Indo-Bangla govts adamant about Sundarbans coal power plant!!!

India and Bangladesh are now ready to sign a joint venture agreement in November to set up a massive 1,320 megawatt coal power plant in Bagerhat near the Sundarbans, almost two years behind schedule.

Power division secretary AK Azad told The Daily Star that before signing the agreement, his ministry needed approval of the cabinet committee on economic affairs for a power purchase agreement under which the government would buy power from the plant.

The approval is expected in early November.

Benefit analysis of Rampal coal power plant at Sundarbans shows much negative impact

Remove power plant from the Sundarbans

BPDB moves ahead with Rampal coal-power plant without EIA done

BAPA to stage demo against NTPC-BPDB’s Rampal power plant

The $1.5 billion private power plant was initially intended to be set up by 2015. But due to nearly two years’ delay over the terms and conditions of the agreement the project may go into operation in 2016-2017.

The Power Development Board of Bangladesh and the National Thermal Power Company of India would form the joint venture company, Bangladesh India Friendship Power Company (Pvt) Ltd.

The two countries have agreed on the appointment of VS Tamrakar as the first managing director. Tamrakar is now a general manager of National Thermal Power Company of India.

Like other private power bodies in the country, the power company would be exempted from corporate tax for 15 years. After 15 years, the PDB would pay the tax on behalf of the joint venture company.

The coal for the plant is planned to be imported from Indonesia or Australia, wherever the company could secure a long-term import agreement.

While environmentalists have expressed concerns about the coal power project being so close to the Sundarbans, a world heritage site, the government believes that its environmental impact would be minimal.

“The plant will be built 14km away from the forest, while it is recommended to keep it beyond just 7km,” said secretary Azad. “Besides the plant is not located within the airflow zone that might carry the plant’s emission towards the forest.

The PDB acquired 1,800 acres of land for the project. The environmental impact assessment is now at its final stage.

“The plant will be built on fallow land opposite to the Chalna port. It has no economic use,” Azad added.

“Many have expressed fear that the plant might cause acid rain over the Sundarbans and therefore it should be moved elsewhere. My question is would it be more desirable if such acid rain fell on farmland? No. We believe we will be able to implement a clean project as we are determined to use supercritical technology where 99.9 percent ash will be captured before emission from the plant,” he pointed out.

According to the summery for the power purchase agreement of this project, the PDB would sign the agreement with the company to buy power for 25 years.

The agreement does not have a power tariff profile. Instead, it spells out a formula to fix the tariff annually.

The tariff structure has two components: one is capacity price component with fixed charges for capacity, operation and maintenance and the other is a flexible energy price component that deals with fuel charge to generate power.

Power secretary AK Azad said the government has also initiated an implementation agreement between the two electricity companies of the two countries.


Progress seen in jail killing case

Dhaka, Oct 31 (

The state counsel for jail killing case, Anisul Haque, on Wednesday handed over ‘concise statement’ to the Attorney General’s office for its submission to the Appellate Division.

He submitted the summary statement of appeal, taking the historical case to the next stage at the apex court, after about 20 months of the Appellate Division’s approval to a government petition for leave to appeal.

HC verdict in jail killing case ‘distorted’

জেল হত্যা: অবশেষে আপিলের সংক্ষিপ্তসার প্রস্তুত

জেল হত্যা মামলার সারসংক্ষেপ প্রস্তুত

Anisul Haque said after this step, the case would reach the appeal hearing stage, the final stage for disposal of this criminal case.

Attorney General Mahbubey Alam said, “We will file an application in the Appellate Division for hearing this case on Nov 4, and submit the concise statement in the meantime.”

A regular bench of the Appellate Division, led by then Chief Justice ABM Khairul Haque, on January 11, 2011 had approved the leave to appeal of the state.

The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court has asked Dafadar Marfat Ali Shah and Abul Hashem Mridha, the two accused in the jail killing case acquitted by the High Court earlier, to surrender to law enforcers. The court also asked the police to arrest them if they did not surrender immediately.

But the state counsel said, “Police couldn’t arrest them as they are absconding. I am not sure about their whereabouts but can assure that they are not in Bangladesh.”

“If they do not surrender, they will not have the right to engage lawyer to fight for them at the Appellate Division, and there is no bar to proceed with the final hearing without their representation by a lawyer in such a situation.”

The Appellate Division in its previous order termed “inactive” the appeal against the High Court verdict that acquitted Faruq Rahman, Sultan Shahriar Rashid, Bazlul Huda and A K M Mahiuddin, as they had been executed for their conviction in the Bangabandhu murder case.

The government, during the hearing of leave to appeal, first prayed for conducting the trial again, but then changed its stance to avoid delay as most of the allegedly accused in this case were sentenced to different terms in the Bangabandhu case.

The four leaders of the wartime national government—Acting President Syed Nazrul Islam, Prime Minister Tajuddin Ahmed and Cabinet ministers M Mansur Ali and AHM Qamruzzaman—were brutally killed inside the Dhaka Central Jail on Nov 3, 1975.

The Awami League government had revived the trial in the jail killing case after it came to power in 1996.

Charge sheets were submitted against 23 people on Oct 15, 1998.

On Oct 20, 2004, Dhaka’s Metropolitan Sessions Court Judge Matiur Rahman had awarded death sentences to fugitives Risaldar Moslem Uddin, Dafadar Marfat Ali Shah and Abul Hashem Mridha in the jail killing case.

It also awarded lifer to Syed Faruk Rahman, Sultan Shahrier Rashid Khan, Bazlul Huda and AKM Mahiuddin Ahmed — all of whom were executed for the murder of Bangabandhu — and 12 others.

But, the High Court in 2008 upon petitions acquitted Marfat Ali, Hashem Mridha, Faruk, Shahrier, Bazlul and AKM Mahiuddin Ahmed.

On Sep 14, 2009, the government filed the petition for leave to appeal against the High Court judgment. The hearing on the petition began on Nov 7, 2009.


The Daily Star October 31, 2012

The 2008 High Court verdict acquitting six former army personnel in the jail killing case was done without properly examining the documents and evidence, said a statement prepared for launching a pending appeal against the ruling.

The state counsels in their concise statement addressed to the Appellate Division termed the HC verdict “distorted and arbitrary”.

Principal state counsel for the case Anisul Huq on Wednesday gave the statement to the attorney general’s office to file it to the Appellate Division of Supreme Court for hearing a pending appeal against the judgment.

The HC in its verdict on August 28, 2008 acquitted the six personnel from the charge of killing four national leaders–Syed Nazrul Islam, Tajuddin Ahmad, AHM Qamruzzaman, and Captain Mansur Ali inside the Dhaka Central Jail on November 3, 1975.

But all of these personnel were found guilty in the lower court on October 20, 2004. Two out of six were awarded death sentence, and the rest life term imprisonment.

Those awarded capital punishment are: Dafadar (dismissed) Marfat Ali Shah and Dafadar (dismissed) Abdul Hashem Mridha. They are absconding.

Those awarded life term are: Lt Col (dismissed) Syed Farooq-ur Rahman, Lt Col (retd) Sultan Shahriar Rashid Khan, Maj (retd) AKM Mohiuddin Ahmed and Major (retd) Bazlul Huda. They have been executed on January 27, 2010 in the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman murder case.

The lower court in 2004 also awarded life-term to eight others—about whom the HC had no say in 2008. In its statement on Wednesday, the government urged the Appellate Division to uphold the life-term imprisonment of these eight—all of whom are absconding.

After the Awami League-led government assumed power, it filed a leave to appeal petition in September 2009. The Supreme Court in the following January accepted the petition and directed the two accused persons (Marfat and Hashem) given capital punishment earlier to surrender to the court.

Earlier on Wednesday, Anisul Huq told reporters at his office that the 2008 high court verdict denied the nation of any justice in the much-talked about case.

He said the government took much time to prepare the 25-page concise statement as they had to examine the statements made by total 64 prosecution witnesses of the case, although the Appellate Division in January 11 last year gave them one month’s time to do so.

Anisul Huq said the law enforcers could not arrest Dafadar (dismissed) Marfat Ali Shah and Dafadar (dismissed) Abdul Hashem Mridha, two accused of the case, as they are now absconding abroad.

Attorney General Mahbubey Alam said that the statement will be submitted to the SC within a few days and he would pray on November 4 for fixing a date for hearing the appeal.

No Limon has to apologise for no offence!!!

The deputy commissioner (DC) of Jhalakathi has advised Limon Hossain to apply for clemency in the two cases Rab filed against him hours after he had been shot and maimed by some of the elite force members.

লিমনকে আপসের প্রস্তাব

লিমনের বিরুদ্ধে হত্যা মামলা প্রত্যাহারের আহ্বান এইচআরডব্লিউর

‘Rab source’ is the attacker, not Limon

NHRC to seek judicial probe into Limon attacks

The Rapid Action Battalion on March 23 last year charged the college student with possessing firearm in one case and with obstructing law enforcers from conducting their duties in another.

Limon told The Daily Star that DC Ashok Kumar Biswas had also assured him of sending a recommendation based on his application to the home ministry to withdraw the cases. But for that Ashok put a condition that Henoara Begum, Limon’s mother, has to withdraw the case she had filed with Rajapur Police Station, accusing six Rab personnel of attempting to murder her son.

The unexpected move was made on October 24. Kabir, the official chauffeur of the Kawkhali upazila nirbahi officer (UNO), around 11:00am on the day informed Limon that UNO Rafiqul Islam would like to have a talk with him. Soon after Limon and his mother went to meet the UNO at his residence, Ashok reached there. The meeting lasted for nearly two hours when the DC placed his proposal.

Hamida Hossain, chairperson of Ain O Salish Kendra (ASK), the organisation that has been giving legal aid to Limon, told The Daily Star that Rab should conduct an investigation and hold the people responsible to keep its image intact.

“If they [authorities] know that the cases against Limon are made up, why shouldn’t they withdraw the cases?” she said.

Nur Khan, acting executive director of ASK, said such a conditional approach indicated the government’s intention.

“It is unethical and deprives a person of his right to justice.”

Nur also said such proposals put great mental pressure on Limon who, in fear of persecutions at his village of Jhalakathi, had been staying in a rented room in Kawkhali and continuing his study in Kathalia PGS Bilateral High School and College.

Asked, DC Ashok said he had coincidentally met Limon and his mother at the UNO’s residence.

“Limon is suffering because he somehow got involved in an incident. I told them [Limon and his mother] that they had the legal right to apply for clemency and this would help the young man continue his studies unhindered.

“But obviously Henoara Begum would have to withdraw her case.”

Limon said he wanted justice.

“Through justice I want to ensure that nobody else in the country suffers the way I am suffering.”

The Rab shooting happened on March 23, last year when he was fetching cattle from a field near his house in Chhaturia village of Rajapur upazila.

Meanwhile, Rajapur police on August 14 submitted a report to the Jhalakathi court, clearing all the six Rab personnel of the charges brought by Henoara. She then officially filed an objection to the police report. The court will give a direction on the objection on December 12.

MLM firm Destiny bosses admit embezzling, laundering money

Lt Col (retd) Didarul Alam, a director of the controversial Destiny Group, on Monday confessed to embezzling Tk 80 crore from Diamond Builders Ltd, a sister concern of Destiny Builders Ltd.

In a confessional statement before a magistrate in Dhaka, Alam, chief executive officer of Destiny Builders, said he along with Destiny Group Managing Director Rafiqul Amin and 20 other officials transferred Tk 80 crore of Diamond Builders to their personal accounts.

ডায়মন্ড বিল্ডার্সের অর্থ আত্মসাতের কথা স্বীকার

ডেসটিনির বিরুদ্ধে ব্যবস্থা নিতে পাঁচ সংস্থাকে চিঠি

He said though Diamond Builders was a non-profitable organisation, they transferred the money to their personal accounts through fake documents and later embezzled the amount. The money was collected through alluring its investors of huge benefits.

Metropolitan Magistrate Keshab Roy Chowdhury recorded the statement and later sent him to Dhaka Central Jail.

Mozahar Ali Sadar, a deputy director of Anti-Corruption Commission, produced Alam before Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Bikash Kumar Saha, who later assigned Keshab Roy to record his statement.

Earlier on October 25, Rafiqul Amin and Mohammad Hossain, chairman of Destiny-2000 Ltd, gave confessional statement in connection with embezzlement money from the Destiny Tree Plantation project.

Tk 1100 crore of tree plantation goggled up

The Daily Star October 26, 2012

Mohammad Hossain, chairman of Destiny-2000 Ltd, yesterday admitted to involvement in embezzling Tk 1,100 crore from the Destiny Tree Plantation project.

He also spoke of the role other top officials, including the group’s managing director Rafiqul Amin, played in the embezzlement, said court sources citing a confessional statement Hossain made before the Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court.

On October 17, he and Rafiqul were placed on an 18-day remand in two money-laundering cases in the custody of the Anti-Corruption Commission.

“Hossain has admitted that he in league with Rafiqul Amin and some other top officials embezzled Tk 1,100 crore from the group’s tree plantation project,” said an official of the Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court.

They had transferred the money to their personal accounts, he added.

According to the confessional statement, Hossain has built a house at his ancestral place in Brahmanbaria using Tk 1.2 crore of the embezzled money. Hossain said they were ready to return the fund if given six months’ time.

Rafiqul Amin gave a similar statement yesterday in connection with the embezzlement, said the court official.

The statements of Rafiqul and Hossain were recorded at the courts of Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Saifur Rahman and Metropolitan Magistrate Harun-ur-Rashid respectively.

On July 31, the ACC filed two cases with Kalabagan Police Station against 22 top Destiny officials for laundering Tk 3,285.26 crore of investors’ money.

Destiny Group started its journey in 2000 through its multi-level marketing wing Destiny 2000 with only Tk 12 lakh.

The group set up the Destiny Tree Plantation Ltd in 2009 with a slogan that it operated under Shariah (Islamic laws). It started selling different packages, such as 30 trees at Tk 10,000, which would be worth Tk 60,000 in 12 years. The minimum price for the package was Tk 7,500.

The top officials lured people into the project, saying that they had bought huge tracts of land throughout the country, especially in the Chittagong Hill Tracts.

Driver Azam seeks security (প্রধানমন্ত্রীর কাছে নিরাপত্তা চান গাড়িচালক আজম)

সাবেক রেলমন্ত্রী সুরঞ্জিত সেনগুপ্তের সহকারী একান্ত সচিব (এপিএস) ওমর ফারুক তালুকদারের গাড়িচালক আজম খান প্রধানমন্ত্রী শেখ হাসিনার কাছে তাঁর জীবনের নিরাপত্তা চেয়েছেন। জীবনের নিরাপত্তা পেলে তিনি যেকোনো তদন্ত কমিটির কাছে হাজির হতে রাজি আছেন।
আজম খান গত সোমবার বিকেলে প্রথম আলোকে মুঠোফোনে এ কথা জানান। তিনি বলেন, দুদকের তদন্তে তাঁর আস্থা নেই। কারণ অর্থ কেলেঙ্কারির ঘটনার সাক্ষী হওয়া সত্ত্বেও তাঁর সঙ্গে কথা না বলেই দুদক বলেছিল, ঘটনার সঙ্গে সুরঞ্জিত সেনগুপ্তের কোনো সংশ্লিষ্টতা নেই।

Return of the whistleblower

“Where is the driver?” asks Suranjit

৭০লাখ টাকা নিয়ে সুরঞ্জিতের প্রশ্ন

গত ৯ এপ্রিল রাতে আজম সুরঞ্জিত সেনগুপ্তের এপিএসের গাড়ি নিয়ে জিগাতলার পাশের মূল ফটক দিয়ে বর্ডার গার্ড বাংলাদেশের (বিজিবি) সদর দপ্তরে ঢুকে পড়েন। ঢুকেই আজম চিৎকার করে বলেন, গাড়িতে ৭০ লাখ টাকা আছে। ওই গাড়িতে সাবেক এপিএস ওমর ফারুক, রেলওয়ের তখনকার পূর্বাঞ্চলের মহাব্যবস্থাপক ইউসুফ আলী মৃধা ও রেলওয়ের নিরাপত্তা বিভাগের ঢাকা বিভাগীয় কমান্ড্যান্ট এনামুল হক ছিলেন।
একটি অপরিচিত মুঠোফোন নম্বর থেকে গত সোমবার বিকেল চারটা ৩৯ মিনিটে প্রথম আলোর চাঁদপুরের মতলব দক্ষিণ উপজেলা প্রতিনিধির মুঠোফোনে ফোন আসে। ফোনকারী নিজেকে গাড়িচালক আজম খান পরিচয় দিয়ে এই প্রতিবেদকের সঙ্গে কথা বলেন। কথোপকথনের মূল অংশ নিচে দেওয়া হলো:
প্রথম আলো: হ্যালো, কে?
আজম: যাকে আপনারা সবাই খুঁজছেন।
—কে বলছেন?
—আমি আজম, মন্ত্রী সুরঞ্জিত সেনগুপ্তের এপিএসের গাড়িচালক।
—আমার মুঠোফোনে চার্জ নেই। আপনি এই নাম্বারে (অন্য একটি নম্বর দেওয়া হয়) ফোন করেন।
কিছুক্ষণ পর অন্য আরেকটি নম্বর থেকে ফোন আসে।
প্রথম আলো: হ্যালো, কে?
—হ্যাঁ, আজম।
—শুনেন, আমি যেখান থেকে নিউজ পাঠাই, এটা সেই দোকানের নম্বর।
ভয় নাই, বলেন। আপনি এখন কোথায়?
—আছি। আমি এখন অনেক দূরে…।
—আপনার ভাই শাহ আলম আমাকে ফোন করে বলেছেন, কে বা কারা তাঁকে বলেছে, আপনি আইনশৃঙ্খলা রক্ষাকারী বাহিনীর কাছে আছেন। আসলে কী? —না, না! এটা সম্পূর্ণ ভুয়া। বাড়ির সঙ্গে আমার যোগাযোগ নাই। কিন্তু পেপার-পত্রিকা দেখতাছি। বাড়িতে দুদক চিঠি দিছে। বাড়িতে চিঠি দিয়া লাভ কী? আমি তো বাড়িতে নাই। আপনাকে আমি ফোন দিছি এই কারণে যে পিএম (প্রধানমন্ত্রী) যদি আমাকে নিরাপত্তা দেন; পিএম, স্বরাষ্টমন্ত্রী এবং মানবাধিকার কমিশন—এই তিনজন যদি আমাকে নিরাপত্তা দেয়, আমি বাংলাদেশ কেন, পৃথিবীর যেকোনো তদন্তে হাজির হব।
—মানবাধিকার কমিশন আর কে?
—প্রধানমন্ত্রী, মানবাধিকার কমিশন, স্বরাষ্টমন্ত্রী আমাকে নিরাপত্তা দিলে আমি যেকোনো তদন্তে সহযোগিতা করতে রাজি আছি। আর না হলে না।
—দুদকের তদন্তে গত রোববার আপনি হাজির হন নাই?
—না, না।
—টিভিতে দেখেছি দুদক আপনাকে হাজির হওয়ার জন্য আরও সময় দিয়েছে। আপনি কি হাজির হবেন না?
—না। একটা কথা বলি, দুদক কিন্তু আমাকে ছাড়াই সেনবাবুকে খালাস দিয়ে দিছে। বলছে, এ ঘটনায় তাঁর সম্পৃক্ততা নাই। আমি সাক্ষী। ঘটনা ঘটিয়েছি আমি। আমাকে ছাড়াই দুদকের চেয়ারম্যান তাঁকে খালাস করে দিল। আমার কথা আপনি রেকর্ড করেও রাখতে পারেন।
—হ্যাঁ, রেকর্ড তো করবই। কারণ, আমার পত্রিকা যদি আমাকে প্রশ্ন করে এটা যে আজমের ফোন আপনি কী করে বুঝলেন? তখন আমি কী বলব?
—আমার কথা হচ্ছে, আমি দুদকে যাইতাছি না। এ কারণে যে আমাকে ছাড়াই মন্ত্রী সুরঞ্জিত সেনগুপ্তকে সে খালাস বলেছে এবং বলেছে, ওনার সঙ্গে ঘটনার কোনো কানেকশন নাই। এ জন্য দুদকের প্রতি আমার কোনো আস্থা ও বিশ্বাস নাই। যে তথ্য ফাঁস করে, তার (সুরক্ষার) জন্য আইন আছে। সে আইন অনুসারে যদি আমাকে প্রধানমন্ত্রী, স্বরাষ্টমন্ত্রী, মানবাধিকার কমিশন নিরাপত্তা দেয়, তাহলে আমি যেকোনো তদন্তে যেতে রাজি আছি। আমি পারসোনালি (ব্যক্তিগতভাবে) পিএমের কাছে নিরাপত্তা চাচ্ছি।
—পিএমের কাছে নিরাপত্তা চান?
—আপনার মেয়েটার নাম যেন কী?
—আমার? এটা বলা কি ঠিক হবে? আমারই তো নিরাপত্তা নাই। আবার বউ-বাচ্চার…।
—মেয়েটার নাম যেন কী?
—আসলে এগুলো বললে সমস্যা। বাচ্চা-কাচ্চার বয়স কম, ভয় পাবে।
—আপনি যে আজম খান, আমি এর নিশ্চয়তা কীভাবে পাব?
—ও (হাসি দিয়ে), এটা সবাই বলে। আমার মেয়ের নাম…(প্রকাশ করা হলো না)। আর ওয়াইফের নাম হচ্ছে…(প্রকাশ করা হলো না)।
—আপনার মূল বক্তব্য কী?
—আমি পারসোনালি চাচ্ছি, এ তিনজন আমাকে নিরাপত্তা দেক। তাহলে শুধু দুদক কেন, যেকোনো তদন্তে হাজির হব।
—স্বরাষ্টমন্ত্রী নিরাপত্তা দিলে হবে?
—না, না। পিএমকে দিতে হবে। কারণ, আমি বঙ্গবন্ধুর সৈনিক। বঙ্গবন্ধুর মেয়ে যদি আমাকে নিরাপত্তা দেয়, আমি যেকোনো তথ্য দিতে অর্থাৎ আমি যা জানি তা দিতে রাজি আছি।
—আপনি আওয়ামী লীগের রাজনীতির সঙ্গে যুক্ত?
—হ্যাঁ। আমি গতবার ভোট আওয়ামী লীগকে দিয়েছি। আমি কেন, আমার ফ্যামেলির সবাই আওয়ামী লীগকে ভোট দিয়েছে। আমার নিরাপত্তা না দিয়া আমার নামে চিঠি দিল, আমার নামে মামলা করব বলে বলছে, দুদক জজ মিয়া নাটক করব…। আমি ভালো করে বুঝি, তারা কী চায়। এ সমস্ত নাটক কইরা লাভ নাই। আন্তর্জাতিকভাবে আমার নিরাপত্তার কথা বলেন। আমার কাছে আরও তথ্য আছে। এগুলো এখনো আমি বলিনি। দরকার কী? তবে প্রয়োজন হলে সব বলব।
—দেখেন, এপিএস মন্ত্রীর, জিএম রেলওয়ের, টাকাটা যাচ্ছিল ঝিগাতলায়। মন্ত্রী হলো সুরঞ্জিত, কমান্ডার এনামুল—সে-ও রেলওয়ের লোক। তার পরও যদি বলে যে মন্ত্রী সুরঞ্জিতের সাথে এর কোনো সম্পর্ক নাই—এই দুদকের প্রতি আমার আস্থা ও বিশ্বাস নাই। তারা যে আমার জন্য কিছু করবে, এ রকম কিছু আমি দেখি না। সাধারণ পাবলিকও একই কথা বলবে। একটা কথার কথা বলি, এখন আমাকে নিয়ে যদি মাইরা ফেলে, তাহলে আর কোনো সাক্ষী নাই। আমি কেন এভাবে আমার জীবনটা নষ্ট করব? বঙ্গবন্ধু এ দেশ স্বাধীন করছে, ওনার সঙ্গেই এ দেশের মানুষ বেইমানি করছে। আর আমার মতো আম-পাবলিকের সাথে বেইমানি করব না, এটা কোনো কথা অইল?
—যেহেতু দুদক সুরঞ্জিতকে ডাকে না, জিজ্ঞাসাও করে নাই। তাহলে আমাকে ডাকে কেন? আমি কি আসামি নাকি? এপিএস, জিএম—সবাই বরখাস্ত হলো অথচ ওনার কিছুই হলো না। আমার কী হবে? আমার তো কোনো নিরাপত্তা নাই।
—আচ্ছা ঠিক আছে।
—রিপোর্টটা করেন। করলে ভালো হবে। না করলে আমি অন্য ব্যবস্থা নেব।
—আচ্ছা ঠিক আছে।
আজম: আসসালামুআলাইকুম।
প্রথম আলো: ওআলাইকুম আস-সালাম।
সর্বশেষ সোমবার দিবাগত রাত সাড়ে আটটায় আজম খান আবার এই প্রতিবেদককে আরেকটি নম্বর থেকে ফোন করেন। তিনি জনতে চান সংবাদটি ঢাকায় পাঠানো হয়েছে কি না?

Eid-cattle market at Jahangirnagar University!

Dhaka, Oct 23 (

A makeshift cattle market has been thrown up on the Jahangirnagar University campus ahead of the Eid-ul-Azha without permission from the country’s lone residential university and the local administration.

The university is already on vacation for the Durga Puja and Eid festivals.

A visit to the scene on Wednesday morning revealed that some 25 cows were tied to trees near the gate-1 of the university. The university’s Assets Officer Azim Uddin was the coordinator of the cattle market, relevant people said.

Mohammad Sabuj, a cattle trader, said some eight traders were running their business in Pandhoya area adjacent to the university upon an agreement with Azim Uddin.

জাহাঙ্গীরনগরে গরুর হাট!

Azim Uddin was the Security Officer of the university, but he was forced to resign over his failure to ensure security to students on the campus and over the killing of Zubair Ahmed, a fourth-year student of the English department.

Alamgir, who gave one name and who is an employee of Begum Khaleda Zia Hall, said a small cattle market had been also set up in the university territory during the last year’s Eid-ul-Azha under Azim’s supervision.

Azim Uddin and the university Registrar Abu Bakar Siddique could not be reached on their cell phones for comments on the issue.

Acting Proctor Akkas Ali told that such a small cattle market had also been set up on the campus in the past and no permission was sought.

Officer-in-charge of Ashulia Police Station Badrul Alam said any lease holder must secure permission from the district administration to set up a cattle market anywhere.

“A list of the approved cattle markets has been given to us. But no permission was given to set up such market in Jahangirnagar University area,” he added.

The cattle market in the university territory drew huge crowds of buyers on Wednesday, two days before Eid, and most of the buyers were the university teachers and the residents of the adjacent areas.

Mafruhi Sattar, Chairman of the university’s Pharmacy Department bought a cow at Tk 60,000. He told that people suffer much in buying sacrificial animals in the cattle markets in the city.

He, however, expressed concern that the increased number of cattle heads in market set up in the university area could destroy the university’s atmosphere.

World, co-financiers to meet for Padma fate

The Daily Star October 24, 2012

The World Bank will shortly sit with the co-financiers to discuss implementation of the Padma bridge project, said WB Bangladesh Country Director Ellen Goldstein yesterday.

“There will be a joint mission meeting with the co-financiers to begin discussions on some changes in implementation of the project…. It’s a complicated implementation process with some large-scale tendering activities,” Goldstein said.

ACC chief, lawyer talk different

বিশ্ব ব্যাংকের সঙ্গে ৪৬ কোটি ডলারের ঋণচুক্তি

She was talking to reporters after the WB signed two credit deals with the government at the Economic Relations Division. The $457 million loan will be used to improve rural transport and bring rural areas under the power network, which will benefit some 25 million people.

Earlier on Sunday, she said a WB mission would arrive in Dhaka next month to begin talks on the execution process of the $2.97 billion project, the largest infrastructure scheme in the country. Goldstein also hinted that the project work and corruption investigation would go on simultaneously.

Meanwhile, the Anti-Corruption Commission yesterday sent responses to all the inquiries of a WB panel, which is assigned to review the ACC probe. ACC officials said they had sent 20 investigation-related files to the WB expert panel.

The WB, lead financier of the Padma bridge project, cancelled its $1.2 billion loan deal in June, saying it had proof of a “corruption conspiracy” involving some Bangladesh government officials and executives of a Canadian firm.

The co-financiers — the Asian Development Bank, the Japan International Cooperation Agency and the Islamic Development Bank — also halted release of their finds following the WB decision.

In September, the WB re-engaged in the project after the government agreed to meet the bank’s conditions, including sending the suspected government officials on leave till the investigation was completed and giving a WB panel access to the ACC findings.

Accordingly, the WB formed a three-member external panel headed by Luis Moreno Ocampo, former chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. The panel made its first three-day visit to Dhaka from October 14-16.

“They [the panel] left on October 16 after a very positive meeting. They also agreed to work with the ACC,” Goldstein said yesterday. “When the panel receives the answers the mission will be in a position to write its first report.”

She said the bank encouraged the ACC to move ahead with the investigation as fast as possible for the WB to move forward to implement the project.

Earlier on several occasions the WB hinted its funding would depend on a “positive review” by the panel.

Talking to journalists at the ACC office in the capital’s Segunbagicha, ACC Chairman Ghulam Rahman said, “All the information and data sought by the World Bank panel of experts has been sent.”

He, however, would not give any details of the information.

Replying to a query, Ghulam Rahman said the commission would not interrogate any WB officials. But if necessary, it would discuss relevant matters with the bank.

ACC Commissioner Mohammad Shahabuddin later told reporters that the ACC had sent 20 files detailing the ACC probe into the corruption allegation.

Shahabuddin said the ACC investigation was yet to be completed. Asked, he refused to reveal the commission’s findings obtained so far.

“We sought help from the World Bank to get us information from Canada,” he said.

On Monday, the ACC chief said the attorney general on the commission’s behalf was in touch with the Canadian authorities. But the Canadian government was yet to respond.

Dhaka, Oct 23 (

The Anti-Corruption Commission on Tuesday said it was essential to speak to some officials of the World Bank in the ongoing investigations into perceived corruption in the Padma bridge project.

But Chairman Ghulam Rahman declined suggestions that they will be questioned.

“It will be a discussion, not interrogation,” Rahman said.

Earlier in the day, ACC’s Legal Advisor Anisul Haque told reporters that the ACC had initiated a probe into the graft allegations in Bangladesh’s largest-ever infrastructure project on its own and that the World Bank started pressing for an investigation later.

“The World Bank made the graft allegations later. So, the World Bank is a complainant organisation to the ACC. It’s essential to interrogate some WB officials for the sake of investigation,” he added.

He also said they had already made a request to the global lender.

The ACC Chairman, however, told reporters: “The World Bank is not an organisation for complaints. We’ve requested them to discuss the information they have given over the corruption charges in the Padma bridge project. There is no question of questioning them.”

The ACC Chairman found another ‘inconsistency’ in Haque’s remarks.

Haque said they would send the relevant documents that the World Bank’s external panel sought from the ACC by Thursday. “We had sought time from the World Bank team to provide the documents. The documents have been made ready and will be sent as early as possible,” he added.

But Rahman said all the papers have already been sent.

After some officials of the Integrity Department of the Washington-based World Bank raised graft allegations into the Padma bridge, the global lender cancelled its $1.2-billion credit for the $2.9-billion project on June 29, saying it had credible evidence of a corruption conspiracy involving Bangladeshi officials, executives of Canadian engineering giant SNC-Lavalin and some private individuals.

The World Bank, which decided to revive its loan commitment on Sep 21 after the Bangladesh government agreed to its terms and conditions, appointed an external panel early this month to oversee the ACC investigation.

The three-member panel recently visited Dhaka and held several meetings with the ACC’s top officials.

Haque said for the sake of proper investigation, it was also vital to know the latest developments in the Canadian probe into the corruption charges.

“We’re yet to hear anything about the issue. We hope that the World Bank officials will cooperate with us to this end,” he said.

Canadian police had arrested former SNC-Lavalin executives Ramesh Shah and Mohammad Ismail, along with Chief Executive Pierre Duhaime, in February this year. They were formally charged in April with graft conspiracy in the Padma bridge project.

The Canadian police are presently investigating the matter.

Shipbreaking yards warned

The Daily Star October 24, 2012

The Department of Environment (DoE) yesterday summoned the owners of seven ship-breaking yards in Chittagong, seeking explanations as to why they had not fulfilled the conditions mentioned in the Environment Clearance Certificate (ECC).

The owners were served with notices and asked to appear before DoE Director General in Chittagong Monowar Islam on October 25 between 10:00am and 2:00pm, said DoE sources.

The ship-breaking yards are: Sayeed Steel, Shima Steel, Mamun Steel, Al Safa Re-rolling Steel Ltd, KSB Steel Mill, Mahin Enterprise and United Steel Recycling Ltd.

Golam Md Bhuiyan, an acting director of Chittagong DoE, said the seven yards did not comply with 56 out of 62 conditions of the ECC.

The major conditions that have remained unfulfilled include provision of health protection and personal protection equipment for employees, infrastructural development, setting up of lightning absorbing equipment and installation of equipment to discharge and refine liquid waste and proper storage and disposal of substances harmful to the environment.

Mohammad Mahin, owner of Mahin Enterprise, told The Daily Star that he had not been informed about the DoE summons. He claimed that his yard had complied with all the preconditions required by the DoE.

Md Saleh Uddin, owner of Al Safa Re-rolling Steel Ltd and KSB Steel Mill, said he had complied with all the primary conditions and was working to fulfil the secondary ones in phases.

He termed the whole process time-consuming and alleged that the DoE’s inspections and actions against the ship-breaking yards had been hindering progress in fulfilling the conditions.

Hefazatur Rahman, President of Ship-Breakers’ Association, said, “The DoE itself is not fully aware of the 62 conditions, as all those are not possible to comply with.”

He said the installation of heavy lifter, for instance, was not possible because of the lack of dry docks.

DoE Director General Monowar Islam said the DoE had found that the firms were not complying with the ECC instructions.

“This is because the owners do not intend long-term investment in the sector. As a result, the employees are suffering the most since ship-breaking is risky and hazardous for health,” he added.

The DG said the DoE drives would continue in future.

World Bank’s second team due early next month

Ellen Goldstein, country director of World Bank, speaks at a press briefing in the capital on Sunday. Photo: Rashed Shumon/The Daily Star

Dhaka, Oct 21 (

The World Bank on Sunday said a decision on whether Padma bridge construction and investigation into alleged ‘corruption conspiracy’ could go simultaneously would be made after the lending agency’s second panel arrives in Dhaka.

At a news conference the agency’s Country Director for Bangladesh, Ellen Goldstein, said that they would not object if a decision came that implementation of the project and the investigation would run simultaneously.

But she found that process would be time-consuming and would not specify any timeframe when the project may begin.

সরকারের ঘোষণা অনুযায়ী প্রবৃদ্ধি সম্ভব নয়

Goldstein, who also heads the Bank’s operations in Nepal, made the statement in response to queries at a press conference on Bangladesh’s current economic situation at its Dhaka office.

Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith on Oct 17 said that Bangladesh wants that the investigation and the project go simultaneously.

“Our demand is — investigation and implementation of the project should go together. Whether it will happen we will know once the second WB team comes (to Dhaka).”

Goldstein said the second team is coming to Dhaka early next month to discuss the work plan of the project.

That team will discuss and finalise the date to start the implementation and how the investigation will run, she said.

She said that there was institutional deficiency in the Padma bridge inquiry and that the Bank wanted to address those for a solution.

Goldstein was hopeful of an understanding through the visit of the three-member panel assigned to oversee the investigation process.

About the second team, she said the next panel of representatives is scheduled to arrive in November but there was no final date yet.

Economic Relations Division Secretary Iqbal Mahmood, however, on Oct 18 said the second World Bank team would arrive in the first week of November to decide strategies for the project’s implementation.

The Washington-based global lender on June 29 had cancelled its pledged $1.2-billion fund, claiming to have found ‘credible evidence’ of high-level corruption by government officials associated with the $2.9 billion project.

Amid the government’s persuasion, the Bank announced revival of the agreement on Sept 20 but said the final decision would be taken based on its inquiry supervision panel’s report.

On Oct 1, the Bank said it would send two teams to Dhaka to assess the government’s measures to investigate ‘corruption’ in the project as per their condition to the government.

One of the two teams will evaluate the fairness of the Bangladeshi investigations, and in conjunction with this assessment, the second panel will collaborate with the Bank’s co-financiers in modifying the project implementation arrangements to ensure greater oversight of procurement process.

One of the two panels, formed to oversee the Anti-Corruption Commission probe into the alleged corruption, left Dhaka on Oct 16 after ending its three-day visit.


The Daily Star online

The World Bank wants the Anti-Corruption Commission to move fast with the investigation in the Padma bridge project, Ellen Goldstein, country director of the global lender, said on Sunday.

“The (WB’s external) panel is encouraging the ACC to move ahead with some speed to deepen the investigation process,” Ellen told journalists at a briefing on the Bangladesh’s economic update at the WB office in Dhaka.

She also said the panel has requested the ACC in written to provide it (panel) with more information on the issue.

The three-member external panel of WB headed by Luis Moreno Ocampo, former chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, assigned to review the investigation into the Padma bridge corruption allegation, left Dhaka on October 16 wrapping up its two-day visit.

The visit was the first of a series of visits on the issue.

Ellen said the panel’s next visit is yet to be finalised, but hinted that it may come again in December-January.

On the economic issue, the WB forecast that Bangladesh’s economy will grow at around 6 percent this fiscal year, which is down from last year’s 6.3 percent, mainly due to weak external demand and domestic investment constraints.

WB’s senior economist Zahid Hussain presented the keynote paper on the economy.

Benefit analysis of Rampal coal power plant at Sundarbans shows much negative impact

News - Rampal power plant to doom Sundarbans: Study
The proposed coal-based Rampal Power Plant will bring more harm than good for the country, environmental experts warned on Saturday.

“Rampal Power Plant will bring 81 percent of loss against only 19 percent good for the country…the project will cause environmental damage for the country’s largest mangrove forest, Sundarbans,” Dr Abdullah Harun Chowdhury, professor of environmental science at Khulna University, told a press conference at the National Press Club in the city this afternoon.

Remove power plant from the Sundarbans

The government has decided to set up 1320MW coal-fired power plant beside the Poshur River at the edge of the Sundarbans under the Rampal Upazila of Bagerhat district. It signed a joint venture agreement with an Indian state-run electricity generation company on January 29 this year.

Bangladesh Paribesh Andolon (Bapa), Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB), Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA), Centre for Human Rights Movement, Save the Sundarbans Foundation, Committee to Protect Agricultural land, Bagerhat Development Commission and Green Voice jointly organised the press conference.

Delivering the key findings of his research titled ‘Environmental Impact of coal based Power Plant of Rampal on the Sundarbans and Surrounding areas’, Dr Abdullah Harun said if the power plant is established, the ecosystem, environment and wildlife of the Sundarbans will be badly affected and it will be impossible to bring back the natural state of the forest.

He said the coal-based power plant will also damage the surface water and agriculture of the surrounding areas and affect the livelihood of local people.

The research findings shows that climate, topography, land use pattern, air and water quality, wetlands, floral and faunal diversity and captive fisheries will be affected permanently due to proposed power plant.

It says increasing water logging condition, air pollution, health hazards and destruction of agriculture will happen due to the plant.

Dr Abdullah Harun said a typical coal power plant uses only 33-35 percent of the coal’s heat and majority of the heat is released into the atmosphere or absorbed by the cooling water.

Addressing the press conference, Prof Asif nazrul, a teacher of law at Dhaka University, said the Indian government was trying to set up the project in India, but the Indian people protested the coal-fired project and the Indian government is compelled to set up outside the India.

“Why does Bangladesh government take such a destructive project near a world heritage side?” he questioned, adding that it is the government’s international obligation to protect world heritage sides like the Sundarbans.

Bapa president ASM Shahjahan, BELA chief executive Adv Syeda Rizwana Hasan, convenor of the National Committee for Protection of Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Port Engr Mohammad Shahidullah, water expert Engr Enamaul Haque, among others, spoke at the press conference.