Monthly Archives: May 2009

Tipaimukh Dam movement gains momentum

Tipaimukh Dam movement gains momentum

Staff Reporter

The people of Sylhet and north-eastern side of the country are seriously opposing the construction of Tipaimukh Dam project on Borak River at the upper reaches of Rivers Surma and Kushiara, which is located just a kilometre from the border of Zakiganj in Sylhet.

Different social organisations of Sylhet Division, environmental organisations and political organisations are protesting the construction of the dam each day by organising different programmes including protest rally, human chain programme, roundtable and discussion. If the construction of the dam is completed by 2012, the greater Sylhet region and the northern and eastern side of the country would be most vulnerable.

Sylhet Division Development Action Council, a Dhaka-based organisation of Sylhet people, are protesting the construction of the dam.

On Wednesday, the organisation formed a human chain programme at Muktangan in the city led by its President Advocate Abed Raza demanding steps of the government to stop the construction of the dam. The organisation will also organise a human chain programme in front of the National Press Club on May 27 to raise public opinion against the dam.

Advocate Abed Raza told this reporter if the Government does not take steps to protest the Tipaimukh dam construction soon, then they would form strong movement to protect the north-eastern side of the country from desertification.

The student wing of the organisation Sylhet Division Development Student Action Council started movement on the issue from Dhaka University.

The organisation has taken 15-day-long programme by organising a press conference at Dhaka University campus on May 18. They formed a human chain on DU campus on May 21 and submitted a memorandum to Water Resources Minister through vice chancellor of the university.

It will organise a demonstration on May 25 at the foot of Aparajeyo Bangla on DU campus.

Jalalabad Association of Dhaka protested the construction of the dam. On May 16, its AGM was held at Shishu Academy in the city. The leaders of the Association at AGM promised to protest the construction of the dam strongly.

At the programme, Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, Social Welfare Minister Enamul Haq Mostafa Shaheed, Chief Whip Abdus Shaheed, former state minister and BNP leaders Ebadur Rahman Chowdhury and Enam Ahmed Chowdhury and one more lawmaker of Sylhet Division, among others, attended. They opposed the construction of the dam and called upon the people to raise their voice against Tipaimukh dam. The two ministers at the programme hoped if the people were united, the Indian government would cancel the project.

Lawmaker of Sylhet-5 (Kanaighat-Zakigonj) constituency, Hafiz Ahmed Majumder told this reporter the national unity irrespective of political differences should be formed against the construction of the dam in Monipur State in India. The country would incur huge economic and environmental losses if neighbouring country builds the dam, he added.

Former lawmaker Principal Farid Uddin Chowdhury told this reporter that the Government is silent when the Indian government is implementing the construction of the dam. If the government fails to stop the construction of the dam, the people of Sylhet will form strong movement to protect their own self, he added.

Every day, different political organisations and social organisations organise programmes in Sylhet city.

Ongikar Bangladesh is one of the organisations, which is continuing the movement in Sylhet.

Bangladesh Sabuj-Shyamal Parishad, Jago Sylhet, Sylhet Bachao Andolan, Sylhet Jobo O Chhatra Kallyan Federation and other organisations are active and continuing the movement.

It may be mentioned that the Indian government has completed all preparation to construct Tipaimukh dam. The construction work was postponed in March 2007 in the face of protests from different quarters.

The central government of India has taken new programme to implement the project. According to the source, the design of the project has been completed. The government will spend 5,163.86 Indian Rupee to construct the dam.

Shipbuilding industry to be declared thrust sector

Shipbuilding industry to be declared thrust sector

A file photo shows engineers talk near constructed ships at the Western Marine shipyard at Chittagong. Industries minister Dilip Barua has said the emerging shipbuilding industry would be declared ‘thrust sector’ in the new industrial policy. — Reuters photo

A file photo shows engineers talk near constructed ships at the Western Marine shipyard at Chittagong. Industries minister Dilip Barua has said the emerging shipbuilding industry would be declared ‘thrust sector’ in the new industrial policy. — Reuters photo

United News of Bangladesh . Dhaka

The emerging shipbuilding industry would be declared thrust sector in the new industrial policy, now in the making, as it has huge export- and job-creation potential, industries minister Dilip Barua said to a German business delegation on Wednesday.

He said the new government is paying special attention to the imperative of flourishing the potential shipbuilding industry to generate massive employment opportunities and increase the earning of foreign currencies.

‘It is possible to increase export income through massive development in the shipbuilding industry amid the global economic recession,’ he said when the delegation from a Germany-based shipbuilding organisation, Komrowski Maritime, called on him.

The delegation was led by its owner Ernst P Momrowski. Among others, project director of Komrowski Maritime Wilfried Muller and Ananda Group chairman Dr Abdullahel Bari, managing director Afroza Bari and director Tariqul Islam were present.

Ernst P Momrowski said it is possible to be profitable by utilising the prospects of the shipbuilding industry of the country. ‘It has opened the way for earning more foreign currencies than the RMG sector earns as there is a big chance for value addition in this industry.’

He suggested giving the entrepreneurs cash incentives at the rate of 25 per cent for five years and making rates of banks’ LC and guarantee commission logical.

Ernst P Momrowski also suggested the government to allow investment of money from undisclosed sources to attract local and foreign investment for the industry.

The minister assured of the government’s ‘all-out cooperation’ in tapping the potential of the shipbuilding industry, which has started importing ships to western countries.

He also informed the delegation that the present government is determined to turn Bangladesh into a modern and welfare-oriented state through industrialisation.

Japanese co to invest $15m in Adamjee EPZ

Japanese co to invest $15m in Adamjee EPZ
Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha . Dhaka

Japanese company Maruhisa Pacific Company will set up a knit, woven garments and textile industry in the Adamjee Export Processing Zone.

The fully foreign owned company will invest $15 million in setting up their unit and will produce knit and woven garments and textile. The company will also create employment opportunity for 1,570 locals including 257 foreign nationals, a BEPZA news release said.

An agreement to this effect was signed between the Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority and the Maruhisa Pacific in BEPZA complex on Tuesday.

BEPZA member Mahbub Ul Alam and president of Maruhisa Pacific Kiminobu Hiraishi signed the agreement on behalf of their respective sides.

Executive chairman of BEPZA Brigadier General Jamil Ahmed Khan and officials from the both the organisations were present.

Tk 10cr capital market institute on cards

Tk 10cr capital market institute on cards . Dhaka

The government has made available Tk 10 crore to set up a capital market institute to develop skilled manpower for the stock markets and sensitise investors.

The finance ministry allocated the fund on Sunday for the Bangladesh Institute of Capital Market, an official of the ministry told news agency, on condition of anonymity.

Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Ziaul Haque Khondker confirmed the news to the news agency on Wednesday.

He said that the process for setting up the institute might start as early as this July.

‘Since the government has acted fast on the matter, we also want to start it as soon as possible,’ added Khondker, who is the first investment banker to head the stock market watchdog.

He said the SEC was on the lookout for a site for the institute, preferably at the Motijheel commercial district.

The regulatory chief said the institute would work to supply a steady line of skilled manpower to the brokerage firms and run programmes to sensitise investors about the market and the dynamics.

‘As a result, betting money on rumours will come down, which will help to build a more efficient market,’ Khondaker added.

The BICM has already been registered with the office of the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies and Firms as a not-for-profit organisation, according to the ROC website.

The idea of a separate institute for the capital market was floated about three years back by the then SEC chief AB Mirza Azizul Islam, who went on to become the finance adviser to the 2007-2008 military backed interim government.

No reason to rest assured over

No reason to rest assured over
Delhi’s Tipaimukh assurance

WITH the Indian High Commissioner in Dhaka, Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty, recently confirming that his government is going ahead with its controversial Tipaimukh dam project on the river Barak, the water resources minister’s reaction to Delhi’s plan appeared somewhat confusing. It was reported on Tuesday that Pinak had met the shipping minister Afsarul Amin and confirmed for the first time that the Tipaimukh project is underway. Upon emerging from the meeting, Pinak assured journalists that the dam would produce hydroelectricity and would not ‘harm’ Bangladesh in any way. Curiously, the water resources minister, Ramesh Chandra Sen, said Dhaka would not object to a project to produce electricity but would protest if a dam was constructed. What he has apparently overlooked is the fact that the dam is an integral part of the hydroelectricity projects and that there is hardly any scope for ifs and buts.

First and foremost, it is important for the incumbent government to clarify its position on the Tipaimukh dam, on the basis of scientific evidence and expert opinion in Bangladesh and from across the border, and not on the basis of spoken assurances of a foreign government. Secondly, it is clear to us that on issues of water-sharing, Delhi has been largely disinclined to fulfil its commitments in the Ganges Water Sharing Treaty, in which Bangladesh in recent years has been receiving significantly less water than promised. In fact, repeated official protests by Bangladesh on the issue of water shortfalls have been greeted by silence in Delhi. Under the circumstances, the protection of national interests demands that the government re-examine the scientific evidence on the possible environmental fallout of the Tipaimukh dam before it signals its approval.

The Indian high commissioner’s suggestion that the opposition to the Tipaimukh dam project was viewed unduly from a political perspective is also objectionable. He should know better that any issue which requires state-to-state engagement is political and the issue of the Tipaimukh is, thus, as much a political issue as it is a scientific one. It is all the more so because it involves the livelihoods of millions of people who rely on the Mehgna river system for freshwater, for their livelihoods, and for the overall food security of the region. Besides, the Indian high commissioner’s statement, by itself, represents a political perspective. With Bangladesh already struggling with water shortages in the fallout of global warming and consequent climate change, the Tipaimukh dam will have a snowballing effect on the environmental catastrophe already predicted. Under the circumstances, Dhaka should not only take a firm stance against any dam project which reduces dry season water flow into the region, it should also seek to address this dispute at the United Nations level where there is widespread recognition that rising sea levels and erratic monsoons caused by global warming will extract a deadly toll on Bangladesh’s development.

Nizami asks govt to take up Tipaimukh issue with India

Nizami asks govt to take up Tipaimukh issue with India
Urges keeping opposition in talks on the project

Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami Amir (chief) Moulana Motiur Rahman Nizami yesterday called upon the government to take a decision in consultation with the opposition parties for resolving the issue of Tipaimukh barrage project taken up by India.

“The interest of the country’s economy is linked to Tipaimukh dam located in the Indian State of Assam bordering Sylhet district. If the Indian authorities withdraw water unilaterally with the project, the country’s economy will be seriously affected, while there will also be desertification impacts in Bangladesh,” he said as he was speaking at a public meeting at Paltan Maidan in the city.

Nizami said that nearly 30 lakh hectares of arable land in the country were badly affected for construction of the Farakka barrage by India in West Bengal, while there would a serious adverse impact of it in a vast tract of land in Bangladesh if the Tipaimukh dam comes into operation.

“Many rivers have dried up due to Farakka barrage, while water flow in a number of rivers including Meghna, Jamuna, Surma and Kushiyara would decline to their lowest level making Bangladesh a desert,” the Jamaat chief said.

Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami organised the public meeting in protest at the construction of the Tipaimukh dam by India.

Nizami was of the view that the catastrophic impact of Tipaimukh dam would be similar to ‘atomic holocaust’. He said the crisis should be resolved through bilateral talks with India keeping the opposition parties in the team of Bangladesh.

“If Indian authorities try to construct the dam unilaterally, the issue should be raised in the International Court of Justice, if required,” the Jamaat Amir said adding that the International Court of Justice would deliver verdict in favour of Bangladesh as the country’s claims are legitimate.

Nizami alleged that soon after assuming power, the Awami League government has been trying frantically to sign agreements on three issues, transit, South-Asian Task Force and Tipaimukh dam, without discussing the issues with opposition political parties.

“If the Tipaimukh issue is not resolved by the government in consultation with the opposition, then the people of the country would naturally suspect that the Awami League government came to power upon assurances given to India on the issues,” he said.

Nizami warned that his party “along with the people would launch a tough movement for greater national interest” if the government tries to appease the Indian government in this regard.

Turning to the mayhem at BDR headquarters, the Jamaat chief alleged that it would be written in history as the “big failure of the government” as it failed to take the right decision at the right time which led to the deaths of many army officers.

“A smokescreen has been created over the investigation into the carnage as the ministers are coming up with contradictory remarks. Restrictions also were imposed on the members of the army regarding investigation into the tragedy,” Nizami said asking as to whose interest such restrictions were imposed. “It might be a boomerang for the government one day,” he observed.

Among the central leaders of Jamaat, its Nayeb-e-Amir Mokbul Ahmed, secretary general Ali Ahsan Md Mujahid, Delwar Hossain Saidee, Abdul Quader Mollah, Quamruzzaman and secretary of Dhaka City unit Hamidur Rahman Azad and assistant secretary of Dhaka City unit Nurul Islam Bulbul and president of Islami Chhatra Shibir Rezaul Karim also addressed the public meeting.

Indian HC’s comment rejected

Indian HC’s comment rejected
Staff Correspondent

Left-leaning political parties and social organisations on Wednesday rejected the comment of the Indian high commissioner who said that the Tipaimukh dam would not harm Bangladesh.

They also blasted the government’s ministers for extending their ‘irresponsible support’ to the comments of High Commissioner Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty.

‘In the light of general knowledge and technical expertise, the Indian high commissioner’s comment that the Tipaimukh dam won’t harm Bangladesh is not acceptable,’ said the president of the Bangladesh Samajtantrik Dal, Khalekuzzaman, in a statement.

‘It should be thoroughly looked into whether the Indian high commissioner made the comment with a certain intention or because of lack of knowledge,’ he said.

He said that if the dam was constructed the water flow of the Surma and Kushiara rivers in Bangladesh would be reduced drastically in the winter and there would be flood during monsoon when the gates of the dam would be opened.

Khalekuzzaman said that 16 districts in the country are already facing desertification because of the Farakka Barrage and seven north-eastern districts would also face desertification if the Tipaimukh dam was built over the Barak, which is a cross-boundary river.

‘If we listen to the government’s policymakers it seems that they have become convinced by the Indian high commissioner, which is comparable to irresponsibility,’ he said.

He asked the government to call upon the Indian government to stop construction of the dam, otherwise they would go for a movement.

Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal’s president ASM Rab at a meeting alleged that the Bangladesh government was wasting time in stopping India from construct the Tipaimukh dam and demarcating the country’s maritime boundary.

Bangladesh Biplobi Workers Party’s president Khandaker Ali Abbas and Saiful Haque said that the Indian high commissioner was trying to conceal the truth by saying that the dam would not harm Bangladesh.

They demanded rigorous inspection of the dam’s site by a team comprising technical experts, politicians and journalists.

The Sylhet Division Development Action Council’s leaders at a protest meeting in Muktangon demanded expulsion of Pinak from Bangladesh for his ‘blatant lies’.

They also demanded removal of water resources minister Ramesh Chandra Sen and shipping minister Afsarul Amin, who had said that India had assured them that the dam would have no adverse effects on Bangladesh, from the cabinet.

The council’s president, Abed Raza, and members Syed Khalilur Rahman, MA Khan, Saiful Faruki and Ehsanul Jasim spoke on the occasion.

Another organisation, Amra Bangladeshi, also protested against the two minister’s comments on the effects of Tipaimukh dam.

Jamaat rally at Paltan: Stop India from building Tipaimukh Dam

Jamaat rally at Paltan: Stop India from building Tipaimukh Dam

Staff Reporter

Democracy, independence and sovereignty of the country are now under dire peril and people with ‘nationalist spirit ‘ should get united to protect and preserve the country’s interest, said leaders of Bangladesh Jamaat-e – Islami yesterday.

The country would incur huge ‘economic and environmental’ losses if neighbouring country build Tipaimukh Dam. The government should consider opposition’s views on the issue and could go to the International Court if the bilateral discussion between Bangladesh and India fail to provide any positive result on it.

Their observation came at a rally in protest against the construction of ‘Tipaimukh Dam’ by India at Paltan Maidan in the capital.

Dhaka city jamaat organised the rally. Moulana Rafiqul Islam Khan, city ameer of jamaat presided over the programme.

It was the first public meeting of jamaat in the city yesterday since the parliament election in December 2008.

Mokbul Ahmed, Nayeebe Ameer, Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid, secretary general, joint secretaries-general Mohammad Qumaruzzaman, Barrister Abdur Razzak, Abdul Qader Mollah and Prof Muzibur Rahman, among others, spoke on the occasion.

“The government should realise in depth on the adverse consequences of Tipaimukha Dam since 30 lakh acre farm land of the country has already been ruined due to Farakka Barrage, ” Nizami said.

He called upon the government to rise above ‘petty party interest’ and take the opposition to its confidence in order to ‘unite the nation’ for safeguarding the country’s interest.

“The Government should not divide the nation by creating issues that have been settled earlier,” he added.

The ameer of jamaat said, people of the country would not accept any deal which goes against the country’s interest.

Mentioning jamaat, a political party, which is committed to protect people’s and country’s interest, Moulana Nizami said, as in the past, jamaat would continue its movement on issues that go against the country’s interest.

Criticising the government for failing to provide power, water to the people and deteriorating law and order, Moulana Nizami said, the ruling party cadres have involved in toll collection and many educational institutions closed due to internal clashes of pro- government student organisation.

The ameer of jamaat demanded of the government to investigate the BDR mutiny neutrally and make public all three-probe committees reports and give exemplary punishment to perpetrators.

“If the fifth amendment of the constitution was annulled then the country might go back to the one party BAKSAL rule and the activities of the previous governments might be questioned,” he added.

He called upon ‘nationalist and Islamic minded’ people to forge unity to preserve the country’s interest.

Tipaimukh dam Pinak’s remark condemned

Tipaimukh dam Pinak’s remark condemned

DU Correspondent

Bangladesh Chhatra Kendra yesterday protested and condemned the remark of the Indian High Commissioner Pinak Rnjan Chakrabarti who earlier said that the Tipaimukh Dam on Borak River would not cause adverse effect on Bangladesh.

The protest was made in a statement signed by President of the organisation Mohinuddin Chowdhury Liton and General Secretary Kamrul Hasan Plabon.

The two leaders said that the Indian government is constructing the dam without consultation with Bangladesh government, which is violation of International River Law.

It was mentioned in the statement that three crores people of the northern and eastern parts of the country would be vulnerable seriously when the construction of the dam would be completed by 2012.

They called upon the government to take all possible initiatives officially to stop the construction of the dam to save the greater Sylhet region and its neighboring districts which include Kishoregonj, Netrakuna, Brahmmanbaria Narshingdi and Mymensing.

SDDAC protests remarks on Tipaimukh Dam

SDDAC protests remarks on Tipaimukh Dam

Staff Reporter

Leaders of Sylhet Division Development Action Council (SDDAC) yesterday demanded the resignation of Water Resources Minister Ramesh Chandra Sen, Shipping Minister Dr Afsarul Amin and withdrawal of Indian High Commissioner Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty for their controversial remarks on Tipaimukh Dam who earlier said that the dam on Borak River would not cause any harm to Bangladesh.

They called upon the people to boycott the Indian goods to create pressure on the Indian government to protest the construction of the dam to protect the northern and eastern region of the country from desertification.

The demand was made at a human chain programme at Muktangan in the city organised by SDDAC protesting the construction of Tipaimukh Dam on Borak River nearby the border of Sylhet.

President of SDDAC Advocate Abed Raza presided over the programme, while central leaders of the organisation MA Khan, Syed Khalilur Rahman, Saiful Faruki and Shaheda Abed, among others attended the programme.

Abed Raza said when the construction of Tipaimukh Dam would be completed by 2012, the Meghna, Surma, Kushiara and other rivers of the country would be dried and due to this reason a large area of the country would be turned as desert area.

Criticising the remarks of the two ministers and the Indian High Commissioner the speakers said that their speech is not true and against the interest of the country.

Bangladesh has bright prospects of exporting bamboo shoot

Bangladesh has bright prospects of exporting bamboo shoot

May 20: Bangladesh has bright prospects of exporting bamboo shoot, a non-traditional food item, to the developed countries including Germany, England, Netherlands, Australia and United States (US).

The non-traditional bamboo utilisation of the country will usher in a new phase through producing and exporting internationally standard shoot-made food items, which would play significant role in alleviating country’s poverty and accelerating economic development.

National Project Leader of bamboo shoots project titled “Transfer of Technology in bamboo shoot production, processing and marketing from China to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka” Mohammed Zashim Uddin said this to The Independent in an exclusive interview.

Common Fund for Community (CFC), International Center for Bamboo and Rattan (ICBR), International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR) and Bangladesh Forest Research Institute (BFRI) are jointly implementing the project at Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) with a view to developing bamboo shoot industry in the country.
The preliminary phase of the project had been completed while its implementation phase started functioning from June 2008.

Under the project, a processing plant for bamboo shoots, the first-ever in the country, at a cost of about 13 million taka will be installed near Karnaphuli Tea Estate under Fatikchhari Upzila in Chittagong district.

Mohammad Jashim Uddin said that the machinery for the bamboo shoot processing plant are scheduled to come from China next month. He said that the young shoots of several bamboo species are important vegetable ingredients in the daily meals in China, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, South Korea, and Hong Kong.

He also informed that international market for bamboo shoots is rapidly increasing in Singapore, Germany, England, Netherlands, Australia, Canada, Sweden and United States (US).

The BFRI sources said that Bangladesh will able to earn huge foreign currency by exporting shoot-made food items in different countries of the world as huge gap between demand and supply of shoots-made food items now exist in the market.

Walton to export refrigerators to African nations

Walton to export refrigerators to African nations
United News of Bangladesh . Dhaka

Bangladesh is going to add another item, refrigerator, to its export basket as the local refrigerator-manufacturing-company RB Group has signed initial agreements with Japan and some other countries in Africa.

According to its officials, the local business group, after massive negotiations, signed its agreements with a number of importers in African countries to export its brand-product Walton Fridge. Now they are preparing to open LC for the import.

‘An agreement is likely to be signed soon with Japanese importer,’ said RB Group assistant director Mizanur Rahman.

He mentioned that some representatives of a Japanese importing company recently visited the RB Group’s manufacturing plant in Gazipur.

‘They have expressed satisfaction with the quality and standard of our products,’ Mizan said. ‘We’re expecting to export our products to Europe also as negotiations are going on.’

The RB’s manufacturing unit, Walton Hi-tech Industries, now produces about 6 lakh units of refrigerators against a demand for 4 lakh across the country. About 2,500 workers remained engaged in the manufacturing plant, set up on 20 acres of land.

The plant was set up not only to meet the local demand but also to export abroad. But the recent economic meltdown gives the Walton a good advantage as its production cost is relatively low due to lower labour cost.

RB officials noted that after the global meltdown, many manufacturing plants in developed countries were forced to shut down. These countries are now looking for imports from developing countries.

Mizan said his group has been the first local company which entered into production of refrigerators and some other electronic goods. ‘We’re also producing motorcycle to meet the local demand,’ he added.

He claimed that Walton offered a 10-CFT refrigerator at Tk 20,700 while a similar-size imported refrigerator sells between Tk 30,000 and 33,000.

‘We can offer a cheaper price if we get policy supports and incentives from government,’ he said.

In the existing policy, he said, the import of refrigerator is easier than its production locally. ‘Import duty on raw materials is higher than duty on import of finished one.’

Presently, Walton is marketing 12 models of refrigerators by its 600 exclusive outlets and also by vendors throughout the country. Another 7 models will come into the market next month.

Pharmaceutical industrial park in a year, hopes Dilip

Pharmaceutical industrial park in a year, hopes Dilip
BSS, Dhaka

Industries Minister Dilip Barua yesterday hoped that work on setting up an active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) or pharmaceutical industrial park would be completed at Baunia in Gazaria upazila of Munshiganj district beside Dhaka-Chittagong Highway in a year.

“The process for land acquisition for the project has already started,” he said while addressing a meeting with leaders of Bangladesh Pharmaceutical Industry Owners Association (BPIOA) at the Industries Ministry here.

The Industries Minister said the work on setting up the park with modern facilities including environment-friendly infrastructure, central effluent plant, dumping-yard and incinerator will begin soon after finishing land acquisition.

BPIOA President Salman F. Rahman, Adviser Nazmul Hasan, MP, Vice-President Tariqul Islam, BSCIC Chairman Ashraf Mohammad Iqbal, Joint Secretary (autonomous body) Mohammad Abdul Matin, Project Director of API Industrial Park Mushfiqur Rahman were present at the meeting.

According to the WTO policy, the BPIOA leaders said, no royalty has been imposed on Bangladesh for production of patent drugs till 2015 as a least developed country.

They demanded setting up the API industrial park immediately in the interest of quick benefit to be earned from the facilities. “If the park is established, Bangladesh would earn foreign currencies equivalent to the amount fetched by the garment industry in the next five years,” they said.

The meeting has decided to constitute a committee comprising the BSCIC project director and BPIOA leaders to supervise the progress of implementation of the API industrial park project. “The committee will place its necessary recommendation by reviewing implementation progress of the project,” the meeting was told.

Dilip Barua said the Industries Ministry is working on a priority basis for setting up the API industrial park.

The government is interested in providing all possible assistance in flourishing the potential pharmaceutical industry, he said, seeking cooperation of the owners of the pharmaceutical industry to implement the project quickly.

The industrial park will be set up on 200 acres of land at a cost of Tk 213 crore. It will have 42 plots for production of raw materials for the pharmaceutical industry and if industries are established at the plots, indirect employment for 25,000 people will be created, an official handout said.

Besides, scope for foreign investment in pharmaceutical sector will be created side by side with local investment through the project. Income from medicine export will also be increased and foreign currency will be saved due to reduction of import of raw materials for the pharmaceutical industry, the handout added.

Bangladesh to gain most from UN treaty on ship-breaking

Bangladesh to gain most from UN treaty on ship-breaking

A view of ship-breaking in a yard at Chittagong. — File photo

A view of ship-breaking in a yard at Chittagong. — File photo

Jasim Uddin Haroon

Bangladesh will be the main beneficiary of the new United Nations ship recycling treaty signed late last week, as it would cement the country’s position as the world’s leading ship-breaker and create thousands of new jobs.

Officials said the country joined 62 other nations in signing the International Martime Organisation’s landmark Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, designed to make ship-breaking hazard free.

“It’s a big achievement for us. This treaty will regulate our ship breaking industry, make it more environment and labour friendly and will also spur its growth in the country,” said Commodore Bazlur Rahman, director general of Department of Shipping.

The new deal requires ship-owners to provide an inventory of the hazardous materials aboard a ship before it is sold out for recycling – work that is carried out mostly in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and China.

Rahman said the convention would also help transfer technical know-how to Bangladeshi ship-breakers who often rely on traditional technology to dismantle some of the world’s largest ships.

He said the agreement calls for ship recycling workers to wear protective gear and for recycling centres to properly dispose of hazardous waste and prepare emergency response plans.

The new deal also puts to rest the controversy over ‘beaching’ — a piloting method through which a ship is run aground on a beach and then slowly dragged to the dismantling yards along the shore.

Environmental activists have long said the practice lead to massive pollution of the beaches, destroying sea lives along the coast.

Captain Enam Ahmed who represented Bangladesh Ship Breakers Association in the IMO convention last week said the treaty would guarantee Bangladesh’s growth as the world’s leading ship-breaker.

“It’s landmark convention as far as benefits of the Bangladesh ship-breakers are concerned. It makes the retirement of all single hull oil tankers and cargo ships by 2010 a must,” he said.

“As a result, globally more than 1000 ships would be retired every year from 2010. It will bring down cost of scrap ships to a great extent. Our ship-breakers can be able to purchase more ships and keep the prices of rods down in the domestic market,” he said.

Bangladesh has more than 30 ship breaking yards along the five kilometers coastline at Sitakundu in Chittagong. Every year they dismantle some 120 big ships, making up some 45 per cent of the large ships sent into retirement.

Enam said at least 50,000 new jobs would be created as a direct fallout of the treaty, helping the country fight off global recession and boosting growth of the related re-rolling and construction industry.

Zafar Alam, president of Bangladesh Ship Breakers Association, said the treaty would protect the scrap industry from ‘unwanted’ interference from a slew of local and international charities.

“Very often, they do reports on our ship-breaking industry, which is devoid of any truth. The treaty will help explain some of the practices in the yards. It recognises ship-breaking as a legitimate industry,” he said.

Alam said as part of implementing the treaty, the association would build a 100-bed hospitals for the workers and their families and a school for their kids.

Beximco to export swine flu preventive

Beximco to export swine flu preventive
Business Desk

Beximco Pharmaceuticals Ltd on Tuesday announced that it would supply Oseltamivir capsule Oseflu to Latin and Central American countries, the regions most affected by the recent H1N1 swine flu outbreak, a news release said.

Beximco Pharmaceu-ticals introduced Oseflu in 2006 for the prevention and treatment of influenza including swine and bird flu.

In the same year it supplied Oseflu to the of Bangladesh and Myanmar governments for stockpiling to combat the Bird flu pandemic.