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Politics and price of essentials July 25, 2007

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The price of essentials is not stable yet. It is rising day by day. The life of the low income and middle income group is affected much because of the rising trend of the price of the essential.

To decrease the agonye of the common people Government has open up chain of Fixed Priced shops by the BDR which also has little impact on the price of the commodities in the general market.


Government was blaming the ‘syndicate’ of businessmen for artificial increase of the price.They tried to identify the responsibles and to encourage the other businessmen to take initiative to overcome the situtaion.

Experts are saying that the drive of the CG against the importers in the early months discouraged the importers and businessmen. The drive was made for illegally holding rotten foods and grains in their godowns, many staffs and executive of different companies were arrested then.

Later the CG tried to ensure the businessmen not to take any drastic action against them. But the response was not satisfactory for long time.

Experts also blame the uprooting of the temporary hats and bazaars by the CG in its drive to clean the illegal temporary structures. That may disrupt the distribution chain of supply of the different food items in the country. The CG didn’t continue the cleansing program further.

In the last budget in June 2007, the Finance Adviser withdrew taxes from the import of essential items and tried to give support to our farmers in many ways.

Interestingly, the price of the items from which the tax was exempted, didn’t go down even after the budget. The Finance Adviser put the question to the business leader also. In response, the business leaders also demanded punishment to the wrongdoers.

It is also found that prices of the local commodities at the production level are low but increase many fold at cities and towns at the consumer end. Authority identified this as the maneuver of the middlemen and is trying to address.

Government is also increasing the number of the wholesale markets and retail markets in the capital and other parts of the country.

To increase the supply and to decrease the price of the Hilsha fish in the market, Government banned the import of Hilsha but with no effect on the market. Hilshas are being smuggled out of the country by different routes.

Government’s most recent move is to engage RAB to monitor the market.

But politics is also playing a part in the instability of the prices of essential commodities in the market.



Arrest of Hasina: Why combating corruption is difficult in Bangladesh? July 23, 2007

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Hasina was arrested on the charge of extortion few days back amid tight security. It is reported that Government has ample evidence against her involvement. About a dozen case are about to be framed against her.

Few weeks back when Hasina was abroad, Government was trying to keep her away from the country and trying to deal her more politically, then many quarters raised objection and asked the Government to deal with her more legally.

Now when the Government is taking legal steps, pressures from different angles and different forms are coming on the Government to release SK Hasina and withdraw the case.

Hasina herself and her protagonists are trying to give a political colour to the allegations against her. Hasina is saying that all the allegation against her are false. And CG arrested her to refrain her from election.

Her lawyers are saying that the case is false, the said incident occurred before the emergency rule, she could not be tried under the emergency rule and in special court. Sometime their tone, attitude and content of their statement is more political than legal. 565 lawyers of Chittagong bar also demanded her release.

Intellectuals are advocating her release in the media – their argument is that two minus theory will not work in Bangladesh, absence of SH and KZ will collapse the parties, country will be devoid of leadership, reform can not be imposed from outside, a flower developed in a laboratory will not grow outside, legal process should be transparent etc.

The Academicians in Universities also prefer to voice their protest. Both colours of teachers joined together after 16 years to demand the release of Sk Hasina and protest the harassnment of Khaleda Zia. But they are not asking for fair trail.

The editors and journalists also expressed their concern. Some of them also showing visible shift tin their outlook. The reporters are publishing news magnifying the reactions to the arrest of the Sk Hasina.

The party is also reacting strongly. AL Acting President said that there will be no reform or council until Sk Hasina is released. Recently he added that AL supports all the movements that support the release of Sk Hasina. He was referring to the strike call by the BCL in DU and other Institutions of the country.

So, the lawyers are questioning the legality of the arrest, the intellectuals are demanding the transparency, the loyalists are advocating for the release, the activists are demonstrating in the campus and the party is encouraging agitation of any form.

In the midst of these to overcome these and to prevent the country to go back to 1/11, the Government needs firm determination, transparency of the process and people support as was suggested by a roundtable discussion organized by the leading Daily Prothrom Alo and participated by the different authorities on the subject on 21 July 2007.

So far, people are with the government and they have not participated in any major agitation after the arrest of Sk Hasina.