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     Volume 6 Issue 49 | December 28, 2007 |

  Current Affairs
  Cover Story
  Straight Talk
  Writing the Wrong
  Special Feature
  View from the   Bottom
  Food for Thought
  Dhaka Diary
  A Roman Column

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The cover story on Nitun Kundu
The cover story on Nitun Kundu “A True Visionary” (December 7, 2008) was very informative. His works, his life and his visions about life is very different from his contemporaries.
Shabash Bangladesh, the SAARC fountain, Shampan and the Kodomphul fountain are his unique creations that will forever remain at the heart of Dhaka's landmarks. His work 'Shoda Jagroto Banglar Muktibahini' was a symbol of inspiration for the freedom fighters during the Liberation War. But for the present Bangladesh it bears the message “Muktijuddher Chetonay Nobo Projonmo Gorey Tulun” i.e., if we don't know the real history of our liberation war then the new generation of our country will be driven away from the spirit of the liberation movement. I think this is indeed the right time for the youth of the country to take lead.
A man like Nitun Kundu is not born every day. He will live forever through his creations, which are models from where there is much to learn. I am very grateful to the author for her vivid descriptions of Kundus life and work.
Shib Sankar Roy
Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University, Dhaka

Missing Mita
When I first started reading the SWM it was the Mita column that appealed to me the most. Although I never wrote to her, it really helped me make a lot of my own decisions. I have also grown to be a lot more responsible and positive about my outlook on life. Unfortunately, my weekly motivator has abandoned me and there are, I'm sure, a lot of others like me, who would like to see her back to being a part of our Fridays.
Sultana Mohsin

Rangs Bhaban Collapse
The collapse of the Rangs building was an avoidable tragedy. It is alleged that it was Rajuk's negligence in contracting out the job that caused it. If it's true I wonder how Rajuk will compensate the victims and their families. The government might give some financial support to the victim's families but can they ever compensate for the precious lives lost? The government should immediately make an enquiry into the matter and identify the culprits and take necessary action against them.
Md. Abul Basar
Dept. of philosophy, CU

Corruption and the People of Bangladesh
We are pleased that the government has lately been emphasising on a citizens' charter of rights. It can add a new positive dimension to the overall drive against corruption at all levels. The time has come to fight against injustice, corruption and terrorism and above all to free politics from the curse of corruption. We have to be preventive rather than reactive. We also have to recognise that no one is immune to corruption. Political influence and bribery during recruitment at government offices should be stopped once and for all. All this is happening because of the lack of appropriate legislations and regulations that would promote transparency, accountability and access to necessary information required to combat corruption.
We have to build a comprehensive network of people from the local and regional level to reduce corruption. This should include within its matrix all spheres of society.
Last year, the UN Convention against Corruption became the first legally binding, global anti-corruption agreement, marking a historic milestone in the fight against corruption. One year on, with 9 December being celebrated as International Anti-corruption Day, an impressive five out of seven countries in the South Asian region, have committed to tackling corruption by signing the convention. These include Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Bangladesh and the Maldives are the only countries yet to sign up.
A person convicted of corruption should be disqualified from holding a post in any government-affiliated organisation.
A. S. Mahmud Rony
Ex-Agrotechnology student, Khulna University

A Hundred Years of Plenitude
The author of “A Hundred Years of Plenitude” is a profound, (December 7, 2007) succinct story of a century-aged women having nearly the same aged husband in the 'Impressions' column where life seems not less diversified, vast, infinite, resourceful and enriched than any oceans, any continents and any planets. I want to thank the author for telling us about Gusti Glauber. We must have missed something if we had not known about her.
Amit Abdullah
Department Of Finance, DU

HIV/AIDS in Bangladesh
It is true that the number of HIV/AIDS affected people is low in comparison with our neighbouring country India and Nepal. But it does not mean that we are safe. The number of HIV positive people is increasing day by day. The first HIV positive person in Bangladesh was identified in 1989. Now the official number is 874, although there are serious debates about this number. Some of the development organisations that are working in this field claim that the number will be about 10000. Whatever the number is it is true that all kinds of risky behaviour is practiced by the people of our country. A good number of people do not have a clear idea about how it is spread. Many people are hesitant to talk about this issue as it is closely related to sexual behaviour. It is essential to create an environment so that people can be well informed about HIV/AIDS.
Jhalok Ronjan Talukdar
Dept. of Social Work, SUST

Right to Information Act
At the conference on 'Right to Information' arranged by Manusher Jonno our Chief Advisor pledged that his government would ensure uninterrupted flow of information. But this is not the time for promises and assurances; we want to see positive steps towards implementation. Our Law Commission prepared a valid draft for this Act but one has to feel sorry that the last successive governments did not make any endeavours to move it forward. The draft was abandoned first at the Law Ministry and it lay around at the Information Ministry for a long time. Ironically, due to the lack of adherence to the promise, the idea was left unimplemented. Our Information Advisor spoke of the matter on and off while it was not taken into account. It is very puzzling to understand where the problem in implementation lies. The task needs to be accelerated since the infrastructure and the procedural measures will take a long time for its full actualisation. Britain made 'Freedom of Information Act' and five years has lapsed since the inception to build up an 'Information Regime'. India too took one full year. The preservation steps and methods we have are invariably shaky and insufficient. The crux of the matter is that if we can once build up a tolerably good system under this Act, the nation as a whole will benefit. Thus one feels goaded now that the Act needs to be ratified without further delay.
Md. Rezaul Karim
Senior Lecturer, English Department
Leading University, Sylhet

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