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         Volume 10 |Issue 32 | August 19, 2011 |


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Pinching Words Weird Smiles

Mohammad Ali Sattar

If the commerce minister had asked us to eat less in time of prosperity and an unwavering market, things would have been taken sportingly. When the people are drowned into the ocean of tribulations and fighting to have both ends meet, the advice to trim down food intake is a misplaced sermon. When the minister fails to rein the black marketers, syndicate members and the soaring prices of essentials he also fails to enjoy the confidence of the people. This the learned minister should learn.

Rather, if the commerce minister sympathised with the common people and took tough action against the hoarders he would have shown some courage. Instead of asking the people to 'eat less', he could have ordered the immoral businessmen to 'charge less'.

Home Minister Sahara Khatun.
Photo: Star File

A few weeks back our honorable finance minister had told the small investors in the stock market that hey should have been careful in planning their investments in the trade. When many went penniless due to the 'crash' in capital market, our leaders rather castigated the investors for being too eager to make quick money. There was no compassion revealed. The swindlers are still at large. If the finance minister or the stock market bosses had warned the people much before the debacle, they could have saved many from ruination. They could have said, 'invest less'.

And our dear Home Minister is always eager to protect the police atrocities and Rab shootings. She claims that law and order situation has never been so good anytime in the past. If lynching becomes order of the day, her claims hold no ground. Culprits are seldom caught in the act. And impunity encourages the devil to go about their businesses. She would be better advised to ask the police and Rab to be more patient and judicious especially when it comes to gunfire. She can tell them to 'watch out' before pressing the trigger. Just to avoid killing the blameless.

Communications minister is in the news for reasons too many. Conditions of the roads and highways are in their worse. It's indeed alarming that more than ten inter-district bus services are shut off due to unplyable roads. The minister blames the previous governments for the present condition. BNP and alliance ruled until the end of 2006 and the caretaker government handed over power to the present government in January 2009. Since then the present Awami League government is in business. Who is to blame?

On the one hand, damaged road surfaces have halted the road communications to and from Dhaka, on the other; the transport owners and operators have been charging fares at their will from the commuters. Severe shortage of buses has compounded the woes of the passengers.

The communications minister is least moved by the horrific accidents on the highways. He finds no reason to resign and thinks every thing is fine with his office. It is not a welcome sight when he speaks and smiles with ease in this time when the country reels in crisis in the transport sector.

He could have done us a great favour if he could negotiate with the private transport owners and tell them to ' charge less' fares from the commuters. He should also tell the reckless drivers to 'hit less' number of cars or people on the roads and highways.

Communications Minister Syed Abul Hossain. Photo: Star File

Another interesting state of affairs that prevails in our state administration is complete lack of synchronisation and rationality. The senior leaders of the Awami League (AL) Obaidul Kader, Suranjit Sengupta, Mohammed Nasim have come down hard on the serving ministers for their irresponsible remarks and failure to carry out their respective jobs. And again there are contradictory statements given by different ministers and their juniors.

It seems that there is only one minister in the cabinet to give orders and see things through – the prime minister. By all means she should be heavily over worked. When a bunch of no-gooders are around the task of the chief becomes difficult.

The way things are being run and the mess created by the non-performers, the government will only manage to multiply its problems. And if it goes on unabated things will run out of hand. It will get caught in its own mesh. Very soon the opposition will find itself unemployed, because its job has been made easy by the government itself.

Amidst the crises that we are in and growing the unrest among the populace, the soothing words from the leaders should work as healer. The people are wounded by everyday hazards. Life has become unbearable. At home you are short of gas, power and water, out in the streets you are holed up in the traffic jam, or target of the muggers or getting run over by the speeding bus. Where do we go?

At these times of crisis, if the ministers and top leaders show signs of apathy and arrogance towards people's sufferings, what shall be the response? If they cannot find good enough words to sympathise with them then they would do well to 'shut their mouths' than mocking over their pitiable circumstances. Do they enjoy the right to offend the people by way of rubbing salt on their wounds?

This is a people's republic. The country is supposed to be governed by those who are voted to power by the people. The elected representatives in the parliament are there 'only' to work for the people. They are posted in their positions 'only' to serve peoples interest. They should not forget for a single moment that it is the people's money that the government is spending after the 'servants' of the republic. People are paying bills, taxes and duties for getting the best of services or products.

What are they treated with? They are treated with very little utilities, no social security, no solid platform on which to build trade and commerce, weak law and order situation, chaotic courts and a broken rule of law. And topped off by pinching words and weird smiles of the ministers.

It is time the Prime Minister told her non-performing garrulous ministers to 'work more' and 'talk less'.


The writer is Assistant Editor, The Daily Star.

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