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Kamikaze

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  1. পদ্মাসেতুর কন্সট্রাকশন ইয়ার্ডে ভাঙন মুন্সীগঞ্জের পদ্মাসেতুর কন্সট্রাকশন ইয়ার্ডে ভাঙন দেখা দিয়েছে। ইতোমধ্যে সেতুর ৩৫টি রোডওয়ে স্ল্যাব, ১৫টি রেলওয়ে গাডার ও ১০টি সাপোর্ট পাইপসহ বেশকিছু যন্ত্রপাতি বিলীন হয়ে গেছে। শুক্রবার (৩১ জুলাই) বিকেলে মুহূর্তেই প্রায় ২০০ ফুট প্রতিরক্ষা প্রাচীর পদ্মায় হারিয়ে যায়। ঠিকাদারি প্রতিষ্ঠান চায়না মেজর ব্রিজ কোম্পানি ও সেতু কর্তৃপক্ষের কর্মকর্তাদের উপস্থিতিতে এসব সম্পদ রক্ষায় জরুরিভাবে ক্রেন এনে সরিয়ে নেওয়ার চেষ্টা করা হয়। কিন্তু সম্ভব হয়নি। ভাঙনের তীব্রতা এতই বেশি যে ক্রেনগুলোও উল্টো পদ্মায় বিলীন হওয়ার আশঙ্কা দেখা দিলে দ্রুত সরিয়ে নেওয়া হয়। চোখের সামনেই একের পর বিলীন হচ্ছে ইয়ার্ডের সংরক্ষিত পদ্মাসেতুর মূলবান উপকরণ। পদ্মা সেতুর নির্বাহী প্রকৌশলী দেওয়ান আব্দুল কাদের সময় সংবাদকে জানান, পদ্মার স্রোতের তীব্রতা এত বেশী যে এই অবস্থায় কিছু করা যাচ্ছে না। ইয়ার্ডের পূর্ব দিক্ষণ অংশে চলছে এই ভাঙন।
  2. Govt to procure 150 metre-gauge coaches from South Korea Bangladesh Railway is set to purchase 150 metre-gauge carriages and 20 metre-gauge electric locomotive from South Korea, aiming to develop rail communications of the country. Bangladesh Railway on Wednesday signed an agreement with a South Korea joint venture firm in presence of Railways Minister Md Nurul Islam Sujan. Under the agreement South Korean firm Sung Shin RST and POSCO International will supply the carriages at Tk 658.81 cr, said an official release. The carriages will be delivered within the next 18 to 30 months. After signing the deal, the minister requested the contractors to maintain the standard of the carriages following the agreement.
  3. অত্যাধুনিক জলযান পেলো খুলনা, সাতক্ষীরা ও বাগেরহাট সুন্দরবন ও উপকূলীয় এলাকায় অপরাধমূলক কার্যক্রম নির্মূলে আইজিপি কর্তৃক খুলনা, সাতক্ষীরা ও বাগেরহাট জেলার জন্য বরাদ্দকৃত তিনটি অত্যাধুনিক জলযান (স্পিডবোট) বিতরণ করা হয়েছে। মঙ্গলবার (২৮ জুলাই) সকাল সাড়ে ১১টার দিকে মহানগরীর জেলখানা ঘাটে এ বিতরণ অনুষ্ঠানের আয়োজন করা হয়। অনুষ্ঠানে প্রধান অতিথি ছিলেন খুলনা রেঞ্জের ডিআইজি ড. খ. মহিদ উদ্দিন। বিশেষ অতিথি ছিলেন খুলনা রেঞ্জের অতিরিক্ত ডিআইজি (অ্যাডমিন অ্যান্ড ফিন্যান্স) মো. হাবিবুর রহমান, অতিরিক্ত ডিআইজি (অপারেশনস অ্যান্ড ক্রাইম) একেএম নাহিদুল ইসলামসহ খুলনা রেঞ্জ অফিস ও জেলার ঊর্ধ্বতন কর্মকর্তারা। ডিআইজি ড. খ. মহিদ উদ্দিন খুলনার পুলিশ সুপার এস. এম. শফিউল্লাহ, বাগেরহাটের পুলিশ সুপার পঙ্কজ চন্দ্র রায় এবং সাতক্ষীরার পুলিশ সুপার মোহাম্মদ মোস্তাফিজুর রহমানের কাছে জলযানের চাবি হস্তান্তর করেন। এ সময় ডিআইজি ড. খ. মহিদ উদ্দিন বলেন, কোরবানির সময় চামড়া পাচার প্রতিরোধে পুলিশ হেডকোয়ার্টার্স থেকে ইতোমধ্যে দেশের ৬৬০ জন থানার ভারপ্রাপ্ত কর্মকর্তাকে কঠোর নির্দেশনা দেওয়া হয়েছে। জাতীয় সম্পদ রক্ষায় পুলিশ কঠোর অবস্থানে থাকবে। সুন্দরবনের জলদস্যু, বনদস্যুদের প্রতিহত করতে পুলিশ সর্বদা তৎপর। সম্প্রতি সাতক্ষীরা ও বাগেরহাট এলাকা থেকে বিভিন্ন অপরাধীকে আটক করা হয়েছে। বরাদ্দকৃত তিনটি অত্যাধুনিক জলযান সুন্দরবন এলাকায় পুলিশের কার্যক্রম আরও গতিশীল করবে। তিনি বলেন, ঘূর্ণিঝড় আইলা, বুলবুল, ফনি, আম্ফানের মতো প্রাকৃতিক দুর্যোগে সুন্দরবনের কারণে উপকূলীয় এলাকায় ক্ষয়ক্ষতির পরিমাণ কম হয়। সুন্দরবনের জীববৈচিত্র্য রক্ষায় এর ভিতরেই পুলিশের নিয়ন্ত্রণে ক্যাম্প স্থাপনের চিন্তাভাবনা রয়েছে। তাছাড়া ওই এলাকায় অত্যাধুনিক যন্ত্রপাতি স্থাপন করা হবে যার, মাধ্যমে অপরাধীদের গতিবিধি পর্যবেক্ষণ এবং তাদের আটক করা সম্ভব হবে।
  4. Japan to dispense $1.0b in budget aid Bangladesh for the first time is expected to secure US$1.0 billion worth of budget support from Japan next week. The support would help the government weather the impact of the COVID-19 on the economy, officials said on Monday. The Ministry of Finance officials said they are likely to sign a loan deal with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) on August 5 in Dhaka. This will be the first time in the history that Japan is extending budget support, said the officials. The possible $1.0 billion budgetary support could be disbursed in two tranches in fiscal year 2020-21 and in FY2021-22, said a senior finance official. He said, "Japan usually provides us the official assistance through different packages to bankroll some development projects every year. But this time, the Bangladesh's largest bilateral donor is coming forward with the big chunk of fiscal support." "Due to the massive impact of COVID on the Bangladesh's economy, we had sought the budget support from Japan and some other multilateral donors to cushion the virus blow to the economy. And our largest bilateral donor responded quickly," an additional secretary told the FE. He said this would help ease the resource constraints the government is facing due to the pandemic. Meanwhile, the Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal had requested the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank (WB), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to provide financial support to finance the budget to tackle the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. In May, the IMF confirmed $732 million balance of payments support, the ADB $500 million budgetary support and the WB disbursed the $250 million and the second tranche of the pending $750 million budget support recently. The ADB has also assured the government of another $1.0 billion budgetary support for Bangladesh, which could be confirmed soon. Besides, the Beijing-based AIIB and the Jeddah-based IsDB are also expected to provide some $350 million worth of budget support for Bangladesh. With the global economy getting battered by the coronavirus pandemic, Bangladesh's economy has also been suffering a lot with millions of people thrown out of jobs. It needs huge investments for reconstructing the economy, which suffered a body blow after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Mr Kamal talked with the IMF, WB, ADB, AIIB, IsDB and Japan for getting assurance of the budgetary support to the economic recovery. Bangladesh's economy expanded at a rate of 8.15 per cent rate in FY2019. He said that he had received "positive response" from the donor agencies over the loan assistance. Japan is proving financial support under its ODA packages to many development projects, including the ongoing Uttara-Farmgate-Motijheel MRT-6 metrorail construction project, MRT-5 and MRT-1 metro rail construction projects and Railway bridge parallel to Bangabandhu bridge on the Jamuna River.
  5. Chinese chemical maker rebuffs pandemic fears, wants to invest $300m Yabang Investment Holdings Group Co Ltd, a concern of Yabang Group of China, has expressed its willingness to invest $300 million in textile and other chemical industries inside Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Shilpa Nagar in Chattogram. This the highest amount of investment proposal received by Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (Beza) during the pandemic. Xiaochu Xu, chairman of Yabang Group, placed his proposal and sought 100 acres of developed land under an annual lease agreement yesterday, according to Beza officials. A master plan was submitted which includes that on bringing about infrastructure development in the project. They have also submitted the environment management plan to address environmental issues of the project. This will be a project owned 100 per cent by foreigners. "The ongoing global trade situation is favourable for Bangladesh. And that is why the Chinese businesses are keen to invest in the South Asian nation," said Paban Chowdhury, executive chairman of Beza. The investment of Yabang Group will help Bangladesh diversify its export basket as well as ensure technology transfer, he said. "Basically, Yabang Group wants to take advantage of the global trade competitiveness." "We will sign a deal on land lease agreement with Yabang Group just after Eid-ul-Azha, as they want to complete the investment process rapidly to go into production as soon as possible," he said. Foreign investment will come in fast to Bangladesh if responsible local organisations come forward to take advantage of the existing favourable global business climate, he said. Earlier on June 5, Xu met with Bangladesh's Ambassador in China Mahbub Uz Zaman at his office in Beijing and discussed investment plans in Bangladesh. If things go according to plan, the initial investment may hit around $1 billion and the focus will be given on printing and dyeing, pharmaceuticals and other chemical plants. The investment holdings group is one of three leading companies in the chemical sector and among 500 top listed companies in China. It has more than 15,000 employees. Its business covers dye, coating, pigment, medicine, veterinary, pesticide, photovoltaic, logistics, finance and real estate industries. It has more than 60 subsidiary (branch) companies. The group's annual sales volume exceeds $10 billion with a profit of $500 million.
  6. China to fast-track construction of its economic zone in Ctg China has finally decided to speed up the development of the dedicated Chinese Economic and Industrial Zone (CEIZ) in Chattogram mainly to benefit from the competitive advantage Bangladesh enjoys in global trade. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had offered creation of the zone during her visit to China in 2014. In 2015, the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council had given approval for CEIZ to be set up exclusively for Chinese investors on 774.25 acres of land in Anwara upazila. A CEIZ Development Company was also formed by the zone's designated developer, China Harbour Engineering Company, and Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (Beza) to run the CEIZ. In order to get the zone prepared for prospective businesses, the Bangladesh government would provide Tk 420.37 crore while China Harbour $100 million. But there had been little progress on bringing to life this first specialised government-to-government economic zone. However, earlier this month, China Harbour wrote to Beza urgently seeking the signing of a deal which would allow them to start work on the CEIZ. China Harbour said the $100 million was ready to be brought in while it had got businesses interested through promotional activities and follow ups based on Bangladesh's favourable investment environment and global reputation of its parent company, China Communications Construction Company (CCCC). Over 60 enterprises have expressed their willingness to invest nearly $280 million to set up businesses in CEIZ and wanted to take 40 per cent of the land of the zone through sub-lease. China Harbour has already obtained all necessary approvals regarding the investment from the CCCC and China's Ministry of Commerce and the National Development and Reform Commission. The designs have been finalised and China Harbour is ready to start work on infrastructure development, for which they are pushing the government, according to Jiang Wei, project representative of CEIZ. "We will focus on four sectors for investment in the zone -- logistics, manufacturing, chemical and readymade garment," he said. The zone has access to water transportation and is suitable for export-oriented industries due to its proximity to the Chattogram port, Bangladesh's largest sea port. "The CEIZ will be able to eventually attract more than $1 billion in foreign investment, create 60,000 to 90,000 new jobs, directly or indirectly, and ultimately boost industrialisation and develop the economy of the surrounding Chattogram district," the company said. Pointing out that the global economy, including that of Bangladesh, has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, it said the rapid development of CEIZ would contribute to the recovery of Bangladesh's economy and deepen economic ties between the two countries. Speaking to The Daily Star, Paban Chowdhury, executive chairman of Beza, said the Chinese side was very keen on rapid implementation of the zone for setting up factories and start manufacturing. Basically, Chinese investors are interested in Bangladesh as they want to take advantage of the country's competitiveness in global trade, such as its eligibility for low tariffs, he said. "We should introduce long-term policies so that investors can take initiatives about investment. This is also needed to attract foreign direct investment,'' Chowdhury noted. He said foreign investors have no question regarding the existing policies in Bangladesh but they want those to be stable. The policy stability issues, including those on taxes and custom duties, were pointed out by a visiting Chinese delegation in November 2019. They stated to be happy with the existing rules and regulations for businesses. Policy stability was needed to help investors prepare their business plan and avoid uncertainties as the world's second-largest economy looked to broaden its footprint in Bangladesh through investments and relocating factories, they said.
  7. Remdesivir saved the day for pharma industry Beximco that made the remdesivir first in the country has already exported around 50,000 vials that worth nearly $3 million to at least six countries Over the four decades of its journey, Bangladesh's pharmaceutical sector has evolved as a strong industry that is capable of meeting 98 percent of local demand that amounted to around $3 billion in 2019. Bangladesh is now the only least-developed country among 47 nations that has a well-developed pharmaceutical sector that can produce medicines for cancer diseases and biological products such as insulin and vaccines. The country is also doing well in exports in recent years and exported medicines worth $136 million to 151 countries in the just-concluded fiscal year. The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has opened up a new window of opportunity for local drug makers as the demand for antiviral drug remdesivir is increasing worldwide in the absence of a vaccine or other drugs that can effectively treat Covid-19 patients. "We have permitted six companies for the export," said Ayub Hossain, spokesman at the Directorate of Drug Administration that regulates the drug makers in Bangladesh. In early May, the Directorate General of Drug Administration gave permission to six pharmaceutical companies to produce remdesivir, a potential Covid-19 drug. The companies are Beximco, Beacon, Eskayef (SK-F), Incepta, Square and Healthcare. However, Beximco produced the drug first in the country. It has a history to work well against the SARS and Ebola virus. Three among these six companies have already begun exporting the drug, which is being used on Covid-19 patients in several countries, including the United States. Beximco has already exported the medicine to at least to six countries – Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Nigeria, the Philippines, Venezuela and Lebanon. "We are getting export queries from many countries. But our priority is to serve the needs of the local market," said Rabbur Reza, chief operating officer at Beximco Pharma. Reza said they have so far exported around 50,000 units (vials) of Bemsivir (remdesivir). Beximco is trying to export remdesivir to around 30 countries, he added. Currently, Beximco is capable of producing 80,000 vials of Bemsivir per month, which the company wants to double by next month, he said. Eskayef has also exported the medicine to some countries and Beacon has got approval from the authorities to export it. "We are going to sign a deal to export remdesivir to Iraq," said Ebadul Karim, managing director at Beacon Pharmaceuticals. Karim also said they have received requests from a dozen countries from Asia, Latin America and Africa for its export. "We are capable of exporting the drug after meeting the local demand," he said. According to industry insiders, the export price for per vial remdesivir stands at $55 to $65, which is Tk5,500 (maximum retail price) in the local market. So, Beximco's export earnings would stand at around $3 million. However, local drug makers cannot go for a blanket export as they have to take prior approval for the export of remdesivir. But such permission is not mandatory for the export of favipiravir, another medicine being used to treat Covid-19 patients in some countries. Market players said Bangladeshi companies are increasingly getting known to the world for its medicine, which will ultimately help them boost export. To boost exports, local drug makers are conducting clinical studies for more and more products so that their exports become easy. Clinical trials are the primary way by which researchers find out if a new drug is safe and effective in human body. Various companies in the country are now conducting clinical researches on around 300 products, mostly in the laboratories of foreign countries as Bangladesh does not have the capacity to do so. Abdul Muktadir, chairman and managing director of Incepta Pharmaceuticals, said they are carrying out clinical research on around 30 products. "But that is not enough. We need to do clinical research on more products if we want to boost exports," he said. Reza of Beximco said they will set up a laboratory for carrying out clinical tests of medicine in one or two years. The pharmaceutical market of Bangladesh has doubled once every five years since 2010. However, the novel coronavirus pandemic is now threatening to derail that spectacular achievement of the industry led by local players. Back in 2010, the size of the pharmaceutical market was $852 million and it reached $1.64 billion after five years, according to the Bangladesh Association of Pharmaceutical Industries (BAPI), a forum of drug makers. The market had grown to around $3 billion before the pandemic hit businesses in April this year. Research and Markets, a Dublin-headquartered firm, predicted in a report last week that Bangladesh's pharmaceutical industry will grow at an average of 12 percent per year for the next five years and take the market size to more than $6 billion by 2025. The report said the majority of this growth would be contributed by local companies with a market share of more than 90 percent. The share of generic drugs will be over 85 percent in 2025 from around 75 percent now, it states. Bangladeshi companies depend on imports to meet 95 percent of the raw materials. So, the country will be able to save foreign currency once the API Park starts functioning, industry players said.
  8. Bangladesh to fund construction of Buddhist monastery in Nepal The cabinet has approved a draft of an agreement on the construction of a Buddhist monastery in Nepal funded by Bangladesh. The development came in a virtual meeting presided over by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday. The proposed agreement will be signed between the Lumbini Development Trust of Nepal and the Government of Bangladesh. The Trust has allocated a plot to Bangladesh after the country proposed to construct a monastery in Lumbini, the birthplace of Gautama Buddha, said Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam. "The matter came to us from the religious affairs ministry. The area under the Lumbini Development Trust is deeply connected with Gautama Buddha. Buddhists from different countries have a strong connection with this place." "A plot was allocated after Bangladesh expressed its interest in building a monastery or a pavilion there. It was all processed through the Bangladesh embassy," he added. The Lumbini Development Trust has given the greenlight to the project, including the designs, which will cost an estimated Tk 512 million, said Anwarul.
  9. ইমরান-হাসিনার টেলিফোনে কথা! ইন্দো-বাংলা সম্পর্কে ফাটলের শঙ্কা দিল্লির তাদের মত, "বাংলাদেশ-পাকিস্তানের প্রধানমন্ত্রীর ফোনে কথা এবং জম্মু-কাশ্মীর ও সীমান্ত নিয়ে আলোচনা খুব দুর্লভ।" কলকাতা: চলতি সপ্তাহের প্রথমে টেলিফোনে কথা হয়েছে বাংলাদেশ ও পাকিস্তানের প্রধানমন্ত্রীর (Pak-Bangladesh telephonic conversation)। আলোচনার বিষয়বস্তু ছিল ইন্দো-চিন ও ইন্দো-নেপাল সীমান্ত সমস্যা। এমনটাই জানতে পেরেছে নয়াদিল্লি (New Delhi)। পাশাপাশি সূত্রের খবর, পাক প্রধানমন্ত্রী "ভারত অধিকৃত জম্মু-কাশ্মীর" নিয়েও শেখ হাসিনার কাছে অভিযোগ করেছেন। আর এতেই কিছুটা উদ্বেগ বেড়েছে ভারতের। তাদের মত, "বাংলাদেশ-পাকিস্তানের প্রধানমন্ত্রীর ফোনে কথা এবং জম্মু-কাশ্মীর (Talks on J&K) ও সীমান্ত নিয়ে আলোচনা খুব দুর্লভ।" যদিও বাংলাদেশের তরফে কাশ্মীর বা সীমান্ত প্রসঙ্গ উত্থাপন করা হয়নি। শুধু সে দেশের বন্যা ও করোনা সংক্রমণ নিয়ে কথা হয়েছে। যদিও বিষয়টি লঘু করতে দেশের প্রাক্তন বিদেশ সচিব কে শ্রীনিবাসন বলেছেন, "দুই আঞ্চলিক দেশের প্রধানমন্ত্রীদের মধ্যে কথা বলায় কোনও আকস্মিকতা নেই। আর যেহেতু দু'টি দেশই ইসলাম অধ্যুষিত। সেখানে কাশ্মীর প্রসঙ্গ থাকবে। এটাই বলাবাহুল্য।" এদিকে, এই ফোন বৈঠক প্রসঙ্গে বিদেশ মন্ত্রক শুক্রবার বলেছে, "বাংলাদেশের সঙ্গে ভারতের সম্পর্ক ঐতিহাসিক ও দীর্ঘ। আমরা জম্মু-কাশ্মীর নিয়ে ওদের স্থিতাবস্থাকে সম্মান করি। কাশ্মীর প্রসঙ্গ ভারতের অভ্যন্তরীণ ইস্যু, এটা ওরা বরাবর মেনে চলেছে।" যদিও সংশোধিত নাগরিকত্ব বিল নিয়ে ভারতের বিরুদ্ধে কিছুটা ক্ষোভ উগরে দিয়েছে ঢাকা। পাশাপাশি চলতি মাসের প্রথম সপ্তাহে ঢাকায় নিযুক্ত পাক রাষ্ট্রদূতকে উষ্ণ অভ্যর্থনা জানিয়েছে শেখ হাসিনা সরকার। আর এতেই উদ্বেগ বেড়েছে ভারতের।
  10. Indian envoy failed to meet Hasina despite requests: Dhaka daily It also reported that all Indian projects have slowed down since the re-election of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in 2019. A prominent newspaper of Bangladesh has said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina did not meet India’s High Commissioner despite repeated requests for a meeting in the last four months. Bhorer Kagoj, a prominent daily, has reported that all Indian projects have slowed down since the re-election of Prime Minister Hasina in 2019 with Chinese infrastructure projects receiving more support from Dhaka. “Despite India's concern, Bangladesh has given the contract of building an airport terminal in Sylhet to a Chinese company. Indian High Commissioner Riva Ganguly Das tried for four months to get an appointment with the Prime Minister of Bangladesh but did not get it. Bangladesh has not even sent a note of appreciation to India in response to Indian assistance for the COVID-19 pandemic”, said the newspaper's editor Shyamal Dutta in an article on the recent tilt of Dhaka towards Pakistan and China. Beijing Urban Construction Group (BUCG) has received the contract for building a new terminal in MAG Osmania Airport of Sylhet that borders India's northeastern region and is, therefore, considered a sensitive area for New Delhi. A diplomatic source from the Bangladesh High Commission here has confirmed that the Indian envoy had sought an appointment with Ms Hasina but it did not materialise. However, neither India’s High Commission in Dhaka nor the Ministry of External Affairs(MEA) responded to questions from The Hindu. A diplomat from the Indian mission said Ms Ganguly Das has gone out of Dhaka on a tour. Imran Khan’s call Ms. Hasina received a phone call from Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan on Wednesday. Though Dhaka refused to give more details of the conversation, Pakistan’s official news agency reported that Mr. Khan informed Ms Hasina about the situation in Kashmir and sought “resolution” of the dispute. India, in response on Thursday, appreciated Bangladesh saying that Dhaka considers Kashmir an internal matter of India. Ms Ganguly Das has been appointed as the next Secretary in charge of the eastern hemisphere in the MEA and she is expected to take her new post in the coming days. She was met by foreign minister Dr. A K Abdul Momen on July 14 for a farewell meeting. The article in Bhorer Kagoj said that a section of Ms Hasina’s office is actively supporting stronger ties with China. This angle was visible in the rapid improvement in ties with China’s ally Pakistan in the last 10 months. Bangladesh opted for Pakistan’s onion supplies in November 2019 after India imposed a ban on its export. This was the first time that Bangladesh imported agriculture items from Pakistan in the last 15 years. Dhaka-Islamabad ties went cold after Ms Hasina’s government hanged Jamaat E Islami Bangladesh leader Motiur Rahman Nizami for the 1971 war crimes in 2016. Pakistan had angrily protested against the execution and for two years (2018-'19) Dhaka did not host a Pakistan High Commissioner. NRC, CAA issues India’s ties with Bangladesh in the meantime was also hit by the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), which aims to give amnesty to minority religious groups from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. Dhaka has maintained that instances of religious bigotry has gone down in the country and that the NRC and the CAA are internal matters of India. The issue, however, has created a wave of concern in Dhaka, as prominent leaders of the ruling BJP spoke about “sending back” undocumented citizens to Bangladesh. In recent weeks, media in Dhaka has also been vocal about increased number of casualties along the India-Bangladesh border because of reported firings by the Border Security Force (BSF). Growing differences with India were viewed as opportunity for groups that are aligned with Pakistan and Chinese interests in Dhaka. In this backdrop, Bangladesh-Pakistan diplomatic ties resumed earlier this year with the arrival of new Pakistan High Commissioner Imran Ahmed Siddiqui in January. Mr Siddiqui secured a special meeting with Dr. Momen on July 1. The article in Bhorer Kagoj also said that a section of officials in Bangladesh was trying to use cricket to normalise relations between the two sides that continues to be vitiated by the memory of widespread human rights violation and war crimes committed by the Pakistan military against the people of the erstwhile East Pakistan that led to the revolt and ultimately the creation of Bangladesh in December '71 through the Indo-Pak war. Ms Hasina’s increasing diplomatic interactions with Pakistan and Pakistan’s traditional supporter China is also being viewed as a move to bargain with India on issues of Dhaka’s special interest, especially the CAA, which remains a sticking issue for Bangladesh as it is weary of hosting more refugees in addition to the 1.2 million Rohingya from Myanmar currently residing in Chittagong’s Kutupalong.
  11. Bangladesh Railway to receive 10 locomotives from India Bangladesh Railway (BR) will receive 10 locomotives from India on Monday, to overcome its locomotive crisis. India would hand over the locomotives as grants. "The broad gauge locomotives, which India is giving as gift, would be handed over at 3:00pm on July 27 through Darshana-Gede Interchange Point," Railways Ministry's Senior Information Officer Shariful Alam said today. Railways Minister Nurul Islam Sujan, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen and Indian Railways Minister Piyush Goyal will attend the ceremony virtually, he added. All the ten broad gauge locomotives Indian Railway is going to hand over to BR were commissioned in between September 2012 and December 2015, said officials. With 72 percent locomotives of BR already crossing their economic life, the government took initiatives last year to hire locomotives from India for the first time to help them overcome the crisis. In April last year, BR sent a proposal to the railways ministry to "hire" or "get as courtesy" 20 railway engines (10 broad gauge and 10 meter gauge) from India until the first batch of 70 locomotives that Bangladesh bought from the US and South Korea start arriving mid-next year. "Until then, the 10 locomotives would be very helpful," BR's Director General Md Shamsuzzaman told The Daily Star on July 13. However, BR will not bring meter gauge (MG) locomotives from India. They did not get suitable MG locomotives as India phased out such engines long ago, Shamsuzzaman added. According to BR documents from May last year, it had 178 MG locomotives, of which 139 have crossed their 20-year economic life. Of its 90 BG locomotives, 55 have completed their economic life.
  12. BSF must use non-lethal weapons at border, Bangladesh tells India Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen yesterday said Indian Border Security Force should be cautious and use non-lethal weapons while guarding the border with Bangladesh, according to a report of The Hindu. The minister told media in Dhaka that Bangladesh has identified the areas where people have died in firing from the border guards and Dhaka is planning to station more forces at those hot spots to prevent casualties, said the report published today. "The BSF needs to be more careful while enforcing law in the border areas. They can arrest and bring our citizens to us if they are found violating law but killing our nationals is not welcome," Momen said, urging Indian authorities to act according to bilateral understanding. The comment came in response to the reported lynching of three citizens of Bangladesh in Indian state Assam's Karimganj on Sunday. Police in Karimganj have alleged that the three had come to steal cattle. "There is no need for us to bring cattle from elsewhere. We have enough cattle of our own," the report quoted Momen as saying. The BSF has taken a tough stance on containing cattle smuggling which spikes annually ahead of Eid-ul-Azha, he said. Though the incident in Karimganj is being investigated, officials in Dhaka urged the border guards of India and the common people to treat Bangladesh nationals according to agreed principles, the report said. "We have identified the border areas where our people have been killed in the recent past. We have conducted an internal discussion about how to prevent such incidents. This is a very small part of the border and we are considering deploying more forces in such areas to avoid the frequent tragedies," Momen said.
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