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     Volume 5 Issue 89 | April 7, 2006 |

   Cover Story
   Straight Talk
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Fill up the empty parliament
According to Abraham Lincoln, "Democracy is of the people, for the people and by the people. We proudly claim that Bangladesh is a democratic country. But is it true? But is there anyone who hears our voice? Our existence and entity is gradually expunging and we are responsible for this. We have now become a magician's stick. We have no ethics. We are just ingesting what is being directed and dictated. Our neighbouring country (India) is developing in every sector in line with the other countries. That hasn't changed us.
Our parliament has no functionality. The main opposition is absent from it. They are striving to raise their voice against the ruling party but why will the general mass be affected? Their absence deprives us from hoping for any development. This is an obsolete parliament. It is heading towards oblivion. 2021 is the year of Bangladesh's Independence golden jubilee. I wonder if we will be able to get an operative parliament before that.
Ayan Gupta
Khilgaon Govt. Staff Quarters

Acute power crisis In Old Dhaka
Dhaka is recently facing acute shortage of electricity, water and gas. However, the shortage is more acute in areas of Old Dhaka. I am a citizen of Nazimuddin Road, everyday from 12a.m. to 6 a.m. there is continuous load-shedding. We have to stay wide-awake all throughout the night in this hot and humid weather, with mosquitoes feasting on our blood. Besides, during the day the electricity is cut off every hour. We pay the same amount of tax as others? So why do we have to suffer so much?
Zannatul Lamea (Eshita)
Nazimuddin Road, Dhaka

Speaker's Neutrality
We have a 15-year-old parliamentarian democracy in our country, after the fall of the Ershad regime. Regretfully, our parliament has failed to execute its constitutional duty and our honourable members of parliament have done injustice to the people who voted for them. Most of the times the main opposition party has kept themselves away from the parliament by questioning the speaker's neutrality.
The speaker is nominated from the treasury bench and he also has to perform his duty as MP to his constituency. He has to ensure nomination from the party in the next election from his constituency. So it becomes very complicated for the speaker to play a neutral role. To unravel this problem DS Editor Mahfuz Anam proposed that all political parties should agree not to field any candidate in the constituency from where the speaker stands and thereby guarantee his re-election.
Honourable MP G.M.Quader also gave his suggestions.
But we barely see our political parties settled upon any single point of nation's interest in the last 15 years. Thus it will be very difficult to make one trust that opposition parties will vote for the treasury bench nominated speaker candidate or the treasury bench will do for opposition candidate. Moreover in this present hostile political condition, one cannot dare to expect that government and opposition will pick the speaker through mutual dialogue.
Both proposals have potential but could fail in the context of our country. Rather it can be proposed that like the president, one must resign from the party he belongs to, when he will be elected as speaker. Furthermore he will not be permitted to contest any election in future. His duration will be five years and he has to quit from his office when new parliament elects its new speaker. Former speakers should get all types of constitutional facilities and honour that an ex-president normally gets. In this system when a person is elected as speaker, has to resign from his party and sees no further hope to get nomination in any parliamentary election, then he can step out from his partisan attitudes and pay equal interest to both treasury and opposition.
Shamsul Arefin
Nikunja, Dhaka

A poet's image
Poets are the conscience of the nation. Al Mahmud is a romantic poet. Though he changed his former vision of life his statement "I wish to be identified as a poet. A poet does not need to show his allegiance to any political dogma" is worthwhile in itself.
I want to thank SWM for the cover story on Al Mahmud on February 17. It should also be highlighted that he also wrote short stories and novels. We hope there will also be cover stories on Shamsur Rahman, Nirmolindu Gun and Syed Shamsul Haque. Credit goes to Shamim Ahsan for his subject choice and brilliant composition and also to Nasir Ali Mamun for his historical snapshots.
English department, DU

New business!
A new form of business has been revealed. Some hawkers have started selling books about Shaekh Abdur Rahman and Siddiqul Islam alias Bangla Bhai. They claim that their books contain up-to-date information about them and their organisation, JMB. According to them if anyone buys a copy of their book he will get to know about the past life of each of them, their rise as terrorists etc. They also say that they have the whole story of the operation carried out by RAB to capture both of them. They also claim to have information about the controversial facts of their source of income!
But when I went to check how right they actually were I was simply shocked. Most of the information was incorrect. Instead of serving its readers these books will confuse them about the whole situation. So I urge the concerned authority to take steps against selling these books.
Atiqur Rahman

In search of a solution
I want to thank the writers (Imran H Khan and Shamim Ahsan) for doing the cover story on the most controversial issue of unpleasant and insecure working conditions of garment factory workers. I was acquainted with such a victim who was the breadwinner of the family. He used to work at a garments factory in Gazipur and died when it collapsed last year. Now that family is surviving in very meagre conditions.
These accidents are occurring because of the lack of implementation of proper legislation and the government's inactiveness to form a proper governing body. Garments workers are too poor to go to court against the owners. But why are the legislators not concerned about punishing the perpetrators? The government should directly intervene in the face of such events. I hope the magazines and newspapers continue to speak against the garment owners wrong-doings.
I have endless questions to the sagacious arbitrators: How can we eradicate these disasters? How can we compensate the victims? How can we lessen the merciless casualties?
SAU, SB Hall

Thanks to Motiur Rahman
Mr Motiur Rahman and other generous people are warmly thanked for setting up three philanthropic funds for Prothom Alo. The poor people of the country need their assistance therefore their charitable approach is highly praiseworthy. Their outlook can inspire others to do the same. I want to convey my compliments to Prothom Alo for arranging such funds and request well-to-do persons of the society to contribute to these funds.
Chuadanga Govt College

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