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Bangladesh English Newspaper

Bangladesh English Newspaper

Staff Correspondent

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday assured the country’s business community of all out support from her government to run their businesses freely and smoothly.

“People didn’t vote us to power for doing business. As in the past, we’ll continue to provide all possible cooperation to the business community,” she said.

The PM gave the assurance when a delegation of Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) led by its president Asif Ibrahim met her at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) in the morning.

Briefing newsmen after the meeting, PM’s press secretary Abul Kalam Azad said that following a request by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the DCCI leaders assured her of doing their best to keep the prices of essentials within the common man’s reach during the holy month of Ramadan.

Hasina told the DCCI delegation that when Awami League is in power, businessmen do not need to give money to any `Hawa Bhaban’.

She said her government would continue to work for flourishing the private sector.

In this regard, the Prime Minister mentioned the development of private mobile phones and private television channels during the last Awami League government.

Mentioning the finding of gas resources in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, she said: “It’s good news for the nation.”

Hasina hoped that more gas would be found as drilling works are going on.

She said the last BNP-Jamaat and caretaker governments did not do anything for developing the gas and power sector in their seven years of rule. But so far, the present government has been able to add 1,922 MW of electricity to the national grid.

The Prime Minister said state-owned BAPEX has been strengthened further by the present government.

Mentioning the government’s success in implementing 92 percent of the ADP in the outgoing fiscal, she hoped that the success of ADP implementation would be more in the next fiscal.

The DCCI leaders eulogised Sheikh Hasina’s leadership, saying her government’s various innovative programs have advanced the country’s economy a lot.

The DCCI said the government’s Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) strategy, modern education policy, free distribution of text books, introduction of e-book, e-governance, global advocacy for global cooperation and women development policy have earned appreciation across the world.

As the DCCI proposed to set up Bangladesh Business Institute, the premier said the government will actively look into the proposal.

Commerce Minister Faruk Khan, Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary MA Karim, Prime Minister’s Office Secretary Mollah Waheeduzzaman and Press Secretary to the Prime Minister Abul Kalam Azad were present.

Bengal Tigers in danger

The number of recent recoveries of tiger skin and bones in and around the Sundarbans apparently dooms the government initiatives to save the Bengal Tigers and their habitat.

Experts say though the government has created much hype about conservation of the mangrove forest and the Bengal Tigers, international demands for tiger trophies and its body parts for medicinal purpose remain the same for a long time.

Recent recoveries give a message that the government should increase monitoring on the forest to stop poaching.

Besides, ports and the cities should come under vigilance to stop trade and trafficking, said Dr Monirul H Khan of Jahangirnagar University.

Police on Monday recovered four deer heads and 60 kilograms of venison preserved in ice and arrested three poachers in Rampal upazila in Bagerhat.

The poachers confessed to trading tiger skin alongside poaching deer.

In another instance on February 17, forest officials arrested poacher Jamal Fakir along with four tiger skulls, 138 bones and hides of two adult tigers and one adult tigress in Sharankhola upazila in Bagerhat.

Earlier in 2009, Rapid Action Battalion-1 recovered skin of an adult tiger and arrested three people on Moilapota Road in Khulna.

Nearly every part of a tiger including, flesh, fat, claws, eyeballs, tail, bile, teeth, whisker, penis and brain has a prescribed benefit according to the tenets of Chinese medicine.

Of all tiger parts, bones are the most valuable.

Tiger bone is ground into powder before being made into pills, plasters and decoctions containing herbs.

Tiger skin is also valuable in the international market for its ornamental value.

Tiger is treated as one of the most critically endangered animals fast disappearing from the world, with only 3,200 big cats [Penthera Tigris] surviving in the wild.

Back in 1900, there were around 100,000 tigers around the globe, says International Tiger Report.

Experts predict the species will be extinct in the next century if strong measures are not taken.

The Bangladesh part of the Sundarbans, a stretch of 6,017 square kilometres of forest, is officially home to 450 tigers and is considered as the highest number of big cat habitation in a single forest.

The latest survey finds the number of big cats is ranging between 400 and 450.

The last pugmark survey by the forest department and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in 2004 estimated the number to be around 440 including 21 cubs.

Earlier surveys conducted by Guy Mountfort in 1969 estimated 50 to 100 tigers, Hendrichs 350 in 1975, Salter jointly with the Department of Forest 450 to 600 in 1984, while Gittins and Akonda found 430-450 tigers in 1982.

Another survey referred as Jalil estimated 362 tigers in a report released in 1998 while the study was conducted in 1993.

The tiger had a wide distribution in overall Bangladesh.

According to a report of International Union for Conservation (IUCN) published on Bengal Tigers of the Sundarbans, the last tiger shot outside the Sundarbans was in Sal forest in 1956, in the Bhawals in 1970s, in the mixed evergreen forest of Kassalong in Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) in 1976 and in the mixed evergreen forest of Pathalia hills of Sylhet in 1985.

With the help of the Global Tiger Initiatives, Bangladesh, one of the Tiger Ranged Countries (TRC), has already developed a National Tiger Recovery Programme and Tiger Action Plan and also amended the Wildlife Conservation Act that ensures compensation for victim of a Tiger attacks in the Sundarbans.

Since 2000, tigers killed 193 people, while 30 tigers were beaten to death and some others were found dead in the forest, according to official records of the forest department.

PM invites Khaleda to iftar party

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday invited Leader of the Opposition in the Jatiya Sangsad Khaleda Zia to an iftar party on August 6, a day after the latter invited her to an August 4 iftar party.

Hasina, also president of Awami League, will host the party for leaders of different political parties at the Gono Bhaban AL deputy office secretary Mrinal Kanti Das handed over the PM's invitation card to BNP leaders Shamimur Rahman and Shamsur Rahman Shimul Biswas at their party chairperson's Gulshan office.

Railway signs deal with Chinese firm Bangladesh Railway yesterday signed a deal with a Chinese firm on upgrading the Tongi-Bhairab Bazar single-line track to double lines, almost five years after a project was initiated in this regard.

The Tk 1,405 crore project also includes improving the signaling system on Dhaka-Chittagong main line, which is expected to be completed by 2014.

Abu Taher, director general of Bangladesh Railway, and Wendong, deputy general manager of the contractor firm China Railway Group, signed the deal at the Railway Bhaban in the capital.

Asian Development Bank (ADB) is financing Tk 1,330 crore, equivalent to 94.

70 percent of the project cost, while the rest will be borne by the government.

The cost of the project doubled as the government and the ADB failed to select a firm to implement it.

The tender process of the project was cancelled twice due to inconsistencies on the bidders' part, bureaucratic entanglement and to some extent the inefficiency of the railway officials concerned, and delay in ADB approval.

Upgrading the 64-kilometre Tongi-Bhairab Bazar track is important as the Dhaka-bound trains from Chittagong and Sylhet use this line.

Railway officials said both passenger and freight trains on the country's most important route have to wait at different stations on a regular basis to let other trains pass due to the single-line track, delaying the journey by at least two hours.

About 196 km of the 320 km route from Dhaka to Chittagong is single track, which is also a reason for frequent accidents.

Moreover, when an accident occurs there, rescue operation is seriously hampered as the relief train cannot reach the spot for not having an alternative track.

Addressing the signing ceremony yesterday, Communications Minister Syed Abul Hossain said most of the projects aimed at improving the rail service will complete by the end or soon after expiry of the tenure of this government.

“Next month we are going to sign a deal to upgrade the 61-km Laksam-Chinki Astan single-track to double-line,” he said, adding that another Chinese firm will be tasked to finish this project.

The Tk 501 crore project, excluding consultancy fees, was initiated in July 2006.

Re-modelling of Chittagong railway station and rehabilitation and modernisation of Pahartoli workshop are also part of this project.

Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) is funding this project.

Zhang Xianyi, Chinese ambassador in Dhaka who was also present at the signing ceremony, observed that good infrastructure is imperative to development.

He said he would keep an eye on the project so that it is implemented timely.

Citing that the Tongi-Bhairab double-line project has finally got momentum, Markus Roesner, senior transport specialist of the ADB, hoped that the railway department, the contractor and the project consultant will work together for a successful finish.

Another project, the 71 km Akhaura-Laksam single-track, was initiated in 2007, but it is still in the preliminary stage.

Purchase of 15 MG locomotives, 50 MG coaches and rehabilitation of the existing track are also included in this project.

Meanwhile the project to construct double-line bridges on the rivers Bhairab and Titas has also failed to make any headway.

Once these projects are implemented, people of the eastern zone will prefer trains for travelling and transporting goods to and from Chittagong, said experts.

7-point Dhaka Declaration calls for coordinated actions, tech support to address individuals with autism and developmental disorder Dhaka, July 25 (UNB)- A seven-point Dhaka Declaration on Autism Spectrum Disorders and Developmental Disabilities adopted Monday called for promoting stronger coordinated actions in the region and globally towards the improvement of the access and quality of healthcare services for individuals with autism and developmental disorder.

The declaration read out by Sri Lankan First Lady calls for increasing awareness of the rights of the children with developmental disorder and highlighting social responsibilities to persons with such disability It stresses on strengthen health system capacities to address the needs of the children with developmental disorder and their families.

It calls for improving capacities of professionals involved in provision of integrated care services for children with developmental disorder at various levels, from primary healthcare and communities to socialized services.

The declaration asks for mobilizing and allocating increased human and financial resources for healthcare of the children with developmental disorder and gradual implementation of the identified priority actions.

It supports provision of care in close proximity with families, homes and schools and promotes normal participation in family life, education and societies.

The declaration calls for establishing measure for assurance of quality of services and promoting a supportive national legislative and policy environment to ensure social inclusion.

It emphasizes on ensuring effective group mechanisms across sectors and particularly among health, education and social services and promoting adoption of holistic approach to care provisions for developmental disorder.

The declaration calls for holding regular regional conference to continue to share information and best practices as well as monitor progress.

It recognizes that low and middle income countries need prioritization and support for adaptation of methodologies of care according to local context and specificities.

It calls upon the governments especially the ministries of health, education and social affairs to strengthen their mental health services and prepare them to attend the needs of the people with development disorder and autism.

The declaration invited the United Nations including WHO and other relevant UN agencies to provide scientific evidence and technical support to member states in the implementation of the actions towards increased public awareness and improve healthcare services for children with developmental disorder including autism in the context of integrated case services for children’s mental health.

The declaration requests other international, bilateral and non-governmental organizations especially those dedicated to developmental disorder and autism to support this declaration according to their specific mandates.

It appeals to donor community to pay attention to the unmet needs of million s of people affected by development disabilities and autism and financially support the technical programs planned to improve the relevant system of care and services.