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Saturday, August 07, 2004

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27 Private Varsities do not have VCs
Varsity Corespondent

The Bangladesh Overbear

Twenty seven private universities out of fifty three in the country are running without Vice-Chancellor (VC) for last several years.

Moreover those universities also do not have Registrar and Treasurer. Some of the universities have nominated a person among the director council to act as Vice-Chancellor without appointing a regular VC, which violates the University Grants Commission (UGC) mandate.

Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia directed the Chairman of UGC Prof. M. Asaduzzaman to take strict action against those universities authorities.

According to the rules of UGC, a government body to supervise and funding the public and private universities, it is mandatory of all the universities to seek prior permission to appoint Vice-Chancellors. President, who is also Chancellor of all the private universities, appoints one as VC from the nominating persons. But some of the private universities nominate VC on the whims of the authorities.

The university authorities do not appoint a regular VC to avoid huge financial implications by providing facilities to the senior academician, sources said.

However, some universities have proposed names of persons to the Chancellor and UGC to nominate a VC. In most cases, the UGC failed to select any suitable person as they do not fulfill the requirements for the post of VC.

The universities which do not have regular VC are, Shanta Maria University of Creative Technology, East West University, University of Liberal Arts, Comilla University, Queens University, University of Asia pacific, The Peoples University of Bancladesh, BGC Trust University Bangladesh, Chittagong Islamic University, Premier University Chittagong, America Bangladesh University, Prime University, Southern University, Green University of Bangladesh, World University of Bangladesh, The Millenium University, Eastern University, Bangladesh University of Business and Technology, Sylhet Metropolitan University, Uttara University, United International University, Victoria University of Bangladesh, University of South Asia, Presidency University, University of Information Technology and Science, Prime Asia University and Royal University of Dhaka.

Describing it as unfortunate, the Education Minister M. Osman Faruk told the journalists that a high powered committee has been formed to probe irregularities of the private universities.

"We will take action against the universities after getting the report of the committee", Education Minister said adding that necessary steps will be taken to appoint qualified and regular VC in all the private universities.

Talking to the journalists, UGC Chairman Prof. Asad expressed his anguish on the issue. "We are concerned about the matter. Running universities without VC is directly violation of rules," he said, adding that this situation should not have continued.

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UK relief body formed

Fund collect for flood hit people of Bangladeshi

The Bangladesh Overbear

The UK Relief Committee was formed under the aegis of the Bangladesh High Commission in London for rendering relief services to the flood victims of Bangladesh, reports BSS.

The committee formed on July 21 has already started collecting funds for the distressed people of Bangladesh.

This was informed at a meeting held at the Bangladesh Center in London on August one to collect fund and receive suggestions from all section of the society to organize a coordinated thrust for rendering relief activities among the flood victims by the Bangladeshi expatriates in the United Kingdom.

Presided over by Vice-Chairman of the Center Mohammed Ataur Rahman Khan, the meeting was addressed, among others, by Center’s Vice-Chairman Alhaj Mofizuddin, General Secretary Mohammad Mojibur Rahman, Chief Treasurer Alhaj Khandker Fariduddin, Minister (consular) of Bangladesh High Commission M A Salam, Dr  Alauddin Ahmed of Bangladesh Medical Association in UK, Dr  Halima Begum Ali of Bangladesh Women Association in UK, Journalists Syed Chowdhury, founder members of Bangladesh Center DR. B B Chowdhury and Alhaj Tara Miah.

The meeting was informed that the UK Relief Committee has already opened a bank account with Sonali Bank branch here. The committee has already collected 18,000 pounds and it is expected that by the next week another 30,000 pounds would be collected in the fund.

The speakers called upon the Bangladeshi expatriates here to donate generously in the fund for the flood-affected countrymen.

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Flood, relief, rehab, cash allocation in remote dists

The Bangladesh Overbear

GOPALGANJ, Aug 6:–The flood situation of Gopalganj district remaining unchanged and thousand of flood hit families are in bad position and could not get sufficient relief goods in flood hit areas in the Gopalganj district.

Huge houses, crops, fish-ghers, bridge-culverts, roads and tubewells, have been damaged and are in disorder in four upazila of Gopalganj district by recent flood.

1050 families in 9 unions of Katalipara upazila (area 57 sq kilometer) are under water and 115 families are homeless. 9090 houses standing crops of 1341 hectare of land are damaged, 425 fish ghers have been over flowed 20 kilometer kutcha, 16 kilometer of pucca roads and one bridge damaged in Kotalipara upazila.

1622 families in 13 unions of Muksudpur upazila (are 117 sq kilometer) are under water, 115 houses damaged, 52 families homeless, 4100 hectares of crops land totally and 1603 hectares of crops land partially damaged, 160 fish-ghers has been over flown, 50 kilometers of kutcha road, 3 culverts damaged and 125 tubewells are in disorder in Muksudpur upazila.

2075 families in 8 unions of Gopalganj Sadar upazila (are of 777 sq km) are under water 1200 houses has been damaged, 20 families and homeless, 972 hectares standing crops of land have been damaged and 902 fish-ghers have been over flowed and 28 km kutcha roads are totally damaged in Gopalganj Sadar upazila by recent devastating flood.

240 families in 5 unions of Tungipara upazila are under flood water, 660 houses have been damaged, 740 hectares of standing crop lands are totally damaged and 3088 hectares of standing crops lands partially damaged in Tungipara upazila of Gopalganj district. Relief and rehabilitation department allocated 150 metric ton rice and one lakh 50 thousands Taka for distribution among the flood hit families in Gopalganj district.

Mohammad Abdur Rouf, Deputy Commissioner Gopalganj with political leaders, officials and senior correspondents (local) of the National dailies distributed relief goods and cash among the flood hit (victims) families recently.

 Moulvibazar

From Our Correspondent from Moulvibazar: Over one hundred villages during last 20 days have remained marooned in the ongoing flood water that have still kept approximately 1,00,000 people stranded in their inundated homes or outside of this homes.

It is now being apprehended that the prolonged flood water will take more days to recede from the said severely affected villages and now the sufferings of the marooned people have reached its peak. Because, of severe crisis of food, drinking water, government relief and shelter fit for living and outbreak of diarrhoea.

While visiting during last two days different villages of Akhailkura, Ekatuna, Amtoil, Kazabala union of Sadar upazila and Panchgaon, Munshibazar, Fathepur, Uttarbhag unions of Rajnagar upazila and Bhatera, Boromchal, Bhukshimoil, Zaykarnagar, Brahmmonbazar union of Kulaura upazila and Talimpur, Borni, Dasorbazar, Sujapur unions of Borolekha upazila, many a people said, they are now very worried over their return to their marooned homes because, most of this homes have been either fully damaged or badly affected.

The sufferings people further said, the existing standing, living houses will almost surely be broken  with the recession of flood water  as most of the bamboo-made fence and poles of the houses have in the meantime badly affected because these are marooned for long about 20 days.

According to District Primary Education Officer sources, some 366 primary schools have now remained closed as the flood hit some 272 schools and shelter centres for flood-hit people were also opened in other some 94 schools. The loss in primary stage in the primary education sector of the district is also calculate` at Tk 85 lakh due to damage of furniture and building.

 Narsingdi

Our Narsingdi Correspondent writes: The Local Government Rural Development and Cooperative Minister and BNP Secretary General Adbul Mannan Bhuiyan called upon the people to come forward to post-flood rehabilitation programme in the country. He was addressing in the District Relief and Disaster Management meeting held at Zila Parishad auditorium as chief guest on Thursday morning in the district.

The Minister said that due to the recent flood situation all political parties, affluents, NGOs and all walks of life have been playing a vital role in the country.

The government has taken rehabilitation programme at present including house building road construction work, power development, agriculture rehabilitation programme, repairing works of all educational institutions and relief distribution through VGD Cards and the flood victims.

 Shariatpur

From Our Correspondent from Shariatpur: The devastating flood has caused great sufferings to the people in 64 unions of the district.

According to District Relief and Rehabilitation Office (DRRO) 2,00,200 families of over 10 lakh people have been affected while over one lakh people have been rendered homeless as 32,963 dwelling houses have been damaged completely and over 1,15,000 partially.

A total of 36 educational institutions have been damaged completely and 567 educational institutions including 16 collapses and 32 madrashas have been damaged partially. About 1061 mosques were also damaged.

The Agriculture Extension Department source said, 18978 hectares land of aus paddy, 19787 hectares land of aman paddy and 12000 hectares land of jute were submerged. So crops worth about Tk 120 crore have been damaged so far.

Besides, seed-beds of aus and aman and vegetables have been damaged. According to sources, fish and fry worth over 6 crore under 6 upazilas of the district have been washed away by the flood water. Fish and fry from over a thousand of ponds and fish-farms have been washed away.

Most of the fish-farmer holders took loan from banks and other sources. Now the fish-cultivators and fish-farm holders are passing through a critical time. Moreover, a total of 1790 domestic animals and over 4 lakh birds died during flood period.

 Faridpur

Our Faridpur Correspondent writes: The over all flood situation of the district has gradually been improving after it has caused colossal damage to life and property.  According to district administration six persons were killed, 1,19,800 people belonging to 29,400 families have been fully affected while 2,85,595 people of 67,661 families have been partially affected by the flood.

Besides, crops on 19,544 hectares of land were totally damaged while the crops on 29,547 hectares of land suffered partial damage. Twenty two education institutions have totally gone under breast deep water while 144 others have partially been affected.

Most of the affected people have been living on the town protection embankment in sub-human condition. Braving heavy rain fall and the scorching heat of the sun. Some of the victims have taken shelter at schools, colleges and other institutions.

The government has so far sanctioned Tk 8.5 lakh, 815 metric tons of rice and 100 tins of biscuits for distribution among the flood hit victims.

Among others, Chhatra Union, Bangladesh Chhatra League, Bangladesh Awami League, Bangladesh Mohila Parishad, Ramkrishna Mission, Faridpur and Sree Angan have distributed relief materials among the flood victims.

World Vision alone has distributed  so far relief goods worth Taka 2.99 lakh among 480 affected families in Decreer Char Union and 150 families in Ambicapur Union in Sadar upazila. Acute scarcity of drinking water has been prevailing in the areas where the flood victims have taken shelter. As a result, water borne diseases have broken out in some areas in sporadic form.

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Experts opine for revision of things

Present flood control system proves counter productive

 

The Bangladesh Overbear

RANGPUR, Aug 6:–Experts and professionals have opined for revisiting the present flood management system in the country and suggested for finding a sustainable solution to the overall flood and erosion problems, reports BSS.

They also recommended for constituting a task force comprising members of concerned departments and representatives of the people who have been experiencing devastating floods over the years.

Engineers of Bangladesh Water Development Board, professionals and elderly people of the flood-prone areas in the northern region said, the present flood and erosion management system has already been proved defective.

The flood control system has almost failed to solve the calamities, they said adding, these proved counter productive on agriculture and pisciculture.

Successive governments and donor agencies opted for construction of thousands of kilometers of flood control embankments on either side of any river throughout the country to cope with floods and river erosions. Many other devices like spurs, groins, sluice gates, revetments and cross dams have also been constructed to protect river banks and control floods.

Such embankments and devices of other kinds have controlled floods and erosions for some areas and points, but caused a severe damage to the rich fish resources and local varieties of  deep-water paddies, they said

Because of the flood control devices, natural water flows were affected at most points of the rivers and tributaries causing huge water thrusts at the bends eroding the embankments also.

Floodwaters cannot flow now as it used to do some five or six decades back. Rate of erosion has been increased geometrically causing siltation on the riverbeds abnormally during the last two decades. There will be more siltation in the case of more erosion and it is a natural process, they said.

In the past, when there were no flood control embankments, floodwaters used to overflow the banks and gushed away over the planes and no particular area or point was then vulnerable to floods and erosions, they pointed out.

Because of natural overflows of waters on the planes during floods, acidic, alkaline or other harmful chemical substances of the soil were washed away to the seas and oceans and huge quantities of alluvial soils were being deposited on the farmlands.

The arable lands were then becoming more and more fertile and only more crop productions were then recouping the losses incurred by the then countrymen. The floodwaters then were not remained stagnant at places as there were no embankments to hinder the ways of flowing floodwaters or creating water logging.  As a result, there were less crop damages or erosions, they said.

But presently, they felt, flood control embankments do not allow release of rain waters to nearby rivers and if floodwaters enter through the damaged portions of the embankments, those cannot be receded to the same rivers quickly because of the same problem.

On the other hand, our farmers are now using huge quantities of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and most portions of which are remaining in the soil damaging its fertility. But if there were no embankments, our plane lands would have possibilities to be overflowed and washed away by floodwaters in almost regular intervals. And thus, the soil health could be regained naturally.

Presently, many sweet water fish species have been extinct as these harmful chemicals of the soil go to the ponds, rivers and open water bodies as rainwater somehow carry a portion of those from the soil to these water bodies.

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Flood death toll rises to 683

Onslaughts of diseases to continue for three months

 

The Bangladesh Overbear

Onslaughts of diseases like pneumonia, jaundice and skin and eye infections appeared with greater intensity along with diarrhoea and dysentery while 20 more overnight deaths pushed the official toll to 683, officials said in Dhaka on Friday, reports BSS.

The Health Department reported 12 overnight deaths alone in pneumonia while it recorded over 1,250 fresh cases of deluge- related diseases amid warnings that onslaughts of diseases will continue at least for next three months.

The Disaster Management Ministry reported 20 deaths in past 24 hours from drowning while the Health Department control room received reports of five more deaths in snakebites. Unofficial estimates put the total flood related death toll much above 800.

Meanwhile, fears of massive erosion gripped thousands of already affected people along riverbanks with gradual recession particularly in the Jamuna, Brahmaputra and Meghna covering the districts like Kurigram, Gaibandha, Bogra and Chandpur.

“The apprehension of erosion is very much valid as receding waters often come with more fury particularly where the soil is soft,” leading water expert Ainun Nishat told BSS.

As thousands of people continued to languish in highways or makeshift shelters, the government announced that implementation of all projects under the current annual development plan (ADP) would remain suspended until the country completed emergency post-flood repair and rehabilitation activities.

The government decision came as UN agencies said they had diverted their resources and funds earmarked for different projects to meet the emergency needs of some 33 million victims ahead of the United Nations global “Flash Appeal”, likely to be launched next week.

Reports from the affected areas showed growing need for humanitarian aid like food and medicine while a WHO spokesman said, “the health situation will be a major challenge for the country at least for the next three months”.

A senior official in the Health Department, however, said compared to the number of victims of waterborne diseases in July in three previous years, “the situation this year can be called very alarming yet”.

In the past one month, officially nearly 150,000 people contacted diarrhea, which killed 56 people, according to health department records.

The Disaster Management Ministry said the government was expected to complete the assessment on the extent of flood damage in terms of money in next three days after an initial assessment of losses worth 6.6 billion dollars.

According to an estimate of the Disaster Emergency Response Group (DERG), comprising the UN and government organisations, international donors, aid agencies and major NGOS, 20 out of 33 million affected people needed immediate food support.

Up to 10 million people were in need of emergency food assistance for next three months and roughly five million would need food support for six months and longer, it said.

According to the initial DERG estimates, the agriculture sector incurred a loss of worth 454.5 billion dollars with 382 million in crop fields alone.

But officials said that though the deluge affected Aus and planted Aman, the loss could be recovered to a great extent with immediate supply of agricultural inputs and development of seedbeds with Government supports.

Reports from the affected districts said as the floodwaters were receding, the farmers were seen frantically working on the crop fields developing Aman seedbeds.

Officials said the Agriculture Ministry started providing seeds and fertilizer for 19 lakh small and marginal farmer families in 38 districts of the country. Each family is being given five kilograms of seed and 25 kilograms of fertilizer free of cost.

They said the Government would spend about Taka 124 crore for the purpose. Out of the total amount, Taka 49 crore has already been disbursed at field-levels.

Besides, buffer stock of seeds and seedlings was being built under the first phase of rehabilitation programme, they said. The Prime Minister earlier directed the Ministry to immediately start the second phase of the agricultural rehabilitation programme.

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