16.10 51.20 33.00 36.30 36.90 27.90 80.30 31.00

16.80 55.90 35.60 39.50 39.90 29.80 82.10 32.50

14.40 50.60 32.50 35.80 36.80 27.40 79.00 30.00

33.604 2.635 3.331 0.975 18.781 1.198 0.032 2.002

1.09 2.75 3.57 -1.00 1.74 1.39 1.54 2.64

14.9 19.2 9.5 -ve 21.8 20.8 51.9 12.0

103.30 6.00

101.60 6.10

113.80 6.40

101.00 6.00

4.442 0.012

5.33 -1.30

19.4 -ve

Closing average


Daily high

Turnover in million

Daily low

Latest EPS

16.30 24.70 37.30 86.10 15.60 32.80 37.70 24.10

16.50 24.70 41.00 89.00 16.10 35.00 38.50 25.90

15.00 24.70 37.10 85.20 15.60 32.00 36.80 23.70

3.130 0.025 1.730 0.521 0.063 2.660 0.397 0.506

1.09 -5.96 1.74 1.85 -0.36 1.65 -1.00 0.80

14.8 -ve 21.9 46.9 -ve 20.2 -ve 30.9

32.60 34.00

32.60 34.00

32.60 34.00

32.60 34.00

0.016 0.034

-0.04 3.57

-ve 9.5

Investors optimism has resurfaced which has been further re-energised by the New Year’s Eve, healing the wounds that the market has endured up to last month

CSE GAINERS Company LafargeS Cement-Z Northern G Insur-A Dutch Ban. Bnk- A National Life I -A Meghna Petroleum -A Argon Denims Limited-A Monno Ceramic -B Titas Gas TDCLA Berger Paints-A Jamuna Oil -A

% change 7.83 2.69 1.08 5.21 9.86 23.68 0.03 6.85 9.57 0.02 0.83 1.40 0.44 11.99 0.36 0.83 2.11 11.73 0.52 2.95 0.02

Million Taka 39.15 10.24 3.26 20.86 31.51 86.05 44.36 31.85 19.59 3.24 23.97 2.20 38.75 3.50 2.29 5.75 51.84 5.91 19.93 0.03

% change 8.81 2.30 0.73 4.69 7.09 19.37 0.00 9.98 7.17 4.41 0.73 5.40 0.50 8.72 0.79 0.52 1.29 11.67 1.33 4.49 0.01

Million Taka 467.51 157.64 62.56 306.11 570.73 1381.92 1.73 419.15 555.55 20.51 48.68 100.57 26.41 694.55 23.17 47.48 121.44 693.72 34.12 181.13 1.08


Closing (% change) 9.88 9.83 7.85 6.06 5.92 5.39 4.82 4.59 4.10 3.63

From TradeServers:

Average (% change) 11.39 9.70 7.94 3.24 4.60 5.39 4.32 5.10 3.47 3.02

PRAGATIINS: The Board of Directors has recommended 12.5% cash dividend and 5% stock dividend for the year ended on December 31, 2013. Date of AGM: 15.05.2014, Time: 12:00 Noon, Venue: Jamuna Resort Ltd. Bhuapur, Tangail. Record Date: 24.04.2014. The Company has also reported EPS of Tk. 2.75, NAV per share of Tk. 52.35 and NOCFPS of Tk. 1.17 for the year ended on December 31, 2013. SOUTHEASTB: The Company has informed that it has credited the bonus shares for the year ended on December 31, 2013 to the respective shareholders' BO Accounts on April 13, 2014. UNIONCAP: The Company has informed that it has credited the bonus shares for the year ended on December 31, 2013 to the respective shareholders' BO Accounts on April 13, 2014. DUTCHBANGL: The Company has informed that cash dividend for the year 2013 has already been credited to the shareholders as per entitlement through BEFTN in their respective bank accounts mentioned in the BO ID number. The shareholders whose accounts were not credited due to

DSE TURNOVER LEADERS Company Meghna Petroleum -A Grameenphone-A Olympic Ind. -A LafargeS Cement-Z Padma Oil Co. -A HeidelbergCement -A Jamuna Oil -A


9.10 8.61 5.43 4.64 4.11 4.03 3.70 3.63 3.38 3.36

Average (% change) 4.89 8.76 3.62 2.74 4.11 3.12 1.59 1.79 4.64 3.43

Closing average


99.87 61.80 299.64 20.25 195.00 237.61 209.00 233.18 250.40 12.37

101.90 63.10 306.70 20.30 195.00 240.00 213.10 236.70 245.00 12.30

Closing average


62.60 37.99 97.63 334.27 300.10 54.59 34.74 81.88 1000.00 237.12

63.40 38.00 97.60 334.30 307.50 54.70 34.80 82.10 1000.00 239.50

Daily high 102.70 63.50 309.00 20.50 195.00 240.90 214.60 238.00 257.00 12.60

Daily high 63.40 38.00 97.90 335.00 310.00 55.50 35.50 83.00 1000.00 239.80

Turnover in million

Daily low 97.30 60.00 266.00 19.00 195.00 220.00 187.60 209.50 235.00 10.80

3.805 325.206 569.066 3.519 0.020 228.852 95.749 366.854 9.729 16.061

Turnover in million

Daily low 60.50 32.00 94.90 332.00 293.00 54.30 33.30 80.50 1000.00 232.00

20.124 0.761 0.537 1.103 34.086 0.808 0.531 1.459 0.050 15.228

Latest EPS

Latest PE

1.18 2.19 22.36 0.76 21.32 16.90 3.28 6.90 17.00 0.01

84.6 28.2 13.4 26.6 9.1 14.1 63.7 33.8 14.7 1237.0

Latest EPS

Latest PE

2.19 2.00 10.00 12.46 22.36 2.74 0.38 8.50 37.13 16.90

28.6 19.0 9.8 26.8 13.4 19.9 91.4 9.6 26.9 14.0

inadequate information in their bank accounts have been requested to collect their dividend warrants from share department of the Company, Head Office at Sena Kalyan Bhaban (3rd Floor), 195 Motijheel C/A, Dhaka-1000 during the office hours within April 20, 2014. Borad Meeting: CITYGENINS on April 17, 2014 at 3:15 PM. ILFSL on April 16, 2014 at 3:00 PM. BDFINANCE on April 17, 2014 at 4:30 PM. ISLAMICFIN on April 16, 2014 at 3:00 PM. AGRANINS on April 19, 2014 at 11:30 AM. EXIMBANK on April 15, 2014 at 3:30 PM. KAY&QUE: The Company has further informed that due to unavoidable circumstances, the meeting which was scheduled to be held on April 13, 2014 at 3:00 PM to consider, among others, audited financial statements of the Company for the year ended on December 31, 2013, has been postponed. Fresh date for consideration of the above will be intimated subsequently in due course.

From BIASL Desk:

Impact after declaration: PRAGATIINS price dropped 12.48%, close at taka 51.20 with PE 18.62.

Price Correction after Record Day: CITYBANK price correction was 16.58% (taka 3.20) against 20% stock Dividend (taka 3.86 per share approx.). After record day restated EPS is taka 1.09 and NAV per share is taka 22.21. RIGHT SHARE: ARAMITCEM: Subscription 23.03.2014 to 17.04.2014. RD for 6entitlement of rights share: 09.01.2014. RUPALILIFE- Subscription 06.04.2014 to 05.05.2014. RD for entitlement of rights share: 16.01.2014. BRACBANK: Subscription 20.04.2014 to 15.05.2014. RD for entitlement of rights share: 10.02.2014. GENNEXT: Subscription 18.03.2014 to 09.04.2014, RD: 25.02.2014. IPO Subscription: Shahjibazar Power Co. Limited subscription date 06-04 April 2014, NRB upto 19 April 2014. @ taka 25, face value taka 10 and market lot 200. Khulna Printing & Packaging Limited subscription date 04 – 08 May 2014, NRB upto 17 April 2014. @ taka 10, face value taka 10 and market lot 500.


STANDBANKL: 10% cash, AGM: 18.05.2014, Rd: 23.04.2014. IBNSINA: 25% cash & 10% stock, AGM: 07.06.2014, RD: 30.04.2014.

Latest PE

16.16 24.70 38.02 86.78 15.83 33.25 37.77 24.70


DSE Million Taka 428.36 147.40 59.30 285.25 539.22 1295.87 1.73 374.79 523.70 0.93 45.44 76.60 24.21 655.79 19.67 45.19 115.69 641.88 28.21 161.19 1.05

Daily high

Desh Garments -B LafargeS Cement-Z Meghna Petroleum -A Purabi G Insu.A 5th ICB M F-A Jamuna Oil -A BD Submarine Cable-A Olympic Ind. -A Popular Life Insu. -A EXIM Bank-A

Closing (% change)

News, analysis and recent disclosers

CSE key features April 15, 2014

Daily capital market highlights

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


DSE key features April 15, 2014

Bangla New Year reenergised market n Tribune Report


% change 7.90 2.66 1.06 5.17 9.65 23.36 0.03 7.09 9.39 0.35 0.82 1.70 0.45 11.74 0.39 0.80 2.05 11.73 0.58 3.06 0.02

Prepared exclusively for Dhaka Tribune by Business Information Automation Service Line (BIASL), on the basis of information collected from daily stock quotations and audited reports of the listed companies. High level of caution has been taken to collect and present the above information and data. The publisher will not take any responsibility if any body uses this information and data for his/her investment decision. For any query please email to or call 01552153562 or go to

Square Pharma -A BSC-A BD Submarine Cable-A

Familytex (BD) Ltd.-N Renata Ltd. -A BATBCL -A AB Bank - A Titas Gas TDCLA CSE TURNOVER LEADERS Company Grameenphone-A

Meghna Petroleum -A Padma Oil Co. -A LafargeS Cement-Z Square Pharma -A Emerald Oil Ind. -N BD Submarine Cable-A Jamuna Oil -A HeidelbergCement -A Matin Spinning-N BSC-A UCBL - A National Bank - B AB Bank - A BEXIMCO Ltd. -A UNITED AIR-A

Volume shares 1,899,160 2,070,497 1,573,264 5,262,500 828,307 455,410 963,133 795,134 197,840 458,140

1,741,000 72,212 31,050 2,675,570 854,730 Volume shares

136,200 113,580 55,072 321,500 64,338 72,000 76,200 64,221 23,450 340,200 21,520 337,675 455,200 194,786 192,297 368,386

Value in million 569.07 546.13 366.85 325.21 306.11 270.25 228.85 225.18 118.16 95.75

93.67 80.75 80.00 75.96 70.07

Value in million

35.95 34.09 20.39 20.12 18.22 16.83 15.90 15.23 13.98 13.13 12.88 8.03 5.57 5.56 5.50 5.02

% of total turnover 10.40 9.98 6.70 5.94 5.59 4.94 4.18 4.12 2.16 1.75

1.71 1.48 1.46 1.39 1.28

% of total turnover

9.56 9.07 5.42 5.35 4.85 4.48 4.23 4.05 3.72 3.49 3.43 2.14 1.48 1.48 1.46 1.34

Daily closing 306.70 269.20 236.70 63.10 371.00 604.20 240.00 285.10 595.75 213.10

54.30 1110.60 2596.20 28.60 82.50 Daily closing

268.30 307.50 371.60 63.40 284.80 237.10 212.00 239.50 606.00 37.90 595.80 23.60 12.40 28.60 28.50 13.60

Price change 5.43 3.26 3.63 8.61 2.18 3.30 4.03 2.04 -2.14 3.70

-0.91 -0.80 3.03 3.25 3.13

Price change

3.31 5.92 3.14 9.88 1.71 3.49 2.76 3.63 1.81 -5.96 -2.69 -0.84 2.48 -0.35 -0.70 -1.45

Daily opening 290.90 260.70 228.40 58.10 363.10 584.90 230.70 279.40 608.75 205.50

Daily high

Daily low

309.00 272.00 238.00 63.50 372.80 609.00 240.90 286.30 615.50 214.60

266.00 238.00 209.50 60.00 333.00 575.00 220.00 265.00 587.75 187.60

Daily average 299.64 263.77 233.18 61.80 369.56 593.41 237.61 283.20 597.27 209.00

Daily low

Daily average

54.80 1119.60 2519.90 27.70 80.00

Daily opening

259.70 290.30 360.30 57.70 280.00 229.10 206.30 231.10 595.20 40.30 612.30 23.80 12.10 28.70 28.70 13.80

56.20 1136.00 2600.00 29.40 82.80 Daily high

271.00 310.00 373.00 63.40 286.00 237.40 213.60 239.80 607.00 39.80 610.00 24.10 12.50 29.10 29.00 14.00

52.80 1080.00 2523.00 25.00 72.00

255.40 293.00 365.00 60.50 280.00 229.00 206.00 232.00 574.00 37.70 586.00 23.50 11.90 27.40 28.40 13.50

53.80 1118.25 2576.46 28.39 81.98

263.92 300.10 370.15 62.60 283.19 233.69 208.63 237.12 596.16 38.58 598.70 23.77 12.24 28.52 28.62 13.63



Wednesday, April 14, 2014


Eastern Bank Dhaka Travel Mart 2014 kicks off tomorrow Development n cooperation meeting begins in Mexico Tribune Report

n Tribune Report A high level two-day meeting on global partnership for effective development cooperation began in Mexico yesterday. Over 1300 international development leaders from governments, business, civil societies, parliaments and international organisations attended in the first-ever high level meeting styled “Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation”. Finance Minister Abul Maal A Muhith is leading the Bangladesh delegation which includes cabinet secretary M Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan, ERD secretary M Mejbahuddin and a member of parliament Kazi Nabil Ahmed. The two-day meeting includes five plenary sessions and 28 focus sessions on a range of critical themes for development. The meeting reviews the global progress in making development cooperation more effective while aiming to agree on actions to boost that progress and also to anchor effective development co-operation in the post-2015 global development agenda. On April 14, a day before the meeting, cabinet secretary attended a panel discussion on “Ownership and Re-

sults - How to accelerate progress in strengthening country system through greater use”. The panel discussion was part of the pre-event workshop on “Unfinished business: Moving forward to meet Busan’s commitments. Bhuiyan in his speech identified three practical ways for development partners to use country system in their development cooperation—use of country public financial management and procurement systems, aid information management systems and results frameworks. He highlighted the efforts made by the Bangladesh to strengthen its public financial management and public procurement systems through various reforms over the past years. Mentioning the importance of using country results framework, he said Bangladesh has developed a Development Results Framework in consultation with different stakeholders, which has been incorporated in the country’s sixth Five Year Plan. To strengthen ownership, leadership and use of country systems, recipient countries need strong policy and legal frameworks, strong institutions and strong individuals, he added. l

A three-day 11th international tourism fair styled “Eastern Bank Dhaka Travel Mart 2014” will begin tomorrow in the capital to attract more visitors in Bangladesh to boost the country’s travel and tourism sector. The Bangladesh Monitor, a travel and tourism magazine, will organise the fair at Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel in the city. The fair will remain open for the visitors from 10 am to 8 pm with an entry fee of Tk20 per person. Eastern Bank Ltd will be the title sponsor of the fair while Bangladesh Tourism Board and Biman Bangladesh Airlines will be the premium partner and airline partner respectively. Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister Rashed Khan Menon is expected to inaugurate the exhibition as chief guest at 4 pm at the fair-venue today, a day before the fair begins. FBCCI president Kazi Akram Uddin Ahmed will also attend the inaugural ceremony, as special guest. Kazi Wahidul Alam, Editor of the Bangladesh Monitor and chairman of “Eastern Bank Dhaka Travel Mart 2014” formally made the announcement at a press conference held yesterday at a city hotel. The country’s tourism sector is heading towards further expansion, as a result, the number of hotels, resorts are also increasing to cope with the increasing demand, said Kazi Wahidul Alam. “As the trend of visitors from home

Indian, African social enterprises need to share more new services, products n Reuters, New Delhi Indian and African social enterprises are not fulfilling their potential and should do more to share new products and services to help improve the lives of the poor, the head of a multi-million dollar social venture capital fund in India said. India has the largest number of social enterprises in the world, many of which are finding new ways to solve development problems in sectors such as agriculture, health, education, water and sanitation and housing. Experts say the historical and cultural links between many African nations and India mean there is great scope for social businesses on opposite sides of the Arabian Sea to join forces to tackle similar social problems. “The exciting thing about both India and Africa is the number of young people who want to be social entrepreneurs,” said Sachin Rudra, India director of Acumen, a major impact investor in Africa and India. “Twenty years ago, young educated people would choose to go into traditional government jobs, or the usual professions. That is changing,” he said. “However, the number of Indian social entrepreneurs going to Africa and vice versa is still small. I don’t think it’s a steady, well-oiled flow of these ideas which is happening.” Development experts say that both India and many African nations have found it difficult spread their strong

economic growth to their millions of poor. Social enterprises have the potential to help the poor benefit from such growth. Rudra, whose capital fund has invested over $70m in social enterprises in both regions, said social enterprises faced numerous challenges when mov-

'They do outstandingly good work and that doesn’t exist in India pretty much at the moment. You could well have a company like M-Pesa which could bring that innovation here' ing into new territory, including a lack of understanding of the new markets, with different consumers, languages and ways of doing business, and different regulatory systems. Rudra was speaking on the sidelines of the Sankalp Unconvention Summit in Mumbai, where hundreds of social entrepreneurs gathered last week to showcase products such as clean cooking stoves, solar lanterns, and more efficient irrigation tools for low-income rural and urban communities. Experts say there are currently more Indian entrepreneurs working in Africa than vice versa, largely because

entrepreneurship is much more established in India and this makes it easier for investors like Acumen to find firms that can use the funds they provide. But Rudra said Africans have many new ideas and products that India could learn from. “To say that innovation is a monopoly of India in this sector would be very short-sighted,” he said, citing African companies which focus on financial inclusion, like Kenya’s M-Pesa and Nigeria’s Pagatech . “They do outstandingly good work and that doesn’t exist in India pretty much at the moment. You could well have a company like M-Pesa which could bring that innovation here.” Organisations like the Britain’s Department for International Development (DFID) and USAID have set up the “Millennium Alliance” which aims to help Indian social enterprises expand their networks at home and abroad. The alliance plans to provide innovators with technical assistance in the form of services such as seed funding, grants and networking opportunities, and to foster an exchange of knowledge with other firms in similar positions. Rudra said he welcomed any support for social enterprises, adding it was essential that new development ideas be shared. “Innovation needs to travel both ways and if funds like Acumen, which work in both geographies, can act as a bridge and cause the traffic to go both ways, we will have achieved what we hoped for.” l

Bangladesh Monitor Editor Kazi Wahidul Alam announces Eastern Bank Dhaka Travel Mart 2014, an international tourism fair at a press conference yesterday. The three-day fair begins tomorrow at Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel, Dhaka DHAKA TRIBUNE and abroad is also gradually increasing day by day, we have been arranging the fair for the last 10 years to promote travel, tourism, hospitality and aviation sector of the country,” said Wahidul. A total of 50 organisations including

airlines, tour operators, hotels, resorts, travel and trade bodies, financial institutions from seven countries including Bangladesh, Malaysia, Thailand, Turkey, Nepal, Sri Lanka and United Arab Emirates will participate at the fair. Among others, the press confer-

Dollar holds steady in Asia on upbeat US economy view n AFP, Tokyo The dollar held firm in Asia yesterday after solid retail sales data boosted confidence in the US economy while tensions in Ukraine and speculation over more European Central Bank monetary easing weighed on the euro. In afternoon Tokyo trade, the greenback fetched 101.92 yen, up from 101.82 yen in New York Monday afternoon. The euro fetched $1.3816 and 140.82 yen, little changed from $1.3820 and 140.74 yen in US trade. US stock prices jumped on Monday thanks to a better-than-expected earnings report from Citigroup and encouraging retail sales data. The figures showed retail sales rose 1.1% on-month in March, supplying further evidence of stronger economic activity after a particularly brutal winter. “This is shifting expectations for a spring pickup in the US data,” National Australia Bank (NAB) said. “This is one of the necessary but not sufficient conditions for a US dollar rally. More on that when Fed chair (Janet) Yellen speaks tonight but more likely on Wednesday when she speaks to the Economic Club of New York,” it added. Yellen is due to open an Atlanta Fed conference later Tuesday with market players looking for clues about any changes to the timeline for tapering the central bank’s stimulus drive. The euro has been under pressure since European Central Bank (ECB) chief Mario Draghi said at the weekend that policymakers may need to take ac-

tion to stem the unit’s rise. US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin clashed over pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine, in a tense phone call Monday. A White House statement said the conversation came at Russia’s request and that Obama accused Moscow of supporting “armed pro-Russian separatists who threaten to undermine and destabilise the government of Ukraine”. In Tokyo on Tuesday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held a meeting with Bank of Japan (BoJ) Governor Haruhiko Kuroda, fuelling another guessing game over whether and when the central bank will expand its monetary easing campaign. The BoJ disappointed markets when it stood pat on the year-old programme after a meeting last week, despite fears that an April 1 sales tax rise - Japan’s first in 17 years - would hold back its recovery. During the meeting, the pair’s third since last June, Kuroda renewed his pledge to take additional action if needed but Abe made no direct request for further measures, according to Dow Jones Newswires. “Nothing really came out of the meeting,” Kuroda told reporters. The meeting and comments had little effect on forex rates. Against other Asia-Pacific currencies, the dollar rose to Sg$1.2537 yesterday afternoon from Sg$1.2507 on Monday, to 1,042.00 South Korean won from 1,038.75 won and to Tw$30.21 from Tw$30.16. l

ence was attended by Pradip Ranjan Chakraborty, director of Bangladesh Tourism Board, Abduallah Hasan, general manager (marketing) of Biman Bangladesh Airlines, and Ziaul Karim, chief of brand and commutation of Eastern Bank. l

Peninsula IPO oversubscribed by almost five times n Tribune Report The IPO (Initial public offering) of the Peninsula Hotel Chittagong has been oversubscribed by almost five times on offer. Investors ordered shares worth over Tk800 crore against the offer of Tk125 crore, according to the Chittagong Stock Exchange. The company issued 5.5 crore ordinary shares of Tk30 each, including premium of Tk20. The IPO proceeds will be used to construct new hotel, bank loan repayment and extension of existing hotel. The company’s earnings per share stood at Tk2.49 and net asset value of Tk32.73, according to its financial statement as of June 30, 2013. The subscription started from March 30, and ended on April 3 for general investors and April 12 for non-resident Bangladeshis. l

Saif Powertec gets IPO nod n Tribune Report Saif Powertec Limited has got green signal from the securities regulator to go public. Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) approved the initial public offering (IPO) of the company to raise Tk36 crore from the market to set up a battery project and meeting expenses of IPO process, the regulator said in a statement yesterday. It will issue 1.20 crore ordinary shares with offer value of Tk30 a share, including a premium of Tk20. l

Zebra Tech to buy Motorola’s enterprise business n Reuters

NCC Bank Ltd recently held a board meeting at its head office in Dhaka. The bank’s chair Md Nurun Newaz Salim presided over the meeting, the most popular job portal in the country, has recently got investment from world's largest network of online employment sites. Australia based company SEEK.COM has recently acquired 25% share of Ltd. has been valued at $20m, the highest so far by any Bangladeshi owned Internet company, said Fahim Mashroor, CEO of at a press conference

Barcode printer maker Zebra Technologies Corp said it would buy Motorola Solutions Inc’s enterprise business for $3.45bn in cash. The business, which makes rugged mobile computers and tablets for companies, has struggled as clients delay orders and cut spending. l

Banngladesh Sramik Kallayan Foundation’s director general, Md Faizur Rahman, president Advocate Mahbubur Rahman Ismail and Anower Hossain Khokon, GS of Bangladesh Motorjan Mechanic Federation recently signed an MoU on group insurance for Motorjan Mechanic on behalf of their respective organisations yesterday

Anurag Adlakha, regional chief financial officer for India and South Asia has arrived in Dhaka yesterday for a 2-day official visit. During this visit, Anurag Adlakha will meet external stakeholders and senior officials of the bank

Social Islami Bank Limited’s board chair, Major (retd) Dr Md Rezaul Haque has inaugurated a special campaign of the bank titled “Bangla Noboborsher Shera Shomvar, Social Islami Bank-er Nitto Nobo Upohar” on the first day of Bangla New Year

Mojo, a cola brand of Akij Food and Beverage Limited celebrated Pohela Boishakh and also its birthday on April 14 by organising various activities all over the country. Shekh Shamim-uddin was the chief guest at the event held for the celebration



Back Page

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

WTO raises outlook for global trade in good sign for economy n AFP, Geneva Global commerce is set to grow by 4.7% this year, the World Trade Organization said on Monday, with recovery in rich economies expected to mitigate risks in developing nations. The WTO previously had forecast that trade would expand by 4.5% in 2014, up from an estimated rate of 2.1% in 2013. So the latest forecast points to substantially more than a doubling of the growth achieved last year. Trade is a key measure of the health of the global economy which it both stimulates and reflects. Asia will continue to fuel growth rates, the WTO said, although China’s exceptionally strong expansion is slowing. In addition, Europe and North America’s recovery is also set to be a key driver on both the import and export fronts. “For the last two years trade growth has been sluggish. Looking ahead, if GDP (gross domestic product) forecasts hold true, we expect a broad-based but modest upturn in 2014, and further consolidation of this growth in 2015,” WTO chief Roberto Azevedo told reporters. The WTO predicted that trade growth would pick up pace next year, reaching 5.3%. “Prospects for world trade and output in 2014 and 2015 are better than they have been for some time, but leading economies remain fragile, including some of the most dynamic developing countries that until recently were propping up demand,” the WTO said in a statement. “Downside risks to trade abound, but significant upside potential also exists, as the US economy seems to be gaining momentum and the European Union appears to have turned a corner,” it said.

Risks in developing economies

World Trade Organisation director-general Brazil's Roberto Azevedo gestures during a press conference on 2014 global trade forecast on April 14 in Geneva. Global commerce is set to grow by 4.7% this year, the World Trade Organisation said, as a recovery in rich economies is expected to help balance out risks in developing nations AFP “At the same time, developing economies have slowed appreciably, for a variety of reasons both internal and external. Which of these forces is stronger may determine how world trade evolves over the next one to two years”. WTO economists noted that a growth rate of 5.3% in 2015 would bring trade

growth back to its 20-year average. For the past two years, growth has averaged only 2.2%. WTO economists said that the 2014 forecast was based on an assumption that global GDP would expand by 3%. “Risks to the trade forecast are still mostly on the downside, but there is

some upside potential, particularly since trade in developed economies is starting from such a low base,” the WTO said. “However, volatility is likely to be a defining feature of 2014 as monetary policy in developed economies becomes less accommodative,” it said.

The WTO said that risks had receded in Europe thanks to an easing of the eurozone crisis, and in the United States owing to the easing of brinkmanship over budget limits and tax policy between the Obama administration and the Republicans which led to last year’s government shutdown. Concerns in developing economies include large current account deficits in countries such as India and Turkey, currency crises in some countries including Argentina, overinvestment in productive capacity, and rebalancing economies to rely more on domestic consumption and less on exports. The WTO also pointed to geopolitical risks, notably conflicts in the Middle East, Asia and Ukraine, which it said could provoke higher energy prices and disrupt trade flows if they escalate. The 158 economies which make up the WTO set trade rules among themselves in an attempt to ensure a level playing field and spur growth by opening markets and removing trade barriers, including subsidies, excessive taxes and regulations. Created in 1995, the WTO launched its Doha Round of trade liberalisation talks in 2001 with the stated aim of underpinning development in poorer nations. The talks repeatedly faltered in the face of obstacles set in particular by China, the EU, India and the United States, but negotiators last December struck a partial deal to cut trade costs by slashing red tape in customs services. Azevedo urged governments to build on that modest breakthrough. “It’s clear that trade is going to improve as the world economy improves. But I know that just waiting for an automatic increase in trade will not be enough for WTO members,” he said. l

Google buys solar-powered drone maker Titan Aerospace n AFP, New York Google Monday announced that it is acquiring Titan Aerospace, a maker of solar-powered drones that could be used to boost Internet access to remote areas. “It’s still early days, but atmospheric satellites could help bring Internet access to millions of people, and help solve other problems, including disaster relief and environmental damage like deforestation,” said a Google spokesman in an email to AFP. “It’s why we’re so excited to welcome Titan Aerospace to the Google family.” Google did not release the financial terms of the transaction. Titan’s drones are able to run for five years at an altitude of some 65,000 feet (19,812 meters). They can perform similar functions to geostationary satellites, but are less costly. l

Survey: 18% of US Internet users had data stolen n AFP, Washington Some 18% of US Internet users have had important personal data such as bank account information stolen and the problem appears to be getting worse, a survey showed Monday. The Pew Research Centre study carried out in January showed a sharp increase from mid-2013, when 11% reported being victimized. The survey also found 21% reported having email or social network accounts compromised, the same percentage as last year. The findings come amid growing concern over the “Heartbleed” vulnerability discovered earlier this month, and months after US retail giant Target acknowledged millions of customers may have had payment cards compromised. l

Rising wages squeeze Bangladesh garment makers as factories await upgrades n Reuters, Dhaka Bangladesh garment factory owners say they are soaking up much of the cost of nearly doubling wages as some global retailers balk at price hikes, leaving less money for safety improvements urged by apparel chains after last year’s Rana Plaza disaster. The task of coping with a 79% increase in the minimum monthly wage to $68, imposed last December at the urging of some retail chains, comes as competition intensifies among emerging markets producing garments for stores like Walmart and Zara. That is squeezing sales in Bangladesh’s main export industry. At Dhaka-based clothing company Simco Group, one of the thousands of businesses the sector comprises, chairman Muzaffar Siddique said that before the wage increase his net profit margin was a little more than 2%. Now he’s losing money on orders, and reckons four out of every five garment makers in the world’s second-biggest clothing exporter after China are in the same boat. “I approached one of my Western buyers to raise prices, and the relevant company said, ‘It is your business and you have to manage it ... you cannot slip it to us’,” Muzaffar said. He declined to identify the Western buyer. Nearly a year after the eight-storey Rana Plaza building collapsed in Dhaka’s Savar district, killing more than 1,100 workers, Bangladesh’s garment export growth has slowed to the lowest rate in 15 years. Some buyers have shifted orders to countries like India, Vietnam, Indonesia and Cambodia because of concerns about workshop safety, higher wages and political uncertainty. Rana Plaza was the deadliest of a series of workplace tragedies in Bangladesh’s garment business. Some Western retailers have lobbied for higher wages and better standards for workers - and also have warned investors there may be a price to pay in terms of reduced profit margins.

‘Idle gossip’ Babylon Group, a garment factory in Dhaka that says it makes clothing for major global retailers, is another company struggling to adjust to the higher cost base. It employs more than 12,000 people, and since the wage hike has lost money making clothing for customers, according to documents seen by Reuters. For one recent order, the company generated a net loss of 2.42% of the sales value, the documents show. A similar order placed before the wage hike generated a net profit of 2.69 percent of sales value. The documents seen by Reuters showed a similar pattern for orders from two different Euro-

pean retailers. Emdadul Islam, a director with Babylon, asked that the customers not be named for fear that he would lose business. “Wage pressure will affect efforts to improve safety,” said Emdadul. He said retail customers had agreed to pay “a little” more for their order, but the price rises were not enough to cover the higher wages. Emdadul said Babylon plans to improve productivity to help restore profits margins. He said he intended to offer incentive bonuses, and to advise workers “not to kill time through idle gossip”. He said his company conducts safety training drills, has the required fire safety equipment and is subject to inspections organized by the global retail brands as part of the Rana Plaza response. If the inspections turn up any problems “we will definitely pay attention and address those,” he said, adding that investment in improving safety was “ongoing”. At Impressive Group, a garment maker located about six miles from Dhaka, managing director Mohammad Mosharraf Hossain Dhali said buyers from the United States and Canada were paying 5 to 10 cents more per piece of clothing. That only partially defrays the rise in wage costs, he said, declining to identify the buyers in question. “It is not possible to sustain continuous losses so our focus is to raise productivity by 20%,” Mosharraf said. The factory would apply “motivation tools” such as incentive bonuses to get workers producing clothing faster, he said.

Shared responsibility The Rana Plaza collapse, on April 24, 2013, focused attention on working conditions in Bangladesh. US and European retailers responded by forming groups to push for better safety standards and regular inspections. The US-based Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety said its members had made more than $100m in low-cost capital available to Bangladesh factories to help pay for safety improvements. Three factories have so far finalized paperwork for loans totaling about $1m to $2m, it said. “We do anticipate an increase in loan applications in the months to come,” Ellen Tauscher, independent chair of the alliance, said in an emailed statement. Mesbah Rabin, the alliance’s Bangladesh-based managing director, said inspections had been carried out at 400 of 720 factories selected for review that previously met supply chain standards for the companies the alliance represents. Funds would be made available after the reviews were completed in July, Rabin said. The Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety, which was set up after Rana Plaza and counts many European retailers

among its signatories, also plans to make an unspecified amount of low-cost loans available to help factories pay for upgrades. Retailers are expected to pay suppliers enough to make it “financially feasible” for factories to comply with the safety requirements, spokesman Joris Oldenziel said in an emailed response to questions from Reuters. Sweden’s fast-fashion retailer Hennes & Mauritz, better known as H&M, said on March 27 that a drive to increase wages for Asian clothing workers would hurt its profit margins. Britain’s supermarket operator Tesco Plc, which includes clothing in its range of goods, said in a statement to Reuters it had lobbied for higher Bangladesh wages and would continue to work with suppliers to improve pay and shorten workers’ hours. US clothing chain Gap Inc said it had also pushed for increased wages and requires vendors to pay either the legal minimum wage or the local industry standard, whichever is higher.

Competition heats up Bangladesh’s ready-made garment exports have lost steam over the past four months, growing just 7.1% in January compared with the same month a year earlier, less than a quarter of the year-on-year growth rate recorded in November. “Immediately after the Rana Plaza disaster export orders started to fall quickly,” said Mohammad Shahidul Azim, a vice president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, which represents a majority of the factories. Several factory owners interviewed by Reuters said they were losing orders to rivals in places like Vietnam, Indonesia and Cambodia. Pakistan was also picking up orders since January when it was granted duty-free trade access for its ready-made garments to the European Union, adding to pressure on Bangladesh’s factories to keep prices low. The Rana Plaza disaster was by no means an isolated incident in the history of Bangladesh’s garment industry. In 2012, scores of workers perished in a fire at a factory on the outskirts of Dhaka called Tazreen Fashion. Yet Babylon’s Emdadul said Rana Plaza made a huge difference for the industry, likening its disastrous impact to that of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. For the first time in his 27 years in the business, he recently received a call from a customer wishing to slash the size of an order, a French company seeking 60,000 shirts rather than 130,000 as per previous orders. He declined to identify the customer. “Buyers were a bit cautious after the Tazreen fire incident, but Rana Plaza was like a 9/11 in the sector,” he said. l

Japanese actress Asami Mizukawa (left) and comic character Shizuka Minamoto (right) introduce the redesinged compact hatchback 'Passo' of Toyota Motor during a press conference at a showroom in Tokyo on April 14. Toyota launched the new vehicle, equipped with a new 1-liter engine, which achieves fuel efficiency of 27.6 km per litter, the best for registered gasoline vehicles in Japan AFP

Spain pip Brazil as World Cup’s most expensive squad n AFP, Rio De Janeiro Spain, Argentina and Brazil have the most expensive squads of the 32 sides competing in the World Cup in June, Brazilian financial daily Valor reported on Monday. The squad of reigning champions Spain is worth an estimated 486.9m euros ($674m), ahead of 474.1m euros for Argentina and 470.2m for hosts Brazil, according to sports analysis consultancy Pluri Consultoria. The company valued Germany’s squad at 445.6m euros with France coming in ahead of England at 398.6m


euros for Les Bleus to 354.2m for Roy Hodgson’s hopefuls. Belgium’s squad outranks Italy at 336.1m to 322.4m for the Azzurri. The report ranked Argentina and Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi as the highest-valued player at 138.1m euros despite a 1.4% drop in his estimated price over the past year. Portugal and Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo saw his estimated value rise 11.4% over the past year after he landed the world player of the year accolade - but he still trails Messi by more than 30m euros. At 107.3m euros, Ronaldo’s estimat-

ed current market value is more than a third of the 287m euros for the entire Portugal squad. Honduras bring up the rear with their squad valued at just 32.3 m euros - or less than one quarter of Messi and half the estimated 67.4m for Brazil and Barcelona star Neymar, whose price tag is up 22.5% on last year. The values are based on 77 criteria including age, technical ability, fitness and also marketing clout up to the date of the participating nations’ last outings. The consultancy will update its values after the final squads are unveiled on May 7. l

16 April 2014  
Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you