Home  -  Back Issues  -  The Team  -  Contact Us
     Volume 6 Issue 17 | May 4, 2007 |

   Cover Story
   View from the    Bottom
   Food for Thought
   Straight Talk
   Dhaka Diary
   New Flicks
   Book Review

   SWM Home


Stop Noise Pollution
Residents of Dhaka still have to put up with deafening noise pollution and do not feel any difference in the level of noise despite the recent clamp down on horn happy motorists. On February 16, DMP seemed to have woken up finally and made a move to enforce an age-old law banning vehicular horns in certain areas of the city. While the general public appreciated the effort, they were a bit taken aback and disappointed by the careless attitude of the DOE (department of environment) over the matter.
DMP started to file cases against offenders from February 22. As of March 20 a total of 3,184 cases were filed. They also seized 719 hydraulic horns in one drive. DOE on the contrary, have been busy for years formulating new rules to fight noise pollution. Finally in September last year, it finalised a set of rules against polluters. Surprisingly it did not incorporate vehicular horns into the new set of rules.
Indiscriminate use of vehicular horns in this city is the major cause of noise pollution and has turned the city into one of the noisiest urban areas in the world. Noise pollution has risen to dangerous levels, especially due to a sharp rise in the number of vehicles exposing millions to serious health hazards. Moreover thousands of constructions sites, factories, and unabated use of loud speakers are adding to the noise pollution.
The concerned authorities should take effective measures to curb noise pollution. Mass awareness among drivers, passengers and the general public is very much needed to control noise pollution.
Sharmin Rashid Nice
Department of English,
Lalmatia Girls College, Dhaka

The South-west Region
It is very regretful that none of the past governments have paid proper attention to the south-west region. Every year the government earns more than 2500 crore taka as revenue from here mostly through shrimp exporting. But there are no other notable industries here.
From the country's only newsprint mill here, all other industries like the jute mill, textile mill and other factories are now closed or going to close. The government is yet to start exploring gas mine and other natural resources here. Experts say that there is a huge amount of gas in the Nowapara and Phultala area under the districts of Khulna and Jessore. The country's second largest seaport Mongla is now totally idle. There are only four universities in the 21 districts of the south-west region. There are two universities in Khulna but there are just 150 seats for Arts students and nothing for the Business Studies students except for about 25-30 seats in B.B.A. Khulna, the third largest city of this country with 10 lakh inhabitants. Most of them are now leaving Khulna because of unemployment. There are just two 10-storied buildings in the whole city. The world's largest mangrove forest remains undeveloped for tourism. There is no progress of the Padma bridge project.
If this attitude isn't changed, the situation could get worse.
Mustahidur Rahman Fuad

On Separation of State and Religion
I strongly disagree with the notion that religion and state should be separated (The State of our Religion, April 20, 2007). It is impossible to separate the two. Who is State? The state is an intangible thing, it is a concept. It has to be run by human beings, many of whom lead their lives based on different religious values. As long as human beings are not separated from religion, it is not possible to separate religion from state.
Furthermore, state and politics are the two places where the role of ethics exists more than anywhere else. Religion deals with ethical issues. The ultimate objective of all religious guidelines is to make a society based on ethical values. If religion is not allowed to be combined with politics and state affairs, then where should it be applied? It is like separating a computer from a CPU. Chopping off the head for a headache is not the solution. What happened in 1947 was not a result of religion, but because of its misinterpretation. Enlightening the masses with the true message of religion is the solution; confining religion to simply a culture is not.
Esraj Fairuz
Dept. of Management Studies
University of Dhaka


The facts presented in the cover story 'The State of Religion' were very disturbing. Some of the so-called Muslims want to relegate Islam from the majority Muslim-populated country in the name of secularism. Ahmede Hussain criticised Islamic political parties which means that religious people don't have any political rights. And at the same time he is talking about democracy. How funny! He is asking for a ban on Islamic attire like the topi, which is an important sunnah of our Prophet Hazrat Mohammad (SM) and the head scarf, which is the greatest farz of a woman according to the Holy Quran. The author has encouraged modern, scientific thinking among ordinary citizens which implies that the Quran and sunnah are not modern and scientific. I wonder how much the author actually knows about Islam and whether he bothered to study any books on the religion. I want to request the author to study and learn Islam first and then hold his pen against the religion. Wrong explanations of Islam will misguide the young boys and girls and I would request him to refrain from doing so.
Md. Shariful Islam
Marketing Executive
Bangla Motor, Dhaka


I fully agree with your cover story The State of Religion (April 20, 2007). The basis of the cover story was not to demean our sacred religion, which professes peace and harmony. For the last couple of years Islamic symbols like topis and headscarves have been used by some unscrupulous politicians who abuse the religion to reap dividend. There was no mention in the story to bar honest religious people from joining politics, only that our religious feelings should not be exploited.
State and religion should be separated, which I firmly believe will be beneficial for us to progress as a nation.
Shamma Naz Siddiqui
Dhanmandi, Dhaka

Sky Train for Dhaka
The government should put out a contract for a Sky Train like the one in Bangkok as soon as possible. It will be a lot easier to build a sky train than an underground system, which can be a longer-term goal if necessary.
I heard the mayor of Dhaka on TV saying that we are too poor for this. Obviously he hasn't heard of Build and Operate schemes or foreign financing, it would cost us nothing but the allocation of some land. We also have local construction companies with considerable expertise who can build it, thereby creating employment. The sooner this contract is out, the sooner our traffic and public transportation problems will be solved. It will improve the quality of life for people, as they will not have to get up for a 2-3 hour commute to work in the morning. The planning should start as soon as possible as they will need space for stations and medians and that will have to be planned in advance. It will have to run for around the same price as a rickshaw ride, the Thai have managed to operate it at very low rates so the citizens can afford it. Construction takes time, so the sooner this is started the better, let the government solve a problem before it reaches a critical point.

Submission Guideline:
Letters to the Editor, Dhaka Diary and Write to Mita, with the writer's name and address, should be within 200 words. All articles should be within 1,200 words. A cover letter is not necessary, but every write-up should include the writer's name, phone number and email address (if any). While SWM welcomes unsolicited articles and photographs, it cannot accept the responsibility of their loss or damage. SWM does not return unsolicited articles and photos. Response time for unsolicited write-ups range from three weeks to two months. All articles submitted are subject to editing for reasons of space and clarity.
All materials should be sent to: Star Weekend Magazine, 19 Karwan Bazar, Dhaka-1215, Fax: 880-2-8125155 or emailed to: <starweekendmag@gmail.com>
It is recommended that those submitting work for the first time to the SWM take a look at a sample copy beforehand. Our website is: http://www.thedailystar.net/magazine

Copyright (R) thedailystar.net 2007