Inside Bangladesh

PM seeks vote for 'boat' to serve people again

Publish: 07:06 PM, 13 Nov, 2023


Prime Minister and Awami League (AL) President Sheikh Hasina today called upon the people to cast their votes for 'boat' in the forthcoming national election to give her party the opportunity to serve them again.

"It's my call to you (the country's people) to give us the opportunity to serve you again by casting your vote for boat (AL's electoral symbol)," she said, addressing a grand rally as chief guest, organised by Khulna City and District Awami League at Khulna Circuit House ground.

Sheikh Hasina said 'boat' has given independence, boat has given development, Bangladesh has attained the status of developing nation as you have voted for boat, and this vote will give the smart Bangladesh of 2041."

In the smart Bangladesh, she said, population of the country will be smart and they will have smart government, smart economy and smart society.

"Bangladesh will be smart, developed, prosperous, modern knowledge-based Sonar Bangla as dreamt by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman," she added.

To attain this, the premier laid emphasis on the continuation of democratic trend what the country has been witnessing since 2009.

"As the continuation of democratic trend is prevailing in the country, the development of Bangladesh is visible," she added.

Terming BNP as the "headless party", the AL president said they just want to create an unnatural situation in the country to foil the election.

She added, "They know that they don't have any leadership. They're just a party without any head. One is absconding and another is in the jail. That party doesn't want any election in the country, rather they just want to create an unnatural situation in the country."

"BNP-Jamaat knows that in 2008 elections they got only 30 seats," she continued.

She mentioned that next election will be held on time and all have to remain vigilant during the election time.

Sheikh Hasina said if anyone wants to set fire to any vehicle and burn people alive, then those hands have to be burnt in that fire.

"Give them a good lesson so no one dares to cause any harm to anyone of the country. That kind of incidents must not happen again," she said.

The AL chief asked her party men and members of AL's associate bodies to give protection to the people of the country together with the law enforcing agencies.

She said whenever Awami League comes in the power, the country and its people witness development and progress.

"It is very much regretful that BNP means the terror activities. The only task of BNP-Jamaat is to kill people through arson attacks," she said.

In this connection, the Prime Minister mentioned the incidents of October 28 when BNP-Jamaat terrorists killed a policeman by beating mercilessly.

She said that BNP-Jamaat terrorists injured 45 police men and attacked journalists who went there to cover their programmes.

"They attacked hospitals like the Israeli forces in Gaza. They also vandalised ambulances. I don't think that they have a little bit of humanity," she said, adding, the only quality of BNP-Jamaat is killing people.

She said that the government has already declared to award Taka 20,000 for nabbing any arson terrorist and handing to the law enforcing agencies.

"We will not spare anyone involved in killing people through arson attacks," she said.

Awami League General Secretary and Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader, MP, Sheikh Helal Uddin, MP, Sheikh Salauddin Jewel, MP, and Sheikh Sharhan Naser Tonmoy, MP, also spoke.

Khulna City AL President and Khulna City Corporation (KCC) mayor Talukder Abdul Khaleque chaired the rally.

In Khulna, Sheikh Hasina previously addressed a rally five years back on March 3, 2018.

Before joining the rally, the premier joined a view-exchange meeting with the officials of different government offices in Khulna division.

The entire Khulna region, centring the rally, wore a festive look while the local people as well as leaders and workers of the ruling Awami League and associate bodies cheered up due to arrival of the premier.

Khulna, which is famous for Bangladesh's white gold shrimp cultivation, was decorated with banners, festoons, billboards and posters welcoming Bangabandhu's daughter Sheikh Hasina.

Colourful arches and gates were constructed on various roads of the town with the posters and banners of Prime Minister. Leaders hung billboards, banners, balloons, festoons and posters welcoming the head of government.

Pinning upon the public rally of the Prime Minister, the entire Khulna turned into a town of euphoria. The town was decorated in festive looks while people of all strata of life as well as leaders and activists of AL became enthusiastic. Arrival of Sheikh Hasina, who is also the President of AL, created excitement among the leaders and activists not only in Khulna but also in the entire southern region.

Although the premier was scheduled to join the rally at 03:00pm, hundreds of thousands of people throng the rally ground from early morning and within a few hours the ground was full to the brim.

The crowd then spilled over the surrounding areas, roads and empty places, meaning the town turned into a human sea before arrival of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on the stage which was made in the shape of a boat and Padma Bridge.

Earlier from the morning, mass people, women and supporters were seen marching towards the venue in processions chanting slogans "Joy Bangla, Joy Bangabandhu" and holding colourful placards, banners, festoons, wearing colourful T-shirts, cap on heads, head bands, drums, election symbol boat as well as national and party flags.

Women in large and small groups as well as individually waited in the queue in the gate with smiling faces to enter the venue.

Hundreds thousands of leaders and followers of Awami League and its associate bodies from different districts of Khulna Division joined the rally in fleets of reserve buses, pickups, motorcycles while many were seen joining the rally on foot.

Regarding the agitation of readymade garment (RMG) workers, the Prime Minister said that considering inflation, the salary of government employees has been increased by only 5 percent, but the wage of garment workers has been increased by 56 percent.

Sheikh Hasina said after assuming power in 1996 she found that the wage of RMG workers was only Taka 800 (per month) and then she increased it to Taka 1,600. But during the regime of BNP, Begum Khaleda Zia didn't hike their wage by a single penny, she added.

"Not Zia, Ershad or Khaleda Zia, it is the Awami League that has hiked has hiked their wage," she added.

She said that the minimum wage of RMG workers has been fixed at Taka 12,500 now. She referred to her government's efforts when they increased to Taka 1,600 from Taka 8,000, then to Taka 3,200 from Taka 1,600, Taka 5,200 from 3,200 and Taka 8,200 from Taka 5,200.

"Although the RMG sector is a private sector, the government has hiked their wage through discussion with the owners," she added.

The Prime Minister asked where their (RMG workers) objection is. "Some 19 factories were destroyed. Who is doing this destruction? Who is among them? It is necessary to find out and see," she added.

Regarding the introduction of the Universal Pension Scheme, the head of government urged all to avail the pension scheme, saying it is a protection for all.

Prime Minister   Awami League   President   Sheikh Hasina   Election  


Inside Bangladesh

Dhaka expresses deep concern over attacks on Bangladeshi students in Kyrgyzstan: FM

Publish: 06:43 PM, 19 May, 2024


Dhaka has expressed deep concern over the attacks on Bangladeshi students amid a mob incident in Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek on Friday night, foreign minister Dr Hasan Mahmud said here today.

“There were attacks on our students … but so far no Bangladeshi students have been reported of  receiving serious injury,” he said at an event at the Jatiya Press Club here.

He said Bangladesh Ambassador stationed in Tashkent has been asked to visit Bishkek soon to inquire about the wellbeing of the Bangladeshi students.

“We are closely monitoring the situation through our embassy in Uzbekistan, concurrently accredited to Kyrgyz Republic,” the foreign ministry said in a press release meanwhile.

It said Bangladesh embassy in Uzbekistan is in constant communication with the Bangladeshi students who are currently studying in Kyrgyz Republic, as well as with the Kyrgyz government officials.

There are no reports of any serious injury or casualties among Bangladeshi students so far, said the release.

The Embassy already shared an emergency contact number in its official Facebook page to get in touch with the Bangladeshi students for any issues regarding this matter.

Through the embassy, the government is coordinating with the relevant authorities of Kyrgyz Republic, including the ministries of Foreign Affairs and Internal Affairs to ensure the safety and security of the students. “We are closely and constantly monitoring the developments,” said the foreign ministry.

Dr Hasan Mahmud   foreign minister of bangladesh  


Inside Bangladesh

Don't ruin country, yourself saving few money of waste management: PM

Publish: 06:35 PM, 19 May, 2024


Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today asked all concerned to build waste management system while constructing industries for environment-friendly industrialisation to save the country and its people from the adverse impact of climate change.

"We have to construct industries. But all have to build industrial waste management system. I request you all that don't ruin the country and yourself to save few money of chemical (to be used in waste management system)," she said.

The prime minister made the appeal while opening the seven-day 11th National Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Fair at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) at Agargaon here this morning.

She said they want industrialisation to be environment friendly and for that, the country's industrialisation must have to be planned and worthy for health.

"Wherever you build industry, you have to keep in mind that the waste of your industries doesn't go to the rivers and water. Keep a special eye to ensure that the waste doesn't pollute the water and the soil," she added.

Sheikh Hasina called upon all to pay attention so that the country isn't incurred losses by adverse impact of the climate change due to any negligence.

Apart from this, she asked the industrialists to ensure proper work environment and safety for workers alongside upgrading their livelihoods aimed at increasing industrial production.

The prime minister said they want mechanization of the industries with world class machines.

But, she asked all to be cautious that mechanization of industries doesn't decrease the number of labourers.

The premier asked all concerned to build labour intensive industries as they want to employ more workers.

She said Bangladesh is marching ahead so it requires more entrepreneurs.

"I call upon the youth-folk not to run after the jobs (only). ---prepare yourselves as entrepreneurs and give jobs to others," she said.

Sheikh Hasina asked all concerned to make more opportunities for the womenfolk to make them entrepreneurs in large numbers.

She said the men can take initiatives bringing their wives and sisters in the SME business by enjoying opportunities of SME facilities that include taking loan on four percent interest rate.

The premier expressed her satisfaction as 60 percent SME entrepreneurs are women.

She said it has been possible as additional facilities are now being given to the women entrepreneurs.

The prime minister said her government has been constructing 100 economic zones across Bangladesh, adding her government wants both foreign and local investments there.
She said lands have already been allocated for 80 economic zones from where the SME Foundation or entrepreneurs can get lands to build their industries.

The premier stressed the need for mechanization of agriculture to increase food production for ensuring food security.

She also asked all concerned to produce small and medium machines for agriculture as it has local and foreign demand.
The prime minister instructed all to build locality-based agro-processed industries across the country keeping in mind that where, which food grains are largely produced.

She called for increasing production of exportable products alongside creating local markets for produced products.

She also instructed Bangladesh missions abroad to find out the most demandable products of the respective countries as Bangladesh can export those products there.

The prime minister said she has already asked Bangladesh missions abroad to work for economic diplomacy alongside the politics to increase export, business and trades.

She said her government has established rights on a vast maritime area which have huge resources.

The SME entrepreneurs can also invest in the maritime resources to exploit its maximum benefits, she said.

The prime minister expressed her satisfaction over unveiling work plan for 2024-28 by the Industries Ministry and said if all the ministries can do it; the countries development will be quickened.

After opening the SME fair, Sheikh Hasina said the fair will encourage others to be entrepreneurs.

She described the SME entrepreneurs as driving forces of the country's development, saying, "We want to create more SME entrepreneurs to foster country's development".

The prime minister recalled the contribution of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman for taking measures for the first time for industrialisation in Bangladesh.

At the same function, she handed over National SME Award-2023 to seven small, medium and start-up entrepreneurs that includes crest and accreditation certificate.

Industries Minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun, its Senior Secretary Zakia Sultana, President of FBCCI Mahbubul Alam and SME Foundation Chairperson Dr Md Masudur Rahman spoke at the function.

The fair will continue till May 25 under the aegis of the SME Foundation as it will be opened for visitors from 10 am to 9 pm daily.

More than 300 entrepreneurs are taking part in the fair as almost 60 percent participants are women entrepreneurs.

The SME fair will showcase 100 per cent local products. More than three hundred and fifty companies will participate in this year's fair.

This year's fair will see the largest number of 75 participants from the garment sector. Besides, 42 participants will showcase jute products, 38 to display handicrafts, 32 to showcase leather products and 27 to present processed agricultural products.

Moreover, 23 will display light engineering products, 14 to present food products, 13 to display IT-based services as 12 SME cluster entrepreneurs will take part in the fair from different parts of the country, 5 participants will showcase herbal industry products and 5 more will display jewellery products.

Four stalls will display plastic products, 3 to showcase electrical and electronics items, 3 to present furniture items and 19 others will display various government organizations products.

Besides, 30 banks, 15 public-private organizations, business clubs of 5 universities and about 50 other organizations will provide services to participants in the fair.

PMO Bangladesh   Prime Minister of Bangladesh   Sheikh Hasina   Bangabandhu International Conference Centre  


Inside Bangladesh

UZ polls: PM Hasina concerned over nepotism in fielding candidates

Publish: 03:27 PM, 02 May, 2024


Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has issued a directive regarding the upcoming upazila parishad elections, emphasising the importance of neutrality and fairness in the electoral process.

In a press conference held at Ganobhaban on Thursday (May 2), she expressed her concern over the practice of giving candidacy to relatives of ministers and MPs, stating that it undermines the democratic principles of free and fair elections.

Sheikh Hasina emphasised that it is not appropriate for family members to stand as candidates in different constituencies, as it deprives party workers of opportunities and distorts the electoral process.

She reiterated the importance of upholding the will of the people and ensuring that candidates are chosen based on merit and public support rather than familial ties.
Addressing the issue of illegal hoarding and price inflation, the Prime Minister acknowledged the challenges faced by the public but urged caution against spreading misinformation.
She focused on the government's efforts to address price hikes and assured that measures were being taken to mitigate the impact on citizens.
Regarding the current heatwave and potential natural disasters like floods, Sheikh Hasina urged citizens to remain vigilant and prepared.
She shed light on the unpredictable nature of natural calamities and underscored the importance of proactive measures to mitigate their impact.
Responding to questions about the country's progress over the past 15 years, Sheikh Hasina pointed out the achievements made under her leadership and dismissed attempts by certain factions to undermine the government's legitimacy.
She highlighted the importance of public support and reiterated her commitment to serving the people's interests.
The Prime Minister also discussed her recent bilateral visit to Thailand, where she engaged in discussions on various sectors, including trade and regional cooperation.
She expressed optimism about the prospects of enhanced cooperation between Bangladesh and Thailand and reiterated Bangladesh's commitment to supporting Rohingya refugees returning to Myanmar.
The PM reaffirmed Bangladesh's solidarity with Palestine and criticised human rights violations in other countries, including the United States.
She highlighted the importance of upholding human rights and condemned excessive use of force against peaceful protesters.
Sheikh Hasina reiterated her party's commitment to democracy and inclusivity, emphasising the need for fair and transparent elections.
She underscored the importance of upholding democratic principles and ensuring that the electoral process remains free from external influences.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina   Ganobhaban  


Inside Bangladesh

Empowerment of the Third Gender: The Silent Revolution of the LDDP Project

Publish: 04:05 PM, 05 Apr, 2024


Khairun is a member of the third gender community. However, unlike many others, she doesn't wander the streets or engage in indecent behavior, nor does she beg for money. Instead, she spends her time cutting grass when needed and giving time to children. She prioritizes taking care of her family members, which consumes most of her time amidst her busy schedule. Her dreams revolve around her entire family, and she's steadily advancing towards fulfilling those dreams. And the Livestock and Dairy Development Project (LDDP) of the Department of Livestock has been a companion in fulfilling that dream.

I am talking about Khairun Hijra from Kandapara village in the Kalia Haripur Union of Sirajganj Sadar, who is identified as a member of the third gender community. However, Khairun's notable identity now lies in being a full-time farmer and an active member of the livestock and dairy development project's PG Group. Her identification number is 68878-SC-03-11. Initially, Khairun embarked on her journey with 20 high-quality breed chickens, but presently, her farm accommodates 5 cows, 8 goats, and several chickens. Additionally, one of her goats gave birth two months adairy

Khairun Hijra started with 20 chickens but faced difficulties due to an unknown disease that killed a few chickens. She contacted the Upazila Livestock Office for advice. They suggested selling the remaining chickens and investing in goats or other livestock. Following their advice, she sold the chickens for nearly 10,000 taka and bought two goats at 5,000 taka each. However, her luck turned as now she has 8 goats in her farm. Similarly, starting with a cow, she now has 5 cows, allowing her to sell 7 to 9 liters of cow milk daily.

Khairun Hijra told Bangla Insider that, "I have received training at the Upazila Livestock Office. Then they gave me 20 chickens. However, I couldn't benefit much from them. So, I sold the chickens and bought goats instead. Later, I bought a cow. Now I have 5 cows, 8 goats, and quite a few chickens on my farm.

When asked about her plan regarding this farm, she said, "Everyone dreams of being successful. I also dream that one day I will become a successful farmer. For that, I need investment here, which is difficult and extremely challenging for me. Because of being a transgender, no one wants to lend us money. Especially, getting institutional loans is difficult for us. So if the government arranges interest-free loans for us, then I and  thousands of other transgenders like me can progress further. They can be self reliant. They won't have to beg. Besides, my request to the government is to consider providing goats or cows instead of chickens, which would be more beneficial.

It is to known that the Department of Livestock has formed Producer Groups (PGs) nationwide for small-scale farmers. The purpose is to organize these farmers through these PGs and provide various forms of assistance, especially training, technology, etc., and to achieve the desired development in the livestock sector through enhancing their capabilities. Throughout the country, there are a total of 6,500 PGs. Each group consists of approximately 20 to 40 members. Among the total 6,500 PGs, this one in Sirajganj is one and the only third-gender PG.

In the PG group, there is not only Khairun Hijra, but also 14 other members, making a total of 15 members in the PG group. Among them are Sohagi Hijra (68878-SC-03-12), Md Sabuj alias Shankhini (68878-SC-03-13), Shetu Hijra (68878-SC-03-15) and some others. All of them are active members of the PG Group.

Sirajganj District Hijra (Third Gender) Association President Md. Omar Farooq Rabbi told Bangla Insider that we are working with a 15-member PG team consisting of transgenders and hijras formed by upazila livestock. Upazila Livestock Department is giving us a lot of support. We receive different types of training, learned about the relationship between cattle and gender diversity, what are the duties and responsibilities of a PG team, duties and responsibilities of a team president, cashier and PG team policies.

He further stated, "We each save 100 taka per member every month. We have an account for our PG team at Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan Bank. Initially, we received 20 chickens from the upazila. We take care of them and try to advance. We request the Livestock Department from our PG team to provide us with cows and goats so that we can become more self-reliant. So that, we won't have to rely on others anymore. We want to earn our living through our own work. We don't want to depend on anyone's charity. We have formed a team to show that the hijras want to work and earn their living like the mainstream society. If we receive cooperation from society, we too can lead a normal life.

Sirajganj Upazila Livestock Officer Dr. Md. Alamgir Hossain said, when we go to the railway stations or markets, we often see transgendes begging from others and the LDDP project had an opportunity to bring the backward communities into the mainstream. Dr. Nazrul Islam Jhantu Sir, the then regional director of Rajshahi first had this idea that if we can form a team with them, then they will be self reliant and they will no longer have to beg for money. They can be an equal part of the mainstream society. Based on this idea, we proposed it to the Department of Livestock. The authority accepted it. Then we provided them with training and initially gave them 20 chickens. Alongside, we provided chicken feed and utensils. From there, they are now in a good position.

Mentioning this hijra PG group of Sirajganj as an example, the upazila livestock officer said, We are proceeding with how to work with hijra on a larger scale. There are 2 thousand five hijras in Sirajganj district. We have plans to expand this group further. Now we give them only chicken in the beginning. But we have plans to give them cows or goats in the near future. If we can work with them on a larger scale, there will be a revolution in society.

Third Gender   LDDP Project   Department of Livestock  


Inside Bangladesh

Govt transforming Coast Guard into three-dimensional force: PM

Publish: 04:49 PM, 10 Mar, 2024


Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said her government has been turning Bangladesh Coast Guard (BCG) into a modern and three-dimensional force adding ultra-modern smart technologies, ships and helicopters to face the 21st century's challenges.

"None will lag behind. The coast guard will be made capable to face the 21st century's challenges with inclusion of modern technology based ships, helicopters and the force's communication system development," she said.

The premier said this while addressing a function marking 29th founding anniversary of the BCG and the BCG Day-2024 at the Coast Guard Headquarters in capital's Agargaon area.

She said her government is going to add high quality modern ship, maritime surveillance system-incorporated hovercraft and high speed boats to the coast guard fleet to make the force more modern and stronger.

At the same function, the premier also inaugurated Bangladesh Coast Guard Vsatnet Communication System and newly constructed six physical infrastructures at the BCG stations at Kutubdia, Maheshkhali, Mirsarai, Sandwip, Nidraskina and Shahpari Outpost.

The inclusion of the V-Satnet Communication System that will connect the coast guard with the Bangabandhu Satellite-1 will enhance the force's communication and operational abilities, Sheikh Hasina said.

She said, "We have already given approval to purchase two helicopters and formed an aviation wing for the coast guard to make it a three-dimensional force."

The premier said her government has also consented to buy 4 more OPVs, 2 maritime version helicopters for patrolling and ensuring safety and security at the deep sea area.

She stressed securing the vast maritime boarders saying nowadays 90 percent business are being done by the marine ways.

She said her government has also nodded to construct nine replacement ships for the force.

The head of the government said already 16 ships and 138 boats were inducted to the force's fleet to strengthen its capacity.

The prime minister said they will increase the existing manpower of the force to 15000 in phases with its modernisation to enhance capability to ensure security in the vast sea areas and protect its resources.

Sheikh Hasina said a dockyard is being built at Gazaria in Munshiganj aimed at constructing, repairing and maintaining the vessels and ships.

The prime minister said her government is working to enrich the tourism sector alongside taking initiative to turn Bangladesh into an attraction hub of both the east and west.

She highly praised the coast guard personnel for standing beside the innocent and helpless people in the coastal belts by warding off many criminal acts.

She asked the BCG personnel to perform duties and responsibilities as the friend of the people.

Sheikh Hasina reiterated her government's commitment to transform the country into developed, prosperous and smart Sonar Bangladesh by 2041.

"The coast guard will play a special role in building the smart Bangladesh," she hoped.

She said the coast guard had emerged as a force in 1994 in line with a bill brought in the Jatiya Sangsad by the then opposition party Awami League.

The prime minister said the AL government has always attached priorities to the development of the Bangladesh Coast Guard.

Coming to power for the first time in 1996, she said her government took massive initiative for the force's development providing required logistic supports including giving lands for building its zones, adding different types of vessels and making infrastructure development.

Then, after coming to power for the second time, she said various infrastructures including coastal crisis management centre, accommodation of the officers and sailors of bases, officers' mess, sailors' quarters and administrative buildings have been built at the coast guard stations and outposts in coastal and remote areas.

The prime minister said Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman enacted "The Territorial Waters and Maritime Zones Act" in 1974 to establish the legal rights of the countrymen over the sea and marine resources.

She said the United Nations (UN) formulated such a law in 1982.

She also said her government has established rights on a vast maritime area after winning legal battles with neighbouring India and Myanmar maintaining friendly relations following the path of Bangabandhu.

The prime minister conferred Bangladesh Coast Guard Medals, Bangladesh Coast Guard (Service) Medals, President Coast Guard Medals and President Coast Guard (Service) Medals on its former and current personnel for their contribution and bravery.

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan, Public Security Division Secretary of the ministry Md Mustafizur Rahman and BCG Director General Rear Admiral Mir Ershad Ali were present at the function.

At the outset of the programme, a smartly turned out contingent of the Bangladesh Coast Guard also gave a state-salute and guard of honour to the prime minister. A short video documentary on Coast Guard Vsatnet System was screened. Later, the prime minister enjoyed a cultural programme.

Coast Guard Bangladesh   Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina   Bangladesh