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     Volume 8 Issue 80| July 31, 2009 |

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Price of Essentials
I would like to convey my whole-hearted appreciation of the Star magazine's effort to throw light on the crucial issue of price hike. We know that the market is not a static thing -- a lot of factors can influence prices in the marketplace. Nevertheless optimum stability needs to be ensured for the convenience of the people. But what we see in our market is a total mess. Prices of commodities shoot up arbitrarily and exorbitantly. It is because of bungled management, shortfall of supply and the presence of middlemen. As far as the government is concerned, we see a lack of sincere effort. Every political government tends to trumpet that market situation is hunky-dory during their rule. But their claim falls in the face of reality. Earlier the caretaker government planned to establish Price Commission. But it did not see the light of day. Government must step up its vigilance to stem the rot. Otherwise they will face the public backlash that occurred during the caretaker government rule.
Md.Jamil Akhter
Dept. of English
University of Dhaka

Undiplomatic and Uncharitable

The constitution of the People's Republic of Bangladesh article 25 explicitly states that Bangladesh's foreign policy is friendship to all and malice to none. Bangladesh has been maintaining this foreign policy for decades and based on this policy it has been strengthening relationship with the neighbouring states. The relationship between Bangladesh and India has been very friendly since independence. The contribution of India in paving the way for the birth of Bangladesh will always be remembered by our people. But it is well known that friendship must always be based on equality and mutual respect. It makes us sad when we hear the Indian High Commissioner forget diplomatic niceties and make some harsh comments about our country and our people, which is unwarranted. Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty, a veteran diplomat, should know better than to make comments that could harm the relationship between the two countries. On more than one occasion, he has overstepped his prerogative as the representative of India. Mr. Chakravarty is enjoying our hospitality and should not make demeaning comments about Bangladesh and its people.
Md Zonaed Emran
Dept of political science
University of Dhaka

India Looks for New Markets. Why Don't We?

It's really good to see that India, our neighbour, is trying to refocus its ready-made garments business with eyes on Southeast and East Asia, Latin America, Africa and Oceania. This is part of its market diversification effort. They are very attentive about seeking out new possibilities in the business arena. As this county is now facing stiff competition from Bangladesh, Vietnam and China in the garments sector, it is trying to adopt a “Look East Policy". As a part of that policy, Indian Textiles And Clothing Exporters are participating now in Japan International Fair in Tokyo that commenced from 22nd July. I think Bangladesh (BGMEA) should also search for some new markets, since RMG is the largest exporting sector of our country. Though RMG sector performance has been quite well in recent months, as exports rose by 11 percent following a 12 percent fall in the early March-April session, we need to take more initiative to spread our markets in the same way India is doing It must be mentioned here that we are a step ahead of India in this field, but it is easier to take the lead than to maintain it. So there is no scope for complacency.
Sajjadur Rahman Sayem
BBA, Chittagong University

The Misery of Traffic Jams

I would like to thank the Star Magazine for the timely cover story “Ending the Misery of Traffic Jam”. It is one of the most common topics of conversation in Dhaka city, where most of the people belong to the middle class. We the people of this country do not want traffic jam as we are always in a rush, either for office or for school or to the supermarket. There is traffic jam everywhere in Dhaka city, whether it is in Khilkhet or in front of the Prime Minister's office or in posh areas like Gulshan and Banani. It is a numbing experience to sit in a stationary vehicle for hours and hours. For students who have exams, as well as for employees who have clients waiting for them in their office, it is sheer torture. It is even worse for the patients who need medical treatment.

Experts want public transportation to be encouraged, but the way those bus drivers drive, the passengers' lives are at risk. The drivers of the public buses nastily overtake one another and it routinely causes accidents. Who will stop them from doing this? The traffic sergeants do not even bother if the bus drivers double park at wrong places and create traffic jam.

I would like to ask the communication ministry to look into this matter urgently, as the time for action is now. I would also urge the government to implement a metro rail system, which may be able to deliver us from this torture.
Saddam Amir Haque
IUB, Baridhara, Dhaka

Justice for All

Bangladesh achieved independence 38 years ago, but we are not behaving like independent citizens in our daily lives. The government is making things worse by taking decisions that are not rational at all. For example, a government officer does not pay income tax on his or her salary limit (let us say, Tk. 3, 50,000.00 that is, twelve months basic Tk.3, 00,000.00 and two bonuses Tk.50, 000.00 at Tk. 25, 000.00) in a fiscal year as per prevailing finance law. It is considered as income tax paid. That is, a government officer enjoys income tax free limit up to Tk.3, 50,000.00 per annum. But other citizens of Bangladesh have to pay income tax when one's salary or income crosses Tk.1, 65,000.00. Is it not discriminatory in the eyes of the constitution? Article 27 of Bangladesh constitution says that all citizens are equal before law and are entitled to equal protection of law. Article 27 decrees that the State shall endeavor to ensure equal opportunity to all citizens.

I would like to urge the finance ministry and NBR to ensure a uniform tax code for all, regardless of whether they are employees of the government or the private sector.
Md. Ashraf Hossain
8/A, Ramna, Dhaka-1000

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