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Monday, August 02, 2004

Compiled by SDNP

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Saifur asks VCs not to appoint teachers on political considerations

Appointment of teachers on political considerations rather than on merit is dealing a heavy blow to higher education, Finance and Planning Minister M Saifur Rahman told the university vice-chancellors yesterday.

He made the observation when a delegation of Bangladesh Biswabidyalaya Parishad, an association of public universities, met him at his office at the planning ministry.

Quoting press reports, Saifur told Vice-chancellor (VC) of Rajshahi University Prof Faisul Islam Faruki that the university recently appointed teachers on political considerations; the appointments should have been done on the basis of merit.

Faruki denied the allegation and told Saifur that 300 teachers were appointed to the university during the rule of Awami League government.

But this year the university recruited only 100 teachers whose appointments have been made purely on the basis of merit, he claimed.

VC of Open University Prof Ershadul Bari, however, defended political appointment of teachers. He argued the VCs find it difficult to run the university if members of the senate and academic council do not share the same ideology as theirs.

National University VC Prof Aftab Ahmed observed that the University Ordinance 1973 needs to be amended if politics by teachers at the universities is to be stopped.

The Parishad leaders said the private universities are buying competent, meritorious teachers out of public universities by offering higher salary.

They asked the minister to form a separate pay scale for public university teachers.

Saifur turned down the proposal but said the government will consider raising their allowances.

He, however, assured the VCs of including a teachers' representative in the newly-formed pay commission.

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'Construct dams to prevent artificial floods'

Bangladesh can prevent the artificial floods by constructing dams in greater Sylhet, Comilla and Feni districts, said the speakers at a seminar yesterday.

They said the proposed Demra-Tongi Eastern By- Pass has to be constructed immediately to keep the capital city free from flooding.

The seminar was organised by Uniting Bangladesh at the National Press Club with K M Obaidur Rahman MP in the chair.

State Minister for Agriculture Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir and State Minister for Water Resources Goutam Chakrabarty attended the seminar as special guests.

Chairperson of Uniting Bangladesh Giasuddin Chowdhury presented the keynote paper.

Giasuddin said dams with sluice gates must be constructed over the hilly rivers of greater Sylhet, Comilla and Feni districts to control the onrush of waters from the upstream. These could also be used for producing electricity like Kaptai Hydroelectricity Project, he added.

Fakhrul Islam said the proposed Indian River Linking Project would have devastating impact on Bangladesh if we fail to take necessary steps against it.

He also suggested large scale dredging of rivers, and digging of canals to control the artificial floods.

Rajshahi City Mayor Mizanur Rahman Minu said India never wants to see Bangladesh as a rich country. So they create artificial floods by opening the sluice gates of the dams in the rainy season, he added.

"Bangladesh becomes the victim of floods every year. So it is necessary to construct dams with the help of Nepal which is our friendly country," Minu said.

Joinul Abedin Faruq MP, BFUJ President Gias Kamal Chowdhury and Abul Kashem Chowdhury of Bangladesh Water Development Board also spoke.

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Female garment worker strangled

A female garment worker was allegedly strangled inside her shanty at Uttar Basabo in Sabujbagh in the city.

She was identified as Tara Begum alias Keya, 14, daughter of one Mohammad Khijir Mia of Dakkhin Ajimpur under Gaibandha district.

Victim's aunt Farida Parveen said she and her niece used to live in the shanty of Haji Rois Mia, but she left the shanty as it was submerged by floodwaters.

She, however, went there yesterday morning and found the room locked from out side. She also smelled bad odour coming from inside the room.

Farida Parveen went to Sabujbagh Police Station and told the police about the incident.

Police went there and recovered the body. There were marks of injuries around her neck.

Police suspected that she might have been raped and killed by a gang member.

The body was sent to Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) Morgue for autopsy.

Farida Parveen filed a case with Sabujbagh Police Station in this connection.

Sabujbagh police also recovered the body of a homeo doctor from a lake near Mandabazar on Saturday.

The victim Dr Habibur Rahman, 65, used to live at a house at 5, Kadam Ali Road.

The body was sent to DMCH for autopsy.

In another incident, Ramna police recovered the body of a young man from a lake adjacent to Tongi Diversion Road at Maghbazar.

The identity of the man, aged about 26, could not be known immediately.

The body was sent to DMCH for autopsy.

Separate cases were filed with the police stations concerned.

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UN agencies get 10m pound from UK for flood victims

United Nations agencies that received a generous grant of 10 million pound from the United Kingdom are set to distribute relief supplies for flood victims soon.

The supplies are intended to bolster the government's response to the devastating flood, a UNDP press release said.

Germany has so far committed about Tk 170 lakh for several projects of humanitarian aid to the flood victims. The assistance will be channelled through some NGOs.

German President Prof Dr Horst Koehler has sent a message to President Iajuddin Ahmed expressing his concerns and sympathy shared by the whole German people with the flood victims.

The UN Agencies along with the donor community and NGOs are already helping to fill the gaps in relief effort, UN Resident Coordinator Douglas Coutts said.

Meanwhile, the UN is co-ordinating an international appeal for assistance to help the people of Bangladesh recover from this crisis. The appeal is expected to be launched for donor funding shortly.

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Jahanara says Treat women as officials at workplace

The Bangladesh Observer

Prime Minister’s Primary and Mass Education Affairs Advisor Prof. Jananara Begum emphasized the need for treating women as officials at their workplace to eliminate gender discrimination from society, reports BSS.

“Many problems can be solved if we treat women as officials at their workplaces,” she said while addressing a seminar on ‘Identification of Problems of Women Officials in their workplace and their Solution.’

Bangladesh Women Officials Association (BWOA) organized the seminar at the NAEM auditorium with President of the association and former secretary Prof. Dr. Tahmina Hossain. It was also addressed, among others, by Vice President Shamsunnessa and secretary Farida Khanam.

Senior Assistant Secretary of the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs Shamima Nargis presented a keynote paper in the seminar.

Prof. Jahanara Begum said the present government had given special attention on women education to make them self-dependent and raise their social status. “We have also introduced special quota system in the job field including the primary school for the women,” she said.

The Advisor, however, underscored the need for further strengthening the women organizations in the country to realize their demands and rights.

Other speakers highlighted various problems women were facing in their workplaces and gave suggestions to overcome them.

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Acute pure water, saline crisis, price spiral multiply sufferings
Diarrhoea, water-borne diseases now
ravaging flood affected areas

The Bangladesh Observer, From Our Correspondent

SYLHET, Aug 1:—Diarrhoea has broken out in an epidemic form in Zakiganj upazila, the worst flood-hit area of Sylhet district.

Flood that so far claimed 35 lives officially in the district, is now ravaged by diarrhoea and other water-borne diseases leaving at least 25 persons dead, of whom nine died of diarrhoea in Zakiganj upazila.

More over at least 300 persons have been attacked with diarrhoea in 30 shelter-camps in Zakiganj and Kanaighat upazila.


Our Madaripur Correspondent writes: The overall flood situation has further improved in the dis­trict on Saturday. The Arial Khan was flowing 49 cm above danger level at Madaripur launchghat point.

Diarrhoea has broken out in an epidemic form in flood hit areas of Madaripur district. About 1000 people have been attacked with diarrhoea and water-borne dis­eases. Official sources said, so far 606 people have been affected.

About 80,000 people in 20 vil­lages under Madaripur poura-shava have been marooned. The affected people should be supplied with either cooked or dry foods. The flood victims were given some rice, but most of them did not get any reliefs and cash money, it is alleged.

Meanwhile 60 families in Kabirajpur union under Rajoir up­azila have been rendered homeless by the erosion of river Kumar during the last few days.

The erosion hit people have taken shelter on the high lands. A total of 145 cattlehead died in the flood.


Our Chandpur Correspondent adds: The flood situation is grad­ually improving following reces­sion of water. But the town area again goes under water during high tide. The Meghna is still flowing above danger level.

The erosion of the river Meghna has been interrified. A breach occurred in the ring em­bankment of Chandpur Irrigation Project (CIP) at Haimchar on (Friday) and inundated eight nearby village.

According to official source the flood affected 13 lakh people of the eight upazilas of the district. The worst affected upazilas are Chandpur Sadar, Matlab South, Haimchar and Hajiganj upazila.

Crops over 30,000 acres of land have been totally damaged and 60,000 acres partially.

The flood also caused heavy loss to private fish farms. Fish worth about Tk one crore have been washed away.

Meanwhile many organisations are rendering relief among the flood victims. About 10,000 marroned people in the charlands are passing this days in great miseries. The Red Crescent has distributed biscuits among the victims. Students or­ganisations are distributing oral saline among the people in the shelter campswhere. Skin diseases have broken out alarmingly.


Our Narsingdi Correspondent says: The flood situation has slightly improved in some parts of Narsingdi district on Wednesday.

The prolonged devastating flood has caused colossal damage of standing crops, seed-beds, houses, roads, culverts, bridges, embankments, industrial belts and educational institutions.

A total of 60 per cent of 12 lakh out of 20 lakh have been affected by the flood. Vegetables worth about Taka 10 crore have been damaged. The only one cold storage at Gabtoli under Sadar upazila has been inundated can-sing damage to potato worth about Taka one crore.

At least 50 per cent roads, bridges, culverts and kutcha road have been totally damaged and 20 per cent partially.

 27 drowned

A total of 27 people including 22 children were drowned in the flood water in the district. Thousands of people in char areas under Sadar and Raipura upazila are the worst sufferer.

The worst affected areas are as Mirjachar, Musapur, Maheshpur, Radhanagar, Chander Kandi, Raipura, Marjal, Palashtoli, Nilakhaya, Bashgari, Charmadua, Poratoli, Hajipur, Karimpur, Nazarpur, Alokbali, Char Aralia, Chardigaldi and Paikarchar union.

The domestic animals including poultry have been marooned causing death due to scarcity of folder.

The Agriculture Extension Department source said, crops worth about Taka 20 crore have been damaged so far. Crops on 40,000 acres of land have been damaged completely while 10,000 acres partially.

Aman, jute, seedbeds, aus, ropa aman, vegetables, banana, battle­leaf etc have been damage. Red Crescent volunteers, politi­cal parties, social affluence and Non-Government Organizations (NGO) are coming to help the flood affected people. The government sanctioned Taka 4.50 lakh and about 900 ma­tric tons of rice for the flood vic­tims.

 Diarrhoea breaks out

The scarcity of pure drinking water in the major problem in the flood hit areas as 70 per cent of tube-wells went under water. As a result the water-borne diseases like diarrhoea, dysentery, fever are spreading in the area. Hundreds of diarrhoea patients are undergoing treatment at indifferent hospitals.

The Balusair embankment un­der Sadar upazila and Nilakha wa­ter cartrol closure under Raipura upazila are partially damaged.

 Prices go up

The prices of all essential com­modities including food grains have recorded upward trend in different markets. As a result the low incoming peoples are leading a miserable life. People are facing acute prob­lem in getting urgent treatment as the hospital has been submerged.


Our Moulvibazar Correspon-dent adds: Approximately 15 lakh people who remained marooned during the two weeks in the flood affected areas under Sylhet division, are now passing their days in miseries due to lack of reliefs, drinking wa­ter, food and shelter.

Out break of water-born dis­ease, lack of saline and treatment facilities hampered treatment. Meanwhile, other than ma­rooned people in each district are staying indifferent shelter centres, embankment and roads, relative-houses, hotels and badly damaged houses from where flood water has been receded. These people are now facing untold sufferings.


Our Brahmanbaria Correspon-dent adds: The flood situation in Brahmanbaria district has slightly improved today fol­lowing the recession of flood wa­ter in the river Titas. But the river Titas is still now flowing 15 cm above danger mark.

A total of 36 people died so far in the flood that gripped eight upazilas the district.

Three lakh people who took shelters in 582 shelter camps have been passing their days without reliefs and lack of proper sanita­tion.


Our Bhairab Correspondent adds: The devastating deluge swamped all the villages in the haor areas of Itna, Mitamoin, Nikli and Austagram upazilas and the affected people are now passing their painful days on scaffolds both in houses and other shelters amid untold misery.

The hat and bazars in the rural villages of the haor areas remained under water and the prices of daily necessities have gone ab­normally high multiplying the suf­ferings of the people.

The people can hardly manage pure drinking water as the tube­wells have gone under water.

The people in the haor areas are in greap troubles with their cattle­heads. Raised lands are not avail­able for shifting the cattleheads to safety. Acute scarcity of folder has left the cattleheads to a sorrowful state.

The flood situation at Katiadi on Bhairab-Kishoreganj Highway remained worst. At least 3000 families of 112 villages of the up­azila are passing their days in ex­treme sufferings. The kutcha and pucca roads in the upazila have gone under waist deep water. The train communication in between Bhirab and Kishoreganj remained snapped.


Our Rajbari Correspondent adds; The flood situation in the district has started improving gradually with the recession of wa­ters.

The Padma is flowing 37 cm above the danger level on Saturday. According to official sources 20 out of 42 union of the district were affected by the cur­rent flood.

The affected people have been suffering from various intestinal disease including dysentery, diar­rhoea and pneumonia. At least 899 people most of them are children have been attacked during last 30 days with the water-born disease in different flood affected areas of the district.

Most of the toilets in the flood hit area have gone inoperative following flood. The flood waters have been contaminated with filths, grabages, sewages and hu­man excreta poisoning a serious threat to health of people of this area.

According to Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) officials said, a total of 2,539 had driven tubewells have gone out of order during the current floods in the district. About 3150 tubewells have been submerged.

Besides 899 people have been affected with the water borne dis­ease due to scarcity of pure drinking water and lack of proper sanitation facilities.


Meanwhile the prices of essen­tial commodities have gone up in different markets with the onset of floods which have affected 18 unions of three upazilas in the dis­trict.

When contacted traders of Rajbari town said, prices of essen­tial goods including rice, onion, potato, eggs, meat and vegetables have gone up by 10 to 20 per cent in the wholesale markets.

Coarse rice is being sold at Tk 14 per kg and fine quality at Tk 19 per kg as against Tk 12 and Tk 17 re­spectively two weeks back.

Onion is now sold at Tk 20 per kg as against Tk 16 two weeks ago and potatol at Tk 10 to Tk 11 per kg.

Besides hilsha are being sold be­tween Tk 250  and Tk 300 per kg, ruhi and katla at Tk 180 to Tk 200 per kg. In addition, prices of beef have increased in the local markets and being sold at Tk 100 per kg. But mutton is not always available, eggs per four are selling at Tk 16 in place of Tk 14.

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