Submarine heading towards join Bangladesh Navy by 2019

The Bangladesh Navy will have its first submarine by 2019, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said, adding Dhaka wants to amicably resolve its maritime boundary issue with neighbours India and Myanmar as it does not want ‘a war in the region’.

Hasina said the Bangladesh Navy will have its first submarine with base facility by 2019 and added that her government’s plans were to build ‘an effective deterrent force’.

She made the announcement while commissioning the navy’s first hydrographic survey ship ‘Anusandhan’ at Isha Khan Naval Base.

Hasina quoted her father and the country’s founding leader, the kate president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as saying that Bangladesh would not interfere in anyone’s internal affairs, but if others try to interfere in Bangladesh’s internal matters, it would also not be tolerated.

About differences with the neighbouring countries over maritime boundaries, Hasina said efforts are under way to solve the problems.

Hasina said the navy will be developed as a modern and well equipped force in the future to boldly resist illegal trespass by foreign ships into Bangladesh territory and to stop smuggling through the sea.

She said by the middle of next year, two helicopters will be included into the BNS Bangabandhu.

The inclusion of these maritime helicopters is a big step forward for making the naval aviation unit up-to-date.

The premier asked the Bangladesh Navy to ensure absolute control over the country’s maritime boundaries. ‘Our large maritime area is part of our national existence,’ she remarked.

About 90 percent of Bangladesh’s international trade is taking place through the maritime ways, she mentioned.

‘Our large marine area is full of valuable minerals and fish resources. Maintaining absolute control over the maritime areas and ensuring security during procuring the resources are one of the prime duties of the naval force,’ she added.

Bangladesh is sandwiched between India and Myanmar in the Bay of Bengal.

Hasina said her government has already decided to open the Chittagong and Mongla ports for neighbouring countries for enhancing cooperation in the economic, political and diplomatic fields.

Bangladesh : manpower export falls by 21%

Manpower of any country is the biggest power for its development and progression.

Bangladesh’s labour export, the country’s second biggest source of foreign exchange, has fallen by 21 percent, an official study has said.

Besides, the remittances have gone up by only 1.4 percent during 2010, the lowest in the last three decades.

The poor performance, belying hopes of a surge after global recession ended, Tuesday prompted Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to appeal to the newly appointed envoy of Kuwait to take in more Bangladeshi workers.

Kuwait, that had 40,000 Bangladeshi workers some years back, accepted only 21 persons this year.

Kuwait reflects the declining trend noticed in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The Gulf region took over a half of Bangladeshi workers abroad who sent home $10 billion in 2008-09.

Hasina, during her recent visits there, has appealed to the governments in these countries to increase their intake of Banladeshi workers.

What is more worrying to the government is that there has been a negative flow of manpower to the largest Bangladeshi manpower market, Saudi Arabia, since the beginning of the year 2009.

Of the estimated seven million expatriate Bangladeshis, two million are employed in Saudi Arabia, followed by 1.4 million in the UAE and 1.4 million each in Oman and Kuwait.

Manpower exports come next only to readymade garmaents and knitwears that fetched $12 billion in 2009.

The Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU) came up with the findings in its report, ‘Labour Migration 2010: Achievement and Constraints’.

Labour and Employment Minister Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain admitted that export of the workers had decreased but argued that the demand for workers had shrunk in the international market.

He said that 385,000 Bangladesh workers went abroad in 2010, less than 475,000 in 2009.

‘Manpower export will increase next year. I am hopeful that Malaysia and Kuwait will take workers from Bangladesh,’ he said.

However, Tasneem Siddiqui, head of the RMMRU, said that the government had failed to find any new markets for the migrant workers due to the lack of coordination between the labour and employment ministry and foreign affairs ministry.

Bangladesh govt. should take some essential initiatives for the mitigation of this condition.

Bangladesh on the way to explore gas in restless hill region

Bangladesh today invited proposals from global energy giants, including India’s ONGC  to explore natural gas in its insurgency-hit southeastern rugged Chittagong hills.

“We have invited expression of interest (EoI) from the foreign companies for carrying out exploration activities in the region,” chief of the state-run Petrobangla Hossain Mansur.

Energy experts and geologists said Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT), which makes up one-tenth of Bangladesh, earlier could not be explored as the region witnessed a two-decade long tribal insurgency demanding regional autonomy until a landmark 1997 peace deal.

Mansur, however, said Petrobangla did not expect a huge reserve in the region which “witnessed many tectonic ups and downs over the millennium” but believed there were recoverable reserves in certain pockets of the hilly region bordering Indian and Myanmar.

Following the signing of a peace deal in 1997, the central government is now moving in to explore for gas, said Murtaza Ahmed Faruq Chisti, head of state-owned exploration company, Bapex.

“We are currently holding talks with Gazprom to see if they can join us in a joint exploration work in the CHT,” he told.

“We have also invited Sinopec and CNOOC of China, PTTEP of Thailand, Petronas of Malaysia and ONGC of India to talk on the issue,” he said.

“We want to sign deals as quickly as possible to start exploring for gas in this potential energy-rich region,” he said, adding that Anglo-Dutch energy giant Shell had done preliminary explorations in the region decades ago.

The move comes as Bangladesh has been struggling with an acute energy crisis with domestic demand far outstripping supply amid rapid economic growth.

Last year three offshore gas blocks were awarded to oil giants ConocoPhillips and Irish Tullow, but the government could not strike final deals due to ownership disputes with India and Myanmar.

Bangladesh now faces a 20 percent shortfall in daily gas supply and has stopped supplying gas to energy-guzzling state fertilizer plants and new factories.

The insurgency in the CHT has claimed more than 2,500 lives since it began in the early 1980s, according to official figures.

Despite the formal treaty and the withdrawal of most troops last year, low-intensity unrest has continued as tribal groups demand key clauses of the deal be implemented, including dismantling settlers’ villages and army camps.

Bangladesh listed as outsourcing hotspot among 30 top IT outsourcing nations

Bangladesh has attained its place among the world’s best destinations for IT outsourcing, largely thanks to its low cost, according to a study by a leading research and consulting firm.

Bangladesh appeard as global outsourcing focus following its enlistment in global IT outsourcing map for the first time, which would, according to the industry insiders, give a further boost to localsoftware export.

The recognition came as Gartner, the world’s leading IT research and consulting company, ranked the country as one of the top 30 outsourcing countries on the basis of 10 criteria.

Bangladesh Association of Software and Information the achievement of the country at a press conference at National Press Club Sunday.

Bangladesh earned nearly $35 million last year from IT outsourcing and the revenue earning would be more due to the reorganisation, said BASIS president Mahbub Zaman. But government should give more attention to develop its infrastructure to sustain the achievement, he added.

He, however, told the journalists that this was an opportunity for the country to explore its IT industry. It would help export IT services as the outside clients will feel confident due to this ranking.

BASIS feels that there is a risk of getting out of the list next year if Bangladesh does not improve significantly in those criteria where it got ‘poor’ marking.

State Minister for Science and ICT Architect Yeafesh Osman was present as the chief guest at the press conference. BASIS President Mahboob Zaman described details of the achievement.

Out of ten criteria, Bangladesh got ‘poor’ marking in three categories, ‘very good’ in one category and ‘fair’ in six categories.

The ranking which was done on the basis of ten criteria are cost advantage, labour pool, education system, infrastructure, government support, language, cultural compatibility, political and economic environment, global and legal maturity, Data and intellectual property security and privacy.

Bangladesh achieved ‘Very Good’ in cost and ‘poor’ in language, infrastructure and intellectual property. Besides, the country’s marking was ‘Fair’ in other six criteria.

ICT minister Yeafesh Osman hopped that the IT would be second revenue earning sector after RMG. In order to achieve the target, he said the government has already approved Hi-tech park and planned to enact cyber tribunal law for protecting cyber crime.

ICT sector achieved 10 per cent growth in last two years, the minister pointed out.

The software organisation requested the government to work with the private sector in a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model for ensuring enough supply of human resources, skilled in technology and language.

Gartner publishes the top list every year on the basis of ten criteria. The current list was released on December 20 last where four other new countries were enlisted. The countries are Bulgaria, Colombia, Mauritius and Peru.

Eight south Asian countries are on the list. The countries are Bangladesh, India, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philipines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.

BASIS office bearers Fahim Mashroor, Farhana A Rahman, Forkan Bin Quasem, Tamzid Siddiq Spondon were present at the press conference.

BASIS also urged the government to set up 2nd submarine cable in a bid to increase internet speed and reduce internet use cost.

It also requested the government to allocate special budget in this regard for setting up multiple Software Technology Park (STP).

However,as a outsourcing hotspot country, we hope  Bangladesh will be more productive in the IT  sector .

Tyre manufacturer Apollo has entered into the Bangladesh market

Apollo Tyres Ltd : is the world’s 15th biggest tyre manufacturer, with annual revenues of Rs 81 billion (US$ 1.8 billion) in 2010. It was founded in 1976.

Its first plant was commissioned in Perambra, Kerala. In 2006 the company acquired Dunlop Tyres International of South Africa.

The company now has four manufacturing units in India, two in South Africa, two in Zimbabwe and 1 in Netherlands. It has a network of over 4,000 dealerships in India, of which over 2,500 are exclusive outlets.

In South Africa, it has over 900 dealerships, of which 190 are Dunlop Accredited Dealers.

Apollo Tyres currently exports to 70 countries. It gets 59% of its revenues from India, 28% from Europe and 13% from Africa.

Apollo Tyres come into The Bangladesh market by partnering with Rahimafrooz Distribution Ltd, manufacturer and distributor of automotive and industrial batteries.

Mr Rajesh Kumar in a statement said that “Bangladesh is predominantly a cross ply market and that’s where we think we can create value for our customers in mileage, fuel economy and service.

The Rahimafrooz Group, with its aspirations is a perfect partner for us, with its robust network, its trained sales force and service backup.”

The Rahimafrooz Group has more than 10 exclusive outlets across Bangladesh having more than 500 dealers and retailers.

The Bangladesh cross ply tyre market in the commercial segment has a market size of 45,000 and 30,000 heavy and light commercial vehicle tyres a month.

Mr Kumar said Apollo Tyres also plans to introduce Endurance range of truck bus radials in Bangladesh.

He said that “We will soon bring out our Endurance range of truck-bus radials. Since usage of radial tyres is still low, much like it was in India a few years back, we will begin by working closely with commercial vehicle customers to help them realize the radial advantage.”

Factors that impede our progress and development

Inconsistencies and contradictions are a part of the development process. We have no problem with that but for the fact that we are unable to strike a healthy balance between development and progress. When we say progress we mean the social and human development of the entire nation more than anything else. Bangladesh developed in more ways than one. Despite having one of the highest population growth rates in the world, Bangladesh has made strides in some areas including food production. We have made progress in the readymade garments (RMG) sector; we have a cultural heritage that we can be proud of. They say we also have a highly developed construction industry. We have made good in the telecommunication sector, too.

Yet the fact remains that we do have one of the poorest political culture. If anything we have gone back in the development of our education which is incapable of keeping pace with changing times. People read less and less compared to what they used to decades back. The world to day has turned into a global village and hence we should be prepared to interact with peoples of different countries freely and in a proactive manner.

It is our impression that Bangladesh has all its doors and windows either shut or half open to other cultures and civilization. We are too much into being Bengalis and Bengalis alone. We seem to be scared of losing our identity while interacting with language and culture different from ours. Despite all the clamouring, the fact remains that our vision is too narrow. We are always looking for a way to be cozy in the comforts of the familiar environment of our homes.

We continue to live in a shell of our own. Our poets, writers and the intellectual community are, “by themselves and for themselves”. They are shy to share their knowledge and the expanse of their information and specialization with the common man. We are extremely self centered and self preserving. The intellectual community loves to live in their exclusive world, which to our mind appears to be a world full of complex emotions and ego. One of our other weaknesses is that we often go overboard with our successes like that of a Younus or a Khan not realizing that we are a nation of 150 million and thus must strive to do more and better.

We have serious dearth of professionals. It is alarmingly widespread. It is evident right from top to the bottom. The only people, whose professional levels are within the acceptable limits, are those who are engaged in manual works. It is often shocking to see the level of professionalism at the highest levels who are engaged in running the day-to-day affairs of the country. They operate from the premise of sheer self-glorification and at best aimed at accruing benefits from his or her kith and kin. We have indeed a serious dearth of professionals at any level of state management. One of the reasons for this, to my mind, has been our inability to make space for new ideas. The situation is further aggravated since most rulers do not have the requisite academic background needed to be professionals of consequence. We excel in quick fixing and working on an ad-hoc basis.

There is yet another aspect of our lifestyles particularly those who are considerably rich and affluent that keeps us worried. Our family recently moved to Dhanmondi Residential Area since it is easier to commute to our grandson’s school and our daughter’s work place. We moved from the Hatirpool section of the “old” Dhanmondi. The present locality is known as yet another hub of the city’s exclusive class of residents. The other day we woke up in the middle of the night with the piercing sound of a racing car passing through the front lane of our residence. We are also baffled by the galaxy of expensive and fancy cars honking away at full blast.

In one of the Fridays we ran to the front veranda of our apartment to see as to what was all that commotion about? It was nothing but a gathering of a host of beggars quarreling and shouting at each other to gain an advantageous position so that he or she can collect the alms, ahead of the others. Interestingly enough, the whole neighborhood’s curious eyes were glued to windows of their respective apartments to have a glimpse of the developing scenario.

It is not only amongst beggars, let us face it, chaos and indiscipline dominate nearly every tier of the society. It is vandalism everywhere; in educational institutions, in the premises of the sacred court compounds, on the streets, in political meetings so on so forth. We maintain that if we fail to bring about a marked improvement in disciplining ourselves; our growth and development can neither be achieved nor will it be sustainable.

There is one other issue we wish to touch upon which is also related to, “professionalism”. Today, Bangladesh is at the crossroads of global attention and at the center of a power struggle involving some of the countries of the developed world. It is our impression that we do not simply have the adequate professional expertise to deal with the emerging situation and turn it to our advantage to the best extent possible.

Finally may we also point out that one of the serious impediments to our overall progress and development is that we tend to live too much in the past. We must be ready to yield to the people who “live in the future”.

Bangladesh Potato production in bumper

Bangladesh Potato production in bumper,isn’t it the pick time to initiate on potato based economy factors .like export ,potato based industry ?
RANGPUR, Dec 24 (BSS) – The farmers are expecting to exceed the target of potato farming this season as they have already achieved the fixed target a week ahead of the seed-sowing period in Rangpur Agriculture Zone (RAZ), officials said here today.

Officials in the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) informed that the farmers have brought the fixed targeted area of 1,73,639 hectare land under potato cultivation in all eight districts of the zone by yesterday.

Sowing of the late variety potato seeds still continues and will end by this month-end to exceed the fixed target and the farmers have already harvested their early variety potato in about 20,000 hectares land to get klucrative profits in the zone.

The government has set an all-time record target of producing 84-lakh tonnes potato from 4.80 lakh hectares land during the current Rabi season in the country and of them, 30,38,683 tonnes
will be produced from 1,73,639 hectares land in RAZ.

The per hectare yield rate of potato has been fixed at 17.50 tonnes this season and the farmers easily procured quality potato seeds in all eight sub-Himalayan districts under the RAZ,
Additional Director of the DAE Mohsin Ali told BSS today.

The government though it’s various departments including the DAE, BADC, BARI and the NGOs has taken necessary steps and provided quality seeds and other inputs including fertilisers
among the farmers to make potato farming successful.

The growing potato fields have worn eye-catching looks amid favourable climatic conditions predicting a super bumper
production this season everywhere in the zone, Mohsin Ali said.

Under the programme, the farmers are to bring 57,761 hectares land under potato farming in Rangpur, 9,372 in Gaibandha, 6,460 in Kurigram and 5,647 in Lalmonirhat, 22,671 in Nilphamari,
36,592 in Dinajpur, 9,545 in Panchagarh and 25,591 hectares in
Thakurgaon in the zone.

Phulbari Coal Mine to Reopening

US diplomats have repeatedly put pressure on Bangladesh government to reopen the controversial Phulbari coal mine, which was closed following a violent protest.

In a latest WikiLeaks release, a diplomatic US cable shows that US ambassador to Bangladesh James Moriarty held talks with the country’s chief energy advisor last year.

In that discussion, Moriarty urged chief energy advisor Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury to approve plans by the British company Global Coal Management (GCM) to begin open-cast coal mining in the country’s Phulbari area, west off Bangladesh, The Guardian newspaper reported.
Later on in the cable, Moriarty privately noted: “Asia Energy, the company behind the Phulbari project, has sixty percent US investment. Asia Energy officials told the Ambassador they were cautiously optimistic that the project would win government approval in the coming months.”

However, in the cable Moriarty also notes that Chowdhury admitted the coal mine was “politically sensitive in the light of the impoverished, historically oppressed tribal community residing on the land”. Chowdhury, according to the cable, then agrees to build support for the project through the parliamentary process

On 26 Aug 2006, three boys, ‘Salekin’, 20, ‘Tariqul’, 21, and ‘Amin’, 13, were killed and more than 200 people injured in Phulbari when law enforcers fired shots on a peaceful demonstration protesting the open-pit mining proposed by the UK-based Asia Energy

Bangladesh to probe operations of Grameen Bank

Bangladesh government will form a high-powered committee to investigate the alleged irregularities in the operations of Grameen Bank pioneered by Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus.

“A high-powered committee will investigate the matter,” chairman of the standing committee on finance ministry A N H Mostafa Kamal told reporters today.

He said the committee would be formed within a few days.

Kamal said the parliamentary watchdog has sought explanation from the government why Grameen Bank is not being operated under the Microcredit Regulatory Act 2006.

“We’ve sought an explanation for Grameen Bank’s operations from the finance ministry’s banks and non-bank financial institution division,” Kamal was quoted .

He, however, refused to comment on the recent controversies over fund management saying that the government would probe the matter.

“We’ll comment only after the committee submits its report,” he said.

He said the standing committee feels that microcredit operation in the country should be regulated properly.

“The committee also believes that rules and regulations of the MRA [Microcredit Regulatory Authority] are weak to regulate the sector.”

He added that the regulatory body’s manpower should also be increased for strong monitoring activities. “The MRA needs to work at the country’s grassroots-level.”

Meanwhile, the Grameen Bank today dismissed media reports on Muhammad Yunus’ resignation from the organisation.

The GB in a statement said the Nobel Laureate is still serving as managing director on the GB board.

Two Bengali dailies — Daily Jugantor and Daily Samakal — today ran reports that Yunus had resigned from the board.

“The newspaper reports are totally baseless,” said the statement.

Earlier Bangladeshi media had quoted the Norwegian TV as saying that Yunus allegedly drew off nearly $100 million in aid for poor borrowers of Grameen Bank to another of his company back in 1996.

The 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner Yunus has denied allegation