LEST we forget, we are a maritime nation with a rich history of courageous officers and sailors sailing across the seas and enriching the merchant navy. Even today, the country can rightly boast of producing many excellent merchant navy officers, engineers and sailors who are not only serving in the Bangladesh Shipping Corporation but also competing with others in the management and operation of ships of many renowned shipping companies around the world. The country can rightly boast of having an excellent Marine Academy, which was set up in 1962 at Juldia, a beautiful hilly area on the eastern side of the Karnafully river near Chittagong port. The academy, with an initial capacity of 42 cadets, can now provide pre-sea training facilities to as many as 200 cadets at a time and is considered one of the best maritime institutions in the world. The academy has so far produced more than 4000 officers, many of whom have got the most coveted certificates of Master Mariner and Chief Engineer from the department of trade and industry (DTI), UK, and are now serving as senior engineers and officers in world famous shipping companies. Some of them are even holding key managerial positions in these companies. Some of them are playing important roles in the management of international seaports, shipyards and seamen training institutions across the world. Some of them are working in international classification societies and earning a good reputation. It is unfortunate that the governments in Bangladesh have never (except during the brief period of Bangabandhu’s regime) tried to explore the potential human resources of the marine sector in real earnest. They relied more on civil or military bureaucrats, or on political henchmen, than on the marine experts in managing the sector. That is why we see, more often than not, organisations like BITWC, BIWTA, BSC, Chittagong Port, Mongla Port being headed by politicians, civil bureaucrats, or by retired defense personnel. As the adage goes, “the job of a blacksmith cannot be done by a potter.” We cannot expect a person without proper background or experience to do well in running the affairs of such organisations, which are required to handle ports, shipping and inland waterways. These are specialised fields where educational background, training and experience in the appropriate field are essential requirements for holding key positions, and these qualifications can only be achieved through a long process of pre-sea and at-sea training on board ocean going merchant ships. We all know that putting the right person in the right place is the first and foremost precondition for good governance at any level. Because of too much politicisation or too much militarisation, these norms were flouted at will by our past governments. The result has been, as is supposed to be, dismal, to say the least. Mongla port, which was once considered as one of the finest natural ports in the region, is now dead in a real sense. BIWTC, the water transport company, which was once considered to be the lifeline of the entire water transport system of this region, can now hardly breathe without ventilators. Its beautiful paddle steamers, which used to reach the people to every nook and corner of the southern region of this country in great comfort and safety, are now things of the past. The Bangladesh Shipping Corporation (BSC), that began its journey after independence with only one ocean-going ship, flourished at God-speed and increased its fleet to 30 in less than a decade because of efficient handling by some brilliant and highly experienced officers of the Bangladesh merchant navy. The organisation began to rot only when these officers either retired or were replaced by people of other disciplines to suit different purposes. It was expected that the incumbent government would quickly get rid of the politicisation/militarisation syndrome of the past and utilise our human resource to the fullest potential. In the marine sector, there is no dearth of skilled hands or qualified persons to bring back its past glory. Unfortunately, our expectations got a jolt when we learnt that retired defense personnel had replaced the director general of shipping, reportedly a merchant navy officer of outstanding caliber. With due respect to the noble profession of our armed forces, and high regard for the rigorous training and disciplined life they are continuously subject to, appointment of a retired officer from the armed forces — or for that matter from any discipline other than a truly professional body — to the post of DG shipping is likely to prove counter-productive because of the nature of the job and the field this department has to tread upon. The Awami League-led government came to power with the promise of change and a vision for digital Bangladesh. It must start reversing the old, ill conceived and unproductive practice of the past and put the right person in the right job in order to achieve its goal.
Power is the key factor for any development because its the key element of activating production.
The port city and its suburbs continue to suffer from acute power shortage despite the move to increase power generation in two units of Raozan power plant by diverting gas there from the Chittagong Urea Fertiliser Ltd (CUFL).
The government indefinitely suspended the operation of the CUFL on April 26 to save 54 million cubic feet (MCF) gas to be diverted to the two units for smooth power generation. Each unit has the capacity of generating 210 megawatt (MW) power.
The Power Development Board (PDB) officials hoped that the move would help bring down the daily power shortfall to 150MW from 250MW in Chittagong city.
But power shortage in the port city and its adjoining areas now stands at 220 to 230 MW. Despite getting additional gas to generate more power since April, PDB has failed to reduce power outage in the city substantially.
Chief Engineer of PDB Chittagong (Southern Zone), Sujit Chakma admitted that despite getting additional gas at the two Raozan units, they were not able to generate power to capacity.
The PDB now gets around 405MW in off-peak time (day) and 410MW in peak time (night) against the daily demand of 500MW (day) and 630 to 640MW (night).
The PDB requires around 100MCF gas to run its five gas-fired units except the Kaptai plant but it now gets 80 MCF.
Meanwhile, CUFL officials expressed concern over the suspension of production at the factory with a capacity of producing 1,400 tonnes of fertiliser a day.
?Initially we were told that the factory would remain closed for two months. But now we hear that it will be out of operation till September. The factory incurs a loss of Tk 1.4 crore daily,? said a top CUFL official seeking anonymity
Nuclear fusion power plant.
DEMO (DEMOnstration Power Plant) is a generic name for proposed nuclear fusion power plants that intend to build upon the expected success of ITER. Whereas ITER’s main goal is to produce 500 million watts of fusion power for at least 500 seconds, the goal of DEMO will be to produce at least four times that much fusion power on a continual basis. This level of power production (2 gigawatts) is on the scale of a modern electric power plant.
While the final design of DEMO will depend to a large extent on the results obtained from the exploitation of ITER and other fusion experiments including IFMIF, it is envisaged that a programme of research and development activities in preparation for DEMO will be coordinated by ‘Fusion for Energy’ to perform studies, validate technologies, develop prototypes, etc.
A project has already been taken to construct a 16-storey administrative building replacing the existing three-story building over some 14 kathas of land at Anderkilla in the port city.
It is one of the seven priority projects for which CCC kept allocation of Tk 25 crore in its proposed budget for the current fiscal year placed on June 28.
CCC, however, before the approval and allocation could be available, has started the first phase of construction work of the 16-storey building with a foundation of 20-storey involving Tk 14 crore on its own.
The city corporation floated a tender on July 3 for selling out the old building and engaging a contractor to construct the new building. Following the tender the old building was sold out at Tk 38 lakh and demolition of the old building started on July 24.
The tender for appointing contractor was scheduled to be opened on July 28.
Project Director CCC Executive Engineer Anwar Hossain said the demolition of the old building is going on in full swing and it might take two more weeks.
Anwar told this correspondent on Monday that they expect to appoint a contractor without any delay and start construction of the new building in August.
The old building which later served as an annex building of the six-storey new CCC building, developed cracks on almost every wall and ceiling of all the floors where plasters come off frequently.
Some 500 CCC officials and employees had been risking their lives everyday while working at offices of revenue, general, conservancy, accounts, law and relief sections housed in the old administrative building that started journey as the office of Chittagong municipality back in 1863. The building also housed offices of workers union and a bank.
It reached such a miserable state that plying of any heavy vehicle in the nearby roads forced its floors shake terribly, they said.
Though the process for constructing the new building goes on in full swing, CCC is yet to get design of the new building from Chittagong Development Authority (CDA).
Anwar said the contractor to be appointed for the construction would work as a consultant and have responsibility for making design and getting it approved from the CDA before starting the construction work.
CDA Chief Town planner Shahinul Islam Khan said since demolition does not require any approval the process has so far been within the rules. But as per rules approval would be needed before going for construction of the new building and there is time to get the approval, he said.
Germany to provide 77 million dollars in aid to Bangladesh
,Germany plans to provide financial assistance worth 77 million dollars to Bangladesh for the social and economic development of the impoverished South Asian country, the German embassy said Thursday.
About 56 million dollars of the money is to go to the promotion of energy efficiency, good governance and health financing, it said.
Another 21 million dollars is to go for the legal and social empowerment of women, prison reforms, local government strengthening, rural infrastructure development and biodiversity protection.
The funds are also to be used for an HIV/AIDS programme, embassy officials said.
Together with contributions to the European Union and a number of other organizations, Germany’s overall support for Bangladesh now exceeds 6 billion dollars, the embassy said.
The Bangladeshi belongs the prospect of the Nation .
-(boston.com)Bangladesh native Abdul Momen, a management professor at Framingham State College, was a longtime critic of successive governments, military and civilian alike, in his homeland.
Now that he has been appointed ambassador to the United Nations for Bangladesh, Momen will have to field criticism of the six-month-old government he has agreed to represent. And some of that criticism is surfacing in his adopted state, Massachusetts.
Rafiq Islam, who lives in Falmouth on Cape Cod and has been in the United States for 26 years, contacted the Globe to say he had just returned from Bangladesh and found the crime and security situation to have deteroriated. He said that extrajudicial killings of political figures also have continued despite the promises of the new government.
He said that the new prime minister, Sheikh Hasina Wazed, elected in a landslide victory in December, appeared to be doing what she had done in her first term as prime minister, from 1996 to 2001, promising change and then failing to deliver. “The situation has not improved very much. Many international watchgroups have criticized the government, and the so-called progress has not materalized. It is more of a political dictatorship than a real democracy,” Islam said.
I wrote about Momen’s appointment in the Globe on Tuesday. Last night I asked him by email to respond to criticism that the government isn’t doing enough or acting fast enough. Momen, who is traveling today to Bangladesh to collect his credentials for the UN post, answered by email before departing.
He said that in just a few months, the Awami League government led by Hasina in fact has made significant progress in a number of areas.
For example, he said the government had cut the prices of essential foodstuffs, including rice, by half in the last six months. To reduce corruption, the government has required Cabinet members to declare their wealth, and has made the financial system more transparent. The economy is likely to grow 5.5 percent to 6 percent this year, Momen said, ahead of earlier projections.
He acknowledged that there are law and order problems in Dhaka, the huge capital city, and that extrajudicial killings have continued, although he said the pace of such killings has been cut drastically. “More importantly, in the present government, both the Law Minister and the Home Minister have publicly stated that they will not tolerate any extrajudicial killing and those responsible would be punished to the fullest extent of the law. This is a good beginning. I have written personal notes to both the Ministers to fully stop the extra-judicial killing as it simply unacceptable.”
Momen said terror attacks by Islamist extremists had stopped since Hasina took office, but he added that because of campaigns against tax evaders and corruption, “many well-to-do people are upset and they are trying to derail the government.”
The daughter of one of the most prominent victims of extrajudicial violence in Bangladesh is Nazli Kibria, a professor at Boston University. Her father, Shah AMS Kibria, a member of Parliament and former finance minister, was assassinated in 2005. The family maintains a web site about Kibria and the assassination. The previous year, Hasina herself narrowly escaped a similar grenade attack.
Nazli Kibria applauded the appointment of Momen to the UN, but said she was upset that nothing had been done by the new government to bring the perpetrators of her father’s killing to justice. “My father was a member of the Awami League. We expected this new government to do something, but they?ve done absolutely nothing. My family is not happy about it,” she said.
Momen said in his email: “As you know, extra-judicial killing has become a norm, especially over the last seven years, and it is taking time to fully stop it.”
Bangladesh asked developed economies on Monday to ensure the world’s poorest countries get enough help in countering the global financial crisis.
Of the additional $1.1 trillion (666 billion pound) programme committed by the Group of 20 major advanced and emerging economies, only $50 billion was targeted specifically at low income countries, the government said.
“The resources must be distributed adequately for the benefit of the poor nations and that needs strong commitment from the developed world,” said Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith.
The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and Bangladesh Bank, the central bank, organised a four-day meeting on strengthening the response to the global financial crisis in the region.
Noeleen Heyzer, the Under Secretary General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of UN-ESCAP, also called for a larger share of additional resources for both short term liquidity and long term development financing.
“With over four trillion dollars in foreign exchange reserves, the Asian region now has the resources to foster a major programme of generating additional demand through investments in regional infrastructure development,” Noeleen said.
He said the global crisis, billed as the worst since the Great Depression of the 1930s, could cost as many as 24.8 million people in the Asia Pacific region their jobs.
“Millions more will experience rising income insecurity,” Noeleen said in the meeting attended by senior central bank and government financial officials from most of the countries in the region including China, India, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Thailand and Vietnam.
“The region’s dynamism that helped in lifting millions of people out of poverty over the past decade is now under threat with the average growth rate for developing Asia-Pacific coming down from 8.8 percent in 2007 to 5.8 percent in 2008 and to just 2.8 percent this year,” he said.
He said that experience from Asia’s 1997 economic crisis indicates that while economic growth may resume relatively quickly, it could take up to 10 years to recover the ground lost to poverty and social breakdown.
“Demand weakness in North America and Europe caused by chains of insolvencies and wide-scale job losses sharply weakened exports from manufacturing hubs in our region,” said Bangladesh’s central bank governor Atiur Rahman.
Workshop On Global Financial Crisis To Begin In Bangladesh Monday
A high profile international workshop will begin in the capital, Dhaka on Monday where participants will brainstorm on the global financial crisis, officials said on Sunday.
The workshop has been organized by the macroeconomic policy and development division of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the regional arm of the United Nations headquartered in Bangkok, and hosted by the Bangladesh Bank, the central bank of Bangladesh.
Senior finance and central bank officials from 17 Asia-Pacific countries will meet in the four-day workshop titled “Strengthening the response of the global financial crisis in Asia-Pacific: the role of monetary, fiscal and external debt policies,” to look at various economic policies used by regional governments in dealing with the global crisis.
“Participants are expected to share how conditions in their countries, and their ability to respond, determined the different economic approaches governments ultimately used,” the central bank of Bangladesh said in a press statement.
Sharing of best practices in implanting effective macro-economic polices and identifying key areas for regional cooperation and coordination will also be a common thread for discussion throughout the meeting, the statement added.
Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith is scheduled to inaugurate the workshop, followed by an opening message from Dr. Noeleen Heyzer, under-secretary-general of the United Nations and executive secretary of ESCAP. The governor of the Bangladesh Bank, Atiur Rahman, will deliver the keynote address.
The participating countries are Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Fiji, India, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam
bANGLADESH. July 26 – Bangladesh will set up a fuel plant to produce high octane at Chittagong port city, at a cost of $110 million, by using naphtha, a leading entrepreneur said on Sunday.
“With the technical assistance of (Honeywell (HON.N) unit) UOP of the U.S.A. and Exxon (XOM.N) … the plant will be able to produce up to 150,000 tonnes of high octane,” said Azam J. Chowdhury, managing director of Mobil Jamuna Fuels Limited (MJFL).
He told Reuters that MJFL would use naphtha, a bi-product of the state-run Eastern Refinery Limited (ERL), which exports 100,000 tonnes of naphtha to Singapore annually.
“We offered ERL to pay more than the price fixed at per barrel to benchmark spot quotes by price-reporting agency Platts, and the government agreed to our proposal,” said Azam, also the chairman of the East Coast Group, a leading oil trading house.
Naphtha will be the principal raw material for producing high octane, or octane 95.
Jamuna Oil Company, a state owned oil distributor, will hold 25 percent stake of the MJFL, while IFC, a subsidiary of the World Bank and DG of Germany and FMO of the Netherlands will hold equal equity in the plant.
“It will be able to produce octane in the middle of 2011,” said Azam.
He said that if the Bangladesh government did not procure the octane from them they would export the whole product.
State-run ERL, which has the capacity to produce 1.5 million tonnes of oil a year, is the only refinery in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh imports up to 3.8 million tonnes of oil a year, including 1.2 million tonnes of crude oil to meet demand.
Bangladesh consumes between 100,000 and 120,000 tonnes of octane.
“The naphtha-based plant will help save nearly $51 million yearly,” a government official said.
Azam said the firm would also produce liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) from the plant by using the same raw materials.
“We will also set up a 5 megawatt power plant by using residual (product) of the plant to meet our electricity requirements,” he said.
Bangladesh imports oil mainly from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, India and Malaysia at a cost of between $2.5 and $3 billion. ($1=69 taka)
Bangladesh sells 170,000 brls to Itochu
DHAKA, July 19 (Reuters) – State-owned Bangladesh Petroleum Corp (BPC) sold 170,000 barrels of open-specification naphtha to the Singapore arm of Itochu Petroleum, officials said on Sunday. Japanese firm Itochu, which made the highest bid in a tender on July 6, bought the cargo at $66.56 a barrel, to be loaded from Chittagong during July 27 to 30, on a free-on-board basis.
Apart from Itochu, five other oil companies, mostly operating from Singapore, participated in the tender.
BPC, the sole importer and distributor of crude and petroleum products in Bangladesh and owner of the country’s sole refinery, the 11 million barrel-per-year Eastern Refinery, last sold via tender 150,000 barrels of naphtha also to the same firm at $52.32 a barrel in early April
The refinery in the main Chittagong port, produces 1.8 million barrels of naphtha a year.
A knowledge-based society should be established through creative, interactive and self-learning education system to achieve sustainable development, visiting former Indian President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam said yesterday during a lecture at Dhaka University.
India, Bangladesh could partner deve? .Borderless interaction presupposes inculcating spirit of borderless-ness in education, says the ex-Indian President
lopment of complex ICT products.
Visiting former Indian President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Monday expressed his hope that India and Bangladesh would work together to become partners in the development of complex ICT products by devising interconnecting mechanisms.Visiting former Indian President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Monday expressed his hope that India and Bangladesh would work together to become partners in the development of complex ICT products by devising interconnecting mechanisms.
?When I see all of them (people of various countries) working together like one family without any barrier of the culture from which they came or the language that they speak, I will not be surprised if India and Bangladesh become partners in the development of complex ICT products,? he said.
The ex-president of India observed that ?the only hope for such borderless interaction to continue is to inculcate the spirit of borderless-ness in our education also?. Continue reading Borderless Education proposed
These are some of the leading stories in the Bangladesh press on Sunday. gurumia has not verified these stories .
THE DAILY STAR
— The results of this year’s Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) examinations saw a drop in both the pass percentage and number of GPA-5 scorers.
— The anti-graft cases filed against high-profile accused are getting quashed or stayed due to trivial technical glitches although allegations brought against them have merit and were substantiated.
THE FINANCIAL EXPRESS
— The country’s private energy companies have sought exemption from some direct listing regulations to raise fund from the stock market for financing establishment of new power plants or expansion of the existing ones.
— The government borrowing from the banking system exceeded marginally the revised target set for the fiscal ended on June 30 last.
— With an average 72.78 pass percentage, the results of the Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) examinations 2009, under eight general education boards along with Alim examinations under Madrassa Education Board and HSC-Business Management (BM) under Technical Education Board, were published yesterday.
— Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB), assigned to import some highly essential commodities on scheduled time, especially for the month of Ramzan, would not be able to go ahead with the task as it is “still facing serious difficulties”, it has been learnt.
THE NEW AGE
— The communications ministry has initiated a move to impose levy on phone users to meet the funding gap for constructing Padma multipurpose bridge, officials said on Saturday. The ministry forwarded the proposal to the finance ministry seeking the levy, which, it hopes, will generate a fund of $200 million from the people.
— Fear of ‘political retribution’ has gripped many officials in both top and field administrations, adversely affecting the performance of the civil bureaucracy, said officials.
The leading stories in the Bangladesh press on Saturday
THE DAILY STAR
— Awami League chief Sheikh Hasina yesterday issued a warning to the ruling party leaders and workers saying breach of public confidence or any other unjust behaviour by her party members will not be tolerated.
— Food rationing programme for garment workers becomes uncertain again, as the readymade garment and knitwear manufacturers are pressing the government again to reduce the price of rice refixed twice.
THE FINANCIAL EXPRESS
— India has decided to halt export of rice and wheat to Bangladesh to meet possible shortages, that might be triggered by low monsoon rains.
— Importers and exporters are still being subjected to harassment, including payment of bribes, by a section of rent-seeking officials at the Chittagong Customs House (CCH), leading to container congestion in the port, said a report prepared by the department concerned in the Prime Minister’s Office.
— Awami League president Sheikh Hasina in a special gesture to those in her party who had faltered and took wrong steps during the two years of caretaker government said yesterday that they should now be put on the right track
— Finally, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) recently published its post-survey report on the Lawachhara reserve forest where US-based international oil company (IOC) Chevron had conducted 3D seismic survey as part of its gas exploration move. IUCN, a UN recognised body which monitored and conducted its own pre- and post-survey to follow the Chevron’s survey, found no harm to the country’s one of the most sensitive reserve forest – a safe haven for a number of rare species of birds and animals, reports news agency UNB.
THE NEW AGE
— Sheikh Hasina was re-elected the president of the Awami League unopposed for a sixth term as the ruling party held its 20th national council session amid fanfare on Friday. The council also elected Syed Ashrfaul Islam as the party’s general secretary uncontested for the next three years.
— The two Indian religious extremists, who were earlier arrested at places in Dhaka and were suspected of organising a Bangladesh unit of the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba, during interrogation in custody said 10 of their associates, believed to be Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives, were reportedly staying in Bangladesh, the Detective Branch said.
A key cabinet body Thursday dragged its feet in awarding offshore gas blocks to two foreign companies, saying the leasing process needs further review, an official said.
The cabinet committee on economic affairs found some last minute ‘gaps’ in the information provided by the energy ministry on the selection of two companies for offshore gas exploration.
State-run energy giant Petrobangla had primarily selected the US oil company ConocoPhillips and Irish firm Tullow for nine offshore blocks under the country’s latest offshore bidding launched in February 2008.
ConocoPhillips was picked for eight blocks and Tullow for one, although the energy ministry has recently halved the number of blocks to be leased out and sent the revised proposal to the cabinet committee for final approval.
The cabinet committee led by finance minister AMA Muhith reviewed the ministry’s final proposal but found it “lacked adequate data and information,” cabinet division spokesman Motiur Rahman told reporters.
“The committee members also observed that the proposal needs further review,” he said, adding the energy ministry has been asked to submit the proposal again within the shortest possible time after covering the gaps.
Energy ministry officials have refused to comment on the cabinet committee’s feet dragging, but they sounded confident that the offshore blocks would be awarded soon to boost the country’s long term energy security.
“We are going to send the proposal again after plugging the information gaps,” a top official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The offshore bidding was launched by the army-backed caretaker government in the wake of depleting gas reserve in the country. But it left the decision on awarding of the gas blocks to the elected government.
The two international oil companies (IOCs) pledged to invest a total of $492.52 million in exploration if they were awarded the exploration rights in all the nine blocks.
ConocoPhillips offered to invest $442.67 million and offered a bank guarantee of the same amount, while Tullow committed to invest $49.85 million and offered a bank guarantee of $33.9 million.
The cabinet committee also sent back the underground metro-rail project to the communications ministry, finding the proposal lacking necessary data, Rahman said.
“The committee has said that the metro-rail project needs further review,” he said.
The communications ministry had sought the cabinet body to invite international tender for the subway project and to finalise the terms and conditions committee to execute the project.
The last time anyone saw a wild clouded leopard in Bangladesh was in 2005, and the time before that in 1992. That is, until a few weeks ago when villagers in the Chittagong Hill Tracts region of the country (on the border of Burma and the India state of Mizoram) captured one. AFP describes what happened:
Apparently the villagers stumbled upon a mother clouded leopard and her two cubs eating a monkey and managed to capture one of the cubs. They caged the three-month old animal for several weeks before being convinced by conservationists to release it back into the wild — normally they would have just sold the cat.
Prof. Anwarul Islam of the Wildlife Trust of Bangladesh described the incident as “tremendous news” as the clouded leopard was thought extinct in the country, a victim of habitat loss.