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     Volume 6 Issue 26 | July 6, 2007 |

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News Notes

Accepting Corruption, the Khoka Way
Corruption is a word that is thrown around far too easily in Bangladesh, and the Mayor of Dhaka city, Sadek Hossain Khoka seemingly joined the bandwagon. When announcing the budget for the Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) he said that corruption had been prevalent in the City Corporation since British times and that it wasn't anybody's job to remove the corruption from the DCC offices overnight. My, my, he is the head of DCC and he has openly claimed that the corporation is riddled with corruption, yet he does nothing about it, instead claiming that it is not anybody's job to fix the problem! What more can this nation and its capital ask for, finally an honest man in the government. His statement is symptomatic of a nation where the word accountability is used more like a punch line rather than the bottom line. In the same speech he outlined how the DCC planned to spend Tk 1,356.88 crore for the coming fiscal year, while last year they could only spend 801. There is a constant complaint amongst the city dwellers that the city corporation wastes too much money, yet on the other hand they always underutilise their allotment. In the end it leaves us in a laughable position, if we used the money correctly (without digging up roads in the monsoon) then we would be left with even more recourses, which could be better used to bring this rapidly growing metropolis up to standard. Instead, we are left with broken roads, constant land filling, illegal high-rises and atrocious drainage. There is a lot of work to be done in the city and a lot of money to be spent on worthwhile projects. What we get in return is lip service and an official who openly accepts the corruption around him. The word accountability much like the broken streets and blocked drains of Dhaka needs to be resurrected.

Dead Reptiles Floating in Sundarban Waters

Apossible oil spill from an Iranian container vessel maybe responsible for a sudden change of colour in the water in the Sundarban areas. On July 1 The Prothom Alo reported that the waters in all the rivers in the Satkhira area had turned black and sticky and several sharks, crocodiles and other fishes were turning up on the river surface. On the same day Reuters reported that an Iranian flagged vessel Mir Damad, a container ship with 18 crewmembers, sent a distress signal that they were struggling to keep their ship afloat in the Bay of Bengal. There was a crack at the bottom of the ship and was apparently taking in water approximately 22 miles southwest of Mongla. The vessel was bound for the Indian port of Kolkata from Chittagong port. The ship has never been inspected in the Asia-Pacific region, and is considered HIGH RISK by the MoU on Port State Control. People from adjoining areas are reported to be hiring fishing nets to fish for the huge number of hilsas that are turning up on the waters. Locals who have been living in that area for years have stated that they have never seen the river turn into this colour before. People who have gone into the water have complained that the water is making their body itch.

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