Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Monday, November 17, 2014
November 14, 2012
PM vows to complete war criminals trial
DHAKA: Terming the trial of the war criminals as one of the hard tasks of her government, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said no movement to make the government nervous to retreat from the trial process would work.
"My government would not backtrack from the trial of the persons responsible for crime against humanity during war of liberation, she said adding, it's our commitment to millions of families and also to the countrymen to bring those criminals to book.
"So, it would be wrong thinking if anybody believes that we would call off the trial being nervous because of their movement," she said.
Addressing a function at country's leading academic institution Dhaka University here today, the prime minister said a vested quarter is hatching conspiracy to foil the trial. She urged all conscious people, democratic forces, teachers and students to remain aware of the conspiracy.
Dhaka University authority arranged the function at Nabab Nawab Ali Chowdhury Senate Bhaban Auditorium on the occasion of inauguration as well as foundation laying of a number of development projects including academic building and research centre and dormitories for students and employees of the university.
The prime minister said, "It's natural the opposition would talk and wage movement against the government as we have also did that to come up to this stage. We know that we have to proceed amid those movements. But, it will be unwise if anybody thinks of disrupting the trial of the war criminals through movement."
In her second visit to Dhaka University campus after taking office in 2009, Sheikh Hasina specially thanked the university teachers and students for their voice against the military backed caretaker government in 2007.
"I'm doubtful whether the country could get back to democracy without your resistance against the unelected regime," she observed.
She also availed the opportunity to express her gratitude to the Dhaka University syndicate for its decision in 2011 in withdrawing the expelled order against Bangabandhu in 1949 for his solidarity with the movement of fourth class employees of the institution.
The prime minister unveiled the plaques of newly constructed Kobi Sufia Kamal Hall, Santosh Chandra Bhattachariya Bhaban of Jagannath Hall, Social Science Building and Higher Arts and Social Science Research Centre.
She also laid the foundation stone of three more projects which are- 'Bangabandhu Tower'- a dormitory for employees, '7 March Bhaban' of Rokeya Hall and Pharmacy Building.
Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid, Chairman of Bangladesh University Grants Commission Professor AK Azad Chowdhury spoke among others on the occasion while vice-chancellor of the university Professor Dr AAMS Arefin Siddiqui was in the chair.
Pro-vice chancellor of the university Prof Nasrin Ahmed gave the vote of thanks and president of Fourth Class Employees Association of the Dhaka University Abdur Rahman thanked the prime minister for taking a project namely 'Bangabandhu Tower' a 20-storied building for their dwelling.
Sheikh Hasina said, the Dhaka University, which was always in the forefront of all national movements during pre and post-independence period, is an immense source of inspiration for her.
"Whenever, I come to this campus, I remember the past. Sorrow and grief engulf me. But, I gain strength and courage when I remember my student life and heritage of this great institution," she said.
Recalling the role of the students and teachers of the university in the country's Language Movement, War of Liberation and democratic movements, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said, Dhaka University is not only prominent to us as "Oxford of East", but also as an epicenter of all democratic movements for people's causes.
"Dhaka University has given us the opportunity to speak in our mother language Bengali. Students and teachers of the institution were always in the forefront of all movements and made immense sacrifice for the country's liberation," she said.
Referring to the projects taken for Dhaka University during the present and previous tenure of the Awami League government, the prime minister said her government is making all efforts to provide the students and teachers with necessary academic facilities.
She said the present government has created an education assistance fund of Taka 1000 crore for poor students. But, the government with its limited resources cannot do everything, she said urging the former graduates to collect funds to help their alma maters to take projects for academic purposes.
"Our students are brilliant, active and sincere and they can show their worthiness if they get your support and scope to flourish them," she added.
Sheikh Hasina said her government wants to decentralize the academic facilities allover the country instead of making it available only for urban student. In view of this, she said, the government has taken steps for establishing seven medical, agricultural, engineering, textile and marine universities in different parts of the country.
Laying importance on making an educated nation, the prime minister said a nation cannot prosper keeping its large population illiterate. So we have taken measures for improvement of the quality of education as well as educating the whole nation, she said.
Sheikh Hasina said her government during its previous tenure raised the literacy rate to 65 percent from 45. But the rate dropped to 50 percent during past BNP-Jamaat alliance government due to their negligence, she said.
Pointing out the projects taken by her government steps for expansion of female education, checking school drop out and adoption of the education policy, the prime minister said, "If we had enough resources, we would make the education free of cost up to tertiary and higher level."
Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid said the present government so far has allocated Taka 14, 823 crore for development projects in education sector.
Steps were taken so that private universities cannot make the education as their business, he said adding the private universities must take the economic condition of the common people into the consideration.
Vice chancellor Professor Arefin Siddiqui thanked the prime minister for her government's support to the needs of Dhaka University and said the present government so far allocated Taka 350 crore for implementing various development projects of the university.
November 17, 2012
PM opens two bridges on Sangu River in Bandarban
RUMA: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today inaugurated two newly constructed bridges over the Sangu River ushering in new hopes for development of tourism and socio-economic life of the people in this hilly district.
One of the long cherished bridges has been constructed on Chimbuk-Ruma road and the other on Chimbuk-Thanchi road under the supervision of Army Engineering Corps at a cost of Taka 26 crore.
The Prime Minister, in her first visit after the Awami League-led Mohajote government took office in 2009, arrived Bandarban by an air force helicopter this morning.
The Prime Minister first inaugurated the 217.15-metre Ruma Bridge and later flew to Thanchi to open the 216.44-metre Thanchi Bridge.
Addressing a meeting on the occasion at Sadarghat here, the Prime Minister said peace is now prevailing in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) as her government signed the peace treaty in 1997.
She urged the people not to be misguided by any quarter to do anything which might be detrimental to peace in the CHT.
She said, CHT Regional Council, district administration and Bangladesh Army are working together for development of the CHT.
The prime minister said since signing of the CHT accord, the Awami League government is making relentless efforts for upliftment of the socio-economic condition of the CHT people.
"The two bridges would be a great boost to this end through connecting remote areas of CHT and spurring economic activities in the areas," she said.
The bridges would help carrying the agricultural products to marketing centers as well as reaching education, health and other services to hilly people, she said adding it will also help development of small and medium industries in the CHT.
Communications Minister Obaidul Qader, PM's Advisor Gowher Rizvi and Major General (retd) Tareque Siddiqui, State Minister for CHT Affairs Dipankar Talukder, chairman of CHT Development Board Bir Bahadur, president of Chittagong north district unit of Awami League Engineer Mosharraf Hossain, MP, Army Chief General Iqbal Karim Bhuiyan, PM's Principal Secretary Sheikh M Wahid Uz Zaman and Press Secretary Abul Kalam Azad accompanied the Prime Minister.
Sheikh Hasina thanked the Bangladesh Army for their efforts for construction of the bridges and people of the CHT as well for their support in this regard.
She said the Awami League government has chalked out development programmes for the CHT according to local perspectives. "We want to build Bandarban as a hub of the country's tourism," she said.
November 18, 2012
PM for giving fire, civil defence training to people from student life
DHAKA: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today laid importance on creating awareness among people from school life by strengthening the fire and civil defence services to get preparation for combating fire, natural disasters and civil defence.
"Fire Service and Civil Defence Services is one the key areas which is needed to make as an efficient and strong organization to build a safe and secured Bangladesh considering our vulnerability to disasters," she said.
The government has undertaken a master plan to create an urban community volunteers group of 62,000 personnel, mostly school and college students, to help the fire fighters and rescue and relief operations during disasters, she said while inaugurating the Fire Service and Civil Defence Week- 2012 today.
The prime minister underscored the need for grooming up a person from school life with necessary training to handle fire incidents, natural disasters and learn techniques of self-defence.
Home Minister Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir, Post and Telecommunications Minister Sahara Khatun, Food Minister Dr Abdur Razzak, State Minister for Home Advocate Shamsul Haque Tuku were present on the occasion held at the ground of the Department of Fire Service and Civil Defence at Mirpur.
Chiefs of three services, diplomats of different countries and representatives of different international agencies also attended the function.
Appreciating the services of fire service personnel for the cause of mankind, the prime minister said common people consider the fire service and civil defense as their friend of needs as the personnel have earned confidence of people.
"I confidently believe that the areas of getting public services by common people will be broadened if we can moderanize the fire service and civil defense service and make it time-befitting", she said.
Sheikh Hasina said the present government since taking office in 2009, has taken many pragmatic steps for enriching the fire service and civil defence department to make it as internationally standard one through procurement of necessary equipment.
In the first session of the 9th Jatiya Sangsad, she said, the government has decided to establish fire station in every upazila. In the initial stage, 25 stations were constructed and in the second phase, approval was given to construct 156 stations, she said.
The prime minister said five modern high scale ladders, two rescue speedboats, three fire floats were purchased from abroad while modern fire extinguishing apparatus are being procured from Bangladesh Machine Tools Factory.
Immediately after Nimtali fire disaster in 2010, the government has taken steps for procurement of five chemical tenders to douse the fire from inflammable substances, she said. "Besides, steps were taken to shift the chemical godowns from Dhaka City to a place near Keraniganj BCIC industrial town," she added
The prime minister said her government is also actively considering to enhance the benefits and allowances for fire service personnel. Risk allowances were introduced for the fire fighters of operational workers of all level were brought under rationing system.
She said fire fighters were given two-coloured uniform and substantial number of world-class fire suite were distributed among them.
The number of awards for the courageous services of the fire fighters has been raised to 50 along with enhancing the honorarium to Taka one lakh, 75,000 and 50,000 respectively from only Taka 10,000 and Taka 5,000.
Sheikh Hasina said the process is underway to turn the fire service and civil defence training complex to an academy.
Earlier, the prime minister witnessed an attractive mock exercise of the fire fighters and display of the apparatus recently procured for the department.
Later, the prime minister inaugurated the newly constructed fire service stations at Charghat of Rajshahi and Khaksa of Kushtia districts.
The prime minister placed wreaths at the memorial plaque constructed on the premises of the Department of Fire Service and Civil Defence in memory of the martyrs of War of Liberation.
November 20, 2012
PM assures providing all support to jute research
DHAKA: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today assured the scientists engaged in jute research of giving all necessary support from her government and hoped that they would be able to invent drought, saline and cold tolerant variety for sustainable harvesting of the cash crop round the year.
"As our scientists have showed their talent in unveiling the genome sequence of jute, I firmly believe that they will be able to invent high yielding jute variety able to cultivate round the year and mitigate diseases and pests," she said.
The prime minister was inaugurating a two-day international seminar on 'High Yielding Jute and Jute Seeds Production and Modern Jute Retting Procedure' at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre here today.
Sheikh Hasina said her government is encouraging diversified use of jute and establishment of modern jute industries aimed at making the jute and jute products as the highest foreign exchange earning sector of the country.
Referring to huge expansion of the use of the environment friendly natural fiber in day-to-day life of global people, she said it's very much encouraging for us.
Agriculture Minister Begum Matia Chowdhury and Jute and Textiles Minister Abdul Latif Siddiqui attended the function as special guests while senior secretary of the Ministry of Jute and Textile M Ashraful Moqbul was in the chair.
Director General of Bangladesh Jute Research Institute Dr M Kamal Uddin gave a presentation on technical session of the seminar and Director General of Department of Jute M Nasir Uddin, project director of the "High Yielding Jute and Jute Seeds Production and Modern Jute Retting Procedure" Dr Mangal C. Chanda, spoke among others, on the occasion.
The prime minister said country's state owned jute mills for the first time after 1982 could gain profit and after 30 years the mills accrued net profit of Taka 20 crore in the 2010-11 fiscal year.
"Average daily production of state-owned jute mills was 357 tonnes at the time of present government taking office and at present the capacity rose to 700 tonnes," she added.
Sheikh Hasina said, Bangladesh is blessed with fertile soil and weather to produce good quality of jute historically making the fiber as our national heritage.
"To make the heritage sustainable and development of the cash crop, the present government has undertaken the Taka 169-crore project," she said adding farmers are being distributed fertiliser, pesticide and other agricultural components free of cost in addition to high yielding jute seeds under the project.
She said around 20,000 selected jute farmers were given training under the five-year project on the modern techniques of producing high yielding jute and jute seeds and high technology of jute retting particularly ribbon retting procedure.
Pointing out the attachment of Awami League with the development of country's jute sector, the prime minister said, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman established separate ministry for jute and nationalized the jute mills for overall survival of the jute sector after independence.
In 1974, Bangabandhu also established Bangladesh Jute Research Institute (BJRI) under which many programmes had been taken for development of jute, recognized as our 'golden fiber', she said.
But, after killing of Bangabandhu in 1975, all those development programmes of jute sector became stalled, and in due course, the BNP-Jamaat alliance government closed down a number of leading jute mills including the Adamjee Jute Mills, the biggest mills in Asia, in 2002.
"They (BNP-Jammat) closed down eight jute mills one after another forcing many jute farmers to burn down their produces as they failed to sell those and recover the production costs," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said BNP-Jamaat government killed 18 workers and 17 farmers for their movement to press home their various demands. The sufferings and frustration of the farmers crossed all limits," she added.
Highlighting the present government's initiative for revitalization of the jute sector, the prime minister said, "the sector is now on the revival track".
Khalishpur Jute Mills, Peoples Jute Mills in Khulna already resumed operation while Quomi Jute Mills in Sirajganj has been refurbished as National Jute Mills, she mentioned.
Operations in three more jute mills went for experimental production and these mills will be inaugurated officially very soon, she said.
The prime minister said, "jute is a valuable natural resource of Bangladesh and we have to ensure its best and diversified use."
November 21, 2012
PM announces raising retirement age of FF service holders to 60 yrs
DHAKA: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today announced raising the retirement age of the Freedom Fighters (FFs) from government services to 60 years.
"Yesterday we have taken decision to raise the retirement age of the FFs to 60 years," she said while addressing a reception to the successors of Bir Shresthas and selected gallantry award recipient freedom fighters and their successors here today.
The reception was arranged at the Armed Forces Division at Dhaka Cantonment on the occasion of the Armed Forces Day.
The prime minister said her government has taken initiatives so that the nation remember the sacrifice and contribution of the FFs forever as well as honour their descendents.
She called for their blessings and support to materialise the dreams of the FFs to build a happy and prosperous Bangladesh.
The prime minister presented honorarium and some gift to the family members of the Bir Shresthas and selected gallantry award recipient freedom fighters and their successors.
Sheikh Hasina approached herself to the seats of age-old mothers of Bir Shrestha Abdur Rouf and Bir Shrestha Mostafa Kamal to present the honorarium and gift to them.
State Minister for Liberation Affairs Captain (retd) AB Tajul Islam, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Defense Tarique Ahmed Siddique, Chief of Army Staff General Iqbal Karim Bhuiyan, Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral Zahir Uddin Ahmed and Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Muhammad Enamul Bari were present.
Principal Staff Officer of the Armed Forces Division Lieutenant General Abdul Wadud gave the welcome address.
PM's Principal Secretary Sheikh M Wahid Uz Zaman, PM's Press Secretary Abul Kalam Azad and high civil and military officials also attended the function.
Listing the steps taken by the Awami League government during her present and previous tenure for the welfare of the FFs, the prime minister said, from now on the FFs will get treatment free of cost in all government hospitals. "Construction of a specialised hospital for their treatment is going on," she said.
The prime minister said, projects were taken for construction of Muktijoddha Complex in every district and Muktijoddha Bhaban in every Upazilla at a cost of Taka 119 crore and Taka 806 crore respectively.
She said, quota for the FFs in the government services has been kept reserved for their children and grandchildren.
Paying her rich tributes to the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and four national leaders, the prime minister said the nation would ever remember with gratitude the immense sacrifice of the FFs for liberating the country.
She said her government would do whatever necessary for the welfare of the families of the freedom fighters and preserve the glorious history.
"Freedom Fighters are the greatest sons of the soil," she said adding her government is working relentlessly to uphold their dignity.
Sheikh Hasina said, her previous government introduced state honour for the FFs after their death in 1996. Necessary steps were also taken to increase the grants for funeral of the war heroes, she said.
The prime minister said, apart from this, the amount of allowances for freedom fighters has been increased from Taka 1,500 to Taka 2,000 along with raising numbers of the beneficiaries.
Besides, monthly allowance for the families of Bir Shreshtha has been raised to Taka 14,400 from Taka 11,250 while allowance for families of other martyrs has been increased from Taka 5,850 taka to Taka 7,020, she said.
Sheikh Hasina said database on FFs is also being prepared by the Ministry of War of Liberation.
She said her government has taken steps to preserve historical places including Race Course Ground where Father of the Nation delivered his historical speech on March 7, 1971 and Pakistani occupation forces surrendered their arms on December 16, 1971.
Construction works of Shikha Chirantan, an open stage (Unmukta Mancha) with 2000 seats, underground museum, and 156- seat audio-video room are progressing at Suhrawardy Uddyan, she said.
Mentioning the initiatives taken for conferring 'Swadhinata Sanmanana', 'Bangladesh Muktijuddha Sanmanana' and Muktijoddha Moitree Sanmanana' to foreign friends of Bangladesh, she said the process will continue.
A total of 60 gallantry award wining freedom fighters and their successors were presented honorarium and gifts on the occasion.
November 22, 2012
People would try BNP-Jamaat again like 2008: PM
DHAKA: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said the people would try the BNP-Jamaat alliance again through ballot like the 2008 general elections for their past misdeeds like resorting to terrorism, patronizing militancy and committing unbridled corruption.
"The people would decide through ballot again in future whether they want to go back to the rule of terrorism, militancy and corruption or want to live in peace without terrorism, militancy and corruption," she said in her introductory speech at a view-exchange meeting with the grassroots leaders of Sylhet city Awami League at her Ganobhaban residence here.
The Prime Minister's comments came as Leader of the Opposition and BNP Chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia in her address in Barisal on Monday sought public support for another term in power, pledging a facelift of the country through massive development work.
Sheikh Hasina, also the Awami League chief, said if BNP comes to power again they would stop all development programmes taken place in agriculture, health, education, economy, power, communication, information technology and women development during the present AL government.
She said if BNP-Jamaat comes to power again, Begum Zia would change the facelift of the country through installing anti-liberation forces into power and stopping the ongoing trial of war criminals.
"Bangladesh would turn into a safe haven again for terrorists, militants and corrupts and there will be no women rights and freedom if the alliance comes to power," she said.
The Prime Minister said the country would become champion in corruption again and a vulnerable situation would be created in the economy if BNP-Jamaat comes to power.
She said the present government carried out massive development in the power sector and resumed the operation of 11,000 community clinics which were closed by the previous BNP-Jamaat government.
If they (BNP-Jamaat) come to power, Sheikh Hasina said, they would shut down all power plants set up by Awami League government plunging the country into darkness and stop the activities of the community health clinics again.
Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, AL Advisory Council Member Suranjit Sengupta, Presidium Member Abdul Latif Siddiqui, PM's Advisor Dr Alauddin Ahmed, AL Joint Secretary Jahangir Kabir Nanak, Oragnizing Secretaries BM Mozammel Haque and Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury, Mayor of Sylhet Badaruddian Ahmed Qamran and former chief whip Abul Hasnat Abdullah were present, among others, at the function conducted by AL Organizing Secretary Mizbahuddin Siraj.
Referring to the Begum Zia's claim that her sons are honest, the Prime Minister questioned that if they are honest then how their graft was proved in the courts of the USA, Malaysia and Singapore?
"Their broken suitcase and torn vest turned into a 'magic box' as they amassed a huge wealth through corruption. Even Khaleda Zia herself whitened her black money by paying fine," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said the BNP has taken corruption as their principle and now they are blaming those as corrupts who are not actually corrupts and claiming those as honest who are actually corrupts. "Everybody knows the names of 'Hawa Bhaban' and 'Khowab Bhaban' which are synonymous to corruption," she said.
Highlighting the horrific picture of torture, repression and grenade attacks across the country including Sylhet during the rule of BNP-Jamaat, Sheikh Hasina said former finance minister Shah AMS Kibria was killed, while senior AL leader Suranjit Sengupta, British High Commissioner Anwar Chowdhury, Mayor of Sylhet Badaruddin Ahmed Qamran were injured in grenade attacks at different places of Sylhet.
"Even women Awami League leaders could not escape grenade attacks during the rule of BNP-Jamaat," she said.
The Prime Minister said the present government freed the country from the stigma of terrorism, militancy and corruption by curbing those social vices with an iron hand. "We have created a peaceful environment for the people and established Bangladesh as a peaceful nation in South Asia by containing terrorism, militancy and corruption with an iron hand," she said.
She said the Awami League has brought the independence and the party would ensure the economic freedom of the people.
"We have liberated the country in exchange for a sea of blood and we have been working hard to ensure basic needs of the people," she said.
Sheikh Hasina asked the grassroots leaders and workers of the party to highlight the successes and development programmes of the government before the people side by side with strengthening the organization.
She also highlighted different programmes taken for the development of the Sylhet city and thanked the people of Sylhet district for presenting the all six seats to Awami League in the last general elections.
November 24, 2012
Get ready to take responsibility for developing country, PM urges Scouts
DHAKA: Terming the youths as the future of the nation, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today called upon the Scouts to be prepared to shoulder the responsibility for developing the country.
"Get yourselves ready..I want to see that you take the place of the seniors soon by learning how they are performing their responsibility," she said while inaugurating the two-day 24th Asia-Pacific Regional Scout Conference at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre here this morning.
Chairman of World Scouts Committee Simon Hang-Boch Rhee, President of Bangladesh Scouts Md Abdul Karim, Chief National Commissioner of Bangladesh Scouts Md Abul Kalam Azad and Chairman of Conference Organising Committee Habibul Alam, Bir Pratik, also spoke on the occasion.
A statement of Filipino Vice President and Chairman of the Asia-Pacific Scouts Jejomar C Binay was read out at the function.
The Prime Minister also urged the Scouts to play an important role in turning Bangladesh into a middle income country by 2021.
"Our aim is to turn Bangladesh into a middle income country by the year 2021. We have been working to establish Bangladesh as the most peaceful nation in South Asia through eradicating poverty and the Scouts will have to play an important role in this regard," she said Sheikh Hasina called on the Scouts to devote themselves to building Sonar Bangla as dreamt by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Mentioning that Scouting is her one of the favourite organisations, the Prime Minister said it helps the young boys and girls gradually grow up as self-reliant and with the spirit to serve the distressed humanity.
"The Scouts go to nature and learn from it. They also perform as the 'first respondent' in any natural disaster," she said.
The Prime Minister said she personally tries to encourage scouting whenever she gets chance. "I took part in amusing games with the Cubs at my official residence Ganobhaban this year during an award-giving ceremony," she said.
She said at present there are nearly 11.64 lakh scout members in the country and the number will be raised to 15 lakh by next year.
Sheikh Hasina said her government is patronising scouting expansion through three projects. These are: Scouts Expansion at Primary Schools, Human Resource Development through Scouting and the 24th Asia Pacific Scouts Conference.
The Prime Minister said the Scouts Centre at Mouchak has been modernised, while the government has allocated land for another training centre in the country's northern area.
She assured of extending all cooperation for the development and expansion of Bangladesh Scouts, Asia- Pacific Regional Scouts and World Scouts.
Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh has already arranged two more special scouting programmes --- the Course for Leaders' Trainers and the Youth Forum for the Rover Scouts.
She congratulated the trainers and participants of the two courses and wished success of the 24th Asia-Pacific Regional Scouts Conference.
The Prime Minister also advised the trainers to be sincere in discharging their duties and to play a pioneering role in building worthy citizens imbued with honesty and patriotism.
"You are imparting training to the young boys and girls. They imitate you and follow you. Therefore, you should be sincere in discharging your duties," she said, adding: "Let us come and take a fresh vow to advance the country."
In this context, the Prime Minister recalled the words of the scouting pioneer Sir Robert Baden-Powel --- "Leave this world a little better than you found it".
Sheikh Hasina also highlighted her government's tremendous successes in the fields of education, economy, ICT and power. "The government has been working relentlessly for the development of the country," she said.
Earlier, the Prime Minister released a first day cover and a postage stamp issued by the Bangladesh Post Office on the occasion of the 24th Asia-Pacific Regional Scout Conference. Post and Telecommunications Minister Advocate Sahara Khatun and Director General of Bangladesh Post Office Nayeb Delwar Hossain were present on the occasion.
November 27, 2012
AL doesn't believe in vote rigging: PM
DHAKA: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said that her government always believes in democracy and people's empowerment and is committed to protecting the rights of the people.
"We do not believe in vote rigging as our aim is to strengthen democracy and protect the rights of the people. It has been proved through 6,000 different kinds of elections held in the last four years," she said while delivering her introductory speech at a view-exchange meeting at Ganobhaban here with the grassroots-level leaders of Awami League from Sunamganj.
Sheikh Hasina, also the AL chief, said all the elections including Tangail by-polls held during the present government were staged in a free, fair and neutral manner. "The government did not make any interfere in those elections," she said.
On the other hand, she said, elections during the four-party alliance government rule meant rigging, killing and clash. Not a single election was held without vote rigging during the period from 2001-2006, she said.
The Prime Minister reiterated her firm commitment to rooting out terrorism, militancy and corruption from the country for ever and said there is no room for these social menaces in Bangladesh.
She said the country was turned into a sanctuary for terrorists, militants and corrupts during the rule of the BNP-Jamaat four-party alliance. But the present government freed the country from that stigma by curbing those social menaces with an iron hand, she said.
Highlighting the horrific picture of torture, repression and grenade attacks across the country including Sylhet region during the rule of BNP-Jamaat, Sheikh Hasina said former finance minister Shah AMS Kibria was killed, while senior AL leader Suranjit Sengupta, British High Commissioner Anwar Chowdhury, Mayor of Sylhet Badaruddin Ahmed Qamran were injured in grenade attacks at different places of Sylhet.
Sheikh Hasina also stressed the need for continuation of democracy and said the socioeconomic development of the people is not possible without democracy. No country could advance towards development without democracy, she said.
About the 15th amendment to the constitution, the Prime Minister said it has ensured equal rights of the people of all faiths and restored the spirit of the War of Liberation side by side with sealing off usurpation of power.
Highlighting various development activities of the country during the present government, she said that when AL goes to power, people get something.
On the other hand, she said, when BNP comes to power, people get nothing except corruption, militancy and terrorism. "The aim of the BNP is to loot public money through corruption and send those abroad," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said the government has recently brought a part of siphoned off money of the opposition leader's son Koko from Singapore. "We will bring all their laundered money from abroad gradually," she said.
About the trial of the war criminals, she mentioned that after the independence, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman initiated the trial of the war criminals and as a result 11,000 identified war criminals were detained.
"But after the 1975, military dictator Ziaur Rahman released them from jail and rehabilitated politically by giving them citizenship of the country."
She said that when Zia's wife was in power, she put the killers of Bangabandhu in parliament and that parliament passed the flawed caretaker government.
"The nation paid price of that self-destructive decision during the 1/11 regime," she said.
She said the Awami League has brought the independence and the party would ensure the economic freedom of the people. "We have liberated the country in exchange for a sea of blood and have been working hard to ensure basic needs of the people," she added.
Sheikh Hasina asked the grassroots leaders and workers of the party to highlight the successes and development programmes of the government before the people side by side with strengthening the organization.
Minister without portfolio Suranjit Sengupta, AL Presidium members Kazi Jafarullah and Satish Chandra Roy, PM's Adviser Dr Alauddin Ahmed, AL Joint Secretary Mahbubul Alam Hanif and Organizing Secretary Misbahuddin Siraj were present at the meeting, among others.
November 27, 2012
Remain alert against subversive activities in mills, factories: PM
DHAKA: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today stressed the need for strengthening safety measures for the workers at mills and factories and urged the countrymen to remain alert and extend cooperation to check subversive act in the mills and factories.
"Situation in the mills and factories has improved than the past. Despite that you have to remain alert so that none can disrupt production in the mills and factories by committing subversive act," she said.
While inaugurating a three-day textile fair - Texbangla 2012, the Prime Minister called upon the owners of the mills and factories to ensure safe exit of the workers after any accident.
"You will have to be careful so that the workers can come out of their work place safely after any accident like fire," she said.
She also suggested the industry owners to construct water reservoir while setting up any industry. "Due to shortage of water, the fire could not be doused quickly at many times," she said.
Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA) has organized the biannual exposition for the fifth time at Ruposhi Bangla Hotel to promote more use of local fabrics in the country's booming readymade garments sector.
Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith was the special guest at the function, while FBCCI President AK Azad and BTMA President Jahangir Alamin also spoke. BTMA Advisor GKM Towfiq Hasan made a multimedia presentation on the country's textile sector.
At the outset of the function, a minute's silence was observed in memory of 109 garment workers who were killed in Tazreen Garment factory fire in Ashulia and 13 people who were killed in Chittagong overpass guarder collapse on Saturday. About the fire in Tazreen Fashion, Sheikh Hasina said investigation into the incident is underway and action would be taken according to the probe report.
Terming the fire incident regrettable and unexpected, she said the government has given financial assistance to the family members of the killed and affected.
The Prime Minister called upon the entrepreneurs and businesspeople of the textile sector to make the country self- reliant in fabrics by applying their merit, skill and capability.
"You will also have to raise the quality of the products as well as research and development cost side by side with increasing productivity and creating new market," she said.
About the shortage of gas in mills and factories, she said demarcation of blocks in the Bay of Bengal for exploration of gas and oil has been done after the maritime victory over Myanmar. We would go for international bidding very soon to this effect," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said the country felt necessity to set up export-oriented textile industries following the creation of export market of readymade garments in the 80s. "Investment in the sector increased significantly as you have advanced," she said.
She said a foreign firm had prepared a report on the prospect of Bangladesh in the textile sector. The report said the investment in the sector would not be profitable. Instead of it, it would be rational to import yarn and fabrics from the neighbouring countries.
"We ignored the report and brought BGMEA, BKMEA and BTMA in a single table and made arrangement to work as complementary to each other."
Sheikh Hasina said the government has provided assistance to the entrepreneurs to set up textile industries and made arrangement for capital and enhanced cash support to the RMG export sector.
The Prime Minister said the three sectors-textile, knit and woven-moved ahead. The export in the RMG sector boosted massively and as a result, a huge number of export-oriented composite textile and spinning mills were set up "You have advanced the wheels of the economy creating massive employment, particularly the women, ensuring women empowerment, improving woman and child health and raising literacy rate," she said.
"It also revived the rural economy and cut poverty and this time, we follow the same policy," she said.
The Prime Minister said the textile sector has been able to stand on a solid foundation, thanks to the government cooperation and hard labour and sincerity of the entrepreneurs. "And for this I am happy and proud," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said the contribution of the textile sector as a backward linkage industry of the garment sector is increasing gradually.
"We are pledge-bound to sustain the textile sector in the competitive world and we are implementing the incentive package to protect the sector from the negative impact of world recession," she said.
The Prime Minister said the country has a huge demand for fabrics and it (country) has to import cloths worth about six billion dollars a year.
"Though, we fetch two billion dollars every year by exporting various cloths including denim, we have to boost our capability of producing fabrics and for this, investment will have to be increased," she said.
Wishing the success of the fair, Sheikh Hasina said it would create a close relation between the buyers and sellers and make marketing easier. The buyers will be attracted further to purchase products creating a win-win relation, she said.
A total of 24 mills are displaying primary textile products in the fair starting from yarn to fabrics manufactured by local millers in 40 stalls.
The fair will remain open for the people from 11am to 8 pm. No entry fee would be required.
November 28, 2012
Khaleda can't protect war criminals, PM tells public rally
TANGAIL: Awami League President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today categorically said that the trial of the war criminals must be held in the country like the trial of Bangabandhu killers.
Criticizing BNP chief Begum Khaleda Zia for giving shelter to war criminals, Sheikh Hasina said she (Khaleda) would not be able to protect them by killing people, torching vehicles and unleashing terrorism across the country.
"You were not successful in protecting the killers of the Father of the Nation despite hectic efforts in the past. Likewise, you would not be able to save the war criminals from trial whatever killing and arson you carry out in the country," Sheikh Hasina told Khaleda.
The Prime Minister was addressing a mammoth public rally at Dhanbari Nawab Institution Ground in the district as the chief guest after inaugurating a number of development programmes in Dhanbari upazila.
Referring to Khaleda's recent statement claiming her two sons as honest, Sheikh Hasina, in her 30-minute speech, said whitening black money and siphoning off money, earned through corruption, to Singapore proved how much honest her sons were.
"We have brought the money siphoned off by her sons from Singapore to Bangladesh so far," she said, adding that more money, laundered by Khaleda Zia's two sons abroad, would be brought back soon.
The Prime Minister wondered how crores of Taka is coming out of a broken suitcase and torn vest of former president Ziaur Rahman.
In this connection, Sheikh Hasina asked Begum Zia to refrain from tall talks for the sake of peace and stability in the country.
"The people are now living in peace...they want to remain in peace," she said, adding that those who murder farmers, and kill people by setting buses on fire cannot ensure peace for them.
Describing the devastating fire in a garment factory in Ashulia, Dhaka that left 111 workers dead, as a conspiracy, she said the plots are being made to halt the ongoing progress of the country.
Mentioning various pro-people programmes of the government,the Prime Minister said the people get something when the party comes to power. They (people) can eat, they can exercise their right of franchise when AL remains in power.
On the other hand, the people get nothing excepting terrorism and corruption when BNP comes to power, she added.
Sheikh Hasina also referred to a number of successes of her government including establishing rights of Bangladesh's maritime boundary over Myanmar, curbing militancy and terrorism, lowering inflation, raising the highest-ever foreign currency reserves up to $ 12 billion, increasing power production, providing government jobs to four lakh youths and creating employment opportunities for 74 lakh youths, ensuring supply of fertilizer, seeds and other agricultural inputs to boost production and reaching health services to the doorsteps of people.
Apart from this, she said the present government has been implementing a number of social safety net programmes to boost rural economy and empowering women to achieve overall development of the country.
Chaired by Dhanbari Upazila Awami League President Alhaj Badiul Alam Manju, the rally was also addressed, among others, by Food Minister Dr Abdur Razzak, Home Minister Dr Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir, Cultural Affairs Minister Abul Kalam Azad, Awami League Joint Secretary General Mahbub-ul-Alam Hanif and State Minister for LGRD Jahangir Kabir Nanak.
Tens of thousands of people irrespective of age, gender and religion thronged the rally venue to hear their beloved Prime Minister and the daughter of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Ahead of the visit of Sheikh Hasina, the entire upazila wore a festive look as people were eagerly waiting to greet their Prime Minister who paid the visit to the upazila after a long time.
Carrying placards with the portraits of Bangabandhu and Sheikh Hasina, they greeted the Prime Minister shouting slogans "Sheikh Hasina Egiey Cholo... Amra Acchi Tomar Sathey" (go ahead Sheikh Hasina . . . we are with you).
Earlier, the Prime Minister inaugurated the newly constructed Dhanbari Upazila Complex and laid the foundation stone of 50-bed health complex and the thana building in Dhanbari upazila.
December 01, 2012
Tea auction centre to be set up in Sylhet division, says PM
SRIMONGAL: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today announced to set up a tea auction centre in Sylhet division as part of her government's initiative for the development of the sector.
"The government has decided to set up a tea auction center in Sylhet Division," he said.
The Prime Minister was speaking at a gathering here after inaugurating a 50-bed Upazila health complex and laying foundation stone of Vice-Principal Md. Abdus Sahid College and Sri Mongal union parishad complex here.
Highlighting economic prospect of Sri Mongal, she said her government had taken effective measurers for the development of the picturesque tourist attraction. She also referred to various programmes undertaken by her government for the development of tea workers in the division.
In this connection, she said Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had implemented various programmes when he was the chairman of Tea Board during the Suhrawardy's government.
"Bangabandhu gave citizenship along with right of franchise to the tea workers," she recalled and said in line with Bangabandhu's efforts, the present government will undertake effective measurers for further development of tea workers.
Terming the right of healthcare service one of the main basic rights of the people, Sheikh Hasina said her government is implementing massive programs for the development of health sector as well as to reach healthcare service to the doorsteps of the commoners.
In this context she mentioned the functioning of over 15,000 community clinics across the country, establishment of new hospitals and increasing the number of beds in old hospitals.
Besides, she said initiatives have been undertaken to digitize the entire healthcare system aimed at providing modern treatment facilities to the commoners.
Mentioning the upgrading of 206 health complexes to 50-bed and 18 district hospitals to 250-bed the Prime Minister announced that all district hospitals of the country would be turned into 250-bed hospitals in phases.
She also said four new public medical colleges have been set up while approval was given to establish three new medical college, one dental college, three homeopathic medical colleges and than 40 medical assistant training schools and institute of health technology in private sector.
Apart from infrastructure development, the government recruited more than 39,000 manpower including 5773 physicians and 12741 community healthcare providers during the last three and a half years.
Highlighting various successes of her government including in education, agriculture, social safety network as well as maintaining steady GDP, Sheikh Hasina said the aim of her government is to turn Bangladesh into a middle income nation by 2021.
Among others, Chief Whip Vice-Principal Abdus Shahid also spoke on the occasion.
December 02, 2012
Don't waste electricity, be economical, PM urges countrymen
KERANIGANJ: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today reiterated her call to the people to maintain austerity in using electricity as she said saving of power is very important alongside production.
"I appeal to the countrymen--- don't waste electricity and be economical in its use," she said while inaugurating the Powerpac- Mutiara 100 megawatt quick rental power plant at Chargalgalia here this morning.
Sheikh Hasina stressed the need for creating mass awareness about saving electricity as she said the government has to spend a huge amount of money every year to generate power. "It is not proper to indiscriminate use of electricity as we have to spend a huge amount of money in the sector every year," she said.
Powerpac Holdings Ltd, a concern of Sikder Group which set up the plant on 7.11 acre of land beside the Dhaka-Mawa Highway, would run it on build, own and operate(BOO) basis.
Adviser to the Prime Minister Dr Tawfique-e-Elahi Chowdhury, State Minister for Energy, Power and Mineral Resources M Enamul Haque, State Minister for Law Advocate Quamrul Islam, Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Energy, Power and Mineral Resources Maj Gen (retd) Subid Ali Bhuiyan, Nasrul Hamid Bipu, MP, Keraniganj Upazila Parishad Chairman Shaheen Ahmed and Chairman of the Sikder Group Zainul Haque Sikder also spoke at the function.
Power Division Secretary M Abul Kalam Azad delivered the welcome address, while Power Development Board (PDB) Chairman Abdul Wahab Khan gave the vote of thanks.
The Prime Minister said the country witnessed unprecedented development in all sectors including power in the last four years and the people are getting its benefit.
Highlighting the government steps for the development of the power sector, she said: "At the beginning of the government, we had taken short, mid and long-term programmes by giving topmost priority to rebuild the shattered power system."
As part of the programmes, she said, the government has given priority to set up rental and quick rental power plants side by side with repair of the old power plants.
"We attracted private investment and implemented large power plants," she said, adding public and private sectors have already invested about eight billion dollars in the sector.
The Prime Minister said 3650 MW electricity has already been added to the national grid from 52 power plants in the last four years thanks to joint efforts of the public and private sectors.
"We have been able to generate highest 6350 MW electricity as our power production capacity has been increased to 8425 MW," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said the present government has produced more electricity than its election commitment. "Fifty-eight percent people have been brought under the network of electricity, while power connection has been given to 25 lakh new subscribers," she said.
The Prime Minister said there is some loadshedding as rationing in production is done in the national interest. "We are setting up more power plants side be side with taking initiatives to import electricity from India and encouraging production of renewable energy," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said the government has signed a deal with Russia to set up two nuclear power plants with 1000 MW capacity each. "Besides production, work is underway for the development
of power transmission and distribution system," she said.
The Prime Minister said initiatives have been taken to build high-powered Sylhet-Kaliakoir, Chittagong- Meghnaghat and Khulna- Aminbzar 400 KV transmission line, while the work on construction of Bangladesh-India 400 KV interlinking and sub-centre has begun.
She also mentioned her previous government's steps for the development of power sector and said the government had first framed a policy on producing electricity in the private sector.
"We had been able to attract local and foreign investment in the power sector and restored discipline cutting system loss and increasing revenue," she said.
She also laid emphasis on setting up solar panels on schools, madrasa and other organisations to generate electricity.
Sheikh Hasina said her present government made massive development in every socioeconomic sector including agriculture, education, health, communication, rural development and Digital Bangladesh.
Despite the world economic recession, she said, a very positive trend is continuing in every index of the country's macro economy. "Bangladesh clocked 6.5 percent growth on an average, turning it 11th in the world and the third highest growth achieving country in South Asia," she said.
The Prime Minister also mentioned the terrorism, militancy and unbridled corruption unleashed and committed by the past BNP- Jamaat four-party alliance government and the tyrannical rule of the previous caretaker government.
December 03, 2012
Remove barriers to protecting rights, dignity of disabled: PM
DHAKA: Terming negative outlook of the society on the people with disabilities as a big obstacle to their welfare, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today called for removing this barrier to protecting their rights and dignity.
"Due to negative attitude of the society, almost all of the people with disabilities have to face a painful experience of disparity and negligence from the beginning of their life, So, we must to change this negative outlook on them," she said.
The Prime Minister urged the well-off people to come forward further to rehabilitate the people with disabilities by fulfilling their demands as she termed disability as a part of human diversity.
"We see the disabled people are confined to the corner of the house, but disability is a part of human diversity. But we will have to keep in mind that they have special demands and we should sincere in fulfilling those demands," she said.
The Prime Minister said this while inaugurating the 21st International Day of Persons with Disabilities and the National Day of Persons with Disabilities 2012 in the Osmani Memorial Auditorium here this morning.
Social Welfare Minister Enamul Hoque Mostafa Shahid presided over the programme, organized jointly by National Foundation for Development of the Disabled Persons, Social Welfare Department, Bangladesh National Social Welfare Council and the National Forum for Disabled Persons under the Social Welfare Ministry.
Health and Social Welfare Adviser to the Prime Minister Professor Syed Modasser Ali, State Minister for Social Welfare Advocate Promod Mankin, Social Welfare Secretary Ranjit Kumar Biswas and president of National Forum for Disabled Persons Rajab Ali Khan Mujib also spoke on the occasion.
Mentioning the theme of this year's International Day of Persons with Disabilities---'Removing barriers to create an inclusive and accessible society for all'--- as very time- befitting, the Prime Minister said her government will take necessary steps soon to frame a law to protect the rights of the people with disabilities.
She said the people with disabilities are a part of the society and members of our family. "Minors-seniors, rich-poor, males-females, the disabled-non-disabled all belong to society," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said overall global development is possible through inclusive formation of a unified society comprising all including disabled and autistic.
"To this end, each family, society and country will have to take initiatives in an organized way. The government has been working to execute this policy and the National Day of Persons with Disabilities is being observed to create social awareness," she said.
Highlighting the steps of her government for the welfare of the disabled people, Sheikh Hasina said her government has framed a modern, time-befitting and comprehensive education policy and started its implementation.
"We have enacted a special education policy on disabilities creating a scope for mainstream education for the disabled," she said.
The Prime Minister said her government has been providing cent percent salary and allowances to the teachers and employees of the non-government schools for the disabled. "Now over one lakh disabled students are studying in the primary schools," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said initiatives have been taken so that the disabled students can get enrolled in general schools. "It would help general children to know about the disabled students and create their tolerance and social responsibility as well as benefiting the entire society alongside the students," she added.
Sheikh Hasina said the present government has built a social safety net incorporating the disabled community. We are giving allowances to the insolvent persons with disabilities and increased the number of beneficiaries and allowances.
She also listed various government measures for the welfare of the disabled persons. The steps include providing education stipend to the disabled students, giving allowance of Taka 2000 to the inmates of the disabled organizations, introduction of free autistic schools, providing special grants for such schools and running service and help centres for the disabled and preserving quota for them in the government job.
The Prime Minister said safety measures have been taken for the female, child and elderly disabled persons on a priority basis. Besides, she said, one stop mobile service has been introduced for them side be side with making Protibandhi Unnayan Foundation more work- oriented.
She said a centre has been established at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University Hospital to provide medicare services to the disabled and autistic children.
Sheikh Hasina said the persons with disabilities have been included in building Digital Bangladesh. " To this end, computer training centres have been set up for them," she said. She said initiatives have been taken to establish a multipurpose sports complex for the disabled, while the children with disabilities have been included in the activities of Shishu Academy.
The prime Minister also mentioned that her daughter Saima Hossain Putul, who is an autism expert and psychologist, has been working as the chairperson of the national advisory committee of "Global Autism Public Health Initiative in Bangladesh" to raise awareness about autism in Bangladesh.
"Due to Putul's initiatives, awareness about autism has been created in Bangladesh. The society also witnessed an awakening due to her steps," Sheikh Hasina said.
Later, the Prime Minister handed over sewing machines, wheel chairs and artificial limbs among the disabled persons. She also enjoyed a cultural function performed by the disabled children.
December 4, 2012
PM for tracking down offenders who torch garment factory
DHAKA: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today reiterated her call to all concerned to hunt down those who are instigating the workers to set fire on garment factories as she said such kind of destructive game is unfortunate.
"It should be tracked down who are fanning workers to torch garment factories in exchange of money," she said while handing over cheques to the family members of the Tazreen garment fire victims at her office here today.
The Prime Minister also urged all concerned to remain alert so that such kind of tragic fire incident like Tazreen garment factory in Ashulia does not reoccur in future.
Sheikh Hasina said that her government is providing assistance to the family members of the victims according to its capability.
"I know, we'll not be able to return back those who have lost their lives..but, we'll stand beside you and continue to help," she said in an emotion-chocked voice.
The Prime Minister went on saying that her government would do whatever possible for the fire victims in Ashulia and the girder collapse at Bahaddarhat in Chittagong. "We'll do whatever necessary so that you do not find difficulty in maintaining your lives," Sheikh Hasina said hopes and aspirations of the family members of the victims have been shattered following the fire incident. She also conveyed her sincere thanks to the Labour and Employment Ministry, BGMEA, Bankers Association of Bangladesh (BAB) and Lee and Fung for providing their assistance.
She said that necessary measures for providing proper treatment to the injured have already been taken by the government, while the BGMEA is spending the cost for the treatment of the wounded who are under treatment at different hospitals.
Besides, those who have already returned back to their villages are being receiving necessary medical treatments.
Criticizing those who chanted slogans against the government, torched a police camp and carried out vandalism after the flyover girder collapse in Chittagong, the Prime Minister said that many injured people in that accident could have been rescued had they (those took part in agitation) come forward to join the rescue operation.
"These are not the acts of common people, the countrymen will also have to remain alert about those who conduct such incidents," she added.
A heart rending scene was created at the function when Sheikh Hasina was handing over cheques to the family members of the Tazreen garment fire victims as they burst into tears. At the function, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina handed over cheques for Taka 6 lakhs to the family of each of the 43 victims out 110 as financial assistance, who were killed in the devastating fire at Tazreen Fashion at Ashulia on November 24.
Sheikh Hasina, as per her earlier announcement of financial assistance, today distributed cheques for Taka 2.58 crore to the family members of the 43 fire victims from the Prime Minister's Relief and Welfare Fund, Labor and Employment Ministry, BGMEA, Bankers Association of Bangladesh and Hong Kong-based RMG importer Lee and Fung.
PMO sources said cheque of Taka 6 lakh would be reached to the families of each victim, who could not be present today, through concerned district administration.
The cheque of Taka 50,000 would be given to each of the wounded person from the Prime Minister's Relief Fund, sources said.
Besides, necessary measures have been taken by the BGMEA to provide better treatment to the injured.
Earlier, as per the directives of the Prime Minister, the family members of 43 victims were brought to Dhaka from different districts of the country under government management.
Labour and Employment Minister Raziuddin Ahmed Razu, State Minister for Labour and Employment Begum Munnujan Sufian, parliamentary standing committee chairman on Labour and Employment Ministry M Israfil Alam, Army Chief General Iqbal Karim Bhuiyan, FBCCI President Kazi Akramuddin Ahmed, BGMEA President M Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, BAB President Nazrul Islam Mazumdar, Principal Secretary to the PM Shaikh Md Wahid Uz Zaman and Press Secretary Abul Kalam Azad were present, among others, on the occasion.
December 5, 2012
Remain alert about recurrence of tragic incident: PM
DHAKA: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today reaffirmed her firm commitment to provide all possible cooperation to ensure safety at the workplaces as she urged all to remain alert about recurrence of tragic incident like the recent Ashulia garment factory fire that left a large number of workers dead.
"Bangladesh's apparel industry has earned global reputation through a public-private initiative. It is the responsibility of all to uphold the goodwill. So, I would like to request all concerned including workers, employers and officials to remain alert so that such tragic incident like Ashulia garment fire does not reoccurs in future," she said while inaugurating a two-day international business conference at Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel here this morning.
Reminding all that the goodwill earned through rigorous efforts over a long period can be destroyed within a moment owing to negligence or fault, Sheikh Hasina said, "There must not be minimum compromise in this regard."
Dhaka Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DCCI), Business Initiative leading Development, Catalyst and Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Service (BASIS) have jointly arranged the conference titled 'Positioning Bangladesh: Branding for Bangladesh'.
Foreign Minister Dr Dipu Moni, Commerce Minister GM Quader, Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister Muhammad Faruq Khan, Industries Minister Dilip Barua, DCCI President Asif Ibrahim, BASIS President AKM Fahim Mashroor and Swiss Ambassador Dr Urs Herren also spoke on the occasion.
Stressing the need for conducting proper research for listing country's possibilities and their proper projection, Hasina also urged the private sector to come forward to supplement the government efforts in this regard.
She said the image of a country in the global arena is extremely important for its prosperity, which is strongly correlated with its relationship, trade and other engagements with the rest of the world.
Noting that branding can play an important role in introducing Bangladesh's communal harmony and democracy-loving people to the world community, she also underscored the need for projecting country's thousand years' culture and heritage, and rich nature to the world.
She said that the nation which earned its independence through bloodshed cannot be lagged behind. "We should have had much progress in the last 4 decades. I think the main reason for our backwardness is the absence of uninterrupted democracy and lack of farsightedness or wrong steps by the past governments."
"We are trying to get out of the obstacles," she said urging all to supplement her government's efforts to build a middle income, progressive, non-communal and peaceful Bangladesh in the comity of nations.
Mentioning that her government is pledged-bound to turn Bangladesh into a middle income and peaceful country in the global community through implementing its election manifesto Vision 2021, the Premier said to achieve the goal, the role of private sector is very important.
"The private sector will have to play an important role in accelerating industrialisation, and business and commerce," she said adding, "There are many resources to project Bangladesh's positive image before the world. But I think branding Bangladesh through business and commerce is the most effective one,"
She opined that Bangladesh can be a hub of economic activity of the South Asian region expressing her optimism that the country's economic activity would get momentum if a multi-lateral connectivity is established with the neighbours.
She said that Bangladesh is now the 5th emerging economy in the world, while the World Bank ranked Bangladesh at the 20th position in terms of protecting investors' interest. The position of India, China and Vietnam is behind Bangladesh, she said.
"At this moment Bangladesh is one of the most attractive destinations of investment in the world. We have taken effective steps to ensure transparency, accountability and rule of law," she said.
Mentioning that in 2011, Bangladesh received US$ 10.13 billion foreign investment she said the government is going to establish 6 Special Economic Zones to attract foreign investment.
She said Bangladesh has entered into a new era of ICT through introducing 3G mobile telephone as well as a remarkable development has been achieved in the field of ICT in the country.
She said to improve the communication sector work on turning Dhaka- Chittagong highway into four lanes is progressing fast and programmes are underway to improve railway communication to reduce pressure on highways.
She said that more than a dozen large bridges have been built in the last 3 and a half years' tenure. Elevated expressways and flyovers are being constructed in Dhaka and Chittagong to ease traffic congestion. Bangladesh has been connected with Asian highway through 3 routes.
The Prime Minister said that her government's visionary reform programmes, proper budget management and implementation of incentive package helped maintain country's macroeconomic stability. "We have already prepared PPP policy and strategy. An effective participation of domestic and foreign investors is essential for proper implementation of PPP," she said.
Mentioning that the export of goods fetched about US$ 24 billion to 190 countries last year, she said, "We want to raise the export target to US$ 91 billion by the year 2021,"
The Prime Minister also highlighted her government's achievements and successes in various sectors including achieving 6.5 percent GDP growth despite global economic meltdown, good remittance inflow of US$ 12.84 billion in the last year, gaining global standards in pharmaceuticals exports, remarkable success in production of electricity as it rose to 6365 Megawatt from 3200 MW in 2009 and Bangladesh's people resilience to conquer natural disaster.
December 6, 2012
Foil evil design of Jamaat-Shibir with patience, courage; PM asks police
SARDA, Rajshahi: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today asked the police forces to foil the evil design of Jamaat-Shibir with "patience and courage" as they are out to impede the ongoing trial of the war criminals.
"I hope, you would be able to maintain law and order by foiling the evil design of Jamaat-Shibir who are active across the country to foil trial of war criminals and carrying out attacks on police in a planned way," she told the police forces.
The Prime Minister said this while inaugurating a three- day centenary festival of Bangladesh Police Academy here this morning.
Sheikh Hasina directed members of the police force to remain vigil to protect lives and properties of people upholding the human rights issue and gaining people's confidence by providing them services with utmost sincerity and honesty.
Referring to various programmes of her government to restore law and order, she said her government after assuming office has contained militancy while initiatives have been taken to form the National Bureau of Counterterrorism.
She hoped that this specialised unit of police would play an effective role in checking ill activities of the anti- liberation elements and curbing militancy across the country. The Prime Minister said the BNP-Jamaat alliance government and the subsequent caretaker government had pushed the country towards anarchy and destruction.
After the 2001 elections, she said, the four-party alliance government had created a dreadful situation across the country by unleashing terrorism including killing, torturing and gouging eyes and maiming innocent people.
Sheikh Hasina said the human rights were violated severely putting democracy at risk during the tenure of BNP led four party alliance.
"The people did not forget Bangla Bhai, 21st August grenade attack on Awami League rally and the synchronised bomb blasts across the country," she added.
The Prime Minister said her government has been working to build Bangladesh as a middle- income country by 2021 through materialising Vision-2021. "To achieve the goal, the police force has an important role".
The Prime Minister mentioned that immediately after independence, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had formed a modern police force to ensure security of life and property of the people.
"We have reintroduced the rank badge of IGP given by the Father of the Nation, while the work on creating five grade-I posts is underway," she said.
In her speech, the prime Minister also mentioned various programmes implemented by her government for the development of police forces.
The programmes included creating 32,000 new posts for police force, raising grants for injured police members from Taka 50,000 to taka 100,000 and Taka five lakh from Taka three lakh if any on duty police member is killed and elevating posts of field level police officers.
The Prime Minister said the government has formed two security and protection battalions, while approval was given for the formation of the Police Bureau of Investigation (PBI).
Sheikh Hasina said armed police battalion has been deployed for ensuring security of the airports and initiatives have been taken to form a full-fledged technology-based airport armed police battalion for overall safety of the airports.
Besides, she said, the work on formation of tourist police, campus police and marine police is progressing to combat multidimensional crimes.
At the outset of her speech, the Prime Minister recalled the courageous police members of Rajarbagh Police Lines who first forced resistance against the Pakistani occupation forces on the black night of March 25 at the call of Bangabandhu.
The Prime Minister said the contribution of the police force to the Libeartion War was not evaluated for a long time. "The present government for the first time has given the 'Independence Award 2011' to the police force in recognition to this great sacrifice," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said her government has been working to turn Sarda Police Academy, one of the oldest organisations of the sub-continent, into a centre of excellence.
Earlier, on her arrival at the academy, the Prime Minister was received by State Minister for Home Affairs Adv Shamsul Haque Tuku, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Hasan Mahmud Khandakar and Principal of the Academy Nayeem Ahmed.
A smartly turned out contingent of Bangladesh Police gave a guard of honour to the Prime Minister. She inspected the guard riding on an open jeep and took salute.
The Prime Minister also inaugurated Horse Show, Band Show and Audio-Visual Exhibition and unveiled the cover of centenary commemorative stamp on the occasion. A Taka 12 commemorative stamp, a Taka 10 first day cover and Taka 5 data card were released using special cancellation.
Ministers, parliament members, senior government officials and former and present officers of Bangladesh Police attended the function.
December 7, 2012
Govt keen to work more closely with private sector to speed up uplift: PM
DHAKA: Reassuring the private sector of providing all kinds of support, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said her government wants to work more closely with it (the private sector) to speed up the country's development and provide more services to the people.
"Working together, the government wants to pursue opportunities that benefit the private sector through generating a profitable revenue stream; that deliver to our citizen much needed quality public services at affordable prices," she said.
"It would also fulfill the government's commitment to meet its social obligations and development imperatives," she added.
The Prime Minister said this while inaugurating the two- day PPP Global Investors' Forum: Bangladesh 2012 at Ruposhi Bangla Hotel here this morning.
The Prime Minister said this is a new beginning, a new form of partnership, whereby the government stands ready to share the risks along with the private sector, especially those who will be able to manage best.
Sheikh Hasina said the country is fortunate to have a very dynamic and vibrant private sector that is globally recognized for its innovativeness, adaptability, and resilience.
"For its further flourishing, we are ready to provide all necessary materials and human resources," she said.
The Prime Minister said in order to develop a robust PPP Programme, the government has set up the PPP Office at the Prime Minister's Office to support the investors in implementing PPP projects.
"A process is underway to enact the PPP Law with provisions for transparent process of selection of private partners for the implementation of PPP projects," she said.
The Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Office under the Prime Minister's Office and the Board of Investment (BoI) have jointly arranged the event.
Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith and Foreign Minister Dr Dipu Moni were present at the function as special guests.
With BoI Executive Chairman Dr SA Samad presiding, World Bank Country Director Ellen Goldstein, ADB Country Director M Teresa Kho, IFC Country Manager of Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal Kyle F. Kelhoffer, IDB Bangladesh Representative Iqbal Karim, former FBCCI President AK Azad and Japanese Ambassador Shiro Sadoshima also spoke.
PM's Principal Secretary Shaikh Md Wahid Uz Zaman delivered the welcome address, while Chief Executive Officer of PPP Office Syed AH Uddin gave the vote of thanks.
Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh has been recognized as an investment-friendly country by the world.
"I am proud to be able to say that recently there has been widespread recognition by the esteemed commentators about the prospects of Bangladesh to be the next engine of growth in the region," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said despite global economic meltdown, Bangladesh has been achieving 6.5 percent GDP growth rate and it has been possible owing to our government's careful stewardship.
"Bangladesh has been maintaining with a stable sovereign credit rating for the 3rd consecutive year indicating macroeconomic stability," she said.
The Prime Minister said her government has been working relentlessly to achieve the goals of inclusive growth and infrastructure development.
"From attaining self-sufficiency in food to solving the unbearable power crisis, we pursued sound policies and took effective measures to realize our goals. We are proud of our achievements in the face of adversities" she said.
Sheikh Hasina said her government realizes that one of the key conditions for achieving the goal of becoming a middle-income country by 2021 is to boost investments in infrastructure from only 2 percent to 6 percent of GDP.
"Our government, therefore, has identified and prioritized PPP as one of the key initiatives to meet this investment gap and it will enable us to deliver public services at an affordable price, reducing the pressure on the national budget," she said.
The Prime Minister said the additional fund can then be allocated for the development of other sectors of the economy, especially in the social sectors such as health and education.
"Our Sixth Five-Year Plan during FY2011-FY2015 targets 75 percent of the investment to come through partnerships with the private sector," she said.
The Prime Minister referred to the two most successful public-private partnership (PPP) projects in Bangladesh--- Meghnaghat 450 MW Power Plant and Haripur 360 MW Power Plant that were built during the previous tenure of the Awami League government.
"We now want to extend our past success in the power sector to other sectors such as transport, water supply, tourism, housing and urban development, and even social sectors," she said.
Wishing the success of the forum, the Prime Minister said the event has brought together policymakers, regulators, development partners, lenders, investors to prepare recommendations.
"We will seriously consider all the recommendations of this Forum to fine tune our PPP programme further," she said. Sheikh Hasina later opened the two-day forum by touching the crystal ball.
December 8, 2012
Govt believes in accountability, transparency not graft: PM
DHAKA: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today reiterated her government's firm stance against corruption, saying that the present government believes in accountability and transparency not in graft.
"The country would have not witnessed such development in the last four years had we been indulged in corruption. The Anti- Corruption Commission (ACC) is working independently and it did not enjoy such freedom in the past," she said while delivering her introductory speech at a view-exchange meeting with the grassroots-level leaders of Habiganj District Awami League at her Ganobhaban residence.
Sheikh Hasina, also the Awami League chief, said the government is not making any interference in the ACC and won't do so in the future. "The ACC is summoning and interrogating the ministers, advisers and parliament members when they want and this practice was fully absent during the rules of Khaleda Zia and HM Ershad," she said.
The Prime Minister said if BNP remains in power the ACC could not show such courage of summoning and grilling the ministers, advisers and lawmakers. "The BNP hooligans would have attacked the ACC men had it summoned and interrogated the government high- ups," she said.
On the other hand, she said, the aim of the present government is to ensure accountability and transparency in all spheres of the government. "Our policy is to root out corruption and bring solvency in the life of the people," she said.
Sheikh Hasina blasted again Khaleda Zia for announcing anti- government movement in the victory month of December and called upon her to refrain from such agitation in the name of saving war criminals.
"Don't inflict pain on the people in the name of the movement of saving war criminals and the people won't accept it as they are inspired with the spirit of the War of Liberation," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said the trial of war criminals is a mass and popular demand and the people won't respond to the call for the movement of the opposition in the name of saving the 1971 culprits. "The trial of the war criminals must be held in the country," she asserted.
The Prime Minister said the BNP chairperson is playing a dubious game about the trial of the 1971 culprits to misguide the people.
"Khaleda Zia goes to Martyred Intellectuals Memorial at Mirpur to pay respect to the martyred intellectuals on December 14 in one hand, while she announced anti- government programmes in the victory month of December to save the war criminals who killed intellectuals at the dawn of the victory," Sheikh Hasina said making a question is it not a 'pretence' of Khaleda Zia?
The Prime Minister said if Khaleda Zia believes in independence of the country, why she declared anti- government agitation in the victory month. "Why did you announce anti- government movement in the victory month of December? Does it means that you want to protect the 1971 culprits who killed freedom fighters and violated mothers and sisters?"
Sheikh Hasina said it is very regrettable that Khaleda Zia announced the anti-government movement to save war criminals and that is also in the victory month of December. "Nothing can be shameful than it," she said.
About the opposition's demand for restoration of the caretaker government, the Prime Minister said once those opposed the system arguing that none is neutral except mad and child are demanding the restoration of unelected government system in the country.
"Did Khaleda Zia find out a mad or child to hold the next elections in free, fair and neutral manner?" Sheikh Hasina questioned.
Highlighting the background of the caretaker government, she said Awami League was compelled to start the movement for caretaker government in the mid 90s following vote rigging of the BNP government in different polls including Magura and Mirpur by-polls.
She said hundreds of people were killed in the national and local government polls during the rule of BNP governments and everybody knows that how the Magura and Mirpur by-polls were staged. "The killers of Bangabandhu were brought in the parliament through the farcical and voterless 15th February elections," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said the people did not forget the two-year tyrannical rule of the past caretaker government as they unleashed a reign of panic across the country.
"Khaleda Zia was also thrown into the jail and the caretaker government sent her two sons abroad after giving them a good beating," she said.
The Prime Minister said is there any guarantee that they would hold election within three months and won't cling to power for a long time. Is there any guarantee they won't throw Khaleda Zia into jail again and send her sons abroad after giving a good beating?
Sheikh Hasina said her government believes in the people's empowerment and the AL joined movement and struggle to establish the people's rights. All the elections held during the present government were staged in a free, fair and neutral manner and no question was raised about it.
Referring to the atrocities made on the opposition leaders and workers during the rule of the past BNP-Jamaat four- party alliance government, Sheikh Hasina said the people of all classes and professions had become the victims of their killing, torture and rape.
She said the cadres of BNP-Jamaat unleashed a reign of terror by carrying out brutal torture and repression on the Awami League leaders and workers. The AL leaders and workers could not seek justice as BNP-Jamaat government had filed hundreds of cases against them, she said.
She said the country was turned into a sanctuary for terrorists and militants like Bangla Bhai from 2001 to 2006 due to patronization of the four- party alliance government.
Sheikh Hasina said Awami League is a party of the common people and it always works for the welfare of the people. "When AL comes to power the country is awarded and people get something. On the other hand, when BNP goes to power the country is reprimanded and people get nothing," she said.
The Prime Minister highlighted tremendous success of the government in the fields of agriculture, education, health, power, women empowerment and food security.
"We have brought radical changes in the country's socioeconomic development as we want to establish Bangladesh as a self-dignified nation in the world," she said.
Sheikh Hasina asked the leaders and workers of the party to highlight the successes and development programmes of the government before the people side by side strengthening the organisation.
"We have brought independence and we have firm believe that we would be able to celebrate our golden jubilee of independence in 2021 by turning the nation into a middle- income country within the period," she said.
Awami League Presidium Members Begum Matia Chowdhury, Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim, Abdul Latif Siddiqui and Satish Chandra Roy, Social Welfare Minister Enamul Haque Mostafa Shahid, Organizing Secretary Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury and Labour Affairs Secretary Habibur Rahman Siraj were present on the occasion, among others.
December 9, 2012
Opposition disrespects Begum Rokeya by enforcing road blockade: PM
DHAKA: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today blasted the opposition for enforcing road blockade across the country on the Begum Rokeya Day, saying that through this agitation programme, it (the opposition) has shown extreme disrespect to the pioneer of women renaissance of the subcontinent.
While addressing the Begum Rokeya Medals-2012 handing over function at the Osmani Memorial Auditorium here, she called upon the womenfolk of the country to express hatred towards those who enforced road blockade on the Begum Rokeya Day.
"Enforcing countrywide road blockade by BNP and Jamaat- Shibir to save war criminals is a severe disrespect to the pioneer of women renaissance. So, I urge the womenfolk of the country to express hatred towards those who announced agitation programme on the Begum Rokeya Day," Sheikh Hasina said.
The Prime Minister also urged the womenfolk of the country to find out that why the opposition has chosen the birthday of Begum Rokeya for enforcing road blockade programme. "You have to find out why the opposition has chosen this day for enforcing road blockade programme to save the war criminals in the name of movement," she said.
The Ministry of Women and Children Affairs arranged the function on the occasion of Begum Rokeya Day.
With State Minister for Women and Children Affairs Dr Shirin Sharmin Chowdhury in the chair, the function was addressed by Secretary of the Ministry Tariqul Islam.
The Prime Minister handed over Begum Rokeya Medals-2012 to Professor Mahfuza Khanam and Syed Jebunnesa Haque, MP, for their outstanding contribution to establishing rights of the women and their socioeconomic development.
The Prime Minister also criticized the opposition for obstructing the celebration of Bangladesh's victory against West Indies by enforcing road blockade the following day the Tigers clinched the five-match Sahara Cup series.
She said the opposition is now engaged in vandalizing and torching vehicles on the streets instead of celebrating Bangladesh' victory.
"They cannot accept Bangladesh's win in the victory month. By patronizing the defeated forces of independence or saving war criminals in the name of movement, what do they want,?" she questioned.
The Prime Minister also reaffirmed her government's firm commitment to complete the trial of war criminals who carried out massacre, raped two lakh mothers and sisters and torched thousands of houses during the War of Liberation.
"We have started the trial of the perpetrators for their heinous crimes against humanity and we must complete the trial," she said.
Sheikh Hasina also urged the countrymen to remain alert about those who are out to impede women development in the country in the name of religion.
The Prime Minister also reiterated her firm commitment to establish just rights of the women and eliminate all injustices to them as she urged individuals and private organizations to supplement more the government efforts for the development of the womenfolk.
"We don't have slightest hesitation to abolish injustice to the women and establish their just rights. Let us become more resolute together by materializing the dreams of Begum Rokeya and active to utilize equal rights, opportunities and potentialities of all."
The Prime Minister said her government has been working for the development of the womenfolk following the path showed by Begum Rokeya. We have enacted the Women Development Policy-2011 and the Domestic Violence (resistance and protection) Law 2010," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said massive steps have been taken for raising efficiency, employment and establishing them as entrepreneurs and ensuring their participation in the labour market and economic strength as well as checking social crimes towards the women.
The Prime Minister said female education has been made free up to the class XII for the expansion of women education. "Massive rate of enrollment of the girl students in the primary schools is our great achievement," she said.
"The participation of the women in labour market has been increased significantly. As a result, she said, the country is earning huge foreign currencies.
About women empowerment, Sheikh Hasina said her government during its previous term made arrangement of appointing women in the posts of secretary, judges, police super and deputy commissioner and in other higher posts.
"The present government has ensured strong place for the women in judiciary, executive and parliament as well as in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Police Force," she said.
The Prime Minister highlighted tremendous success of the government in the fields of agriculture, education, health, power, economy, ICT, women empowerment and food security.
"It is my firm belief that we would be able to celebrate the golden jubilee of independence by turning Bangladesh into a middle-income country by 2021 with the cooperation of males and females-all," she said.
Later, Sheikh Hasina enjoyed a colorful cultural function.
December 10, 2012
PM calls for establishing peace at all levels
DHAKA: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today called for establishing peace at all spheres through ensuring development, equity and justice and stopping conflict for the betterment of the world.
\"Let us come to establish peace at all spheres through ensuring development, equity and justice at all levels and stopping conflict for the betterment of the world,\" she said while inaugurating South, Southwest, North and Central Asia Parliamentarian and CSO Forum on MDG Acceleration and Post 2015 Development Agenda at Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel here.
Speaker of the Jatiya Sangsad and Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group(APPG) Commission Abdul Hamid Advocate chaired the inaugural function of the two-day forum arranged jointly by Jatiya Sangsad and the APPG.
Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, Chief Whip and Chair of APPG on MDGs, WTO and BDF Md Abdus Shahid, UN Resident Coordinator Neal Walker, Association for Parliamentarians on Population and Development(AFPPD) Representative Damira Niyazalieva, MP, Chairman of PKSF Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Global Director of UN Millennium Campaign Corinne Woods and APPG Secretary General Shishir Shil also spoke on the occasion.
Chair of APPG on Climate Change and Environment and President of the First Standing Committee of the International Parliamentary Union Saber Hossain Chowdhury, MP, was the moderator of the inaugural function of the forum.
Terming justice as a precondition for the development, the Prime Minister said the millennium development goals (MDGs) too mention justice and peace as prerequisites to uphold development and dignity of the people.
\"Only justice can ensure peace, and justice is possible only through democracy, which empowers people,\" she said.
In contrast, she said, absence of democracy causes social injustice, poverty, inequality, deprivation, marginalization and leads to extremism and terrorism.
Sheikh Hasina urged the rich nations and international organizations to be more attentive to implement the commitments they made to the world people in 2000.
\"Let us come to be more attentive to execute the pledges and protect the dignity of the people,\" she said.
The Prime Minister said at present, over a billion people across the world is caught in the vicious cycle of poverty, a phenomenon, which occurs due to tangled web of local situations combined with national and international circumstances.
She said such circumstances also include economic processes at a variety of levels, social and economic conditions, climate change impacts, extremism, environmental degradations, absence of democracy, and exclusion of people on the basis of class, caste, gender, disability, age, race and religion.
She said the MDG Report of 2012 highlights national governments, the United Nations, the private sector and the civil society success in saving and improving lives.
Sheikh Hasina said visible progress has been made worldwide in alleviating poverty, and improving access to clean water, lives of slum dwellers, universal primary education, gender equality in primary schools, child survival, access to HIV treatment, among others.
\"Challenges in decreasing hunger, maternal mortality rate, number of slum dwellers, sanitation and clean water, and employment however still remain which have to be faced with courage and conviction,\" she said.
The Prime Minister said in the Eastern and South Eastern Asia, success is pronounced in meeting the MDGs target of halving extreme poverty. "Unfortunately, most of the South Asia is likely to miss the target, although Bangladesh, despite being an LDC, has been successful in reducing the poverty level by 10 percent," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said indeed, South Asia, with over one- fifth of the world population, has lagged behind due to the severe impacts of climate change and the recent global economic meltdown leading to high food and fuel prices.
The Prime Minister said estimates indicate that at the current rate of progress, one billion people will still be living at a less than US $1.25 a day in 2015. "Estimates also indicate that four out of every five people living in extreme poverty will live in sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said progress in poverty eradication is possible only if the developing countries, especially in these regions, maintain robust growth rate; address the undesirable conditions where extreme poverty thrives; prioritize development of health and education essential for productive employment.
"On the other hand, the developed countries fulfill the financial commitments made by them," she said.
The Prime Minister said Bangladesh, a densely populated country with many constraints, made noteworthy progress in the past few years in poverty alleviation thanks to pro-poor policy and empowerment of people. "During the last three and a half years, about 50 million people have been elevated to the middle income group from low-income status," she said.
In achieving the MDGs, Sheikh Hasina said, Bangladesh is cited as a role model, in alleviating poverty, net enrollment in primary education, gender parity in primary and secondary education, reducing child and maternal mortality rates, improving immunization coverage, eliminating malaria and tuberculosis, improving drinking water supply and sanitation.
"Our aim is to ensure human dignity and better life for all across the world, sustainable and equitable growth and development, and justice and peace are important means to achieve them," she said.
The Prime Minister expressed her confidence in the august gathering of experienced and enlightened participants and said their valuable exchanges would help design a pragmatic strategy to make a world free of poverty and hunger, discrimination and
deprivation, extremism and environmental degradation.
deprivation, extremism and environmental degradation.
"I am also confident that such a strategy would help the ongoing efforts to realize the Millennium Development Goals within the "2015 time frame" set by the UN Millennium ummit of 2000," she said.
December 10, 2012
UNCLOS verdict creates new era for Bangladesh to prosper
DHAKA: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has extended her heartiest thanks to the UN for its Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) saying the verdict of the UN body to resolve maritime dispute with Myanmar has created a new era of opportunity for Bangladesh to prosper.
The Prime Minister said this while addressing a discussion organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the Commemoration Ceremony of the 30th anniversary of the UNCLOS at Osmani Memorial hall here today.
She said the ocean related regulations are helping the countries establishing fundamental rules and principles to share maritime spaces and use the sea and its huge resources.
Referring to the peaceful settlement of the dispute with Myanmar on the maritime boundary in the UNCLOS, she said the resolution has given Bangladesh immense opportunity to explore the vast potentials of the sea for its economic progress.
Foreign Minister Dr Dipu Moni, Additional Secretary of the MOFA Khurshid Alam, chairman of Bangladesh Law Commission Professor Shah Alam, Chairman of Petro-Bangla Professor M Hossain Monsur, UN Country Representative Neil Walker and acting secretary of the MOFA Ambassador Mostafa Kamal spoke, among others on the occasion.
Expressing her gratitude to the people of Bangladesh for her election to the office in 2008, the Prime Minister said, Bangladesh could never establish her rights on the maritime boundary if Awami League could not come to power and move the issue to UNCLOS for peaceful settlement.
She said, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had enacted the \"Territorial Waters and Maritime Zones Act\" in 1974 and taken initiative for peaceful settlement of the maritime boundary with neighbouring India and Myanmar. But after his killing in 1975, the subsequent governments didn\'t take any initiative to take the process ahead.
Sheikh Hasina said the UN thought of such a Convention in eighties and in that process the UNCLOS was adopted in 1982. But, in Bangladesh, no government, except Awami League in 2001, took initiative for its ratification.
As per rules, Bangladesh was needed to submit her claim before the UN on its maritime boundary by next ten years of ratification. But, next BNP government took no initiative in this regard, she lamented.
By the grace of Almighty, she said people voted us to power in 2009 again and after a long legal fight in the UNCLOS, we won our maritime boundary opening up new prosperity for our people, he said.
Highlighting her government\'s plan to explore the maritime resources, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said we were barred for last four decades from exploring our maritime resources because of dispute with Myanmar and India.
\"Country\'s sustainable development is possible through proper management of the sea and sea resources. The more a country could exploit the sea resources, the more it progressed,\" she said.
Sheikh Hasina said her government has taken initiative for declaring a zone in the Bay of the Bengal as \"Maritime Protected Area\". The government also has taken steps for creating efficient manpower for research on maritime resources, she said.
The Prime Ministers said departments of oceanography were established in the Dhaka University and Chittagong University and National Maritime research Institute is being set up in Ramu, Cox\'s Bazar.
She said sea is the route of ninety percent foreign trade of Bangladesh where about 2,500 ships are berthed in Chittagong and Mongla ports every year. The demarcation of our maritime boundary created opportunity for safe movement of the ships in the sea and exploration of mineral resources as well, she said.
The Prime Minister said the government has taken initiative for setting up a army camp in Cox\'s Bazar and construct an airbase for protection of the sea resources.
\"Our seashore and off-shore areas are blessed with vast resources including salt, fisheries, natural beauties and valuable minerals. We have to protect the resources and ensure their proper utilization for our development\", she said.
Highlighting her government\'s stride for making Bangladesh a \'middle income\' country by 2021, she said the UNCLOs verdict will be a great impetus to the endeavour to propel country\'s economy forward.
She said this year the government would distribute 270 million text books to the students free of cost at school level aimed at promoting education particularly of girls.
The present government equally has attached importance on other basic needs of people including healthcare, food security and housing, she said. She sought cooperation of the people of all levels to achieve the goal.
December 12, 2012
Pay salary to workers as much as possible: PM urges RMG owners
DHAKA: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina urged the owners of the apparel industries to give salary to the workers as much as possible and comply with the requirements of the buyers to materialize the prospects the industry has created in the global market.
"Prospect of our readymade garments is being discussed globally.., We should not miss the opportunity," she said adding garments owners should improve the working condition in their factories and enhance the salaries of the workers to keep the prospect alive.
She said this while inaugurating the 23rd Bangladesh Apparel and Textile Exposition (Batexpo-2012), country's largest apparel show, at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) here today.
The Prime Minister said her government is making efforts to explore more markets abroad for RMG, particularly duty free access to US market. "Steps were taken to set up a RMG village on 300 acres of land in Gazaria of Munsiganj district," she said.
"I hope that the garment owners will give salary to the workers as best as they can and obey the labour law and fulfill the compliances of the buyers to expand the export market ," she said.
Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhit, Jute and Textiles Minister Abdul Latif Siddiqui, LGRD Minister Syed Ashraful Islam, Commerce Minister G M Quader and Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan addressed, among others, on the occasion.
First Vice President of BGMEA Mohammed Nasir Uddin Chowdhuy, and Second Vice President M Siddiqur Rahman also spoke on the occasion while BGMEA President Safiul Islam Mohiuddin was in the chair. Sheikh Hasina said the government has empowered BGMEA for issuing 'Country of Origin' certificate. The government is ready to give the association more responsibility provided it can build up its capacity, she announced.
Pointing out the contribution of RMG sector in the country's economy, she said, due to this reason, the present government has taken measure for welfare of both the owners of the industries and workers as well.
The government is providing duty and tax facilities to the garment owners and iindustrial police was also constituted for protection of the industries, she said.
The Prime Minister said her government has taken steps for enhancing the wages of workers and supply of essentials to them at lower cost. "Around 78 thousand lactating mothers, mostly garment workers, were given allowances," she said.
She particularly praised the involvement of women with the RMG sector saying their broad participation is helping in the women empowerment, improving woman and child health, poverty reduction, promotion of the services and expediting country's economic growth.
"Dormitories for garment workers are being constructed in Chittagong and Ashulia where females would get priority," she said.
The Prime Minister said she firmly believes that no garment workers can set fire or carry on destruction in a factory, as the factories are their source of livelihood and home for building prosperous future.
"Everybody should remain careful so that none can take advantage of their honesty and simplicity," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said her government wants to take the garment owners onboard in its expedition to accelerate the country's economic growth and build a poverty and hunger free country by 2021.
She said, the Awami League government during its office in 1996-2001, gave 61 special facilities for garments sector including 30 percent cash incentives, waiver of double LC charge on export, bonded warehouse facilities, and reduction of advance income tax.
The Awami League government also resolved the stalemate over export to European markets caused from manipulation of the GSP facilities and adoption of unfair means in shrimp exports during the BNP regime, she said.
The Prime Minister said, Export Processing Zones (EPZs) in Dhaka and Chittagong were expanded along with setting up more new EPZs to attract more local and foreign investments.
"Now, we have taken steps for building up Economic Zone in the prospective areas of the country giving priority to public- private partnership," she added.
The Prime Minister said her government has implemented two packages for exporters to overcome the global economic crisis. "License fee of captive power plants has been reduced to Taka 5,000 from Taka 5 lakhs," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said, Value Added Tax (VAT) has been waived by 15 percent for hiring floor space for garments and industries were allowed tax-free import of the machineries and chemicals for waste management.
The Prime Minister assured the RMG owners to provide further support for the largest foreign exchange earning sector. In view of this she said steps were taken for improving power and gas supply in factories, put in place better communication system and train up efficient manpower for the sector through establishing academic institutions on this specialized trade.
Batexpo- country's largest apparel show, began with a high hope to draw larger number of foreign buyers despite global economic crisis. The three-day event will be a reunion for both foreign buyers and local manufacturers, and the fair would help expand global market for Bangladesh's readymade garments.
December 13, 2012
Army gets mbt-2000 tanks, SLC-2 radar
DHAKA: The armour and artillery strength of Bangladesh Army has entered into a new phase with acquisition of fourth generation main battle tank 2000 (mbt- 2000) and Weapon Locating Radar SLC-2.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the mbt-2000 and SLC-2 radar at a function at Army Aviation Group area at Dhaka Cantonment here this morning. It's the first procurement of tanks and sophisticated radar for Bangladesh Army with own resources.
Terming the induction of the modern tank and radar in the army as a great event for the nation, she said the month of December is best time for such acquisition, because it's the month of our victory.
"In this month we freed the nation from the clutches of occupation forces and their collaborators through a diehard battle in which valiant members of our armed forces were in the fore," she said.
Handing over the tanks to Bengal Cavalry, senior unit of artillery corps of Bangladesh Army, Sheikh Hasina said it will enhance the capacity of our armour corps and strengthen our military power.
Foreign Minister Dr. Dipu Moni, State Minister for Liberation War Affairs Captain (retd) AB Tajul Islam, PM's Adviser on Defense Affairs Major General (retd) Tarique Siddique, chiefs of three services and senior civil and military officials were present.
The Prime Minister said the armour corps of Bangladesh Army was founded by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman after independence. "Bangabandhu handed over 30 T-54 tanks to the artillery corps given by the Egypt government," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said the government has taken steps for upgrading more T-59 tanks for artillery. New sound ranging equipment procured from Britain will be added to the artillery corps. "It will strengthen capacity of the artillery force to accurately locate hostile canons, rockets and long range weapons," she added.
Highlighting her government's stride to build a modern armed forces, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said her government after taking office in 1996 had taken steps for acquisition of sophisticated arms and ammunitions for the three services.
National Defense College (NDC) was established to bring professional excellence in the members of the armed forces. Besides, armed forces medical college, military institute of science and technology, institute of professionals and peacekeeping institute were founded along with formation of a number of new brigades and battalions, she said.
Sheikh Hasina reminded that country's first defense policy was framed at the directives of the Father of the Nation. In light of that policy, she said, the Awami League government prepared Forces Goal-2030 aimed at making the three forces more decorative, modern and organized.
Recalling the role of the members of the armed forces in UN peacekeeping mission, she said they are earning honour for the nation. "At the same time they are contributing to the socio- economic development of the country," she said.
On the occasion, the Prime Minister also highlighted the successes of her government over the period after taking office in 2009. She said people of every sector irrespective of their economic level were benefited during this period.
"For many countries Bangladesh is now considered as a role model of socio-economic development. Around five crore people elevated their position from poor-class to middle-class and per capita income has been raised to US$ 850 from US$ 630," she said.
The Prime Minister said her government is striving for building a poverty and hunger free Bangladesh by 2021 to materialize the dreams and aspirations of the martyrs of the war of liberation. She urged all to work with devotion to achieve the goal.
Escorted by ceremonial motorcade, the Prime Minister arrived at the parade ground. Army chief General Iqbal Karim Bhuiyan, and Parade Commander Lt. Col. Sheikh Sani M Talha received the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister inspected the parade of the Armour and Artillery Corps of Bangladesh Army. Later also exchanged pleasantries with parade contingent commanders.
The Prime Minister handed over the induction memento of the mbt-2000 and SLC-2 to the commanders of Bengal Cavalry and 29 Division Locating Battery Artillery respectively.
Later at a function, the Prime Minister was given an insignia of Bangladesh Army 'Bijoy Thekey Bijoye' marking the Victory Day 2012.
2nd phase of Saidabad water treatment plant goes for operation
DHAKA: Much waited second phase of Saidabad Water Treatment Plant went for operation today with adding 22 crore liters of water to the Dhaka WASA supply line.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina formally inaugurated the commissioning of plant at a function at city's Saidabad area with an announcement that work for the third phase of the project will begin soon.
She hoped that the second phase of the treatment plant would bring comfort in public life settling down the acute water crisis in the city. The third phase, having capacity of supplying 45 crore liters of water, will improve the situation further and reduce the use of underground water drastically, she said.
Officials said with the commissioning of the second phase the production capacity of Dhaka WASA now stand around 242 crore liter a day against the demand for 213 crore. Now WASA can stop operation of 100 underground water lifting power pumps.
With Minister for LGRD and Cooperatives Syed Ashraful Islam in the chair, the function was addressed among others by state minister for LGRD and Cooperatives Jahangir Kabir Nanak, local parliament member Habibur Rahman Mollah, Secretary of the Local Government Division Abu Alam M Shahid Khan, Danish envoy in Bangladesh Svend Olling,chairman of WASA Engineer M Rahmatulah while Managing Director Engineer Taqsem A Khan gave welcome address.
The second phase has been constructed at around Taka 1,140 crore with financial support of the Danish government. In the meeting, the Danish Ambassador announced giving US$100 million soft loan for the third phase of the project.
The Awami League government after coming to power in 1996, initiated the Saidabad Water Treatment Plant to implement in three phases.
The Prime Minister said her government started the work of the first phase in 1997. But, next BNP government after coming to power in 2001 shelved the second phase. "It made the city's water crisis acute mounting the public sufferings," she said.
After taking office for the second time in 2009, the present government launched the work of the second phase of the project.
She extended her sincere thanks to the project officials for completion of the work six-month ahead of the schedule and Denmark government for providing financial support to the project.
The Prime Ministers said her government has undertaken a long-term plan to resolve the city's water crisis permanently. Under the plan, she said, a plant will be constructed at Jashaldia adjacent to Mawa ferry ghat for treatment of the Padma Water and another plant at Khilkhet for treatment of the Meghna water.
Sheikh Hasina said the government has also taken steps for removing the wastes from the bottom of the rivers around the capital, as the rivers are the main source of drinking water for citizens. Project has been undertaken to bring water from Jamuna to increase water flow in the rivers surround Dhaka, she said.
She said the present government has attached importance on development of the Dhaka city from all aspects. Elevated expressway is being constructed to make the movement of traffic easy.
Flyovers from Jatrabari to Gulistan, Kuril, Mirpur to Banani through Dhaka Cantonment are being constructed and commuter train service were introduced between Dhaka- Narayanganj, Dhaka-Brahamanbaria and Dhaka-Jamalpur routes.
"We want to build Dhaka a livable city for our future generation. To achieve such development, the citizens have to come forward along with the government," she said.
The Prime Minister urged the citizens to remain careful about wastage of pure drinking water and show austerity in using water considering its scarcity. "Not only in using water, citizens have to ensure optimum use of gas, power and other civic amenities," she said.
She urged the WASA authorities to go for massive campaign to make people aware in this regard.
Highlighting her government's steps for building a hunger and poverty free Digital Bangladesh by 2021, she said, " We want to ensure a safe and sound environment for every citizens where they would have access to all basic needs."
Laying importance on building an enlightened generation for future, she said the government has undertaken plan to construct new schools in different parts of the city. "One of the schools would be constructed in Saidabad," she said.
The Prime Minister said the government would distribute around 27 crore text books among students of primary and secondary level in the coming academic year. She urged all to work together to build Dhaka city a habitable one.
December 14, 2012
PM urges all pro- liberation forces to forge unity for war criminals trial
DHAKA: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today urged all pro-liberation forces who believe in the spirit of war of liberation to forge unity to complete trial of the war criminals.
She also urged the party workers to remain careful so that none can intrude in the party changing their political colour and carryout any sabotage to blame Awami League in the wake of destructive politics of BNP and its ally Jamaat-e-Islami.
She was addressing a discussion organized by Bangladesh Awami League marking the Martyred Intellectuals Day at Osmani Memorial Hall this afternoon.
Sheikh Hasina, also the president of Awami League (AL), said, a section of press is not properly giving coverage to the atrocities of anti-liberation force they are unlashing in the name of movement, but out to highlight our errors."
"I firmly believe that no propaganda will mislead the people who are eagerly waiting for the punishment of the war criminals," she said.
AL presidium member and Deputy Leader of the Jatiya Sangsad Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury was in the chair while Agriculture Minister Begum Matia Chowdhury, General Secretary Syed Ashraful Islam and AL advisory council member Dr Pranab Barua took part in the discussion.
Newly elected president of Bangladesh Medical Association (BMA) Prof. Dr Mahmud Hossain, widow of martyred intellectual Shyamoli Nasrin Chowdhury, female affairs secretary of the AL Fazilatunessa Indira, MP, acting president of Awami League Dhaka City unit M A Aziz and general secretary Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya also spoke on the occasion. Publicity Secretary of the party Nuha Alam Lenin and Deputy Publicity Secretary Asim Kumar Ukil conducted the meeting.
Seeking support from everybody to complete the trial of the war criminals, the Prime Minister said the anti-liberation force is hatching conspiracy to foil the trial or delay the trial process.
" But, I want to assure the countrymen that their no conspiracy will work to foil or delay the trial. We will certainly complete the trial of the war criminals to free the nation from stigma as we are committed to the nation," the Prime Minister said.
Syed Ashraful Islam said the war criminals are out send the people to oblivion about their misdeeds they occurred in 1971. But, it's our collective guilt to try the war criminals to establish the spirit of the war of liberation.
He criticized BNP for lending support to Jamaat's movement for protecting war criminals. The government is ready to discuss on next election issue with BNP at any place and anytime.
"But they are not interested for any discussion, but out to create trouble to protect the war criminals," he said adding none will be able to foil the trial as the nation's collective gilt to punish the war criminals.
Matia Chowdhury said, the government is not hiding anything while trying the war criminals. In the last general election, Awami League was committed for the trial and people of the country have extended their overwhelm support to our stand, she said.
Paying rich tributes to the martyred intellectuals, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said the Pakistani forces orchestrated their crime in 1971 through genocide.
At the fag end of the war they killed the illustrious sons of the soil to cripple the country intellectually.
"Their atrocity knew no bound and still we could not unearthed their many conspiracies they hatched against a new born nation," the Prime Minister said adding the crime they committed is unpardonable.
Clarifying the delay in trial of the war criminals, she said, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman initiated the trial in 1972.
But after his brutal death, the subsequent government not only allowed the war criminals to return Bangladesh from abroad but also rehabilitated them in politics making room for many of them in the parliament.
Around 11,000 collaborators were punished for their criminal activities including arson, killing, looting and rape. But it's Major Zia who freed them all after taking over state power.
Sheikh Hasina said Ziaur Rahman followed the path of Ayub Khan to militarize the country. Ayub Khan left no stone unturned to erase the history of Language movement and rehabilitate the persons including Nurul Amin, who were responsible for killing of students during language movement.
In the same way, Sheikh Hasina said, Ziaur Rahman tried to destroy all history of war of liberation and rehabilitate the anti-liberation forces. But, their all conspiracy went vain after the Awami League again came to power in 1996.
She said new generation want the trial of the war criminals as they know the real history of the war of liberation and in the last general election their opinion was reflected with overwhelming support to our electoral pledge for trial of the war criminals.
December 14, 2012
Indian law minister calls on PM
DHAKA: The visiting Indian minister for law and justice, Dr. Ashwani Kumar, today informed the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasian that his country is seriously working for ratification of the Land Boundary Agreement and its protocol in the parliament.
The Indian minister said this while paying a courtesy call on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her Gonobhaban residence here this evening.
Dr Ashwani Kumar is now in Dhaka to receive the 'Friends of Bangladesh' award conferred to his father late Pravodh Chnadra for his remarkable contribution during Bangladesh's War of Liberation in 1971.
Briefing reporters after the meeting, PM's Deputy Press Secretary Bijan Lal Dev said, they discussed bilateral issues relating to mutual interests particularly the present status of the agreements singed between the two countries during the past visits of the prime ministers of the two countries.
The Prime Minister recalled the contribution of India to the War of Liberation of Bangladesh. She said pro-liberation forces were out of state power for 21 years after brutal killing of Bangabandhu.
The present government has taken steps including honouring the foreign friends of Bangladesh who stood beside during the War of Liberation so that the new generation know the real history.
Sheikh Hasina also highlighted her government's socioeconomic programmes for making the country self-reliant in food, expansion of education, health service, agriculture, social safety net, river dredging and ICT.
She said the present government has given utmost importance on agricultural research and wants to share knowledge with India on this particular issue.
She said, Bangladesh values the relation with India and is keen to work together to stamp out poverty, a common enemy of the South Asia region. She laid importance on exchange of visits of professionals, businessmen, intellectuals, cultural activists and cross section of people to build up confidence and relation among different groups of people.
Indian law and justice minister praised the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for Bangladesh's progress in the fields of politics, economy and social sectors.
Bangladesh's achievements in many areas have exceeded India, he said, adding that Bangladesh has tremendous success in increasing per capita income, GDP growth and keeping the inflation rate low.
He expressed gratitude to the Prime Minister and Bangladesh government for honouring his father with the Friends of Bangladesh Award.
Ambassador at-Large M Ziauddin, PM's Principal Secretary Sheikh M Wahiduzzaman, Special Assistant to the PM Dr Abdus Sobhan Golap and Indian High Commissioner Pankaj Saran were present.
December 15, 2012
Bangladesh to live up with democracy, equity and justice: PM says to liberation war friends
DHAKA: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today expressed her steadfast resolve to live up with the expectation of the international community to uphold the principles and values of equity, democracy, social justice, inclusive development and rule of law for which Bangladesh was born 41 years ago.
"The world acknowledges Bangladesh as a country where moderation and tolerance are practiced--, we are steadfast in our endeavour to live up to your expectations and turn Bangladesh into a country that you had envisioned while extending your support in 1971.
The Prime Minister was addressing a gala ceremony of conferring the 'Bangladesh Liberation War Honour' and 'Friends of Liberation War Honour' to foreign friends and institutions for their unqualified and outstanding contribution to the glorious War of Liberation in 1971.
A total of 60 individuals and two institutions were given the honour at a function at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in this phase under a plan taken by the government in 2011 to honour more than 500 foreign friends and institutions for their sincere support and cooperation to the War of Liberation of Bangladesh in 1971.
Earlier, a total of 145 foreign friends and organisations, including former Indian Prime Minister Ms Indira Gandhi were honoured.
"We are proving that we are worthy of the trust and confidence you had reposed on us, and we believe that our foreign friends are the equal partners of our accomplishments," the Prime Minister said.
She said, "On this occasion we are offering you, the nation's deepest sense of gratitude for what you have done towards attainment of statehood by Bangladesh. Our tribute epitomizes the sentiment of an indebted nation, love of its people and it's the manifestation of how deeply we value our friendship."
"I am deeply honoured to be in your midst. Your presence brings back the memories of the tumultuous days of 1971 and also a feeling of reassurance," Sheikh Hasina said.
The Prime Minister availed the occasion as an opportunity to extend Victory Day greetings to foreign friends and said, Bangladesh will celebrate 41st anniversary of its Victory Day tomorrow, which marks the victory for foreign friends as well. Honouring you in this month of victory makes the occasion more fitting and special," she said.
"This august congregation exemplifies the strength and beauty of friendship and amity. This is also a rare opportunity for our people particularly the young generation to know and learn about their foreign friends and unsung heroes, many of whom worked behind the scene for our independence," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said, Our land had been the target of oppression from time immemorial; our people were subjected to all possible sorts of atrocities and injustices, the latest of which unfolded after the partition of 1947.
But each time our valiant and indomitable people had broken out, though at huge costs, the shackles of subjugation. Since the partition, the greatest Bangalee of all times, our Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur led us in all odds and finally responding to his clarion call in 1971, the mass people of Bangladesh waged the epic liberation struggle and earned the independence through a nine-month long bloody war.
"We had little means but we drew strength from our high moral standing and triumphed over insurmountable adversities," she said adding the support of our foreign friends came at a critical juncture when we were engaged in this unmatched battle and freedom-loving innocent people were trying to ward off the wrath of a ruthless modern occupation army.
"Our fault, we stood up against discrimination and fought for a just cause, self-determination. It was one of the darkest period of human history, a time of unprecedented genocide and brutalities the world has rarely seen," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said, It was immensely emboldening to find the majority of the world community on our side in our trying time. We knew that we were not alone, our foreign friends were out to helping us. It was such a source of inspiration, she said adding "in fact, it was our foreign friends who inspired people all over the globe and played the lead role in mobilizing the world opinion in our favour.
She said, the just struggle for our emancipation received significant boost from their invaluable contribution and their intervention helped change the approach of many countries which were initially not so sympathetic to our aspiration but later paid heed to our saga of sorrow and humiliation.
The Prime Minister noted that many of our foreign friends had little or no prior connection with Bangladesh. It would not have mattered anything to many of you had Bangladesh not become independent. Still you stepped forward, provided us moral, spiritual and material support. You simply listened to your heart, rose in protest against the atrocities perpetrated by the occupation army, she maintained.
Sheikh Hasina said, the contribution of foreign friends to the War of Liberation is immeasurable and it cannot be repaid. It was purely a selfless act which would serve as glaring examples for the humanity and the posterity, she added.
Highlighting her government's relentless efforts to turn Bangladesh into a happy and prosperous 'Golden Bengal' as dreamt by Bangabandhu, the Father of the Nation, Sheikh Hasina said, We resolve to become a middle income country within a decade.
She said, by honouring you, we are honouring ourselves, the nation feels happier. This reconnects and bonds us afresh with you and through it serves to enhance our relations with the countries you belong to.
She extended her gratitude to the foreign friends for responding to the Bangladesh government's call even though after more than four decades and many of them have braved old-age complications, traveled thousands of miles, and ignored personal inconveniences.
"These are the testimonies of the indelible bond of friendship, love that you still espouse for Bangladesh, the nation that you had a hand in its birth," she said.
Foreign Minister and chairperson of the national committee for honouring the Friends of Bangladesh Dr Dipu Moni, State Minister for Liberation War Affairs AB Tajul Islam addressed the ceremony. Ambassador Jagadish C Sharma, spoke on the occasion on behalf of the recipients.
The cabinet secretary, M Musharraf Hussain Bhuiyan, conducted the programme and read out the citations.
Ministers, lawmakers, sector commanders, freedom fighters, diplomats, judges, educationalists, politicians, students and civil and military officials attended the function.
December 17, 2012
Have confidence in AL: PM
DHAKA: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today urged the countrymen to keep confidence in Awami League saying it's the only political party which worked for welfare of the downtrodden masses taking care of their basic needs.
All other parties, which ruled the country for over 30 years made their own fortune through looting public wealth, destroyed the spirit of the independence and economy and put people into complete frustration about the future, she said.
She was addressing a discussion organized by Bangladesh Awami League (AL) marking the 42nd Victory Day at Bangabandhu International Conference Center this afternoon.
The Prime Minister said the opposition party and a section of people is out to malign Awami League before people. They are unleashing falsehood and conspiracy against the party at home and abroad, she said.
"They have money and media and their only intention is to malign Awami League to dislodge the party from power to protect the war criminals," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said the plot for torching the Buddhist temple in Ramu, heinous killing of Biswajit, a youth belonging to minority community, fire in garments factory and allegation of Padma Bridge scam are linked to the same string of conspiracy against Awami League.
She urged all pro-liberation forces to forge unity to resist the intrigues at home and abroad to foil the trial of the war criminals.
AL presidium member and Deputy Leader of the House Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury was in the chaired the discussion, also addressed, among others, by AL advisory council member Suranjit Sengupta, Agriculture Minister Begum Matiya Chowdhury, Post and Telecommunications Minister Sahara Khatun, central Awami League leader Mohammad Nasim and AL Joint Secretary of Mahbub Ul Alam Hanif.
State minister for Liberation War Affairs Capt. (retd) AB Tajul Islam, state minister for LGRD and Cooperatives Jahangir Kabir Nanak, acting president of Awami League Dhaka City Unit M A Aziz, general secretary Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya and AL organizing secretary AFM Bahauddin Nasim also spoke on the occasion.
Asaduzzaman Noor, MP, recited from 'Nurul Deener Sara Jiban' of Syed Samsul Haque and Publicity Secretary of the party Nuha Alam Lenin and Deputy Publicity Secretary Asim Kumar Ukil conducted the meeting.
She candidly said, Awami League had never played with the constitutional and voting rights of people. Rather, the party protected the rights and worked for empowerment of the people.
About the demand of the Leader of the Opposition for restoration of the caretaker government system, the Prime Minister said, "We are however moving slowly while bringing the culprits of BNP and Jamaat to justice. But, the caretakers would not go slow," she warned.
Expressing her firm resolve to complete the trial of the war criminals, Sheikh Hasina said the war criminals should be brought to justice to free the nation from stigma of war crime.
She said, Bengali people did not get their freedom overnight. The result of the hard earned independence should be reached to the people of the country through fulfilling their basic rights.
In this regard, she said, from the very beginning of the struggle of our independence, a vested group was out to frustrate our freedom. The group swooped on Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in the night of 1975 dashing all aspirations of the Liberation War.
The Prime Minister held BNP and its founder Zia responsible for not achieving the expected progress of the country since independence. She said Bangabandhu launched trial of the war criminals but it was Zia who freed the war criminals from jail, allowed them in politics and rehabilitated them in different sectors.
Father of the Nation began trial of the war criminals after independence and at that time about 11,000 rajakars were given punishment in different terms canceling nationality of some of them, she said. The Prime Minister said the perpetrators of heinous crimes in 1971 dared to repeat such occurrences after general election in 2001 as they were spared from the charge of crime against humanity.
Sheikh Hasina said people are now living in peace as they have food and sufficient money to live on. The government has kept the prices of essentials under control helping people to live in comfort, she said.
To destroy the peace in public life, the Prime Minister said, BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami are carrying out subversive activities. "They feel discomfort when people of the country live in peace," she said.
December 17, 2012
3-nation cadet corps team calls on PM
DHAKA: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today underlined the importance on strengthening people to people contact for mutual benefit of the people of this region.
She said this when a delegation comprising the officers and cadets of the national cadet corps of Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka called on her at her Gonobhaban residence here this evening.
The governments are elected for five years, but, people are the main future makers and their contacts are essential for mutual benefit, the Prime Minister said adding their experience would help building bridge among people.
The Prime Minister specially thanked the cadets of the neighbouring countries for visiting Bangladesh in the month of December when Bangladesh is celebrating its 42nd Victory Day in this month.
Director General of Bangladesh National Cadet Corps Brigadier General Mirza Ezazur Rahman, head of delegation of Indian National Cadet Corps Colonel Mahendra K Joshi and head of delegation of Sri Lankan Cadet Corps Colonel SLDE Lanerolle were present.
Military Secretary of the Prime Minister Major General Mia Mohammad Zainul Abedin and senior officials were also present on the occasion.
The cadets introduced them with the Prime Minister and thanked her for giving the privilege to visit a head of the government for the first time.
They told the Prime Minister that they have visited a number of historical places in Bangladesh including marine academy in Chittagong, Patenga beach, and pride of Asia-Jamuna Bridge. In all places, they have received a warm hospitality from humble people of Bangladesh, they said.
The Prime Minister expressed happiness as the cadets liked Bangladesh and its people and invited them to visit the country again. She also extended her best wishes for every success of the cadets in their personal life and safe journey to their respective countries.
Majid, Peelkhana (post office)