Even after two decades of the Peace Accord, killing procession not stopped 

Alamgir Manik
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Rangamati: Today is Thursday, the 24th anniversary of the Chattogram Hill Tracts Peace Agreement. Apart from rehabilitating the terrorists and providing them with various facilities in the hope of peace, the two eras of closing down the army camps are coming to an end today. But peace is still elusive in the green-shaded Chattogram Hill Tracts.

Jana Sanghati Samity (Santu) leader Abishkar Chakma was shot dead by rival terrorists in Rangamati Sadar Upazila on Tuesday (November 30), just before the anniversary of the agreement. According to all sources, he is a top cadre of Jana Sanghati Samity (JSS). Not only this, but throughout the year such killings have been taking place in the conflict of domination somewhere in the hills.

Meanwhile, with the UP elections looming, the threat of JSS has prompted other political parties to resign.

The agreement was signed on December 2, 1997 between the then Awami League government led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the Parbatya Chattagram Hill Tracts Jana Sanghati Samiti (PCJSS). The main objective of the agreement was to bring an end to the bloody conflict in the three hill districts through the surrender of the guerrilla forces, the Shanti Bahini (SB), which had been in the mountains for more than two and a half decades. Although the name of Chattogram Hill Tracts Agreement was mentioned in the paper, observers from home and abroad named this agreement as a peace agreement. As a result of the agreement, the Prime Minister received accolades at home and abroad and also received various awards and titles.

However, the four-party alliance, including the BNP-Jamaat at the time, dubbed the agreement a "black pact" as that the Bengali-speaking people in the hills become second-class citizens, including on the condition of something unconstitutional. They also wanted to arrest Santu Larma as the murderer of 30,000 Bengalis and demanded the amendment of the agreement and bring him under trial. However, despite the fact that the agitators came to power within four years of the agreement, they did not cancel or amend the agreement. It is assumed that their 'opposition to the agreement' was part of the traditional politics.

After 24 years of the agreement, the question still arises, has peace really returned to the mountains? In answer to this question, one has to say without hesitation that with the advent of peace, the field of murder and extortion has expanded. At that time there was only one regional organization called Jana Sanghati Samiti; Whose self-armed branch was the SB. And after the agreement, six more armed organizations including UPDF and Gundus Bahini were born from this organization. The conflict over their dominance is constantly poisoning the mountain environment. Meanwhile, due to the withdrawal of army camps from the hills due to the agreement, the hills have become a sanctuary for terrorists day by day.

In the last four years alone, at least 124 people have been killed in the struggle for supremacy in Rangamati. Compared to the last three years, the number of murders has decreased this year. Among the dead were 92 leaders and activists of four regional parties in the hilly areas. Of these, 39 are from UPDF, 38 from JSS (Larma), 13 from JSS and 2 from UPDF Democrats. Among others, there are 20 civilians, one army member, one BNP leader, 10 Awami League members and one Mugh Party member.

Among the three hill districts, most of the violence took place in Rangamati and Khagrachari. 105 people were killed in these two districts. And 19 people were killed in Bandarban. In 2018, 32 people were killed in Rangamati. 41 people were killed in 19, 11 people were killed in 2020, and this year the number of murders in the conflict between the hills is 5. The list of murders includes the imam of a mosque in Bandarban. Blood holi game is going on in the green hills in this exercise of armament centered on extortion. Armed activity is increasing day by day; The list of murders is getting longer and longer.

Meanwhile, Santu Larma was complaining every day about the implementation of the peace agreement and their further benefits are not being ensured. However, the Bengalis living in the area are saying that the government is creating opportunities for them to buy illegal weapons. On the other hand, the government said that 80 percent of the agreement has been implemented. Thus, various conspiracies of foreign missions are going on in the mountains on the basis of counter-allegations.

It may be mentioned that according to the information published through various media, 2,563 people have been killed in the three hill districts apart from social crimes since the signing of the peace agreement. At least 2,626 people have been abducted. Among the dead, the hill-Bengalis belong to both communities but the number of Bengalis is higher. The Bengalis were killed due to communal hatred and extortion and most of them were killed by the hill tribes. The slain hill people have died because of their own armed activities and their own infighting for power.

According to the agreement, the list of armed members of the SB was provided within 45 days and from February 10, 1998 to March 5, 1998, 1948 members of the armed SB surrendered to the government in four phases. They deposited more than 200,000 rounds of ammunition, including 875 weapons. Although the military wing of the Jana Sanghati Samiti was completely disbanded with the surrender of the last party on March 5, 1998, the number of self-employed cadres and the availability of weapons have tripled; Such information belongs to various intelligence agencies.

In October 2020, a number of government ministers, including Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal, held a series of meetings with military and civilian administration and political and social leaders of the three hill districts on how to establish law and order in the troubled Chattogram Hill Tracts.

Government tries to find a solution. Even there, everyone agreed that a special battalion of the RAB should be deployed to increase peace in the mountains. Although the government's decision to establish a battalion of the RAB was finalized in November, the matter came to a halt due to unknown reasons.

Of the 15 lakh people in the three hill districts, 48 percent are Bengalis. The remaining 52 percent are residents of various ethnic minorities. Despite the peace agreement aimed at establishing hill Bengali harmony, Jana Sanghati leaders have been demanding the total removal of Bengalis from the three hill districts. Santu Larma himself made such a claim from time to time. The government set up a land commission in 2001 to resolve land disputes in the hilly areas. But the Land Survey Commission has not been able to function in the face of obstacles from the hill groups. The government has also amended the Land Commission Act in response to objections from tribal leaders, but its activities are still not being implemented.

The Bengali organizations in the highlands feel that the Bengalis living in the region have not seen any improvement in the years of the Hill Tracts Agreement. At a press conference on Tuesday, the leaders of the Chattogram Hill Tracts Citizens' Committee demanded full evaluation of the agreement.

Rangamati MP Dipankar Talukder feels that the implementation of the peace agreement is being hampered by the anarchic situation created by the killing and abduction of innocent people in the hills. He said, "We are very saddened to see that the opposition to the peace agreement is colluding with the BNP, a force in favor of the agreement."

In the opinion of the common people of the hills, if there is no army in the hills, the tribal terrorists will cut the Bengalis to pieces. If all the troops are removed, insecurity will be created in the hill districts.

According to various government sources, 48 of the 72 articles of the peace agreement have been implemented and the rest are in the process of implementation. The only condition on the part of the government was that the armed hill terrorist groups surrender their weapons. But due to the political umbrella of the hill leaders, it was not possible even in the 24 years of the peace agreement. That is why people from different walks of life in the mountains have emphasized on finding a solution through law and order as well as political dialogue by increasing the army camps to establish peace in the mountains.

'We are trying our best to keep the economy vibrant even in recession'

Staff Correspondent, Barta24.com
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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said that the government is making every effort to keep the country's economy vibrant despite the economic recession caused by the Corona pandemic and the Ukraine-Russia war.

The Prime Minister said this in response to the question of Abdul Latif of Chittagong-11 constituency in the question and answer session of the Jatiya Sangsad on Wednesday (May 31). Speaker Dr. Shirin Sharmin Chowdhury chaired the question and answer session.

Sheikh Hasina said that by dealing with the recession, inflation and instability in the global economy due to the Corona pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war and the resulting negative impact on the country's economy, our government has been able to quickly bring the country's economy back to the pre-coronavirus high growth path. Despite the severe crisis of Corona, our growth in the financial year 2019-20 was 3.45 percent which was one of the highest in the world at that time.

She said that as a result of various steps taken by the government to strengthen the economy, the GDP growth in the fiscal year 2020-21 was 6.94 percent. It further increased to 7.10 percent in FY 2021-22.

At this time, she highlighted various measures taken by the government to keep the economy alive. Notable among these are government expenditure rationalization, social security, electricity-fuel and agriculture sector subsidies, export incentives, increase in remittance flow, monetary policy etc.

In response to the question of Jatiya Party Member Syed Abu Hussain, the head of government highlighted the various steps taken by the government to control the prices of daily commodities and said that as a result of the government's activities, it has been possible to control the prices of daily necessities and the poor people are benefiting from it.

In response to a question from Jatiya Party's Rustam Ali Farazi, the Prime Minister said that the Dhaka-Mawa-Bhanga section of the Padma Bridge Rail Link Project will be completed in September 2023 and the Bhanga to Jessore section will be operational in June 2024.


Qatar will provide additional 2 million tons of LNG to Bangladesh

Serajul Islam Siraj, Special Correspondent
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Qatar has agreed to increase its supply of LNG (liquefied natural gas) by another 2 million tons per year in a long-term deal. The Division of Energy and Mineral Resources has confirmed the preparations for the signing of a formal agreement between Dhaka and Doha on June 1 in Qatar.

Qatar has been supplying 2.5 million tons of LNG per year under the previous agreement. If the new LNG is added, the quantity will stand at 3.5 million tons. But this gas is not coming to Bangladesh now. It will gradually increase from 2025 onwards. Sources from the Division of Energy and Mineral Resources will come to full capacity from 2027.

On June 1, a high-level team led by Minister of State for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid left for Qatar to sign the agreement. Secretary of Energy and Mineral Resources Division Md. Khaeruzzaman Majumdar is with the State Minister in the team along with Chairman of Petrobangla Janendra Nath Sarkar and Deputy General Manager (LNG) Engineer Abdul Mukit of Transforming Natural Gas Company Limited.

The practice of hiding the price of LNG is noticeable at all times. As usual this time too, none of the officers agreed to open their mouths. However, an official of Petrobangla said that compared to the previous contract, this time the price is slightly lower. But other conditions may be a bit uncomfortable for Bangladesh. He could not give an idea about the conditions.

Recently, before the Prime Minister's visit to Qatar, Minister of State for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid said that there is a difference of opinion regarding some conditions for importing LNG from Qatar. Earlier in the agreement, if Qatar could not provide the supply, Qatar would pay Bangladesh the additional price it would cost to buy a cargo of LNG in the sport market at that time. In the new contract, this condition has been lifted and proposed to be 15 percent. That is, if the price is high in the open market, if they sell, Bangladesh will suffer. We have asked for a review of that condition.

According to Petrobangla sources, the existing agreement with Qatar states that the supply will not be below 1.8 million tons per year, and will not go above 2.5 million tons. 2.5 million tons are being imported from Qatar and 1 million tons from Oman under long-term contracts. Besides Qatar, the two countries also agreed to increase the import of LNG by 1 million tons from Oman.

Our two FSRUs have a daily supply capacity of 1,000 million cubic feet, RPGCL sources said. A maximum of 95 percent can be used on average. That is, Bangladesh has the capacity to import up to 6 million tons per year. In addition, discussions with the Summit Group are continuing for the establishment of another FSRU. The third FSRU will have a daily import capacity of 1500 million. Discussions on the fourth FSRU are ongoing. An LNG terminal is also under construction. It will have a capacity of 1 thousand mmcfd.

The government had been importing LNG from the open market as well as long-term contracts. But due to the war in Ukraine, the price of LNG in the open market has gone up a lot. For the first time, LNG was bought from the open market for less than $4 per unit. The same amount of LNG had to be paid up to 37 dollars. Currently it is trading around $14.

By reducing the temperature of natural gas to minus 160 degrees Celsius through cooling technology, the gas becomes a liquid. This liquefied natural gas is called LNG. When natural gas is liquefied at normal atmospheric pressure, its volume is reduced by about 600 times. That is, 600 liters of gas can be converted into LNG and filled in a small bottle of only one liter. LNG is made for ease of transportation. After being brought to Bangladesh, it is regasified and supplied to the line.


There are 8921 tons of milk deficits in the country

Toriqul Islam Sumon, Senior Correspondent, Barta24.com
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Milk is the best for preventing unwholesome deficit and malnutrition. But despite the increase in milk production through various initiatives of the government, there is a huge shortage. According to official estimates, currently 193.38 milliliters of milk is available per capita against the daily demand of 250 milliliters. The deficit is 54 grams. According to the current demand in the country, this deficit has reached 8 thousand 921 metric tons.

According to nutritionists, milk is the best for maximum nutritional value. Lactose is the essential component of milk, which helps in body structure, development and intellectual growth. Milk is the main ingredient for protecting human health. A large section of the population of Bangladesh is deprived of liquid milk. Cow's milk contains essential amino acids, various vitamins and minerals such as chromium, manganese, iron, cobalt, copper, zinc, iodine and selenium. The composition of cow's milk is 86.5% water, 4.8% lactose, 4.5% fat, 3.5% protein and 0.7% vitamins and minerals.

According to the Department of Animal Husbandry, cows are the main source of milk in the country. Ninety percent of milk comes from cows, eight percent comes from goats and two percent comes from buffaloes. The growth rate of milk production from 1989-90 to 2001-02 financial year is 2.4 percent, from 2009-10 to 2019-20 financial year the growth rate of milk production is 16.44 percent. At present, 193.38 ml is available per capita against the daily demand of 250 ml of milk.

President of Bangladesh Dairy Farmers Association Imran Hossain said, without increasing the number of cows, we should think about increasing per capita production. That is why there is no alternative to breed development. Although the milk production of indigenous cows is 5-7 kg, a cow of improved breed gives milk up to 20-40 kg. Breeds should be improved by cross breeding by collecting seeds of improved varieties.

He also said that the production of buffalo milk should be increased through breed development. For this, we have to go towards selective breeding by bringing Indian Gir or any other breed. Various public and private institutions should come forward. Farmers should be given various suggestions including modern sheds, silage, vaccines. Above all, the government should take measures so that the farmers can safely sell the milk produced. Only then will our milk shortage be met.

Thursday (June 1) is World Milk Day. As always, this year too, the Directorate of Livestock under the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock has taken various programs nationwide on this day. On this occasion, 'World Dairy Day Celebration' and 'Dairy Icon Celebration' programs have been organized at Krishibid Institution Auditorium in the capital. Bangladesh Government and World Bank funded and implemented by the Directorate of Livestock is providing support in the organization of the 'Livestock and Dairy Development Project (LDDP)'.

Apart from Dhaka, multifaceted programs have been taken on the occasion of World Milk Day 2023 in 61 districts covered by the LDDP project. Feeding of children of various primary schools/orphanages, quiz competition, essay and drawing competition, rally and meeting will be organized and prizes will be distributed.

According to related sources, 41 successful farmers and entrepreneurs of the country's dairy sector were awarded in four categories. Organized for the second time in the country, the number of sector-wise selected organizations are - 20 in the dairy farm category, 8 in the animal feed processing category, 9 in the milk/meat processing category and 4 in the farm mechanization category. Each prize is worth TK. 1 lakh. Along with that every institution will be given crest and certificate. Earlier in the year 2022, 39 institutions were awarded in 4 categories.

Chaired by Director General of Animal Resources Dr Md Emdadul Haque Talukder, Minister of Liberation War Affairs A.K.M. Mozammel Haque will attend the event as the chief guest and present the awards to the selected dairy icons. Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock, President Dhirendra Debnath Shambhu MP, Secretary of the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock Nahid Rashid will be present as special guest.


Tax dodge by Prof. Dr. Yunus proven in the court

Staff Correspondent, Barta24.com, Dhaka
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Nobel laureate Dr. Yunus's tax evasion is proven. As demand by National Board of Revenue (NBR) he has to pay Tk. 12 crore for tax evasion for the three years from 2011 to 2013.

On Wednesday (May 31), the High Court bench of Justice Muhammad Khurshid Alam Sarkar and Justice Rashed Jahangir announced the verdict. This is the first High Court verdict against him on tax evasion.

Attorney General AM Amin Uddin heard the state's side in the court. At the end of the verdict, he said about the observation of the High Court, he made the trust for personal gain. Yunus. Giving money out of fear of death is one of his tricks.

Barrister Md.Mostafizur Rahman Khan pleaded for Dr. Yunus.

According to the source of the case, the National Board of Revenue (NBR) sent a notice demanding tax of about 12 crore 28 lakh 74 thousand against a total donation of 61 crore 57 lakh 69 thousand taka in the tax year 2011-12 according to the Donor Act of 1990.

In the tax year 2012-13, against donation of 8 crore 15 lakh taka, 1 crore 60 lakh 21 thousand taka was claimed as donation tax. And in the tax year 2013-14, against the donation of 7 crore 65 thousand taka, NBR issued a notice demanding tax of 1 crore 50 lakh 21 thousand taka.