Liberation War veteran Nur-e-Alam Siddique passes away

One of the organizers of the Liberation War and former member of parliament from Jhenaidah-2 constituency Nur-e-Alam Siddique died here early today at the age of 82.

"The former lawmaker died at 4:37am while undergoing treatment at United Hospital in the city. His body will be taken to Jhenaidah by a helicopter at 10am," said Aniket Rajesh, secretary of Nur-e- Alam Siddique.

After his first Namaj-e-Janaza in Jhenaidah, another Namaj-e-Janaza will be held at Gulshan central mosque after Asr prayers. At this time, Nur-e-Alam Siddique will be given a "guard of honour," Aniket Rajesh said, adding, he will be buried in Savar, near the mosque, constructed by his fund.

Siddique, former Convener of the Chattra League Foundation, was also a genius student leader in his 70's, as he served as the president of the Bangladesh Chattra League during 1970-1972.

He played a vibrant role in all the political movements, including the Six-Point Movement and the Language Movement.

Siddique was also elected a parliament member as a candidate of the Bangladesh Awami League from Jashore -2 constituency after participating in the first national parliamentary elections held in 1973.

The Liberation War veteran also participated in the seventh and eighth national parliament elections as a candidate of the ruling Awami League, held successfully in 1996 and 2001.

Nur-e- Alam Siddique was born on 26 May, 1940 in Jhenaidah district.

SOURCE: BANGLADESH SANGBAD SANGSTHA

Islam enters country through peaceful way: Dr Hasan

Information and Broadcasting Minister and Awami League (AL) Joint General Secretary Dr Hasan Mahmud today said that the religious Islam entered Bangladesh in a peaceful way holding the hands of Islamic spiritual leaders (wali-awlia).

"Islam came to our country on the path of peace, holding the hands of the sufi saints. Not through any war. Our country is peaceful for people of all faiths," he told an Iftar mahfil as the chief guest in the city.

Islamic Front Bangladesh, a political organization of Islamic scholars, organized the programme at a city hotel this evening with its Chairman Allama Syed Bahadur Shah Mojaddedi in the chair.

Workers Party of Bangladesh President Rashed Khan Menon and Islami Oikya Jote Chairman Misbahur Rahman Chowdhury spoke at the function, among others.

Dr Hasan said, "Wali-Awliya are the respectful people. Those who don't respect them are associates of BNP. They create chaos, which is never acceptable".

What Bangabandhu's daughter Sheikh Hasina has done for Islam, no other government or anyone did that after Bangabandhu, he said, adding that at the directives of the Prime Minister, one lakh mosque-based schools have been established across the country, where teachers get a monthly allowance of Taka 5,200.

The mosques which have been built and are being constructed at district and upazila levels across the country at the directives of Sheikh Hasina are eye soothing, Dr Hasan said, adding, "Though Ershad and Khaleda Zia begged votes making commitment of giving recognition to Qaumi Madrasah education, they did not recognize it. But Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina did it. And many of them (Qaumi Madrasah students) got government jobs after this recognition".

Rashed Khan Menon in his speech urged all to serve the country with honesty and patriotism.

Before the Iftar, a special munajat was offered seeking welfare for the country and the nation.

SOURCE: BANGLADESH SANGBAD SANGSTHA

Shamsuzzaman got arrested after he was sued: Home Minister

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal today said police arrested Prothom Alo journalist Shamsuzzaman after a case was filed against him by the offended people.

"If someone is aggrieved and wants justice, files a case with police station, police can take action accordingly. So far I know, a case was filed," he replied to journalists after a question.

Kamal, also a heroic freedom fighter, said that the law proceeds at its own pace and everything, including the state, moves according to the law.

He addressed a cheque distribution ceremony at his ministry's conference room.

The Security Services Division organised the government grant distribution ceremony for upgrading the private drug addiction treatment and rehabilitation centers.

Replying to another question the minister said, "The state has objections. But a case was filed by someone else."

He said the Prothom Alo published a report on the Independence and National Day and the journalist of Prothom Alo did not do the right thing. "The news was broadcast by you (journalists) through the Ekattor Television and proved that the news published by Prothom Alo was baseless, false and motivated," the minister added.

Referring to the tremendous development of the country, he said, "We have progressed so far. If someone gives such fake news, then anyone can be hurt and feel offended. You may be (hurt) too. You must not accept this news."

SOURCE: BANGLADESH SANGBAD SANGSTHA

Bloomberg lauds Bangladesh PM for reforms to maintain economic stability

The globally famed Bloomberg news agency has praised Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for her “timely reform steps” to negate impacts of the worldwide economic crisis in Bangladesh, predicting the initiatives to elect her government for fourth straight term in next general elections.

“She is expected to win a fourth straight term in the elections,” the international finance biased news service wrote in an article, simultaneously suggesting Sheikh Hasina “needs to push more reforms to receive all funds”.

“Sheikh Hasina is widely expected to win a fourth straight term in national polls expected by January 2024 — not least because many of her opponents are behind bars or ensnared in legal cases”.

The Bloomberg published the article against the backdrop of Bangladesh’s receipt of International Monetary Fund (IMF) loans which it attributed to the South Asian country’s timely reforms to maintain economic stability ahead of the next national election.

The article commented that Sheikh Hasina’s victory was expected not merely “because many of her opponents are behind bars or ensnared in legal cases” but due to her success in ensuring economic stability.

Following is the full Bloomberg article headlined “Bangladesh Leader Bets IMF-Mandated Rigor Will Pay Off in Polls” with two sub-heads:

Sheikh Hasina needs to push more reforms to receive all funds

She is expected to win a fourth straight term in the elections

Government leaders across the world have often balked at implementing reforms agreed with the International Monetary Fund for fear of being penalized at the ballot box. Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina isn’t one of them.

Her quick execution of IMF mandates have stood out in South Asia where Pakistan is still fiddling with fuel subsidies just as it inches closer to reviving a bailout. Sri Lanka has delayed local municipal polls as it raised taxes and interest rates to clinch IMF funds last week.

Bangladesh, which in July became the last of the three countries to ask for IMF support, was the first to get loans approved after swiftly raising energy prices. Hasina, 75, made no apologies for the move.

“Gas and electricity supply can be provided if all agree to pay the purchasing costs,” she said a week $4.7 billion in IMF loans were secured on Jan. 31. “How much subsidy can be given? And why should we continue subsidies?”

Such comments are typically unheard of as elections approach: All three nations face key votes over the next 18 months. But unlike leaders in Sri Lanka and Pakistan, Hasina is widely expected to win a fourth straight term in national polls expected by January 2024 — not least because many of her opponents are behind bars or ensnared in legal cases.

“If the ruling party manages to maintain economic stability, that could preempt anger or public sentiment that works against the government,” said Michael Kugelman, director of the Wilson Center’s South Asia Institute. “Hasina certainly has the credibility to pull this off.”

In contrast, Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif polled low in a survey ahead of elections later this year and has been blamed by voters for the economic crisis. While Sri Lankan leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has pushed through reforms, he depends on the support of a party run by a powerful clan and will need to seek a new mandate in presidential elections due September 2024.

Hasina is banking on her government’s move to go to the IMF to show to markets and voters that she has prevented the $460 billion Bangladeshi economy from going the way Sri Lanka has with a default. Pakistan is also facing the prospect of a default.

Bangladesh went to the IMF as it grappled with an energy crisis with commodity prices soaring last year due to Russia’s war in Ukraine, while the rising costs of imports widened the trade deficit. The local currency depreciated by a fifth and reserves fell to the lowest in three years.

By winning access to IMF funds, Hasina’s government is gaining some time to fix the economy before the elections. Signs of a weakening economy could well trigger public anger against the premier who has overseen growth of more than 6% on average for the past 14 years though it slowed to about 3.5% during the pandemic.

The first review of the IMF program is set for the second half of 2023, and Bangladesh Mission Chief Rahul Anand sees the authorities “taking comprehensive steps” to unwind subsidies and move to a market-driven exchange rate.

Bangladesh has received $476 million under the facility so far. Further disbursements depend on the government ensuring reforms for the financial sector, ranging from the central bank pursuing an independent monetary policy to reducing non-performing loans and spurring climate change funding.

SOURCE: BANGLADESH SANGBAD SANGSTHA

Probe Tk 104-cr embezzlement in Homeland Life Insurance: HC

The High Court (HC) today ordered the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and Insurance Development and Regulatory Authority (IDRA) to investigate the alleged embezzlement of Taka 104 crore of the clients of Homeland Life Insurance.

A High Court division bench of Justice Md Nazrul Islam Talukder and Justice Khizir Hayat passed the order after holding hearing on a writ filed by one Rahima Akter on behalf of 14 clients.

Finance secretary, chairman of IDRA, ACC chairman and 14 directors including the chairman and vice-chairman of Homeland Life Insurance were made respondents in the writ.

"The court asked the authorities concerned to probe the matter and submit a report within two months. It also asked the ACC to dispose of 'positively' an application filed by the victims, within two months. The court also issued a rule in this regard," Barrister Ruhul Quddus Kazal, who moved the plea before the court, told newsmen.

A report of the alleged embezzlement was published in a national daily on February 27. Later many other news media carried on reports on the same subject. The writ petition was filed following the news reports.

SOURCE: BANGLADESH SANGBAD SANGSTHA

Total labour force in the country is 73.41m

The total labour force in the country is 73.41 million of which 47.48 million are male while 25.93 million are female, according to the provisional report of the labour force survey 2022.

The provisional survey findings released today also showed that some 9.91 million labour force joined the labour market from 2016-17 to 2022, over the last five years.

The survey findings were unveiled today at a dissemination ceremony of Quarterly Labour Force Survey 2022 Bangladesh held at the auditorium of the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) in the capital's Agargaon area.

Planning Minister MA Mannan spoke at the function as the chief guest while State Minister for Planning Dr Shamsul Alam, Statistics and Informatics Division Secretary Dr Shahnaz Arefin, Secretary of the Ministry of Labour and Employment Md Ehsan-E-Elahi spoke on the occasion as special guests presided over by director general of the BBS Md Matiar Rahman.

Project director of the industry and labour wing of the BBS Aziza Rahman made a power-point presentation on the survey findings while director of the industry and labour wing of the BBS Kabir Uddin Ahmed gave the address of welcome.

Speaking on the occasion, Planning Minister MA Mannan said that the survey was conducted in line with the ILO standard.

Quoting survey findings during the COVID-19 pandemic, Mannan said that the number of unemployment and poverty rate had reduced in the capital.

Explaining the reasons behind this, he said that during that time the wheel of the economy was not hindered as no industry was shut down side by side the government helped the industries to stay alive with the prompt announcement of stimulus packages.

Due to various steps of the government, the growth of Bangladesh during that time was higher than India and China, Mannan added.

He also opined, had the contributions of the housewives were considered in the labour force, then there would have been a different reflection in the labour market and also in the economy.

State Minister for Planning Dr Shamsul Alam said that this survey was conducted in line with the ILO Standard to maintain its quality.

He said that during the pandemic, many people migrated from urban areas to rural areas and also were engaged in farming of fruits, flowers and chicken.

He said that there has been more diversification and intensification of agriculture over the years as the crop intensity has now increased to 2.14.

Terming this labour force survey as an important indicator for understanding the health of the economy, Dr Alam suggested for conducting this survey on quarterly basis.

He also said that the trend of self employment has increased in the country alongside the participation of females in the labour force.

Statistics and Informatics Division Secretary Dr Shahnaz Arefin said that this survey would also be conducted next year.

She said that this practice would be institutionalized so that such survey findings could be delivered before the nation quarterly.

Labour and Employment Secretary Md Ehsan-E-Elahi said that they would form a database of 3 lakh workers in this year.

He informed that they would come up with a big project to eliminate the child labour from the country after conducting a feasibility study.

Noting that there has been tremendous progress in labour rights in every sector, the Labour Secretary said that they would also form a committee for fixing the new minimum wage for the RMG workers.

Director General of BBS Md Matiar Rahman informed that quarterly GDP related Statistics would be published from the next year.

The provisional report of the labour force survey 2022 showed that out of the total population of 70.78 million engaged in labour, some 45.79 million are male while 24.99 million are female.

It said that over the last one decade, the number of workable people has increased while the number of womenfolk has increased in the labour force in this latest survey.

The survey said that the labour force includes people aged above 15. The total number of labour force is 46.9 million of which 12.09 million are male while 34.81 million are female.

Compared to the last labour force survey conducted in 2016-17, the number of people remaining outside of the labour force has increased by 1.4 million in this edition of the survey.

It said that out of the total number of 70.78 million in the labour force, some 32.2 million people are engaged in the agriculture sector, 12.05 million people in the industry sector while 26.65 million people in the services sector.

The labour force survey 2022 showed that the average rate of unemployment in the country is 3.6 percent of which the rate of male unemployment is 3.56 percent while the rate of female unemployment is 3.63 percent.

Compared with the previous labour force survey of 2016-17, the rate of unemployment in the country has been reduced to 3.6 percent from 4.2 percent.

The survey said the total number of unemployed people in the country is 2.63 million of which 1.69 million are male while 0.94 million are female.

It said that in the latest survey, the participation rate of female is 42.68 percent of which 50.89 percent in the rural areas while 22.59 percent in the urban areas. The participation rate of women in this survey has increased to 42.68 percent from the previous 36.3 percent.

In this survey, the total number of youths (aged 15-29) engaged in work totaled 26.82 million of which 13.51 million are male while 13.31 million are female.

While making the presentation, project director Aziza Rahman said that the indices of the labour market have witnessed significant changes over the last five years while the participation of youth folk alongside women has increased in the labour market.

She informed that the final report of the survey would be published very soon.

SOURCE: BANGLADESH SANGBAD SANGSTHA

BGB, police units cancel Iftar mahfils after PM’s call

Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) and different units of Bangladesh Police under the Home Ministry have cancelled their scheduled Iftar mahfils soon after the Prime Minister's call to help the poor instead of holding parties.

"We have postponed Iftar mahfils of police and other forces under the Home Ministry," Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal told BSS here today.

He said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called upon all to help the poor instead of holding Iftar mahfils in the holy month of Ramadan.

Bangladesh Police cancelled their Iftar mahfil which was scheduled to be held at Police Staff College (PSC) Convention Hall at Mirpur here today (March 29).

The BGB also called off its pre arranged Iftar mahfil.

Apart from this, the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), the Special Branch (SB) of Police and the Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) also refrained from holding their planned Iftar mahfils.

Besides, Awami League and its associate organizations are not holding Iftar mahfils as the party President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina urged all to help the poor instead of arranging Iftar mahfils.

SOURCE: BANGLADESH SANGBAD SANGSTHA

Navy chief leaves for China

Chief of Naval Staff Admiral M Shaheen Iqbal left Dhaka for China last night on an official visit.

Chief of the navy (operations), and Commander of Dhaka Naval region saw him off at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, said an ISPR press release here today.

During the visit, the navy chief will pay courtesy calls on the Chinese Defence Minister, and senior naval officers of China, including the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy Chief.

He will also visit China's Naval Logistics Academy and China's Navy warships.

The Navy chief Admiral M Shaheen Iqbal's visit would help to strengthen mutual cooperation and defence ties between the two countries.

The Navy chief will return home on April 6, 2023.

SOURCE: BANGLADESH SANGBAD SANGSTHA

Mongla Port sees eight-meter depth foreign ship

The Mongla Port, the second largest seaport of the country, is now getting the benefits of derezzing in the Pashur, Mongla-Ghasiakhali and front jetty Channel as eight-meter depth foreign ships have started arriving at the port jetty.

An eight-meter depth Singapore-flagged ship namely ‘MAERSK XIAMEN’ anchored at the jetty no-6 of the port around 5:00 pm on March 27, said a press release issued by Md Makruzzaman, Deputy Secretary of the Public Relations department of the Mongla Port Authority (MPA) last evening.

The ship was loaded with 179 containers including 110 imported goods and remained 69 empty containers. The import goods are agricultural and other machinery, PP Board, fabrics, and sewing threat. The ship will leave the seaport towards Singapore along with 221 containers of export goods. The export goods are Cargo of EPZ, frozen fish, travel bags, VIP luggage, ceramic tiles, cotton yarn, Jute, and Jute goods, said the press release.

Earlier, on September 12, 2022, an eight-meter depth Japan-flagged ship namely ‘MCC Tokyo’ experimentally arrived at a jetty of the Mongla Port. The MPA now sees its capability through the completion of 110 kilometers of derezzing through anchored foreign ship ‘MAERSK XIAMEN’ at the port jetty, said the press release.

MPA is working relentlessly to enhance its capability to arrive over an eight-meter depth foreign ship, the press release added.

Talking to BSS, Chairman of the MPA Rear Admiral Mir Ershad Ali, today said, through the arrival of the eight-meter depth ship ‘MV Marx Xiamen’, a new era has begun at the Mongla Port.

For the integrated efforts and development of the present government, Mongla Port has now been transformed into a world-class port. Now, the capacity of the port has been increased to a great extent.

Due to the opening of the Padma Bridge, garment owners, and other traders are showing interest in using Mongla port for export and import. As a result, Mongla Port plays an important role in the economy of Bangladesh, he said.

The government is continuing the dredging of the Pashur Channel for the overall development of Mongla Port and the South-Western region. More efforts are underway to increase the capacity of the port due to which the development of the port is now visible.

SOURCE: BANGLADESH SANGBAD SANGSTHA

Minister directs authorities to take steps to check deer hunting in Sundarbans

Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Md Shahab Uddin today directed the authorities concerned, the Chief Conservator of Forests and Khulna Circle Forest Conservator, to take necessary measures to stop deer hunting and poaching in the Sundarbans.

He said awareness building programme should be implemented and smart patrolling and all other necessary measures must be taken to this end.

The environment minister came up with the directives while speaking at the progress review meeting on the Annual Development Programme (ADP) held at the ministry’s conference room at the Secretariat here.

He also directed to take all necessary steps to stop the use of single-use plastic, which pollutes the environment in the Sundarbans and its adjacent areas.

Shahab Uddin ordered the forest department to initiate probes into the fire incident broke out in different forests of the country and to take legal action if anyone is found guilty.

Deputy Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Habibun Nahar, Environment Secretary Dr Farhina Ahmed, Additional Secretary (Administration) Iqbal Abdullah Harun, Additional Secretary (Environment) Sanjay Kumar Bhowmik, Additional Secretary (Environmental Pollution Control) Md Mizanur Rahman, Director General of Department of Environment (DoE) Dr Abdul Hamid and Chief Conservator of Forest Md Amir Hosain Chowdhury were, among others, present at the meeting.

SOURCE: BANGLADESH SANGBAD SANGSTHA

Charge hearing in graft case against Tarique,Zubaida on April 9

A Dhaka court set April 9 for holding hearing

on charge framing against BNP Acting Chairman Tarique Rahman and his wife

Zubaida Rahman in a graft case filed against them by the Anti-Corruption

Commission (ACC).

Dhaka Metropolitan Sessions Judge Md Asaduzzaman passed the order today

following a short hearing.

Earlier on November 1, 2022, the court issued arrest warrants against the duo

after accepting the charge-sheet pressed against them. On February 6, this

year, the court issued a gazette asking the couple to appear before the

court.

On September 26 in 2007, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) filed the case

against Tarique, Zubaida and Tarique's mother-in-law Iqbal Mand Banu for

amassing illegal wealth of Taka 4.81 crore and concealing information about

the assets, said the case documents.

SOURCE: BANGLADESH SANGBAD SANGSTHA

UNO’s job as upazila chief executive officer is illegal: HC

The High Court (HC) today declared the provision that allows upazila nirbahi officers (UNOs) to perform duties as chief executive officer of the upazila, illegal and contradictory with the constitution.

A High Court division bench of Justice Farah Mahbub and Justice Ahmed Sohel pronounced the judgment, after holding final hearing on two writ petitions filed in this regard.

Senior jurist Ajmalul Hossain QC, Barrister Hassan MS Azim, Advocate Md Minhaduzzaman Liton took part in the hearing for the writs, while Deputy Attorney General Samarendra Nath Biswas stood for the state.

"The court declared Section 33 of the Upazila Parishad Act, illegal. After this judgment, the decision taken by upazila parishad would be implemented and the UNOs would be accountable to it," Barrister Hassan MS Azim said.

SOURCE: BANGLADESH SANGBAD SANGSTHA