Biodiversity of Haor threatened by temporary beauty



Saidur Rahman Naim, Upazilla Correspondent, Barta24.com, Katiadi(Kishoreganj):
photo: barta24.com

photo: barta24.com

  • Font increase
  • Font Decrease

Alpana inaugurated this road with fanfare from administration, public representatives to Bangla New Year. But no one thought that this temporary beauty would become a threat to nature. After a few days, new water will come to Haor. And now there is a heated discussion about how much damage this color will cause.

On the occasion of Bangla New Year, a beautiful Alpana was painted over 14 km from Mithamoin Zero Point to Ashtagram Zero Point on Haor all-weather road recently. Environmentalists have expressed fear that if these colors of Alpana are washed by rain and mixed with the water of Haor, it will harm the reproduction of fish in Haor.

Environmental experts said that any color naturally contains various chemical components. The amount of paint used in the Alpana on Haor road will harm the aquatic plants, fish and other aquatic animals there due to the chemicals contained in it.

Digital service provider Banglalink Digital Communication, Asiatic Experiential Marketing Limited and Berger Paints have jointly implemented the world's longest Alpana painting on Haor's all-weather road. Asaduzzaman Noor, a cultural personality and Member of Parliament, officially inaugurated the work of drawing Alpana by scratching Rangtuli at Zero Point of Mithamoin on April 12. It is known that 16,000 liters of paint has been used on the 14 km road to paint this Alpana. And a large amount of turpentine is mixed with the paint. This turpentine is more dangerous than kerosene.

Since then, environmentalists started protesting on social media, claiming that this Alpana, painted with a mixture of paint and turpentine, will have an adverse effect on crops and fish. They said that Haor is a very safe place for fish. In the first rains of Baisakh, various native species of fish including Tangra, Batasi, Punti, Mala, Boal, Shoal, Gajar, Pabda, Gulsha, Kai, Shing, Magur usually lay their eggs. If it rains, the paint used here will wash off and get mixed with the water in the Haor. This color will dissolve in the water and kill the crops, aquatic animals including fish, grasses and insects. Soil and water will be polluted and the food chain of the ecosystem will collapse.

Saiful Islam Jewel, general secretary of Kishoreganj district branch of Bangladesh Paribesh Andolon (Bapa), told the media, "We will dress up in Alpana colors on Baisakh, this is the traditional custom of Bengalis. But the authorities should have kept the environmental disaster in mind first. The worst thing is that the paint contains toxic chemicals. Biphenyl in particular contains endocrine disruptors, which in water will cause serious adverse reactions in fish. Whenever aquatic animals including fish are exposed to this high level of biphenyl, aquatic animals including fish will not lay eggs, they will not be able to fertilize the eggs.

About 14 percent of the country's fish demand is met from Haor. For this reason, Haor region of Kishoreganj is also called as one of the fisheries big source of Bangladesh.

According to the sources of District Fisheries Office, 28 thousand 21 tons of fish are produced from Haor in Kishoreganj in the fiscal year 2022-23. On the other hand, as the soil of Haor is very fertile, a lot of paddy is grown here. 25 percent of the country's rice demand is met from the Haor area. In the fiscal year 2022-23, 4 lakh 82 thousand 283 tons of Boro and Aman rice were produced.

Professor Ahmad Qamruzzaman Majumder, dean of the Faculty of Science of Stamford University and an environmental expert, said that the common elements that are in the color (such as benzene, diclovision, tetraclovision, toluene, cadmium, chromium); they contain many types of chemicals. The amount of paint used on the 14-km road in Haor will naturally affect the wetlands, aquatic plants, microscopic aquatic animals and even small fish.

Bangladesh Agricultural University Faculty of Fisheries Professor Dr. Haroon Or Rashid said, "Any type of chemical is a threat to aquatic life. Alpana has been painted over a large area; That must be somewhat harmful to fish and other animals. We have laws to protect the environment, like various mill factory effluents are harmful to rivers. And in that case the environmental law is also applied. Everyone needs to be more careful considering the environment before doing these things.

Environment Department Kishoreganj District Assistant Director Md. Abdullah Al Mateen told the media that the next steps will be taken by talking to the higher authorities.

   

US sanctions on former army Chief Aziz Ahmed



News Desk, Barta24.com,Dhaka
photo: Collected

photo: Collected

  • Font increase
  • Font Decrease

The United States has imposed sanctions on Bangladesh's former army chief General (retd) Aziz Ahmed for his alleged involvement in corruption. However, not only Aziz Ahmed, but also his family members have been informed about the declaration of ineligibility to enter the United States.

This information was given in a statement published on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the country on Monday local time (after Monday midnight Bangladesh time) (May 20).

State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said in a statement that former General (Ret.) Aziz Ahmed, formerly the Bangladesh Army chief, has been designated by the Department of State under Section 7031(c) of the Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations Act due to his involvement in significant corruption. Foreign Office said this would make Aziz Ahmed and his family members generally ineligible for entry into the United States.

According to the statement, his (Aziz Ahmed) activities undermined the democratic institutions of Bangladesh and reduced public confidence in government institutions and processes.

The US State Department said Aziz Ahmed helped his brother avoid accountability for criminal activities in Bangladesh. In doing so, he engaged in significant corruption by interfering with the regulatory process. He also worked closely with his brother to ensure that he was unfairly awarded contracts in the military sector. He took bribes in exchange for government appointments for his own interests.

The action against Aziz Ahmed reaffirms the United States' commitment to strengthening democratic institutions and the rule of law in Bangladesh. The United States supports Bangladesh's anti-corruption efforts by making public services more transparent and accessible to citizens, improving business and regulatory systems, and increasing capacity to investigate and prosecute money laundering and other economic crimes.

;

France will lend 300 million Euros to combat climate change



Staff Correspondent, Barta24.com
Photo: Collected

Photo: Collected

  • Font increase
  • Font Decrease

The French government will provide a 300 million euro loan to Bangladesh as budget support.

To this end, the Bangladesh government and the French Development Agency (AFD) signed a framework agreement on Monday (May 20). This money will mainly be spent on the implementation of the government's programs to combat climate change.

Secretary of the Department of Economic Relations Shahriar Quader Siddiqui and AfD Deputy Country Director Cecilia Courtesy signed the CFA agreement.

Under the loan agreement, this money will be spent on preparing effective and strong foundations against the negative impacts of climate and on climate-sustainable and low-carbon emission-based initiatives.

;

Leaders are indifferent to Awami League's "Secret Punishment"



Ruhul Amin, Staff Correspondent, Barta24.com
Photo: Collected

Photo: Collected

  • Font increase
  • Font Decrease

Sixth Upazila Parishad election is going on in the country. The first phase of this four-phase election was held on May 8. The second phase of the election is on Tuesday (May 21). In this election, the ruling party, Awami League, has abandoned its symbol boat to attract voters. Ban on the relatives of the minister-MP, if the order is not obeyed, the punishment is threatened! However, the relatives of the minister-MP did not withdraw from the election despite everything.

While looking for the reasons for ignoring the strict instructions of the party chief and the centre, it is known that the leaders are not punished openly, and the punishment is given less punishment and it is pardoned again.

Many have started to believe that no matter the direction given from the Centre; if they win the election then they will not face any punishment. Again, the leaders who have popularity and public support think that even if they are punished, it will not last long. Even if any minimum punishment is given, the party will forgive him and give him a chance again.

Meanwhile, despite talking about punishment publicly, not seeing its implementation is encouraging people to disobey the party's instructions.

Jahangir Alam, former mayor of Gazipur City Corporation, can be the best example of punishing and forgiving again and again. On November 19, 2021, he was expelled from the party for violating party discipline for the first time by making controversial comments about Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the liberation war. After almost a year on December 17, 2022, the party revoked Jahangir Alam's expulsion order and pardoned him.

However, the influential leader of Gazipur did not stop working against party discipline. Azmat Ullah Khan, a senior leader of Gazipur Awami League, was the candidate for boat in the Gazipur City Corporation election held in May last year. He went against the boat in the election, disobeying the instructions of the Awami League and submitted the candidature of himself and his mother Zayda Khatun. Due to this, Jahangir Alam was again expelled from the party. However, he did not last long after the expulsion. Rather, the boycott was withdrawn after only five months to use Jahangir Alam's large workforce in the 12th national election.

For the sake of maintaining party order and maintaining the ideological position, although there is a provision to take punitive measures in the constitution, the political parties of the country are always seen to follow a lax policy in observing them. Even if action is taken, it is quickly withdrawn. Among them, four district and upazila chairman, former MP, important leaders of the party and many others.

Although the ruling party Awami League says that those who break party discipline are never exempted. Sometimes, for tactical reasons, the violators of the party discipline have to be severely punished, even if they are not punished publicly.

According to the party, the party chief took timely action against those who disobeyed the party instructions. Although no punishment is seen to be given publicly, in many cases hidden punishment is given which is greater than public punishment. They are excluded from party posts. Nomination is not given. He has to be dropped from the cabinet.

In the afternoon of May 17, at the office of Dhaka District Awami League in Tejgaon of the capital, Obaidul Quader, the party's general secretary, said that discipline must be followed. Those who break the discipline must be punished. Sheikh Hasina's way of punishing is a little different. Those who understood, received, understood correctly. And I am reminding those who did not get it.

He said, 'We should not do any wrongdoing outside of her (party president Sheikh Hasina)'s instructions. Those who commit evil deeds are purified. Think it's quiet? Why is no one being punished? You will get! He will be punished. In the last election, 75 MPs did not get nomination. This is also punishment. So it doesn't end here. There is plenty of time to punish. Time will be calculated. No one will be spared.'

The responsible leaders of Awami League say that since public punishment is seen, its response is also direct. In that case, the leaders and workers are discouraged by breaking the party discipline. As Awami League has been in power for a long time, various beneficiary groups have been created. As a result, it is not always possible to punish immediately. Again, many times the need of the party has to be quickly pardoned. The party chief does not spare anyone even if he is not publicly punished. He took action on time.

These leaders, who did not want to be named, said that the punishment is not public, the response does not reach the grassroots. The results of which we can see in the upazila parishad elections. Despite repeated strict instructions from the party, it was not followed properly by the grassroots. Relatives of MP-ministers did not withdraw from the election. But if you want to do politics, you have to accept all the facts. We are trying to that end. As much as possible party discipline can be kept intact.

Awami League organizing Secretary Afzal Hossain told Barta24.com in response to the question whether the candidates are reluctant to obey the Center's instructions due to the lack of public punishment. We are working towards that goal. The Election Commission can make their own decisions. So we think it won't be a problem.

;

Bangladeshi students in Kyrgyzstan are now doing well: Foreign Minister



Staff Correspondent, Barta24.com
Foreign Minister Dr. Hasan Mahmud

Foreign Minister Dr. Hasan Mahmud

  • Font increase
  • Font Decrease

Foreign Minister Dr. Hasan Mahmud said that Bangladeshi students are now fine in the incident of local attacks on foreign students in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan.

He said, so far there are no reports of any serious injuries or loss of life of Bangladeshi students.

On Monday (May 20), Foreign Minister Dr. Hasan Mahmud said all this in response to a question from journalists.

The Minister said that our Ambassador stationed in Tashkent in the neighboring country of Uzbekistan has been asked to go there (to Bishkek). He will reach Bishkek in the afternoon local time and visit the campus to inquire about the Bangladeshi students and take appropriate action in consultation with the Kyrgyz Ministry of Foreign and Internal Affairs and related authorities. On the question of giving an open letter to a student to return home, the minister said that ordinary students did not make any such application.

The Foreign Minister said that he will have a meeting with Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong during her visit to Dhaka on Tuesday afternoon. The Minister said that investment in Bangladesh, immigration of Bangladeshis, seasonal employment, welfare of expatriates in Australia, cooperation in energy and environment conservation will be the focus of the meeting.

;