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     Volume 7 Issue 21 | May 23, 2008 |

  Cover Story
  Photo Feature
  Book Review
  Dhaka Diary

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The Rising Cost of Living
I would like to give profuse thanks to the author for the cover story 'The Impossible Cost of Living' (May 9, 2008). It is crucial to highlight such an important topic when the prices of indispensable commodities are soaring sky-high. It is impossible to predict the direction the country's economy is heading towards at this point. What will be the fate of the people who live on fixed incomes? How will the low-income groups survive? There are many students who survive simply by providing private tuition. If our so--called monitoring cells are carrying out their jobs properly then how were the markets allowed to go in this direction? This is not only my question but a question that is being asked by 14 crore Bangalis today. I wish the government and the concerned authorities would investigate it sincerely and take proper steps to mitigate such a critical problem of our country.
Osman Goni Tamim
Department of EEE
American International University Bangladesh

The Poor Children around Us
With a silent famine being experienced now in the country, the number of street children is rising at a geometric progression. They are left on the streets to fend for themselves. What a miserable life they lead with little food and at times without any food!
Although they should rightfully be attending a government-funded school to receive basic education, in reality that is a luxury for them. They don't even get to eat properly and because of the circumstances many end up getting involved in criminal activities. It is our duty to look after the children of our country but are we able to do so?
Our policy makers give preference to political issues and are often reluctant to think deeply of these children who will shape the future of our country. Development in any country will never gain momentum until its children, irrespective of their socio-economic position, are given equal opportunities.
We can never expect a better Bangladesh if we deprive most of our children of their fundamental rights. They lack of a congenial atmosphere for their proper physical and psychological growth. The government and the NGOs seem unable to handle the problem. We all should come forward to give them a helping hand to give them the opportunities they need to participate in building the nation.
Sarwar Hussain

Urbanisation and Dhaka City
Dhaka is growing very fast but not in accordance with the needs of yearly population growth. The present population of the city is about 12.6 million and forecasted to increase to 21.1 million by the year 2015, to be the fourth largest mega city of the world. The urban infrastructure, housing and other services cannot keep pace with the overriding demand of this growing population. The resultant effect is the inevitable expansion of the city into the metropolitan fringe with an intensive land use conversion, from rural agriculture to urban industrial, institutional and for residential uses. These areas are growing in an unsystematic way.
Most of the people living in these areas belong to low and middle income groups. The basic civic amenities like electricity, water supply, sanitation, health services, public transportation, etc., could not be adequately provided to the vast majority of people in these areas. Large scale unemployment and underemployment, poor living conditions, lack of recreational facilities, etc., are also features of the overall scenario of these areas.
A number of real estate companies are destroying the low-lying areas, wet lands, and flood flow zones for housing provision. This will create water logging in the central part of Dhaka city within a very short time.
There is some positive impact on the urban fringe because of rapid urbanisation; land value is increasing day by day, annual income of the people is increasing, and lifestyles are developing.
The fringe areas of Dhaka City should get better facilities.
S.M. Shah Mahmood
Urban & Rural Planning Discipline, KU

Price of CNG
The price hike of daily essentials is becoming an unbearable burden for the common people everyday. People have to tighten their belts beyond which is humanly possible. The caretaker government blames the prices in the international market for this. In the situation where the citizens of the country are experiencing a 'silent famine' due to the spiralling prices of essentials and households are in a predicament to manage the family they receive yet another shocking news -- the doubling of the price of per unit CNG. The reason shown by the concerned authorities is that the price of CNG is disproportional to that of petroleum. CNG is a national resource, comparing it to petroleum is pointless.
This is nothing but adding insult to injury. This decision will only further increase the prices of essentials and they will go beyond the reach of the low-income groups.
Md. Nasir Uddin Laskar
Amar Ekushey Hall, DU

The Dying Reading Habit
The chief Adviser Dr. Fakruddin Ahemed emphasised on the creation of a knowledge-based society. But the main instrument of a knowledge-based society, the reading habit is decreasing day by day. Our deep interest in visual media, lack of library facilities, bad effect of capitalisation are some of the main causes of this devastating situation.
To satisfy my appetite for knowledge, I am accustomed to going to different libraries almost regularly. This experience helps me understand that people have little interest in reading. Advancement of technology gives us a lot but at the same time, it is responsible for decreasing reading habit among people as they spend most of their time watching television, fiddling with the computer or using the Internet. Besides, the library facilities we have are not sufficient. People have to travel a great distance to find a library with sufficient books and good environment.
However, reading, a key thing for any research is an important role player for the development of any country. And a library is the proper place for comfortable reading. Hence increasing library facilities and implementing attractive programmes for increasing the reading habit among people are the key things for creating a sustainable Bangladesh.
Mushfique Wadud
Department of English
Stamford University Bangladesh

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