Geo Bag's 'Solace' Comes After Losing Everything



Kollol Roy, Staff Correspondent, Barta24.com, Kurigram
Photo: Barta24.com

Photo: Barta24.com

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Erosion of Teesta is going on in the vast area of Vidyananda Union of Rajarhat Upazila of Kurigram. More than 50 families were affected by the landslide last week. Some have lost their land and are destitute; some have lost their only cropland. After reducing the intensity of erosion, the activities of the Water Development Board are only 'consolation' for the affected families, the locals say. They complain why measures are not taken in the dry season before the erosion. On the contrary, the Water Development Board says that there is no allocation of long-term and permanent works. Erosion is prevented with Geo bags only on an emergency basis when erosion starts.

On Saturday (June 22) at noon, Barta24.com visited some of the damaged places in Teesta bank of Vidyananda Union. The cries of the affected people can be seen. The workers are busy repairing the house with the house owners. All the small and big trees are being cut knowing that they will be destroyed in the erosion. These trees are being sold at less than half price. Kalirhat Bazar and Kalirhat Government Primary School located in Satura village of this union are also in danger of erosion. Just a few meters away, Teesta's eyes are flashing, signaling the school's closing time. To protect the school and the market, the Water Development Board has started preparing the first Geo bags on this day. However, the locals are calling the initiative a sham.

I met Zaherul Islam, a resident of this village, in a house next to the market. Half of the house where there was a settlement a few days ago is now occupied by Teesta. He said, it was my house. It all ended a few days ago. Some trees were eaten by the river before they were cut. I went to the school next door. Now I have nowhere to go. If the government had taken measures before the collapse, then I would not have to be destitute. Today we are being consoled by bringing some Geo bags. They will not survive this current.

Namita Rani has been working since morning to move the house next door. Leaving her sick husband in the neighboring house, she is arranging the furniture of the house alone. While working, the river was far away even last Friday. I didn't expect it to break so fast. The girl drags the class. There is no place other than this place. Do I stress about my daughter's marriage or think about staying? Where will I be now with this sick husband and young girl? I saw Geo bag in the market. If they were brought a few days ago, the house could have been saved.

Saiful Islam came to his home from afar to see the news of Geo bags in the market. He said, where Geo has kept bags to throw in the river, that is my land. Here was my home. I moved to the house in the morning. Geo bag broke here last year. The bags move in the current of the river or they can be given away. They will not work during floods. It will spoil after a few days.

Director of Riverine People and Professor and Dean of Begum Rokeya University's Bengali Department, river researcher Dr. Tuhin Wadud said, Bangladesh part of Teesta has about 32 km of erosion prone area. It does not take more than Tk. 1000 crore  to solve them permanently. As a result of this it is possible to save about Tk. 1 lakh crores of wealth every year. But there is no special budget for Teesta due to the government's lack of attention towards the northern region. This is a shame of the government. Every year during the rainy season, the measures taken by the Water Development Board to prevent erosion by using sandbags are not very useful. It is nothing but comfort in dire straits.

People's complaints and measures to prevent temporary erosion were discussed with Rafsan Jani, sub-divisional engineer of Kurigram Water Development Board in charge of Teesta River in Rajahat Upazila. He said, erosion has occurred at 4-5 points in Rajarhat upazila. Kali Hat area of Vidyananda Union is most at risk. We are already preparing Geo bags there to prevent erosion. Geo bags will be thrown into the river from Sunday as much as needed will be given there.

He also said that these are emergency work. When there is trouble we go there. Authorities don't give allotments before the monsoon season. It is a temporary job. Blocking the river is our permanent work which lasts almost all seasons. A study of our own is underway in Teesta. If that is the case we will present the project. There is no permanent work in Teesta until that allocation comes.

Internet Shutdown in the Country, BTV Fire, Death Toll Rises



BTV set ablaze in deadly protests, death toll rises

BTV set ablaze in deadly protests, death toll rises

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The latest updates on the quota reform movement have become challenging to obtain and share due to restricted or disconnected internet access across the country, including Dhaka. Internet-based calls to Bangladesh from various parts of the world are also impossible. This information has been reported by various international media outlets.

Recent reports indicate that the death toll in the quota movement has reached 18, with six fatalities occurring on Thursday. However, the actual number may be higher, as unverified reports on social media suggest the death toll could be as high as 35. No official confirmation has been provided.

In addition, several international media outlets reported that protesters set fire to the BTV (Bangladesh Television) building on Thursday evening.

Since Thursday evening, there have been reports of an internet shutdown in Dhaka. Before the shutdown, updates on Facebook indicated that protesters had set fire to the BTV building, with images circulating on social media. There were also reports and pictures of a metro train set ablaze.

A post on BTV's official Facebook page stated that several people were trapped inside the building. Initially, it was reported that the fire brigade was not allowed to access the site, but later updates confirmed that firefighters had arrived. BTV's broadcast had already been halted by that time.

Various sources have reported different death tolls. AFP stated that 32 people have died, most of them on Thursday.

Among the dead were at least two journalists, one from Dhaka Times who died in the capital and another killed in an attack in Gazipur. The Gazipur incident has not been confirmed.

Media reports also mentioned that protesters set fire to a police station before targeting the BTV building. The BBC quoted Information Minister Mohammad Ali Arafat, who said that some people were trapped inside the BTV building and were not safe.

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Appeal hearing on quota on Sunday



Staff Correspondent, Barta24.com
Appeal hearing on quota on Sunday

Appeal hearing on quota on Sunday

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The hearing of the full bench of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court on quota will be held next Sunday (July 21).

The special chamber court passed the order on Thursday (July 18) evening.

Earlier, Attorney General AM Amin Uddin said that he will apply to the Appellate Division for a leave to appeal hearing against the High Court verdict on quota.

In the afternoon, Law Minister Anisul Haque said, "The Prime Minister said to take measures to bring forward the hearing of the case which was supposed to be heard on August 7, 2024." I have instructed the Attorney General of Bangladesh to apply to the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh next Sunday so that they bring forward the hearing date of the case. 

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The fire has spread in BTV, many people are trapped inside



Staff Correspondent, Barta24.com
Photo: The fire has spread to BTV

Photo: The fire has spread to BTV

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The fire at the Bangladesh Television (BTV) building in the capital's Rampura is spreading. Many are trapped inside the building.

This was announced by a post on the official Facebook page of Bangladesh Television at 6:39 PM on Thursday (July 18).

The post reads, 'Horrible fire at BTV. Spreading rapidly. Many are trapped inside. In this situation, quick cooperation of fire service is requested.

On Thursday (July 18) around 3 pm, the agitators attacked the office of Bangladesh Television (BTV) and vandalized it extensively. At that time, they brought out the motorcycles in the building and set them on fire.

It has been seen that practically all types of traffic have been stopped in Rampura area. The police box located next to the office of the BTV building was set on fire. At least 15 to 20 motorcycles of the sergeants were burnt. One by one, patrolling teams of law enforcement forces are patrolling through helicopters.

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Freedom fighters cannot bow down to evil forces: Liberation War Minister



Staff Correspondent, Barta24.com
Photo: Liberation War Minister AKM Mozammel Haque

Photo: Liberation War Minister AKM Mozammel Haque

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Liberation War Minister AKM Mozammel Haque said that there are crores of people who are in favor of the liberation war, they can never bow down to the evil forces, they cannot compromise.

He said this while speaking as the chief guest at a rally organized by Freedom Fighters Workers-Employees-Professionals Coordinating Council on Thursday (July 18).

He said, those who want to fish in muddy water, those who have failed in all movements in the past and BNP Secretary General also said what we could not do now is being done. In other words, they are making an evil plot in front of our young children to oust Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina from power.

Referring to the speech of the freedom fighters, the Minister said, "We submitted weapons under the leadership of Bangabandhu, but we did not submit training, we did not submit consciousness." There are crores of people in favor of the liberation war, they can never bow down to the evil forces, they cannot compromise. In 1971 this evil power was defeated. We will fight again if necessary as we defeated them 53 years ago.

Mentioning that we have no word against the anti-quota movement, he said, "We do not oppose it." Our only demand is that the safety of people's life and property should not be disturbed in the name of movement. The movement was going smoothly and was not hindered. The violence that the Jamaat-Shibir and Chhatra Dal terrorists entered Dhaka University in the dark of night and carried out was not in the hands of those who started the movement.

Stating that the movement has already been looted and passed into the hands of the anti-independence forces, AKM Mozammel Haque said that, the conflict and anarchy for the last three days are because they have left. What we see now.

Referring to the Prime Minister's speech yesterday, the Liberation War Minister said that not only the Bengali nation but the whole world appreciated it. Still, who did this terror, vandalism, arson today.

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