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    Volume 9 Issue 29| July 16, 2010|

 Cover Story
 Special Feature
 Writing the Wrong
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Thongas and Plastic Bags
I read with interest the letter regarding plastic bags and thongas published in The Star magazine dated July 9, 2010. I congratulate the writer for her well researched letter. But to produce paper bags (thonga), one has to kill a large number of trees or well-developed bamboo plants. Therefore, in the long run it really does not help our lovely planet.
Also, instead of looking back, the time has come for us Bangladeshis to start looking forward. We know that all over the world, people are using plastic bags to carry their daily shopping without creating environmental hazards. So what we need to do here is not to ban the use of plastic bags but to raise awareness among the plastic bag users to dispose of used bags thoughtfully instead of throwing them all over the place. At the same time, we need to start well-planned waste management programmes in every neighbourhood. We should also use advanced technology to manufacture bio-degradable plastic bags, which are decomposed like any other plant or animal without disturbing the eco-system.
Qamar Shams
Sydney, Australia

Value for Money

Locally, most of the commuters take buses to reach their destination within a reasonable price. But nowadays, is the price we pay really worth it? Although every bus service is charging the ticket price, some of them take more than the distance actually warrants. The buses are usually in poor condition. Be it the bus services with counters or be it the non-counter buses, every service provider is giving us a bumpy ride! The windows are broken, the seats have jagged bits of metal sticking out, and the bus drivers and conductors shout profanity while driving recklessly. No one cares about the poor commuter. The owners of the bus won't even provide fans, let alone air-conditioning.
I would request the government to make sure that the bus companies ensure good service. We should get value for our money.
Rabiul Islam
Department of Economics
University of Dhaka

DAP : A Necessity

Detailed Area Plan (DAP) has become a burning issue in recent times. It is also an important and pragmatic decision for us that needs to be implemented urgently. Since the growth rate of Dhaka is absolutely phenomenal and rapid, the city is unable to cope due to resource constraints and management limitations. This unprecedented growth coupled with unplanned expansion of settlements has made the implementation of DAP imperative for the future.
DAP serves as a reference document for land use and development control. Without it a proper land use management cannot be applied. It is an appropriate guideline for public and private investment priorities. DAP shows locations of roads, infrastructure, community facilities and acceptable land use zones. Therefore it can serve as an effective tool of development control.
Failure to implement the DAP for Dhaka city properly and accommodating the housing projects in the flood flow zones will turn the capital into an unlivable place. These flood plain areas require control to avoid obstruction to flow which might otherwise result in adverse hydraulic effects. We are already facing water-logging resulting from small amounts of rainfall which is ushering an imminent disaster for us in the near future.
Dhaka is situated in the floodplains and drainage of the city very much depends on water level of peripheral river system. During the rainy season there is heavy downpour triggered by monsoon and onrush of water from upstream. At the same time, the hinterlands that are earmarked as main flood flow zone and sub flood flow zones are being filled up. If these lands are in development progress it will heighten the level of flooding. DAP is therefore vital for the future of Dhaka.
But the irony is that a vested quarter of land grabbers overlook these facts only for their narrow interest. They are always busy with their glossy housing projects from where they can enjoy the so called “River View”!
But brushing aside all speculations, our government has issued the much expected gazette notification of DAP for the capital Dhaka. We, the conscious people, applaud the government for this logical decision. At the same time, we must be vigilant about it so that nobody can create confusion or instigate any type of violence. We are always optimistic about a better future and waiting to see how quickly and properly the government can implement the decision.
Md Mashrur Rahman Mishu
Department of Urban and Regional Planning
BUET, Dhaka

Time to Speak Up!
For the last couple of years Bangladesh has been facing a new social evil called “eve teasing” -- a euphemism for sexual harassment. This is a serious problem since our female citizens, especially the teenage girls of our country, are often physically and mentally harassed while going about their daily business. Teenage girls are often thought of as targets of sexual teasing by local hoodlums, which has already resulted in the deaths of several young girls. Over the last few months several teenagers have committed suicide. The reason behind these suicides is usually torture and teasing. Most of the girls who had committed suicide were teased by predatory males, humiliated or beaten up by their husbands, or deprived of their husband's property. We must take a serious look at our attitude towards young girls. Committing suicide is not a solution, although these girls may have seen it as a solution. What a terrible waste of human life! It is time to raise our voice against mistreatment of women in our society.
Rashida Akter
Khan Jahan Ali Road,

In last week's cover story “A Fatal Missed Call?” Robi was inadvertently mentioned as the second largest mobile operator. With 11 million subscribers, Robi is the third largest. We regret the error.

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