Proposed budget is people-friendly: Ali

Finance Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali today said that the proposed Taka 7,97,000 crore budget for the next fiscal year (FY25) is people friendly as the incumbent Awami League government is a government which belongs to the country's people. The finance minister said this while addressing a seminar titled "The economy of Bangladesh amid global context: National budget 2024-25 considering growth, inflation, food and nutrition security" held at Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council (BARC) in the capital. State Minister for Commerce Ahsanul Islam Titu spoke it as the special guest with president of Bangladesh Agricultural Economists Association and chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Civil Aviation and Tourism Ministry Sajjadul Hassan in the chair. Former State Minister for Planning Dr Shamsul Alam spoke as the main discussant, FAO country representative Dr Jiaoqun Shi spoke as the guest of honour while Prof Dr Mohammad Jahangir Alam made the key-note presentation. Referring to the vario us socio-economic progress of Bangladesh, the finance minister said that the World Bank has also said that Bangladesh has been performing better. Speaking on the occasion, State Minister for Commerce Ahsanul Islam Titu thanked the Finance Minister for delivering such a nice budget considering the global context. He said that this proposed budget would be effective in that sense of creating employments, containing inflation and thus propelling the country's growth. The state minister informed that steps are underway to distribute the commodities of the state-run Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) at subsidized prices through cards so that there is no misuse and wastages. Titu also stressed the need for ensuring effective use of agricultural subsidies, increasing use of surface water, increasing more participants of agricultural economists in improving supply chain, giving more attention on preserving the perishable items, putting more emphasis on overall information management regarding demand and sup ply. Terming this proposed budget as a courageous one and people friendly, former State Minister for Planning Dr Shamsul Alam said although the proposed ADP is not that big considering the ADP of the outgoing fiscal year, but it would play an effective role in containing inflation. He said that it would be possible to increase the revenue generation through collecting VAT by electronic devises, mandatory provision for showing income tax returns for availing various services. Dr Alam also opined that special attention should be given so that the bank interest rates are not increased anymore, otherwise the small entrepreneurs would be affected. FAO Bangladesh representative Dr Jiaoqun Shi said that the development of agriculture is very much important for the development of Bangladesh. Welcoming the increased size of agricultural subsidy in the proposed budget, he said that this move would help to reduce production cost, boosting productivity and thus help to contain inflation. Dr Sajjadul Hassan said tha t this budget is definitely a courageous budget. "The Awami League government thrives for ensuring welfare of country's people. The government of Sheikh Hasina is also for ensuring welfare of people. We'll have to keep an eye on subsidy in fertilizer so that the marginal farmers are benefitted." Bangladesh Agricultural Economists Association Secretary General Dr Mohammad Mizanul Haque Kajol gave the address of welcome. Local and international researchers, agricultural scientists, vice chancellors of various universities, teachers and agricultural economists attended the seminar. Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

Half marathon in Karnali to promote athletics

The 'second national Kankrehibar half marathon' is being organized in Surkhet to make Karnali region known to the world through sports. Kankrebihar is a famous tourist destination, which would be further popularized with the marathon, the organizer shared at a press meet on Wednesday. The Mid Fitness Centre, Surkhet is organizing the event with the assistance of Karnali Province Sports Development Council. The Max Tigers is sponsoring the event, for which almost all preparations are over. The half marathon is being held on the occasion of the World Olympic Day. The event coordinator Pramod Hamal informed that under the sports, both men and women will compete in a 10-km race, while students will run for 5-km distance and journalists for 3-km. A total of 2,000 runners will attend the event. "Both the national and international runners are invited for the half marathon," he shared, adding that those securing first, second, third and fourth positions in the race would be provided cash prize of Rs 100 thousan d; Rs 50,000; Rs 30,000 and Rs 25,000 respectively. Similarly, those securing position in the 10-km race will also be provided cash prizes. The race will begin from Birendranagar Chowk and go through Mangalgadhi, airport, Pipara, Dhuliyabit, Subbakuna and back to the origin. The estimated cost for managing the event is Rs 1.5 million. Source: National News Agency Nepal

Discussion underway to bring GB Rai back to Nepal: Home Minister Lamichhane

Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Rabi Lamichhane has said that discussion was underway on the issue of bringing main accused of cooperative fraud scam, Gitendra Babu (GB) Rai, back to Nepal. Talking to media persons at Bharatpur airport in Chitwan today, Home Minister Lamichhane shared that he is in constant contact with Malaysian Home Minister. He mentioned that the location where Rai is residing has already been tracked. On a different note, also the chairperson of the Rastriya Swatantra Party, Lamichhane explained that there was no truth that problem has surfaced in government or alliance due to Rastriya Swatantra Party's ministers statement that they are always carrying resignation letter in their pockets. He also mentioned that there was no truth about changing the Inspector General of Police. Source: National News Agency Nepal

Floodwater submerges fresh areas in Sylhet region, mounting people’s suffering

Fresh downstream areas of Sunamganj and Sylhet districts are being inundated with gushing waters from upstream areas in northeast India accompanied by downpours while the flood situation remains unchanged. Though water levels in the district headquarters and the Surma River have decreased slightly as there was no rain since Wednesday night, but water level in Kushiyara has gone up, inundating new areas in the downstream of Sylhet, Sunamganj and Moulvibazar districts, official sources said. Floodwater stranded some 18 lakh people in the two districts till 6pm today while the number was 14.5 lakh till Wednesday afternoon. "Flood waters stranded over 9.57 lakh people . . . low-lying areas of Sylhet city and all its 13 upazilas were affected by the flood," Deputy Commissioner (DC) or administrative chief of Sylhet Sheikh Russel Hasan told reporters. Control rooms have been opened at DC office and Upazila Nirbahi Officers' (UNO) offices to monitor the situation, he said, adding that dedicated officers have bee n appointed for every upazila and tag officers for every union. Besides, union-based medical team have been formed to provide health services to the flood affected people, Russel said, adding that providing relief under government and non-government management is going on. According to Sylhet district administration, 1,602 villages and four out of five municipalities of the 13 upazilas as well as 23 out of 43 wards of the Sylhet City Corporation (SCC) were flooded, forcing 21,786 people to take refuge in 361 shelter centers. Some 2,600 people took refuge in 20 shelter centers in the city corporation area, it said. The flood water submerged different upazila health complexes, including Companiganj, Fenchuganj and Goainghat upazila health complexes, said Sylhet Deputy Civil Surgeon Dr Jonmejoy Datta. "We, however, continue providing healthcare services amid this worsening flood situation," he added. "Eleven out of 12 upazilas, including sadar upazila and the municipality, in Sunamganj were flooded, maroon ing about 8.43 lakh people in the district," Sunamganj Deputy Commissioner (DC) Mohammad Rashed Iqubal Chowdhury told reporters. As 1,306 villages of 11 upazilas have been submerged, 23,849 people have already taken refuge in 694 shelter centers in the district, he said. Our Sunamganj correspondent reports: fresh downstream areas in Derai and Shulla of the district are being inundated with flood water flowed from upstream, increasing sufferings of the common people as all 12 upazilas have already been affected by the flood. Besides, the flood water has already affected thousands of people of 20 unions of seven upazila of Moulvibazar district. Moulvibazar Deputy Commissioner Dr Urmi Binte Salam said Upazila Nirbahi Officers (UNOs) of the flood affected upazilas have been given instruction to monitor the situation and supply sufficient medicines and food at the shelter centers. According to the Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre (FFWC), the Surma River was flowing 78cm above the danger level in Sylhet's Kanaighat and 24cm above the danger level in Sylhet point, which are 18cm and 13cm less than on Wednesday respectively. Simultaneously, the Surma was flowing 26 cm above the danger level in Sunamgaj point while it was flowing above 129cm in Chhatak point and 32cm in Derai point. The Kushiyara was flowing 84cm above the danger level at Amalshid point, 33cm in Sheola point, 102cm in Fenchuganj, and 20cm in Sherpur of Sylhet. Besides, the Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD) predicted continuous rainfall across the country for the next five days commencing 9:00am today, creating possibility of worsening flood situation further in the region. According to the FFWC, the Brahmaputra-Jamuna rivers are in rising trend and may continuously rise for the next 72 hours with a chance of reaching the warning level at some points while the Ganges-Padma rivers would remain in rising trend in the next 48 hours. Except Surma, it said, major rivers in the north-eastern region of the country are in rising trend and it may continue for the next 24 hours. In the next 48 hours, the FFWC said, the water level of Dudhkumar, Teesta and Dharla rivers in the northern part of the country may rise and short-term flooding may occur in some low-lying areas of Kurigram, Lalmonirhat, Rangpur districts. The River Teesta may cross danger level at Dalia Point in next 24 hours for a short period of time. Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

Guilty of Tikapur massacre will be punished as per law: PM Dahal

Kathmandu: Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' has clarified that the actin against the guilty of Tikapur massacre would be taken as per the law. Responding to queries of lawmakers in today's meeting of the House of Representatives, Prime Minister Dahal mentioned that there was an irreparable loss of lives and property in Tikapur massacre. He explained that the issue of granting amnesty to the guilty of the incident would be according to law. Stating that the government was serious on the issue of establishing the identity of economically and socially backward communities including Tharu as well as guaranteeing the rights of the communities through economic and social empowerment, the PM stressed that the government has been launching different programmes through periodic plan, annual policies, programmes and budget. Prime Minister Dahal underlined that consistency has been maintained in budget by holding intensive discussion with all bodies concerned on the issue of policies and programmes. He further said that the government has set a target of transformation in education sector across the country, clarifying that it is erious to improve educational quality in Madhes Province. Some of the special programmes-- scholarship and day-meal are in implementation to establish access of neglected and oppressed communities to education and the budget of coming fiscal year has also incorporated additional programmes, mentioned PM Dahal. The Prime Minister shared that there was no problem in the payment to be provided to construction entrepreneurs. Activities are underway regarding long-term operation of Pokhara International Airport by holding discussion and coordination, he underlined that coordination was on to provide different types of discount and concession to operate service from Pokhara airport as international air service providers of other countries have demanded this. A working committee has been formed to submit suggestions regarding operation and construction of three international airports i ncluding Pokhara in a long-term manner at public private partnership, he added. Source: National News Agency Nepal

Nepal could become global destination for Yoga researchers, President says

Kathmandu: President Ramchandra Paudel has said that Nepal could become a global destination for researchers studying Yoga science. In a message of best wishes on the occasion of the International Day of Yoga, the President has wished for all to remain physically and mentally healthy and happy by making the Yoga practice pervasive on this day. The President has stated that Yoga is not merely a physical exercise but a scientific lifestyle and life system based on a certain rule and discipline, and added that Yoga could infuse positive energy from meditation by keeping everyone stress-free. President Poudel has stated that Yoga ensures our increased daily work efficiency and immunity to fight against diseases. In his message, President Paudel has mentioned that the Yoga teachers and researchers along with the historical and archeological facts prove that Nepal is the origin of Yoga and has argued that there is a strong influence of Yoga in our temples, crafts and paintings too. Yoga helps bind the world in unity: Vice President In a similar message, Vice President Ram Sahay Prasad Yadav has expressed his belief that the International Yoga Day will help bind the world together. He said that the yoga can contribute to a healthy and happy human life. The day should be an opportunity for the human race to benefit from the practice of yoga. Vice President Yadav said that International Yoga Day is not only a celebration to promote physical exercise but also an important day to remember our ancient traditions. Source: National News Agency Nepal

1,100 tonnes of rice, Tk 50 lakh allotted for Sylhet, Sunamganj flood victims

The Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief has allocated another 1,100 tonnes of rice, cash Taka 50 lakh and 12,000 packets of dry food for the flood-affected people of Sylhet and Sunamganj districts. "Allocated rice, dry food and cash Taka will be distributed among the flood-affected people of Sylhet and Sunamganj districts and Sylhet City Corporation," State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Md Mohibbur Rahman told journalists in Sylhet today. Among the allocated rice, 500 tonnes of rice for Sylhet and 500 tonnes for Sunamganj and 100 tonnes of rice for Sylhet City Corporation. Of the cash Taka 50 lakh, Taka 20 lakh for Sylhet district, Taka 20 lakh for Sunamganj district and Taka 10 lakh for Sylhet City Corporation will be distributed, Sylhet district relief and rehabilitation officer Abdul Quddus Bulbul said. Besides, 5000 packets of dry food for Sylhet district, 5,000 packets of dry food for Sunamganj district and 2,000 packets of dry food for the city corporation will be distributed fo r flood victims. Apart from this, two districts have been allotted total cash Taka 20 lakh for children food and cash Taka 20 lakh for cattle food, Abdul Quddus Bulbul added. The allocated rice, cash Taka and dry food have been delivered to the concerned upazilas of the districts today, he said. Meanwhile, the Public Relations Department of Sylhet City Corporation said that 100 tonnes of rice, cash Taka 10 lakh, and 2,000 packets of dry food have been allocated for Sylhet City Corporation and the cash money and food have been distributed among the flood-affected people of the city corporation, sources said. Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

Nepali national cricket team returns home

Kathmandu: The national cricket team returned home today after competing in the ICC Men's T20 World Cup group stage matches. Nepal, competing in Group D, played four matches held in the US and the West Indies. Upon arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), officials from the Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) welcomed the team back home. In their opening match in the US, Nepal suffered a six-wicket defeat to the Netherlands. The second match against Sri Lanka was canceled due to rain, resulting in both teams earning one point each. Nepal narrowly lost their third match to South Africa by a single run. They lost their final match to Bangladesh by 21 runs, thereby facing elimination from the tournament. Along with Nepal, Sri Lanka and the Netherlands were eliminated from the tournament, while South Africa and Bangladesh advanced to the Super Eight stage. Source: National News Agency Nepal

India visit contributes to promoting bilateral relations: PM Dahal

Kathmandu: Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' has said his recent visit to India has significantly contributed to promoting bilateral goodwill and relations. In his address to the House of Representatives (HoR) session today, the head of the government shared that his official India visit ( June 9-10) contributed to further consolidating friendly relations and cooperative, multidimensional, and close relations between the two close nations based on equality and benefits. He informed the House that during the visit, he attended the swearing-in ceremony of his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, who assumed office for the third consecutive term on behalf of the Bharatiya Janata Party. The ceremony was attended by the head of the state and the head of the government from various nations. The Prime Minister briefed the House that the two held a bilateral meeting following the oath-taking ceremony and exchanged views regarding the stringing of Nepal-India ties, implementation of bilateral agreements an d understandings, and regularizing meetings of all bilateral- mechanisms, implementation of the Pancheshwor Multi-Purpose Project, and cooperation in the Arun Hydro Power and the agricultural sectors. On the occasion, Prime Minister Dahal congratulated his Indian counterpart on assuming office for the third term. On June 10, the Prime Minister paid a courtesy call on the President of India, Droupadi Murmu. The two exchanged views on potential ways for taking the centuries-old and close relations between the two countries to a new height, according to the Prime Minister. He also met with newly appointed Minister Dr S Jaishankar during the visit. Moreover, during his meetings with the President and representatives of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, matters relating to the expansion of Nepal-India trade and the growth of Indian investment in Nepal's sectors of priorities were discussed, the Prime Minister told the House. In New Delhi, the Prime Minister attended a reception hosted by the Nepali Embassy there and held meetings and interactions with various political leaders, friends of Nepal, and representatives of Nepali organizations. Source: National News Agency Nepal

PM Dahal assures more transparency in appointment of ambassadors

Kathmandu: Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' has pledged to promote more systematic, transparent, and dignified procedures for appointing ambassadors, giving priority to performance-based criteria. In his replies to queries from lawmakers in a session of the House of Representatives (HoR) today, he said ambassadors will be appointed bearing in mind the interest of the nation in accordance with the constitution and the country's foreign policies. The government has adopted a policy of appointing ambassadors on objective grounds, he added Source: National News Agency Nepal

‘Gandaki Economic Triangle’ significant for multi-dimensional development: PM Dahal

Kathmandu: Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' has expressed his hope that the 'Gandaki Economic Triangle' project proposed by the government in the budget for the upcoming fiscal year will prove a milestone in Nepal's socio-economic transformation. In his response to lawmakers' queries in today's session of the House of Representatives, he said the project aims to achieve an integrated development by connecting Bharatpur-Butwal-Pokhara in cooperation with the private sector is expected to result in the multidimensional development of the country. He hoped the project would promote the development of industry, energy, tourism, and agricultural sectors, creating more jobs for the citizens. M Dahal informed the House that the government has pursued a policy of avoiding duplication in the selection of projects at federal, provincial, and local levels and big projects will be implemented by the federal government, middle-scale from the province, and small projects by the local governments, accordingl y. As the Prime Minister said, the implementation of agreements on building the Ramayana and Buddha circuits by connecting religious shrines in Nepal and India is in progress. "The government is committed to enforcing the bilateral agreements on establishing the Ramayana and Buddha circuits by connecting 15 religious sites in Nepal and India." He added the budget has been ensured for building the Shiva, Buddha, and Kirat circuits as well. "The government is committed to addressing all types of land-related issues, including those concerning Guthi and public land," the Prime Minister said. Source: National News Agency Nepal

Partial committees of Rajshahi Jubo League’s district, city units declared

The partial committees of Jubo League Rajshahi district and city units were formed today. The committees were declared in a statement signed by Jubo League chairman Sheikh Fazle Shamas Parash and General Secretary Md Mainul Hossain Nikhil. According to the statement, the name of 19 members have been declared for Rajshahi district unit among the 101-member. Besides, the name of 14 members have been declared for Rajshahi city unit among 111-member. Mahmud Hasan Foysol Sajal and Md Yeasir Arafat have been declared as president and general secretary respectively for Jubo League Rajshahi district unit, according to the statement. On the other hand, Md Maniruzzaman Khan Monir and Towrid Al Masud Roni have been made president and general secretary respectively for Jubo League Rajshahi city unit. The triennial conferences of the two units were held on September 23, 2023. Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha