<%-- Page Title--%> Column <%-- End Page Title--%>

<%-- Volume Number --%> Vol 1 Num 110 <%-- End Volume Number --%>

June 20, 2003

<%-- Navigation Bar--%>
<%-- Navigation Bar--%>
<%-- 5% Text Table--%>

Private Parts


You have to appreciate the style of Bangladesh Bank in encouraging 'privatisation', in today's world the motivating mechanism of any state-of-the-art state.
Many a government has been put in a dilemma and the tug of words continue whether to house-train a state-owned institution or to patronise the rosy prospects in the private sector.
Recently a social organisation had what it considered a narrow escape and thanks to the government. Having full faith in the government machinery and out of sheer loyalty, the social organisation was about to open an account of their hard-collected funds in a nationalised bank, just when news appeared that Sonali, Janata, Agrani and Rupali each a huge and experienced nationalised bank have all been categorised as 'problem bank'. Although it refers to cutting down operating costs, stricter vetting in sanctioning loan, undertaking formal initiative in realising debts and bringing back general discipline in the banks, the news was enough to persuade that social organisation, and surely many others, to retract their decision and deposit their money in private banks. Albeit synonymous, no organisation wants to become a 'body' immediately after opening of an account, always regarded somewhat as a launching off.
A gentleman bought a new car.
A second gentleman asked him: 'What make is your car?'
First gentleman, presumably from the south: 'Bolbo!' which in Bangla means 'I will tell'.
Second gentleman, again: 'Bhai, what make is your car?'
First gentleman: 'I told you, bolbo.'
Second gentleman, irritated: 'Arre bhai! Is it so difficult to tell me the make of your new car?'
First gentleman: 'I am telling you, bolbo.'
Second gentleman, by now visibly fuming: 'What do you mean, bolbo, bolbo, when all I am asking is the name of your car?
First gentleman, by now transforming from annoyed to angry: 'I am telling you from the very beginning, bolbo, but you keep on nagging and nagging.'
Only when the two were about to exchange hands more violently than a robust handshake did a third party, who spent eight years in Barisal, explain to the second gentleman what the first gentleman bought.
Anyways, welcome back after the break.
The other day I was travelling on a Volvo bus from Chittagong. Superb vehicle. Smooth on the road and popular with the passengers, the driver of course thought it was a large Mishuk and his favourite entertainment was to overtake other vehicles on a narrow bridge, even if it meant going on the wrong side of the divider. On at least two occasions I thought he would go through the bridge guardrail. Gripping on to my otherwise comfortable seat on such occasions, I had decided that if and when I reach Dhaka bolbo his boss. My lethargy saved the guy's job, I think
It turned out that this luxurious and expensive Volvo bus belonged to our government-owned BRTC, which has a head office building, a yard, a training institute, manpower, experience and state backing. But, dumfounded as you may be, it found it more profitable too lease the buses to a private company. That's another plume for privatisation's panama.
A news item last Saturday scared me. It read that owing to the rise in attack on them our police brothers are now scared. Why not! If the thugs can rob you of your weapons, shoot at you and kill you, they can do anything.
At this critical juncture of their life, some good news for our police brethren. They have nothing to worry and can go back to sleep, because they can now turn to privatisation. From the money they earn, (music in the background playing paisa feko, tamasha dekho) the police could easily hire dozens of private security personnel, who are doing a wonderful job. Well almost! Only last week, three of them were tied up before an apartment they were protecting was robbed.
To further assure our brothers in the police, look at the brighter side of it. When you are insecure, you can turn to privatisation, but if the private sector is in trouble, as were those three, they have no one to turn to.
The health sector is healthier in the private clinics and diagnostic centres, however low may be their hygienic condition. Pre-KG, KG, primary, secondary, higher secondary, college and university students have to rely almost totally on private coaching centres, although in reply to the meaning of 'software' we still get such answers as 'naba jatak shishur jonyo naram kapor' (soft clothing for newborn baby). Housing is entirely private except for the apartments the government constructs for government officers.
We will have to leave it to the psychiatrists and those mad enough to delve in our psychosomatic matters why thirty-two years after driving away the danob called Pakistan we are still living with the spirit of 'gobment ka maal, dariya me dhaal'? Pardon the Urdu legacy, but these are pervasive ailments eating into the very roots of our existence Urdu and our apathy about anything belonging to the state.


(C) Copyright The Daily Star. The Daily Star Internet Edition, is published by The Daily Star