Vol. 5 Num 648 Sat. March 25, 2006  

Sylhet intíl trade fair uncertain
Students oppose use of MC college, ministry orders probe into alleged irregularities

Holding of the International Trade Fair in Sylhet by Sylhet Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) at MC College ground has become uncertain.

The ministry of commerce in a letter sent to Sylhet Deputy Commissioner has asked the administration to probe the allegation of corruption by fair organisers in selecting the 'event management firm'. The letter reached the DC office on Wednesay.

On getting a complaint from Bangladesh Moslin and Jamdani Foundation, the ministry asked the Deputy Commissioner to stop the fair and look into the irregularities and corruption in selecting the firm. The DC has been asked to send the probe report within seven days, official sources said.

The Sylhet Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) had earlier announced that the fair would open on March 23. To organise the fair, it had selected an 'event management firm' from Chittagong.

Accordingly, work began at the MC College ground, which sparked commotion among students as HSC annual examinations are nearing.

As the students protested, the college principal also withdrew the permission for holding the fair two weeks ago and asked SCCI to stop preparing the field for the fair.

Students in banners of different organisations and forums held rallies and handed over memorandums to the principal for stopping the fair.

Meanwhile, seeing students' commotion, the administration also showed a lukewarm response to the SCCI initiative.

A meeting of the fair advisory committee held last week with Divisional Commissioner in the chair could not take any decision about holding the fair on the MC College ground.

However, SCCI President Faruque Ahmed Misbah told The Daily Star yesterday that he did not get any letter from any quarter to stop preparations for the fair.

"I saw the news (about the fair) in some local newspapers. The ministry has just asked the DC to make an inquiry. We will try to make our position clear if there is any inquiry", he said.

"We talked to students and the principal and hope things will be alright soon", Misbah claimed.

He alleged that some vested quarters were provoking students not to allow the fair on the college.

"We hope to start the fair in the first or second week of April", Misbah added.

However, some student leaders told this correspondent that they would not allow the fair on the college ground.