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     Volume 5 Issue 90 | April 14, 2006 |

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News Notes

Kansat Tales
FOUR people died on the 6th of this month in Kansat of Chapainawabganj district when Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) members and general villagers called meeting at the same venue. Villagers, under the banner of the Palli Bidyut Unnayan Sangram Parishad (PBUSP), were demanding uninterrupted supply of electricity in the area. Machete wielding local BNP men, for their turn, stood near the Upazila headquarters premises to bar the villagers from entering the area. A clash between two warring groups soon followed; three died on the spot when around 50 bombs exploded in and around the area.
Last Monday the High Court in an ad-interim rule prohibited detention or harassment of any Palli Bidyut Unnayan Sangram Parishad (PBUSP) member outside legal provisions.
The incident of ruling party hoodlums attacking general people's peaceful procession is very deplorable, but not at all new. In January this year ten died in the same area when police fired on local farmers who mobbed the local power station to demand regular supply of electricity.
Though the government doggedly denies it, the current power crisis has reached a dangerously bad level. The BNP-led ruling Four-Party Alliance, instead of trying to improve the situation, has been feeding several theories; of them one puts the blame for Kansat incident on the opposition. Mizanur Rahman Minu MP, mayor of Rajshahi City Corporation and minister in charge of Chapainawabganj district, has told the newspersons, "Their movement is not against power crisis but the corruption of a few power officials. We withdrew the Palli Bidyut Samity officials and fulfilled many of their demands. Then why are they running the movement?" He has said that he thinks the Bikalpa Dhara Bangladesh is fomenting violence in the area; Shahjahan Mia, another BNP lawmaker, has summarily blamed the Awami League for making trouble.
Locals beg to differ. "We have been cheated by the local BNP stalwarts. They promised and then left those unrealised. We want the prime minister to intervene," said Aref Ali Tisu PBUSP joint convenor.
The Prime Minister has, meanwhile, remained silent; this silence and her government's sheer ineptitude are giving birth to crisis that is going to haunt the BNP in the general elections that is merely six months away.

DMCH's never ending dilemma
THE Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) is still using primitive tools for performing their autopsies, though it plays a key role in numerous lawsuits that demand the cause of death. The area for the dissection room is 20 feet by 25 feet and it's less than one-fourth the standard size of a dissection room. In the absence of a storage area, let alone an air-conditioned one, hundreds of plastic pots containing viscera are kept on the floor beside the freezer. Many of the bodies come here in a terrible condition, distorted and decomposed. They are somehow dumped into one of the two 100 sft storerooms. The drainage too is poor and during rainy seasons, the bodies literally get flooded and the Doms (those who handle dead bodies) cannot explain what was the cause of the patient's death, which is precisely the objective of an autopsy. DMCH requires to perform only two autopsies a day to teach its students. Instead, it has to shoulder the burden of more than ten autopsies a day at the order of the home ministry for the last 60 years since 1946. This ministry is careless about taking accident casualties or victims of violence to hospitals, but the police feel professionally and morally compelled to take the wounded to hospitals for treatment or the dead to the morgue for autopsy. There are times when friends or family members of the injured or dead are unavailable and the police, out of sympathy, bear cost for immediate medicine needed by the victim. They know well that there is no guarantee that they will get their money back.

Honourable MPs and their car business
THE honourable Members of Parliament in general have never been held in high esteem. This is because the common people know very little about. A recent newspaper report has certainly dealt a heavy blow to their already diminished honour. It was found out that all the 300 MPs except eight have brought expensive, in fact unbelievably expensive cars, from abroad and then sold them to others. MPs do not have to pay duty if he imports a car for his personal use. So each of them has imported the latest version of the most expensive brand cars like Mercedes, Lexus, BMW, Hamar, Porte, Cadillac, Land Rover Range and then sold them to different businessmen, in exchange of a hefty amount. Each of the MPs has made 10 to 25 lakh from this lucrative car business. In the process the government has been deprived of revenue of about Tk 280 crore.
The laudable exceptions are PM Khaleda Zia, who along with three other MPs have not imported any car, while Sheikh Hasina, the opposition leader, Saifur Rahman, finance minister, Zamiruddin Sarker, the speaker and Anwar Hossain Manju, the leader of a fraction of Jatiya Party have imported and are using them.
A total of 275 cars have been imported duty-free by the MPs. 55 of them are BMW Jeep and car. The highest price of this brand is Tk 84 lakh, without duty of course. 40 Mercedes Benz jeep and car were brought. The highest price of this brand's jeep is Tk 73 lakh and car Tk 1 crore and 18 lakh. Then 10 Porsche were also brought. Porsche is at present among the most expensive cars, each costing around Tk 3 crore, without duty of course.
Speaker Zamiruddin Sarker has record of importing the least expensive car. He imported a 1500 cc Toyota Corolla priced Tk 10 lakh. When asked about his colleagues' car business, he said he does not want to believe them. In fact nobody wants to believe that people's representatives who have taken oath to serve the people and the country can commit such shameless act. Unfortunately that's exactly what the honourable MPs have done.

Indigenous community suffers from insecurity
INDIGENOUS people in Khagrachhari have announced that they will not observe Boishabi festival this year due to lack of security in the hill districts. This festival takes place from April 12 to 14 and marks the beginning of the Bangla new year. Processions were brought out to protest recent attacks on them, mainly by a segment of ruling BNP leaders. Other points of protest were security concerns, withdrawal of Bangalees and Army from the hilly areas, and punishment for those responsible for the clashes in Gamaritili, Komolchhari, Maichchhari and Mohalchhari. A memorandum was also submitted to the Prime Minister through the Deputy Commissioner. The decision to not observe Boishabi came about because the life and properties of indigenous people are not safe anymore. According to them, at least 60 people had been injured in the recent clashes and two women were raped.

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