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     Volume 6 Issue 29 | July 27, 2007 |

   Current Affairs
   Cover Story
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   View from the    Bottom
   Human Rights
   Dhaka Diary
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Price Control
It broke my heart to hear a confident-looking adviser of the present caretaker government, Tapan Chowdhury, saying that the prices of rice were not likely to come down in the foreseeable future. I wish the government would have a heart and say something that would give us, the poor people, hope about the successes of the caretaker administration.
Newspapermen have been publishing reports about rising prices of rice and paddy in the international markets and about the resultant high cost of import on the part of the government. Equally disappointing are the reports about internal procurement of rice. Is there not a voice to cheer us up for a brighter future?
When I go to the kitchen market, I find the prices of almost every good to be rising. Baby food, edible oil, sugar, rice, fish, meat, vegetables, poultry birds and things that you need for a balanced diet are all on the rise. Why are the prices of essentials galloping? Is there no authority to control them? So how is it possible to live on a limited income and vote for the political party candidates when the elections come?
Shahin Latif
Trishal, Mymensingh

Wishing well -- our Nightingale!
The Nightingale of Bengal Sabina Yesmin is afflicted with the deadly disease cancer, and off to Singapore for a better treatment. Sabina needs no complimentary words. This Bard of Bengal has won the hearts of music lovers with her sweet voice all over the world. She has in her name more than thousand songs that are unique on their merit. There is hardly any music lover who is not moved by songs such as Khoka Phirbe-- Oi rel lainer dhare" , "Ek modho boyoshi nari", "Shundar shubarna" to mention just a few.
Sabina has made us proud; she has made us happy -- with her wonderful rendition of songs that are unique: her patriotic songs are incomparable in terms of appeal and her vocal magic.
We pray to the Almighty for an early recovery of our Nightingale.
Rafiqul Islam Rime

Home is where the Heart is
The article 'Home is where the Heart is' (July 20, 2007) was very heart warming. I believe only Star Magazine has the vision to talk about such issues which we the general public generally tend to overlook.
The writer beautifully described our incessant need to build bigger and better houses. Yes, we need "smaller saner dwellings" with little green gardens where we can sit and read or stroll and where the kids can play. I hope the builders, the architects and the aspiring home owners will keep this in mind next time they build those great extravagant mansions. Let us all unite and save space, energy and resources!
Star Magazine, please bring out more of such issues which deserve our immediate attention.
Roushan Rizwi Ridwan

Cell Phones
Thanks to the writers for their excellent cover story 'Connecting the Nation' (July 13, 2007) that gives us an outline on how cell phones, earlier regarded as a symbol of status for the better-off persons, has spontaneously reached the hands of even a day labourer, are contributing to gaining economical benefits. With the help of mobile phone operators, it has now become possible for people to enjoy the advantages of a modern, easier and faster communication system at an affordable cost.
But I think the writers skillfully evaded some features for a positive approach to their writing. Apart from the usefulness of cell-phones to a very important section of our population, the young generation are inclined to spending a lot of their precious time (especially at night) talking on the phone instead of studying. Again, lots of girls are being disturbed over the phone. Unwanted calls often make them panic and their guardians tensed. We all should be more careful so that cell-phones, often regarded as a blessing for the poverty-stricken people of a developing country like Bangladesh, does not turn into a hazard for the users.
Mominul Islam
Notre Dame College, Dhaka


The cover story 'Connecting the Nation' depicted how mobile phones have become a bare necessity from a status symbol. I think what the writers could also have mentioned the consumers' interest. It is now very clear that the mobile phone companies are doing good business from and the main strength is the customers. In the competitive market all the cell phone companies are now offering cheaper tariff to the customers.
But what they are not looking at is the billing system. Customers have to face a very awkward situation both when purchasing prepaid cards and during topping up. Prepaid cards of most of the companies are worth Taka 20, 50 and 100 etc but are charged 1 to 5 taka more from the original price printed on the cards. The same thing happens during topping up. According to the sales centres, due to the allocation of the cards and topping up form the dealers can't but sell the cards and top-ups at higher price. Isn't it a violation of consumers' right to have to pay this extra amount of money? Also during the national festivals customers are forced to pay an even higher price because of a scarcity in the markets. In addition to that there are network problems, which lead to a delay in topping up.
I think it is high time the mobile phone companies look into these problems. Customers' right should always be given the most priority.


It is true and admissible indeed that the communication system in Bangladesh has developed dramatically in the last few years. The writers demonstrated the expediency and utility of the cell phone in the cover story 'Connecting the Nation'.
I agree with all the points and issues the writers raised in their piece. The communication, both national and international, has definitely boomed. The digital divide has been bridged by the mobile phone. The villages have been connected with the cities. The days of waiting for letters from villages in the country as well as from foreign countries for news and information are over. The poor can also afford a cell phone. The spread of mobile phones may add 0.6 percent to the GDP every year. Neglected women of rural areas have been empowered with a simple Polli Phone. It is one of the greatest human inventions ever. A mobile phone is no more a status bearer. The mobile phone has metamorphosised the nation unimaginabley.
But the dark side is that it has many abuses and disadvantages too. Using mobile phones while driving, students spending nights on the phone instead of studying, managing terrorist activities, wasting money in the form of unnecessary calling, disturbing people with prank calls all these generate fear and nuisance. Once I became extremely anxious when my barber turned on his cell phone and started talking while cutting my hair.
I would like to draw the attention of the government to create some rules and regulations regarding the use of a mobile phone. If anyone abuses it, he or she must be brought under the law. I would also request service providers to make their offers less complex. They should also reduce their call rates.
Mohammad Shafiqul Islam
Lecturer, Department of English
Metropolitan University, Sylhet

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