Jul 24, 2012

The government did a good job! Ask anyone in the government, they'll always claim they always do! Yes, they kept our (or my) heads (head) spinning like a top. I woke up every two days asking myself the question I placed as the title of this post.

When one day its 'Get lost World Bank! We don't need you!', the next would be 'We're still thinking about it, we'd like some dialog', and then followed up by 'We can do this, we don't need the world bank's money! Even little kids want to give up their lunch money... they called the Prime Minister and said so themselves!'. They had even set up policies for a special bank account where citizens can contribute for the bridge over river Padma (M is silent for all you non-bengali folks).

The citizens of course filled up with patriotic fervor, even after the rising oil prices, rising prices of goods and necessities, rising taxes and VATs. Though, some channels showed some people on the streets who were not filled up with fervor (almost the opposite).

The WB, to recap, had laid down a few conditions to releasing the money for building bridges approved. We fulfilled many of these, and were staunchly opposing a few others. The sensational of these was the point of removing Mr. Abul Hossain from the ministry while investigators made sure there were no premise for corruption in the execution of this very large project. The government really stood proud behind him and said 'No!'. At one time, they moved him from the Communications ministry to Information ministry to calm WB down, but refused to take him away completely. They loved him too much, even though as a Communications minister he made serious oversight.

There are a few parody newspapers out right now. I know of two - Dainik Motikontho, and Dainik Maghbazar. They had started putting absurd news titles and events surrounding actual events, which really reflected the lunacy of the overall situation. But in recent times, even when I read the real news, from the serious newspapers, I can't tell apart the real and the parodied.

But after months of news and parodies, reality checks and escapes, yesterday it was announced that he might be resigning. This, at the peak of our defiance of World Bank (and ADB).

MP Abul said yesterday:  "আমার শুভাকাঙ্ক্ষী এবং আমি যাঁদের শ্রদ্ধা করি তাঁরা বিভিন্ন সময় আমাকে বলেছেন, তদন্ত চলাকালে আমার মন্ত্রী পদে থাকা উচিত না। আমি সিদ্ধান্তটা নিয়েছি। কার্যকর ব্যবস্থাও নিয়ে ফেলেছি। আমি দায়িত্বে থাকব না।"
He also added: "আমি মন্ত্রী থাকব কি না, সবকিছুই আল্লাহর ইচ্ছে। আর দপ্তরবিহীন মন্ত্রী হওয়ার বিষয়ে আল্লাহ প্রধানমন্ত্রীকে ক্ষমতা দিয়েছেন। তিনিই এ বিষয়ে সিদ্ধান্ত নেবেন।"

These are from Prothom Alo.

Posted on Tuesday, July 24, 2012

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Jul 19, 2012

Posted on Thursday, July 19, 2012

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Jul 12, 2012

Found a site where a lot of pictures, interviews and information can be found on Satyajit Ray. 

Visit :

Posted on Thursday, July 12, 2012

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Jul 10, 2012

So the fiasco goes on. Apparently today none from World Bank showed up at a Local Consultative Group meeting that takes place between the partners of the Padma Bridge project. Right about now, things are getting confusing. The high and highest government mouths have already spoken that the World Bank is out of the equation, unless they say 'Sorry', and so, why were we expecting them at the meeting? Oh well.

Well, now, the government's stance is that we'll pay for the bridge ourselves. One member has said if needed, we'll shop for groceries less, meaning we'll forfeit lunch maybe. Others are also coming up with ideas on how to get the chips out of the unsuspecting citizens. Some gov. office declared they will provide their day's salary for the bridge (you bribe taking fox, now licking the bottoms again!). On this note, I've found someone said something on Facebook that makes sense, he or she said, he or she doesn't want to pay a dime.

Heres why -

আমি পদ্মা সেতুতে টাকা দিবনা।

সুরঞ্জিত সেনগুপ্ত বললেন "মোবাইল ব্যাবহারকারিদের কাছ থেকে প্রতিদিন ২ টাকা তোলা হোক ", আজ মাননিয় স্পিকার বললেন ২৫ পয়সার কথা। নাসিম সাহেব বলেছিলেন "সরকারি সেবার উপর চার্জ বসানো হোক", সংসদ উপনেতা একবেলা বাজার করবেন না (তিনি কয় বেলা বাজার করেন?), গোলাম মাওলা রনি একধাপ এগিয়ে "প্রয়োজনে কিডনি বিক্...রি করবেন"। কেউ শেয়ার বাজার, কারো চোখ রেমিটেন্স এর দিকে - ইত্যাদি, ইত্যাদি, ইত্যাদি।

অথচ সরকার বা বিরোধী দলের কেউ বলেনা "শুল্কমুক্ত যে গাড়ি আমদানি তারা এতদিন করেছে তার শুল্ক এখন আদায় করা হোক, কিংবা এখন থেকে এই সুবিধা বাতিল করা হোক, এমপি-মন্ত্রীদের যে হাজার হাজার টাকা ফোনের বিল এখনও বকেয়া সেটা আদায় হোক", একজনও বলেনা শেয়ারবাজার থেকে যে বিশ হাজার কোটি টাকা লুট হল সেটা উদ্ধার করে পদ্মা সেতু হোক, বর্তমান-সাবেক মন্ত্রী আর তাদের এপিএসদের যে হাজার কোটি টাকার অবৈধ সম্পদ সেগুলো বাজেয়াপ্ত করে সেতু হোক, তাদের বেতন ভাতা, গাড়ি, বাড়ির সুবিধা কমিয়ে পদ্মা সেতু করা হোক, প্রতি অধিবেশনে প্রতি কার্জ দিবসে কোন রকম মুখ দেখানোর বিনিময়ে তারা যে ৫০০ টাকা পায় সেটা পদ্মা সেতুর ফান্ডে রাখা হোক, কেউ বলেনা যে সব সরকারেরই আমলে দুর্নীতির মাধ্যমে যে টাকা লুট হয়েছে সেটা উদ্ধার করা হোক, ঋণ খেলাপিদের ঋণ আদায় করে পদ্মা সেতু করা হোক।

শুধু জনগন দিবে? তারা সবাই মিলে মিশে খাবে আর আমরা খালি দিয়ে যাবো?

আমার যদি ১ টাকা দেয়ারও সামর্থ্য থাকে, আমি তাও দিবনা। (সংগ্রহীত)
I feel sad amidst all this, that my fellow citizens seem to be blind about the concept of 'conflict of interest'. Our PM and other Ms have mentioned that since the money wasn't transferred yet, how can there be corruption? However, a businessman like Abull Hossain in a position like Communications Ministry, gives rise to conflict of interest. A person like Shahajahan who has retained his supremacy in the bus owners' asssociation is a conflict of interest. Even if there wasn't an instance of corruption yet, these people are more likely to act for their own interests. Say what?

Posted on Tuesday, July 10, 2012

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Jul 5, 2012

I picture my government dressed up like Ali G and crossing her hands in front of her in the hip-hop fashion and saying the above to World Bank who is standing across, ICE-T-ish in its stature and demeanor, with his hands crossed across his chest showing unflinching sternness.

This is historic though, at least I think it is! Has a poor country ever before lashed out at World Bank saying its corrupt? It would've been doubly historic and AWESOME if that same charge wasn't thrown at us first and had funds meant for us canceled based on those charges. So we wanted their money, they refused and now we're bad mouthing them in the parliament and the news. A-h-a. That has 'sore' written all over it. And 'Loser'. When we have such such low opinions of WB, why gun for their funds!? A-ha ... 'Cuz we need it! WB's pull out from the Padma bridge project also influenced the ADB (Asian Development Bank) to pull out too. Only our friends, the Japanese, are sticking around.

In most countries that are careful of the people's opinions, slight corruption charges and even a single instance of failure have inspired ministers and other government officials to resign to make way for fair investigations and to make way for better representation. This is something, Bangladeshis are deprived of. Amidst the first corruption alerts, we saw the minister being moved to a different ministry. Sahara Khatun, our state minister is another example, where a series of failures weren't good enough for her to step down. They can face reporters and deny with a straight face any failure.

Our PM has finally risen to the occassion last night on parliament, broadcast throughout the nation, and given her views. The World Bank is corrupt! So our governments' overall response is a "How dare you!" and a "Did you look at yourself?!". :) Merry!

PS, The PM also gave out a mobile phone number and an email address to receive corruption allegations against members of her family. She denied any of her family is corrupt first.
sheikhhasina@hotmail.com / 01711-520000 and 01819-260371

Ludicrous? I think so!

পদ্মা সেতু প্রকল্প: প্রয়োজনে নিজেদের অর্থেই পদ্মা সেতু
PM on phone to receive family graft allegation
PM trashes WB graft allegations
Commentary: Public interest sacrificed to protect one man

Posted on Thursday, July 05, 2012

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