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     Volume 6 Issue 9 | March 9, 2007 |

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Dhaka Diary

Confusion with the Law
This happened during the second evening after the government announced that all shopping malls and shops would have to close 7 pm. Some of the stores like pharmacies and restaurants were still open. Both my five-year-old sister and I were suffering from cold and a bad cough. So our mother took us to the nearest physician for a check up, whose chamber was located inside a mall. Even though the pharmacy was open inside, the authorities locked the mall on the outside. Both the doctor and patients who had lined for visits were trying to get the gates opened, but they would not budge and said that the mall could not be opened since the law clearly stated that all malls were to be closed according to the new rule. We hung around for a while and then left the place. I think the government should try to prevent this problem very soon by constructing new power plants and also by clearing up any kinds of confusion, which may arise because of this rule.


Corrupt Security Officials
I was recently stopped by security personnel in blue and white uniforms on some pretext whilst entering Gulshan from near Aarong in the early afternoon. My driver showed them all the papers they asked for and then stepped aside with them for a minute, he came back shortly after paying them a sum of money and we were on our way once again. I guess some things never change no matter how much cleaning up the government tries to do. The question is, who is regulating the regulators? Perhaps the army should set up a sting operation and make an example of some of these people.


The Banished Businessmen
A few days ago I went to Nilkhet to buy some books with the anticipation that I would be able to shop around in comfort as the pavement alongside the market would be free from the mobile shops. When I had reached the place, I saw a completely different scenario. Many people were carrying handful of bags and wooden cartons. They were scurrying about. I took a closer look and was utterly surprised. These men were in fact, the same mobile salesmen who have been banned from doing business in the premises of the market. They were carrying CDs, clothes and daily necessities, such as, brushes, leather bags, nail-cutters and so on. Many people were having difficulty walking through them because they were all over the place persuading the reluctant customers to buy their goods. Others kept them waiting impatiently in an awkward position as they vanished from the sight to look for change. Although there were some policemen in the vicinity, some were having jhal muri while others were skimming lazily through the CD contents of the salesmen. But none of them were doing anything to minimise the hassle in the market. It was indeed a rather strange but funny thing to see.

Naome Syed

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