Sundarbans shrinking

September 14, 2013

50,000 hectares of forest lost in a decade to encroachment
Sundarbans shrinkingEncroachers have deforested nearly 50,000 hectares of the Sundarbans in the last decade,
a study has found.
This means the world’s largest mangrove forest spreading over 6.01 lakh hectares area has lost 8.3 percent of its northern front between 2000 and 2010.
The study, done by the Soil Research Development Institute (SRDI) and published last month, revealed this alarming picture by comparing the forest’s aerial images taken by a satellite throughout the period.It says the forest Read more

Field test delayed

September 14, 2013

Vitamin-enriched Rice
Field test delayed 
Scientists wait for approval from regulators
Field test delayedRegulators’ foot-dragging has failed scientists in field-testing Vitamin A-enriched rice, better known as “Golden Rice”.
A year passed by since the researchers sought approval for a “confined field trial” on Golden Rice but they are still to get a response.
As a result, the plant breeders at Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI), who have been trying to develop a Vitamin A-enriched rice variety suitable for Bangladesh’s agro-ecological climate, missed out one growing season (Boro) Read more

Grabbing ‘legalised’

September 1, 2013

4 Dhaka rivers lose 2,500 acres of land thru’ dubious demarcation
Grabbing ‘legalised’River-saving efforts of the government are backfiring to some extent as around 2,500 acres of foreshores and existing waterways in four rivers in greater Dhaka has been given to “land owners” in the process.
According to related laws, no-one can ‘own’ foreshores or waterways of rivers within the declared port limit. Any authority like the district administration cannot lease out such land either.
The Shitalakkhya river alone has lost 1,860 acres of land including 595 acres Read more

Rice revolution

August 25, 2013

Bangladesh set to release the world’s first zinc-enriched variety
Rice revolutionBangladesh is all set to release the world’s first zinc-enriched rice variety, capable of fighting diarrhoea and pneumonia-induced childhood deaths and stunting.
The hi-zinc rice will also be the most early-mature variety to be grown in Aman season in the country.
The National Seed Board (NSB), the authority to approve new crop varieties, is due to give its approval of the country’s first biologically fortified (biofortified) rice variety at a meeting tomorrow , Anwar Faruque, additional secretary Read more

Out of control

August 23, 2013

House rent in Dhaka going up by about 15pc every year; owners arbitrary for lack of proper law, specific authority
Out of controlCapital Dhaka is home to some 150 million people. One study shows nearly 80 percent of them live in rented houses, and they do so, as it looks, at the mercy of the house owners. It hardly occurs to most owners that tenants too have some legal rights.
Tenants do have rights. Under the law that regulates house rent, owners cannot let their houses without written agreements; cannot take more than one month’s advance; and cannot increase rent before two years. But these are all in the book. In practice, these rules are violated Read more

Hard times on highways

August 17, 2013

Thousands suffer as tailbacks delay Dhaka bound trips by hours
Hard times on highwaysA 70-kilometre tailback on Dhaka-Tangail highway that lasted for about 17 hours took a serious toll on the Eid holidaymakers returning to the capital yesterday.
The congestion, from Chandra of Gazipur to Bangabandhu bridge in Tangail, began when a bus broke down on a bridge in Kaliakoir upazila around 2:00am, said Officer-in-Charge (OC) of Gorai Highway Police Station Jobaidul Alam.
Although the bus had been towed away within an hour, the oncoming traffic Read more

Hundreds of acres of forest, crop land, water bodies destroyed

August 6, 2013

Purbachal Housing Project
Hundreds of acres of forest, crop land, water bodies destroyed
Hundreds of acres of forest, crop land, water bodies destroyedThe authorities destroyed nearly 1,600 acres of crop land, forests, orchards and water bodies in Kaliganj under Gazipur district for creating Purbachal New Town, a government housing project, about 16 km from the capital.
Flanked by the rivers, Balu and Sitalakhya, the township is partially curved out of Rupganj upazila in Narayanaonj district and Kaliganj upazila in Gazipur district.
Public Works and Housing Ministry and Rajdhani Unnayan Kartipakkhya took Read more

Good initiative, gross negligence

August 4, 2013

Jamuna Eco Park
Good initiative, gross negligence
Good initiative, gross negligenceThe Bangabandhu Jamuna Eco-Park in Sirajganj, which could become a lucrative spot pulling in local and foreign tourists, has been in a sorry state for years.
The park, about 125 kilometres north-west of Dhaka, has over 50 varieties of timber, fruit and medicinal trees and a zoo, but fails to draw many tourists due to a lack of necessary facilities and publicity, said visitors and officials concerned.
The 600-acre park on the western end of Jamuna bridge at Soydabad in Read more

Children’s park turns into dump, truck garage

August 3, 2013

Children’s park turns into dump, truck garageThe English Road Park of the capital, which was made for children’s recreation, is now used for dumping garbage as well as a truck garage.
It is impossible for anyone who never visited the spot to imagine that once it was a children park as no amenities and park installments are left there.
One part of the park is now used for dumping wastes from the surrounding areas while another part is used for parking trucks and vans.
In front of the English Road Park there is a Dhaka South City Corporation Read more

Karnaphuli at stake

August 2, 2013

Upturned Oil Wagons
Karnaphuli at stake
Karnaphuli at stakeThe furnace oil, spilled from three wagons of a freight train derailed at Boalkhali in Chittagong on Tuesday, poses a serious threat to the aquatic creatures living in the river Karnaphuli, and its surrounding biodiversity.
The three oil tankers contained around 1,00,000 litres of furnace oil, around 33,000 litres each, the railway sources said, assuming that fifty percent of the toxic oil containing in the three tanks might have been spilled into the adjacent canal leading to Karnaphuli. Manjurul Kibria, Read more

Motorbike riders continue to flout sidewalk rules

July 23, 2013

Motorbike riders continue to flout sidewalk rulesIllegal motorcycle riding continues on the sidewalks of the capital city flouting the rules as well a High Court order with the police looking the other way.
In the absence of enforcement riders use the sidewalks as their free way to the detriment of the pedestrians.
The Dhaka Metropolitan Police and its traffic wing pay no attention to the gross irregularity. The city has forgotten that the sidewalks are for the pedestrians.
On March 5, 2012, the High Court asked the DMP and the Dhaka Read more

No specific date for completion of work

July 21, 2013

No specific date for completion of work
No specific date for completion of workAfter missing out on several deadlines, the government seems unwilling to give a specific date for commissioning of the under-construction Gulistan-Jatrabari flyover, apparently due to slow pace in the project implementation.
Slow progress of construction forced the local government division to postpone the opening of the flyover by prime minister Sheikh Hasina scheduled for March 26, according the officials.
‘The construction of the Gulistan-Jatrabari flyover would be completed Read more

Faulty design halts construction

July 20, 2013

Moghbazar-Mouchak Flyover
Faulty design halts construction
Faulty design halts constructionThe work of the 8.25 kilometre Moghbazar-Mouchak flyover has been almost suspended six months after the start of its construction because of faulty design, said officials.
Experts and consultants said that the project cost, estimated at Tk 772.7 crore, could increase due to the delay and initiatives to redesign the flyover while commuters’ sufferings continued because of congestions on the road stretches in the project area. After starting work on a faulty design in February, the local Read more

Pollution engulfs Gulshan Lake

June 29, 2013

Pollution engulfs Gulshan LakeGulshan Lake and its surroundings continue to be polluted as household wastes and sewage find their way into the water body.
Local people and environmentalists have alleged that for lack of enforcement of law and proper planning the
lake is continuously getting polluted.
Habibur Rahman, a resident of Gulshan 2, blamed the authorities for inadequate
initiatives to save the lake.
With the city experiencing Read more

Sand trading or river grabbing?

January 18, 2013

Govt launches drive to protect Turag, locals sceptic
Sand trading or river grabbingIn a drive against river grabbing often under the cover of sand trading, the Dhaka district administration yesterday removed heaps of sand from the foreshore of the Turag river, but did not arrest or fine anyone.
Administration officials, who conducted the drive at Sinnirtek in the capital’s Mirpur, said they did not find the grabbers. But this correspondent found on the spot four people who admitted doing sand trade there.
All the four men claimed they were lawful owners of the foreshore, and alleged Read more

Beautified Hatirjheel attracts visitors

January 11, 2013

It’s now a recreation spot
Hatirjheel seems to be a picture of Dhaka we could dream of. It is indeed a small piece of the capital that stood aloof from the rest. The sight of its jam-free express roads, uncluttered footpaths, modern bridges, walkways along a lake stretching as far as our eyes can see would compel us to forget the city we hear, see and experience every day.
The irony is that the place could have been well described as the dumping zone of Dhaka before the government took up the project. The lake used to be a ditch carrying Read more

Biting cold batters life

January 10, 2013

Mercury dips 45-year low; 82 deaths reported in a week; more cold spells this month
A record-breaking cold spell sent the mercury plummeting across the country yesterday, with Dinajpur experiencing 3.2 degrees Celsius, the lowest in almost half a century.
Many thousand people suffered badly as the persisting chilly weather with strong winds sent them packing home early, limiting their outdoor activities to only basic necessities.
The biting cold took at least three lives in Dinajpur, Rajshahi and Joypurhat yesterday, raising the cold-related death toll to Read more

River commission to have little power

January 8, 2013

Cabinet Okays River Protection Bill
River commission to have little power
It can only recommend measures; greens doubt its effectiveness as grabbing, pollution go on
In the wake of river grabbing and pollution, the government is forming the National River Protection Commission which will only make recommendations but have no statutory power of implementation.
Green activists, who have long been pressing for a single river authority, say just another recommending body would not do any good.
The government has a legal obligation in this as the High Court on  July 19, 2009 ordered forming a commission which Read more

Smiles, all around

January 2, 2013

Children get free textbooks on first day of New Year
Children began this year in a festive mood with new textbooks in hand yesterday.
Gifts awaited them at schools across the country as they woke up to the first morning of 2013 to celebrate “Textbook Festival Day”. Students of primary and secondary grades were beaming with joy as they were handed over those textbooks for the new academic session.
The government has planned to distribute about 26.17 crore copies of textbooks among some 3.68 crore students of Read more

Welcome 2013

January 1, 2013

Revellers poured out into the streets singing and dancing and exploding crackers to usher in the year 2013 as the clock struck midnight past
Monday amid jubilation.
Security was heightened in Dhaka and other cities to fend off any untoward incidents during New Year celebrations.
Hundreds of peoples, especially the youths, started thronging Dhaka University campus, clubs and hotels and restaurants in the evening to bid farewell to 2012 and welcome Read more

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