Prime Minister called upon the students to return to class



Staff Correspondent, Barta24.com, Dhaka
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina

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The students are protesting by blocking the road like last two days demanding 11 points including safe roads. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called upon the students to withdraw from the movement and return to class.

She said that vandalizing buses on the road is not the job of the students, so I will tell the students that the educational institution was closed for a long time. Now it is opened. Now everyone has to return to the educational institution.

The Prime Minister said this while virtually joining the inauguration ceremony of Bangabandhu's mural from Ganobhaban on Wednesday (December 1).

Sheikh Hasina said everyone should be careful while moving on the road. You have to cross through the designated place for crossing. Run suddenly, it won't happen. Traffic rules must be followed.

She said it was necessary to find out the cause of death in South City Corporation the day after the student was hit by a garbage truck.

She added that law enforcement should find out who vandalized and set fire to the buses after the accident. One person was killed while at least 15 buses were set on fire causing huge damages to lives and properties. Who will take that responsibility? No one will take the law into their own hands.

Today is Shohid Asad day



News Desk, Barta24.com, Dhaka
Photo: Collected

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Today is January 20, the day of Martyr Asad. This is a significant day in the history of Bangladesh's liberation struggle.

On this day in 1969, student leader M. Asaduzzaman was shot dead by police while leading an 11-point procession of the student movement against the Pakistani dictator Ayub Khan government in front of Dhaka Medical College.

This self-sacrifice of Shoheed Asad accelerated the ongoing movement. Later, the dictator Ayub Khan fell through a mass uprising.

Shoheed Asad was one of the three martyrs of the then East Pakistan who pioneered the mass movement of 1969; The other two are Shahid Rustam and Shahid Matiur. He received the Independence Medal in 2018 for his special contribution in the war of independence and liberation.

Shohid Asad was born on June 10, 1942 in Dhanua village of Shibpur upazila of Narsingdi district. After completing his secondary education from Shibpur High School in 1960, he studied at Jagannath College (now Jagannath University) and MC College. He was admitted to Dhaka University in 1963 in History in the undergraduate (Honors) class and obtained B.A (Hons)degree in 1966 and MA degree in 1967. In the same year, Asad got involved in Shibpur, Manohardi, Raipura and Narsingdi areas with the aim of organizing Krishak Samiti under the direction of Mawlana Abdul Hamid Khan Bahasani, President of National Awami Party (NAP) and Krishak Samiti.

President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina have given separate statements on the occasion.

In his message, the President said that the sacrifice of Shoheed Asad in the mass uprising of 1969 was a unique milestone in the history of our liberation struggle and independence.

He said that this outstanding contribution of Shohid Asad in the struggle of democratic movement would be a source of inspiration for the democracy loving people of the country.

In her message, the Prime Minister prayed for the salvation of the souls of all the martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the liberation of Bengalis including Shohid Asad.

She said that Shaheed Asad, who sacrificed his life in the mass uprising, will be remembered among the democracy-loving people of this country. His sacrifice will always inspire our rights movement.

Various socio-cultural and political organizations have undertaken detailed programs on the occasion of the day.

It may be mentioned here that present day Asad Gate at Mohammadpur- Mirpur crossing was named changing its name Ayub Gate after the killing of Asad during the mass uprising that forced dictator Ayub Khan to step down. Poet Shamsur Rahman composed his famous poem ‘Asader Shirt’.

Ganajagaran sculpture made in memory of Asad. In 1992, on the initiative of Dhaka University Central Student Union or Dacsu, in north of the gate of the emergency department of Dhaka Medical College, Asad's memorial was built under the name of Ganajagaran to immortalize Asad's memory and to keep alive the spirit of mass uprising. The sculpture was created by artist Pradyot Das.

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The next election is open to foreign observers



Special Correspondent, Barta24.com
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Bangladesh will be opened to foreign observers in the next parliamentary elections, said Foreign Minister Dr. AK Abdul Momen.

Foreign Minister made the remarks during a farewell meeting with Earl R. Miller, the outgoing U.S. ambassador on Wednesday (January 19).

Calling on the United States to participate in major infrastructure projects in Bangladesh, the Foreign Minister said that infrastructure is a priority for the Government of Bangladesh. They discussed ways to further enhance the existing excellent bilateral relations between the two friendly countries.

AK Abdul Momen thanked the US Ambassador for his active work in Bangladesh during his tenure. He also mentioned the vaccine assistance that Bangladesh has received from the United States.

Bangladesh has so far received 28 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine from the United States under the Covax program and will receive more in the near future.

The Foreign Minister appreciated the close engagement of the two countries on the issue of climate change and recalled the visit of US Special Envoy John Kerry to Bangladesh in April 2021. Both sides expressed hope that there would be a series of talks and visits next month.

The Foreign Minister of Bangladesh thanked the US Ambassador for his warm welcome during his visit to Washington DC in February 2021, the first visit of a Foreign Minister to the US capital since the Biden administration took office.

Abdul Momen thanked the US government for responding to his request to assist Bangladesh in restoring coastal dams and further development in the south of the country.

Foreign Minister Momen sent a letter to USAID Administrator Professor Samantha Power, to which she responded positively. As a result, the Division of Economic Relations, the Ministry of Finance and other relevant ministries of the Government of Bangladesh are in the process of launching a joint feasibility study with USAID to identify potential projects for strengthening coastal embankments in southern Bangladesh.

The Foreign Minister briefed Ambassador Miller on the ongoing Union Parishad elections as well as the Narayanganj City Corporation elections.

They also discussed ways of cooperation between the two countries in the field of human rights, including the organization of training programs.

The Foreign Minister thanked the United States for being the largest donor of humanitarian assistance to the displaced Rohingyas in Bhasanchar as per the Memorandum of Understanding signed with the United Nations.

Mentioning that Bangladesh was the best time of his career due to the warm hospitality from the government and people, the US Ambassador thanked Foreign Minister Momen and the Foreign Ministry for all kinds of cooperation and support.

He reiterated the United States' strong support for a political settlement of the Rohingya issue, not only through humanitarian assistance but also through repatriation. He also expressed the hope that his successor, who has a strong economic background, would make a significant contribution to furthering economic cooperation between the two countries. He further said that the United States is willing to work closely with Bangladesh on human rights issues through regular dialogue.

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Recommendations to distribute masks free of cost



Special Correspondent, Barta24.com
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The Covid-19 National Technical Advisory Committee has proposed to distribute free masks to the general people on behalf of the government to ensure the wearing of masks.

The 53rd meeting also recommended through public representatives and religious representatives to motivate the people to wear proper masks and follow other hygiene rules.

On last Tuesday at midnight, this meeting was held presided over by the chairman of the committee, Prof. Dr. Md. Shahidullah. In the meeting recent growing contagion of Covid-19 disease is analyzed and discussed in detail.

The meeting recommended that Covid-19 positive patients remain in isolation for up to 10 days after onset of symptoms. In addition, people who have come in contact with Covid-19 patients but have no symptoms do not need quarantine, but they need to make sure to wear a tight mask.

The committee also recommended that the Directorate of Health increase surveillance in all ports of entry, including airports, to ensure proper compliance with government health guidelines.

It is recommended to ensure full-time emergency treatment of all Covid-19 and non-Covid patients in all government hospitals.

It also recommended taking steps for the implementation of the notification issued by the Council of Ministers by involving all including the leaders of Transport Owners Association, Shop Owners Association and Restaurant Owners Association.

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Petrobangla has resorted to cunning practice to enhance gas prices!



Serajul Islam Siraj, Special Correspondent, Barta24.com
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Concerns have been created about the proposal for an unusual increase in the price of gas as it has not been able to cope with the rise in fuel prices. Energy experts think that Petrobangla has resorted to cunning way to increase prices. What they have given cannot be correct in any way.

Energy expert Professor Dr. Shamsul Alam told Barta24.com that attempts are being made to fool the people. Bangladesh is importing LNG (liquefied natural gas) from the spot market under a long term agreement. The price has increased by 5-6 percent bought from the spot market.

It is believable that the price of the whole gas has to be increased by 117 percent as the price of the system has increased by 5-6 percent! They are showing manipulated calculations, these calculations do not agree with reality. We are in favor of not importing that amount of LNG if necessary. However, the price should not be increased. People's concerns have risen after the increase of fuel prices. In this case, the increase in gas prices is by no means desirable.

"At the moment, our economy is not ready for either subsidies or price increases," he told Barta24.com. Instead, that amount of LNG import should be reduced by rationing. People have the experience of experiencing 10-12 hours of load shedding. For those who want to make some concessions, let the pocket-cutting arrangement be stopped.

The crisis is already going on and if imports are further reduced then the crisis will increase. In response to such a question, Dr. Shamsul Alam said, importing fertilizer costs less than producing it in the country. Then why should I produce fertilizer in the country. Fertilizer factories that are not efficient have to be shut down.

He said the bureaucrats are now sitting in the seat of the owner of the people's company. They maximize their opportunities, not development plans. When importing, the commission is traded, so they focus more on import. Exploration and extraction of domestic gas could not be done in that way. That is why this crisis today. This crisis would not have been created if it had been planned in advance. People once took to the streets against gas exports. Now is the time to take to the streets against imports.

Companies are charging prices without gas. Where is the money for illegal gas connections going? This crisis will not go away unless good governance is ensured. Although there is gas in Chhatak and Bhola, why it has not been brought so far. Companies are putting the burden of unreasonable expenses on the shoulders of the people. The companies have to get rid of the bureaucrats who have made the country dependent on imports.

Distribution companies have proposed to double the price of gas. They have submitted proposals to Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) to increase the price of one stove from Tk. 925 to Tk. 2,000 and two stoves from Tk. 975 to Tk. 2,100.

This unprecedented high-value proposal was submitted to the commission on Monday (January 17), sources confirmed. The company is responsible for distribution in the greater Noakhali, Comilla and Chandpur districts. Petrobangla has also instructed other companies to submit similar proposals. Sources said that the proposal will be submitted in a day or two.

In their proposal, Bakhrabad has increased the existing price per cubic meter from Tk. 12.80 to Tk. 27.37, from Tk. 35 to Tk. 76.04 per CNG, from hotel to restaurant from Tk. 23 to Tk. 49.98 per cubic meter, and in small and cottage industries. 17.04 to Tk. 37.02, Tk. 10.60 to Tk. 23.24, captive power from Tk. 13.75 to Tk. 30.09, tea industry from Tk. 10.60 to Tk. 23.24. On the other hand, it has been proposed to increase the existing rates in power and fertilizer factories from Tk. 4.45 to Tk. 9.66. It has been proposed to increase the existing average from Tk. 9.38 to Tk. 20.35. Never before in the past has there been such a huge increase in prices. That is why the Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) has described it as unprecedented.

Petrobangla said in its written proposal that the average purchase price of gas from state-owned companies Bapex and Sylhet Gas Field is Tk. 1.27 per cubic meter, from Chevron Tk. 2.69 and from Tallo Tk. 3.10. On the other hand, the actual purchase price of LNG is Tk. 36.69 and with other charges it is Tk. 50.38. Considering the daily import of 850 million cubic feet of LNG, this price.

Before the companies made their proposals, Petrobangla had sent a letter to BERC asking for an increase in gas prices. Petrobangla's proposal was sent back as it was not legal. BERC is the legal entity for raising prices at the consumer level. When they get an offer, they first check and select. If the application is reasonable, the price is finalized through public hearing.

The process of importing LNG from abroad to address the gas crisis has been widely criticized from the beginning. LNG regasification from Qatar and Oman was being done with two FSRUs (Floating Storage Regasification Units) located in Maheshkhali. An FSRU is now closed due to a torn mooring point. On the other hand, Qatar and Oman have stated that they will reduce the supply of LNG next year.

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