PM unveils first Bangladeshi laptop
Author / Source : STAFF REPORTER
Dhaka, Oct 11: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina unveiled Doel, the first laptop manufactured in Bangladesh, at a ceremony in Dhaka’s Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC), on Tuesday morning.
Recalling her election pledges, she said the inauguration of the distribution and marketing chain of Doel is a big step towards implementing the “Charter for Change”, to build a digital Bangladesh.
The Prime Minister also asked the education ministry to take effective steps to introduce computer notebooks in schools, to free students from the burden of carrying heavy books. The Prime Minister said that after assuming power, Awami League has broken the monopoly of a private company in the cellphone business, and made mobile phones available to common people, at cheap rates.
She listed every measure taken by the government to implement its electoral commitment in creating a “Digital Bangladesh”. “We’re committed about building a technology-oriented and knowledge-based Bangladesh by 2021,” she said.
“Every part of the country will be brought under e-governance, while telecom systems will be made up-to-date, to cut digital divide,” she added.
She said that steps were taken to manufacture optical fibre in state-owned Bangladesh Cable Industries, in Khulna. This would help the high-speed internet services industry, she added.
The Prime Minister said the government has also taken initiatives to enhance the bandwidth capacity of submarine cable, to 140 gigabyte, from the existing 7.5 gigabyte, and reduce the charge of every megabyte of bandwidth to Tk. 10,000, from the current Tk. 27,000.
She also said that 3G mobile services would be made available in remote areas. It would provide better cellphone services to 17 lakh Teletalk subscribers and 48 lakh 2G subscribers. The Prime Minister mentioned that the postal department is being rehashed and said, “These positive trends should continue in future and everybody should put their best efforts in implementing the programmes.”
Telecommunications minister Rajiuddin Ahmed Raju presented a set of four models of the Doel laptop and also the electronics appliances produced by Telephone Shilpa Sangstha (TSS) in the last two years, to the Prime Minister.
The state-run TSS, in collaboration with 2M Corporation Ltd, Dhaka, and TFT Technology, of Penang, Malaysia, has produced four models of “Doel”, which have been priced at Tk. 10,000, Tk. 13,500, Tk. 22,000, and Tk. 26000. The laptops have been named after the country’s national bird – Doel (Magpie Robin).
Of these laptops, Primary Model 2102 has been named keeping in mind the Language Martyr’s Day on February 21, while Basic Model 0703 signifies Bangabandhu’s historic March 7 speech, Standard Model 2603 points to the country’s independence day on March 26, and Advanced Model 1612 is a reminder of the National Victory Day on December 16.
Moasir Hossain, general manager of TSS, told The Independent that, so far, the state-run company has produced 3,400 laptops. “Today, the marketing chain of these laptops have been launched. The first lot of these laptops will be distributed among various government organisations”, he added.
He said that it is possible to produce 10,000 laptops, every month, with current capacity.
When asked whether common people would be able to buy these laptops, Hossain said these will be made available in the market, after meeting up government demand.
Sources said the education ministry, alone, has ordered 1.5 lakh laptops, for distribution in different schools. Thus, the chance of having these laptops marketed, within the next two years, is very thin, they added.
Mohammad Ismail, TSS managing director, said that these laptops are products of an initial project, worth Tk 1.84 billion. “Apart from some small microchips, 90 components, including the motherboard, are being manufactured in the TSS factory,” he added.
He said that the primary models, with prices between Tk. 10, 000 and Tk. 13,500, sport a 10-inch LCD screen, VIA processor, and the Android operating system. The advanced models – priced at between Tk. 22,000 and Tk. 26, 000 – have 14-inch WXGA LED backlit screen, Pentium processor, and Linux operating system.