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Miraz
August 29, 2007, 04:02 PM
[বাংলা]গত বছরের অক্টোবরে রাজনৈতিক দলগুলির গুন্ডারা যখন জানোয়ার এর মত রাজপথে গরু ছাগলের মত তাদের সহকর্মী রাজনৈতিক গুন্ডাদের পিটিয়ে হত্যা করা শুরু করল, তখন দেশের সাধারন মানুষ রাষ্ট্রপতি ইয়াজউদ্দিনের বিতর্কিত কেয়ারটেকার সরকারকে মেনে নিল সেই পরিস্থতি থেকে মুক্তি পাবার জন্য। এবার রাজনৈতিক দলের বড় বড় রুই কাতলারা পরবর্তী নির্বাচন এ নিজেদের বিজয় নিশ্চিত করার জন্য 'সব মানি কিন্তু তালগাছটা আমার' নীতিতে অটল থেকে ইয়াজউদ্দিনের সরকারের বারোটা বাজিয়ে দিল। ঠিক সেই সময় অনেকটা অপ্রত্যাশিতভাবে আগমন ঘটল ফখরুদ্দীন আহমদের নেতৃত্বে তত্বাবধায়ক সরকারের (অনেক আদর করে বলেন শ্যাডো সামরিক সরকার)।

তারপরের ঘটনাতো আপনারা সবাই জানেন। আমাদের দূর্নীতিবাজ রাজনৈতিক নেতারা আসলে বুঝতে পারেননি যে নিজেদর মধ্যে কামড়া-কামড়ি করার ফল এরকম হতে পারে। যারা দেশটাকে বাপের বা স্বামীর সম্পত্তি জেনে লুটপাটে ব্যস্ত ছিলেন, তাদেরকে প্রাসাদ থেকে জেল এ যেতে দেখে সাধারন মানুষ বাহবা দিল সরকারকে। রাতারাতি বর্তমান সরকার হয়ে গেল পপুলার সরকার। ৯০ দিন এর জায়গায় ২ বছর এর টাইমলাইন নিয়ে খুব বেশী প্রশ্ন উঠলোনা। সবাই আশা করতে লাগলো এইবার বোধহয় কিছু হবে, আর এবার না হলে আর কখনোই হবেনা।

কিন্ত সমস্যা রয়ে গেছে। ফখরুদ্দীনের সরকার গঠিত হয়েছে মধ্যবিত্ত ও উচ্চ মধ্যবিত্ত শ্রেনীর প্রতিনিধির সমন্বয়ে। তাদের পক্ষে দেশের সিংহভাগ নিম্নবিত্ত বা নিম্ন মধ্যবিত্ত জনগণের অবস্থা বোঝাটা কঠিন। দু:খজনকভাবে তারা তা বুঝলেনওনা। তারা কোন পুনর্বাসনের ব্যবস্থা না করেই হকার উচ্ছেদ করলেন, অস্থায়ী হাট বাজার ভাঙলেন, বস্তি ভাঙলেন। মধ্যবিত্ত বাহবা দিল কিন্তু নিম্নবিত্তের পেটে লাথি পড়ল। সরকার সেটা বুঝলোনা।

আমাদের উচ্চ শিক্ষিত বর্তমান সরকার আই এম এফ ও বিশ্ব ব্যাংকের পরামর্শে একের পর এক সিদ্ধান্ত নিচ্ছেন আর বাজারে নিত্য প্রয়োজনীয় জিনিস পত্রের দাম বাড়ছে লাফিয়ে লাফিয়ে। মধ্যবিত্ত ও উচ্চ মধ্যবিত্ত ভবিষ্যত সুদিনের আশায় মেনে নিচ্ছে সবকিছু বা মানিয়ে নিতে তাদের খুব কষ্ট করতে হচ্ছেনা। এবারো যথারীতি পেটে লাথি পড়ছে নিম্ন আয়ের লোকজনের। তাদের কথা জানাতে পারতো যারা, সেই রাজনৈতিক দলগুলোতো এখন নিজেদের অস্তিত্ব বাচাতে ব্যস্ত, ফলে অনুচ্চারিত থেকে যাচ্ছে দেশের সিংহভাগ মানুষের দুরবস্থার কথা।

সর্বশেষ বন্য মোকাবেলায় সরকারের সমন্বয়হীনতা এবং বন্যার্ত মানুষের দুর্ভোগ। একটি ব্যাপার খোলাসা করা দরকার। এমন নয় এই সরকারের সদিচ্ছা নাই। কিন্তু সদিচ্ছা থাকা আর বাস্তবে তার প্রয়োগ এর মধ্যে আকাশ পাতাল তফাত।

জনপ্রিয়তা অর্জন করা সহজ কিন্তু সেটা ধরে রাখা বড়ই কঠিন। ফখরুদ্দীনের সরকার বা আর্মি সরকার যেটাই বলেন, সেই বিতর্কের মধ্যে না যেয়েই বলা যায়, বর্তমান সরকার দেশের একটা বড় জনসাধারণের সমর্থন হারাচ্ছে। মানুষ অবশ্যই দূর্নীতিবাজদের বিচার চায়, সুশাসন চায়, নিরাপত্তা চায় কিন্তু সবার আগে দু বেলা খেতে চায়। অল্প করে হলেও আয় রোজগার করতে চায়। সারাজীবন গাড়ি চড়া আমাদের এই বর্তমান তত্বাবধায়ক সরকার যদি তাদের নাড়ির কথা বুঝতে না পাড়েন তাহলে সামনে দুর্দিন আসছে। এখনই কিছু বাস্তবসম্মত ব্যবস্থা নেয়া প্রয়োজন, নাহলে দুর্নীতিমুক্ত সমাজ প্রতিষ্ঠার স্বপ্ন মাঠে মারা যাবে।

আমরা সবাই চাই বর্তমান সরকার সফল হোক। রাজনৈতিক নেতা নামধারী গুন্ডাদের হাত থেকে আমরা রেহাই পাই, সর্বোপরি দেশে সত্যিকারের সুশাসন প্রতিষ্ঠা হোক। কিন্ত বর্তমান সরকার এমন কিছু ভুল করছে, যেগুলির মুল্য চড়াদামে শোধ করতে হবে আবারো এই সাধারন জনসাধারনকেই। আশা করি সরকার বুঝতে পারবেন, যেখানে বুঝবেননা সেখানে পরামর্শ নিবেন।

এই সরকার ব্যর্থ হলে সামনে আরো বড় বিপদ। আর যাই হোক দেশে আরেকটি সামরিক শাসন চাই না।[/বাংলা]

Omio
August 30, 2007, 05:06 AM
wellsaid Miraz vai,
[বাংলা]আমি এই সরকারকে এখনো সম্রথন করি,
২/১ তা ভুল হবেই, তা বলে মনবল হারালে চলবে না।[/বাংলা]

Miraz
August 30, 2007, 06:25 AM
wellsaid Miraz vai,
[বাংলা]আমি এই সরকারকে এখনো সম্রথন করি,
২/১ তা ভুল হবেই, তা বলে মনবল হারালে চলবে না।[/বাংলা]

[বাংলা]অমিও আমিও এই সরকারকে সমর্থন করি। প্রায় সবকিছুতেই 'বেনিফিট আব ডাউট' এর সুবিধা দিয়ে যাচ্ছি, কিন্তু সরকারকে পরিস্থতি বুঝতে হবে। আনাড়িপনা অনির্দিষ্টকাল চলতে পারেনা। [/বাংলা]

Puck
August 30, 2007, 06:40 AM
miraz, is it possible to offer an english translation of your statement please. i find it really difficult to read bengali fonts on my screen. perhaps a synopsis would be adequate.

Omio
August 30, 2007, 08:48 AM
miraz, is it possible to offer an english translation of your statement please. i find it really difficult to read bengali fonts on my screen. perhaps a synopsis would be adequate.
Install some bangla font.

Nasif
August 30, 2007, 08:59 AM
miraz, is it possible to offer an english translation of your statement please. i find it really difficult to read bengali fonts on my screen. perhaps a synopsis would be adequate.

All fonts are available here:
http://www.banglacricket.com/tools/bangla

Miraz
August 30, 2007, 09:30 AM
Expected some comments from members who are high vocal of current government.

Tigers_eye
August 30, 2007, 09:36 AM
Salam Miraz bhai,
As usual a nice way of putting things together. I would like to add a few things.

When the Caretaker (CT) Govt. started to roundup politicians they were also cutting some of the income sources of some buninessmen like arothdars. Corruption had deeprooted in to almost all channels from the previous years of Democratic rules. We had all witnessed why the prices were so high in the TV. Tons of rice, lintel, vegetables were getting wasted in the storages yet the owners (suppliers) wouldn't let it enter the market. The limited supply would raise the price because of the heavy constant demand. This is not a fault of the CT Govt.

In other sectors, the ministries (Amla) can't get their usual gush/side income so they stalled the work that they were suppose to do (A sweeping generalizing comment I must admit). May be at some places moving at a snails place. Unless all sectors of the Govt. works together for a common goal nothing can be achieved. Army alone can not do anything unless the people of the land get behind the CT and work.

There is no way 20 some people can rule a country like BD. We all have to trust them and get behind them. Only then this will work. Otherwise, kodu ar lau diya dugdugi bajano chara upai nai. (golam hosen)

It is not all on the CT Govt. It is also on us (Everyone) to ensure our future is not like the past.

Sohel
August 30, 2007, 09:40 AM
Swiss cheese way past the expiration date.

Miraz
August 30, 2007, 09:48 AM
Walikum As Salam T_E bhai.

All you are saying are pure assumptions but the sufferings of the poor is a reality now. Previously "Aarotdari", "Munafabazi" was the main reason behind the price hike, now as they are stopped by CTG, price should come down. Unfortunately over the last 5-6 months there were a 50-70% rise in the price of the essentials.

This is where CTG is failing badly. Another important thing is destroying slums, hawkers markets (temporary ones), village markets without any plan of rehabilitation is simply a stupid move, and CTG did that immediately after assuming power.

To be poor is a curse, unfortunately most of our population is living with that curse and CTG steps are further worsening their situation. This is where I cannot suppor the CTG.

About 10-20 people ruling the country, why they don't increase the number to ensure good governance?

Willingness is there, but effectiveness is more required to ensure good governance.

Miraz
August 30, 2007, 09:49 AM
Swiss cheese way past the expiration date.

Sohel, if you want to comment, please do that directly and raise your opinion.

This type of stuff is unacceptable.

Puck
August 30, 2007, 11:04 AM
Install some bangla font.

well thank you for your suggestion but my problem in reading bengali script on screen would hardly be resolved in bengali fonts.

Tigers_eye
August 30, 2007, 11:34 AM
...
All you are saying are pure assumptions but the sufferings of the poor is a reality now. Previously "Aarotdari", "Munafabazi" was the main reason behind the price hike, now as they are stopped by CTG, price should come down. Unfortunately over the last 5-6 months there were a 50-70% rise in the price of the essentials.
The aarotdar's are still not co-operating because they are not getting the support of the corrupt system that they use to get. Not assumptions. The TV news channels are showing. I can't pin point the exact date time that I watched.

Say, what I said was wrong, false, lie. And would like to blame the entire price hike situation to the CTG (AKA forced policy change by recommendation of IMF and World Bank). What were the policy changes that made the price hike? If we don't know the root cause how can one even try to solve the problem? What are your (or any experts in this field) recommendations to get the price down? I am sure CTG is willing to listen anyone on this subject.

This is where CTG is failing badly. Another important thing is destroying slums, hawkers markets (temporary ones), village markets without any plan of rehabilitation is simply a stupid move, and CTG did that immediately after assuming power.
Rehabilitation is a easy word but needs resources which the Govt do not have. Any type of rehabilitation for these people would have to be outside the city limits. How would they earn a living from there? Or are you suggesting that the Govt should build an industry and Quarters for these slum people and then move them there? That would be 5 years minimum with some heavy investment. Where will this come from?

Would you let the poor people (from the slums) get in to your front lawn and live there indefinitely? Would you not kick them out and not worry about where and how they would stay? If the Slum people, hawkers can not use private property to live or do business on, then they should also be able to to do that on public property. One must change the thought that public property means my property. The previous Govts had this idea so did the citizens (rich and poor).

The GOVT went for the illegal stablishments. be it Rangs or slums. On both occations they did not think of rehabilitation because it is not feasible in this short amount of time.

To be poor is a curse, unfortunately most of our population is living with that curse and CTG steps are further worsening their situation.
Your mindset is different than mine. Poor are not cursed. Anyone can switch places.

About 10-20 people ruling the country, why they don't increase the number to ensure good governance?
They should have done this long time back. I am not sure why are not doing this. Trust issue may be?

Finally, who are the people who got affected by the slum removal project? (a) Poor people who use to live there and (b) those who are using the roads now after the aviction. Is B greater than A? I believe 'yes'. Does B have more right to use the public property than A from a civic stand point?

Miraz
August 30, 2007, 01:07 PM
The aarotdar's are still not co-operating because they are not getting the support of the corrupt system that they use to get. Not assumptions. The TV news channels are showing. I can't pin point the exact date time that I watched.

It's governments first and foremost duty to protect general people from these Aarotdars and Munafakhors. Now if their non-cooperation makes the government in-capable to control price hike, I must say we need a more capable government. BNP-AL used these goons for the interest of the party, CTG has no such problem, they should be capable to handle them or initiate central process to handle price hike (like reactivating TCB).

Rehabilitation is a easy word but needs resources which the Govt do not have. Any type of rehabilitation for these people would have to be outside the city limits. How would they earn a living from there? Or are you suggesting that the Govt should build an industry and Quarters for these slum people and then move them there? That would be 5 years minimum with some heavy investment. Where will this come from?

Would you let the poor people (from the slums) get in to your front lawn and live there indefinitely? Would you not kick them out and not worry about where and how they would stay? If the Slum people, hawkers can not use private property to live or do business on, then they should also be able to to do that on public property. One must change the thought that public property means my property. The previous Govts had this idea so did the citizens (rich and poor).

What you are saying is theoretically right, but we need to understand that as a citizen everyone has got the right to survival, and no one can claim that he has got better right than others simply he is rich/tax payer or uses the road with a car etc. etc. Access to other human rights differ depending on financial condition but on a democratic society mere right to survive should not be dependent on financial condition.

It's easy to say we the rich and privileged class will kick them out of the street/slum/public property and not to worry about where and how they would stay, but it is inhuman in the context of Bangladesh where more than 50% people still lives below the poverty line.

Who are these people? Many of them were devastated by erosion of river banks (it happens every year, thousands become homeless who were solvent) and they come to Dhaka simply to survive. They have got kids, family and they cannot simply allow them to die as they have no place to stay. or, you should say they don't have any right to live as they have lost their property.

many of them are living in outskirts of Dhaka and earning their livelihood through small businesses (like hawkers), and suddenly they were uprooted overnight. How will they feed their kids, family. It's not possible to change the profession in many cases as they don't have enough capital or these type of businesses will not make profit outside Dhaka where the buying ability of people is less.

Don't you feel they are cursed? It's not easy to change fate regardless of amount of labor or dedication when there are so many poor people with so much adversity and so little resources.

The GOVT went for the illegal stablishments. be it Rangs or slums. On both occations they did not think of rehabilitation because it is not feasible in this short amount of time.

I haven't expected this from you. This is very immature (sorry bhaijan no offense) statement. Demolition of Rangs bhaban is not directly related with life and death of thousand people, it was an illegal thing built with muscle and Abdur Rauf Chowdhury can still owns hundreds and crores of money to live a POSH life with all luxuries.

You have to be more cautious with people who has so little to survive, taking away their means of livelihood is the other word of killing them, killing their innocent kids and families. Rehabilitation is always feasible if the willingness and proper planning is there. This government will stay for at least 2 years, they could have made a periodical rehabilitation over the next 2 years. Spaces could have been utilised to shelter them and run their business. They could have applied to the donors or took expert advice from civil society about the means of rehabilitation.


Finally, who are the people who got affected by the slum removal project? (a) Poor people who use to live there and (b) those who are using the roads now after the aviction. Is B greater than A? I believe 'yes'. Does B have more right to use the public property than A from a civic stand point?

Don't want to add anything, probably you have got my stance over the issue.

What CTG have done was the easiest way to get applaud from middle class who apparently has better civic right without thinking about the unprivileged society. This can be done by any government, if that's what we want then why we shout for good governance? A good governance should include every section of the society, be it poor or rich.

shaad
August 30, 2007, 02:39 PM
I think there are several factors at play here.

We Bengalis/Bangalis tend to be an impatient and hot-headed lot (yes, I know I am generalizing). So we were all excited about the change of government (the first real possibility of breaking free of the reign of the two madams), but then, some of us (i) expected improvements to happen almost overnight, and (ii) expected the CTG to be utterly flawless.

I don't believe either of these expectations are rational (Miraz, I'm not talking about you -- these are gross generalizations). The CTG is comprised of humans after all, and they will take some missteps. What we have to see is if they learn from their mistakes and if they are trying to improve the state of the nation and its citizens; and so far (unlike during the Khaleda-Hasina regimes) we haven't seen any reason to believe the contrary.

Now, that doesn't mean that the CTG is above criticism and reproach. I think it's perfectly appropriate for Miraz and others to do what they are doing, i.e. presenting constructive criticism and suggestions. On the other hand, simply going on about some perceived issue without at least suggesting a solution seems to be just complaining for the sake of it. Now, I can understand that many of us see this as a last hope for our nation, and are thus quick off the mark with criticism. But we should keep in mind that to others among us this might often seem a little biased, especially since the previous regimes, which were avowedly corrupt, did not seem to face such critiques.

I hope I've conveyed a mix of how I think a cross-section of the posters feel without hopelessly confusing everyone, including myself. So, let's be a little patient, try to come up constructive criticism and suggestions, and try to communicate them to the CTG. I know that's not really our nature, given that we have far more experience with revolutionary movements as a people (against the British, against the Pakistanis, against Ershad, etc.) than we do with stable representative democracy and are ready to riot/melee at the drop of a hat. But let's try...

Miraz
August 30, 2007, 03:34 PM
Shaad, thanks for your post.

We didn't have any hope for good governance from previous regimes, but we do have some hope from the current CTG for good governance. It hurts me when some whimsical decisions create uncertain situations or fuels anger among common people, and I want to raise those points which should be addressed.

Keeping silent when you feel something is going wrong is a crime, and I don't want to be part of that crime when I have got expectations.

I am fully supporting current CTG, and see it as our last-ditch hope for corruption free Bangladesh and that's why I am more concerned about some steps which should have taken with much more caution and planning.

sunnyctg
August 30, 2007, 03:44 PM
I do support the government. But I will be surprized if they carry out the election in 2008 as they promised. They have already put most of the major corrupted leaders in jail anyway. So whos going to run the election thats also a question(assuming those in jail aint taking part). Guess we're expecting some new faces. To be honest, from a personal point of view, I know army gov aint a good thing, but I rather prefer some army people running the country rather then some corrupted people. Miraz bhai is absulutely right about not taking in account of the poor people while taking any decision about country. Then again, these poor people voted those corrupted politicians in return of 5/10 taka or a bag of rice. These politicians took the oppertunity of the illiteracy of the poor people and will be taking it in future. So whether we should involve poor people into politics much in countries like Bangladesh is a contradictory issue for me. But decisions like kicking hawkers out of the street should be carefully justified taking in account of how not to harm their income source.

Tigers_eye
August 30, 2007, 04:04 PM
I haven't expected this from you. This is very immature (sorry bhaijan no offense) statement. Demolition of Rangs bhaban is not directly related with life and death of thousand people, it was an illegal thing built with muscle and Abdur Rauf Chowdhury can still owns hundreds and crores of money to live a POSH life with all luxuries.
No offense taken. If I am immature then so is the CTG. So is many others; and the list would finally end up with all the previous Govts. Eviction of slums is nothing new.

You have to be more cautious with people who has so little to survive, taking away their means of livelihood is the other word of killing them, killing their innocent kids and families. Rehabilitation is always feasible if the willingness and proper planning is there. This government will stay for at least 2 years, they could have made a periodical rehabilitation over the next 2 years. Spaces could have been utilised to shelter them and run their business. They could have applied to the donors or took expert advice from civil society about the means of rehabilitation.
1st, can you provide some stats (even paper references would do) on how many had died after they got uprooted (Hawkers and Slum people)? If the number is zero then you should retract your statement. Those are some harsh and falsely accused words. I have seen my share of slum evictions while I was in BD. What the people did is they moved to another place and created similar slums. Little far from the previous places they were in. No one died back then. No one died now because of eviction.

2nd, for the proper planning issue:
When people like you and I stay out side of our mother land and keep wasting bandwidth, the plannings would never be proper. We are the cream of the crop and stay away from where we should be for our own benefit. This do not help the Hawkers or the slum people by any form or fashion.
You said thorough proper planning rehabilitation can be done in two years. May be yes. May be you know the 'khow-how'. But for this Govt. you are counting the two years time from the beginning of their tenture. Do you think they already came with a plan? Is that even possible without knowing what they are dealing with? It takes time to understand in what mess they had walked in to. Only after Judging the situation a proper plan can be devised, which I may say, takes more time than two years. The donar society you are talking about; are many are trying to fund the chaos that we are having. Let alone they would help the CTG.

What CTG have done was the easiest way to get applaud from middle class who apparently has better civic right without thinking about the unprivileged society. This can be done by any government, if that's what we want then why we shout for good governance? A good governance should include every section of the society, be it poor or rich.
I have no disagreement over this. The arguement over the eviction of the hawkers and slums from Dhaka City has nothing to do with class you are talking about. They represent may be .001% of the whole population. Now if that .001% can take down the whole Govt. I have nothing to say.

Listen, did the CTG wrongfully evicted the poor people? From legal point of view "No". Was there a better way to handle this? Ofcourse "Yes". It is not that my heart does not go out for the ones who have nothing. But I also understand limitations to those who are in power now. Patience is the key. As Shaad bhai has already mentioned we all would make mistakes. Whether we learn from it that is the thing we need to focus on.

Miraz
August 30, 2007, 04:20 PM
You have to be more cautious with people who has so little to survive, taking away their means of livelihood is the other word of killing them, killing their innocent kids and families.
1st, can you provide some stats (even paper references would do) on how many had died after they got uprooted (Hawkers and Slum people)? If the number is zero then you should retract your statement. Those are some harsh and falsely accused words. I have seen my share of slum evictions while I was in BD. What the people did is they moved to another place and created similar slums. Little far from the previous places they were in. No one died back then. No one died now because of eviction.

T_E bhai, you have taken the word word by word meaning of my comments (highlighted in red). "The other word" was the key here which you missed. Let's look it like this, when income source is scrapped what they (or their Kids and Family) will do, will try to survive lowering the standard of life even further (although literally they don't have any standard of life). That means poor food, can't afford medical treatment if fallen ill and that's the start of killing process. You will never know the number as we never record how many people are dying from different illnesses and whether there is any increase in any section of society over a period of time.

To say in a single sentence, when income source scrapped and thrown away from the survival place, it will definitely affect livelihood in a bitter way.


The situation before and now is different. It's true after removing from one place they used to move to a different place. They could cope that as they had their income source unaffected. This time its a massive displacement with income source scrapped, it can be never be the same. Moreover, price of the essential is already beyond reach.

The arguement over the eviction of the hawkers and slums from Dhaka City has nothing to do with class you are talking about. They represent may be .001% of the whole population. Now if that .001% can take down the whole Govt. I have nothing to say.

You got me wrong here, If you read my post carefully you will find I mentioned about the poor and not only slum or hawker of Dhaka. CTG countrywide have demolished all the temporary markets even in villages. If you consider all the population together who are suffering due to price hike, income source scrapped and displaced, and suffering due to poor flood management (these are the points I covered in my original post) they will be well over 25% of the total population. And they are direct sufferer. Problem is, they have no voice and that's why we can think they are probably .001%.

akabir77
August 30, 2007, 04:26 PM
I do support the government. But I will be surprized if they carry out the election in 2008 as they promised. They have already put most of the major corrupted leaders in jail anyway. So whos going to run the election thats also a question(assuming those in jail aint taking part). Guess we're expecting some new faces. To be honest, from a personal point of view, I know army gov aint a good thing, but I rather prefer some army people running the country rather then some corrupted people. Miraz bhai is absulutely right about not taking in account of the poor people while taking any decision about country. Then again, these poor people voted those corrupted politicians in return of 5/10 taka or a bag of rice. These politicians took the oppertunity of the illiteracy of the poor people and will be taking it in future. So whether we should involve poor people into politics much in countries like Bangladesh is a contradictory issue for me. But decisions like kicking hawkers out of the street should be carefully justified taking in account of how not to harm their income source.

Khali ekta problem with army power. power makes people corrupt. So when AL and BNP got corrupt we had army to beat them up. so Ideally i would love army if they leave the power as they promised then all political parties will think twice before doing corruption... but if army doesn't leave power they will turn into another ershad and will take us down with them like he did...

Sauron
August 30, 2007, 04:40 PM
Swiss cheese way past the expiration date.
Pity it's not french cheese.


Anyway, to the thread starter -

The title indicates that you are putting Fakhruddin on notice. Rough translation of your message is "Mr. Fakhruddin, There is still time to fix things, else bad days are ahead". Now a few questions -

1. Can you list things that you need him to fix?
2. Can you indicate within what time frame that you need these things to be fixed?
3. In case everything that you want fixed do not get fixed by end of 2008, are you in favor of extending CTG's tenure beyond that?

I'll caution you though - the list of "needs-to-be-fixed" things that were mentioned in the first post includes:

Rising prices of essentials
Displaced poor people
Following IMF and WB's guidelines (orders)
Mismanagement of flood relief distribution
Plight of flood affected people
Getting rid of political thugs
Implementing a good administrationCouple of things that were not mentioned (probably because CTG is already been working on them) -

Prosecuting people responsible for gross corruption
Making sure no criminal can contest in future elections
Updating voter list
Voter id card (This one is so last year, isn't it?)
And the small task of maintaining day-to-day administrative and policy related tasks of a government.If I forgot anything, pls forgive me. I'd appreciate if you can put a timeline next to each of the items above. A timeline that you would deem satisfactory.

Miraz
August 30, 2007, 04:56 PM
1. Sauron I am not here to formulate a time frame.There is no point wasting time as they will never be implemented.

I raised my concern over few issues which went wrong and in the long run can affect the goal of the current government.

2. I have no problem in extending the tenure of current CTG beyond 2008, but it has to be an efficient government. I simply hope they will understand the need of the poor people (who are majority) and will exercise caution in taking steps which directly affect their livelihood.

About the list you mentioned, the last one which is "Implementing a good administration" should be enough to cover the other points. I want to change the term to "A good and efficient administration".

I want to see CTG successful and that's the main reason behind my concerns over few steps.

Thanks.

Fazal
August 30, 2007, 05:14 PM
Your mindset is different than mine. Poor are not cursed. Anyone can switch places.


Oh boy... I hope I misunderstood your comment... otherwise you disappointed me TE. Its easy for us to say from where we are.... not easy to do from where they are ... and that is the reality. Every one wabts give food and shelter to their family, its not they choose no to do so... its that some of them unable to do so because of their hardship... and if we increase their hardship then where will they go?

Sauron
August 30, 2007, 06:07 PM
1. Sauron I am not here to formulate a time frame.

I thought that was the gist of your post - time is running out. If you don't have any time frame in mind, how do you figure that time is running out?

Anyway, enough said about that topic.

As I see it, we have to be pragmatic, not cheesy.

Miraz
August 30, 2007, 06:11 PM
I thought that was the gist of your post - time is running out. If you don't have any time frame in mind, how do you figure that time is running out?

Anyway, enough said about that topic.

As I see it, we have to be pragmatic, not cheesy.

Hmm.. voicing concerns over some of their steps which is causing sufferings of mass people is cheesy, and giving them outright support to anything and everything is pragmatic.

Got it.

Nocturnal
August 30, 2007, 06:39 PM
Very good points and timely thread - Miraz bhai

Now we are all with the idea that "Prosecuting people responsible for gross corruption and Making sure no criminal can contest in future elections". But does CTG doing the right thing? Accusing Moudud Ahmed and Anwar Hossain Monzu (current powerfull,big mouth CTG advisor Barrister Mainul Hossain's younger brother)
for few cans of Beer looks really odd and won't work, they need some big charges to put these big corrupted ministers behind bars, which they failed to do so far.
Yesterday Fazal expressed his concerns about those "High Profile Cases" on a different thread, I'm quoting him (coz I agree with his view):

"So far all the high profile political cases that the current government have brougt, there are lots of cases that disapointed me; doesn't give me a good feeling or any indication that they are using the judiaciual system drastically different than previous government. Either they are not competent enough, doesn't have the decipline, motive to go with hard and right way and bring solid cases, or doesn't have the moral standard to do it right; I don't know. We all want the corrupt Politicaians, Businessman, Beuracrats and (yes my friend) Amy personnel to pay for their corruption. But some of us wnat that to happen in a legal way not by .. bankrupting our ethical, moral and social values.
They are going quick and easy way, bending laws as needed. I had high expectaion from them. Some of the cases they brought against, was really dispointimg to my taste. As for this Hasina case, I care less... its just another case......however I hoped they bought much better case... I am looking for the bigger picture."
source (http://www.banglacricket.com/alochona/showpost.php?p=530393&postcount=1652)

Miraz
August 30, 2007, 06:59 PM
miraz, is it possible to offer an english translation of your statement please. i find it really difficult to read bengali fonts on my screen. perhaps a synopsis would be adequate.

Puck, recent discussions are in English and it covers the points of the opening post (more than synopsis).

I think it will help you.

sunnyctg
August 30, 2007, 08:11 PM
I think the whole system need to be modified. I am not sure if the western style democracy is really suitable for a poor asian country like Bangladesh. May be army and elected gov both can be in power. In that way, they can give each other check of their work? I mean lets face it democracy didnt really work in bangladesh over past decades(people with money just gonna keep getting into power by buying votes of poors). And on the other hand marshal law (such as ershad) is not what we need(look at Pakistan!) . I think i saw in the news a month or somthing ago, one of the gov advisor was saying 'democray didnt work in bd, we need a new style of democracy' or something like that(cant remember the guys name) ... may be he ment that of a co-operation of both side. What u guys think

ammark
August 31, 2007, 12:46 AM
I think the whole system need to be modified. I am not sure if the western style democracy is really suitable for a poor asian country like Bangladesh. May be army and elected gov both can be in power. In that way, they can give each other check of their work? I mean lets face it democracy didnt really work in bangladesh over past decades(people with money just gonna keep getting into power by buying votes of poors). And on the other hand marshal law (such as ershad) is not what we need(look at Pakistan!) . I think i saw in the news a month or somthing ago, one of the gov advisor was saying 'democray didnt work in bd, we need a new style of democracy' or something like that(cant remember the guys name) ... may be he ment that of a co-operation of both side. What u guys think

I think the closest model to answer you here is what we had been hearing about a reformed and reorganised National Security Council being formulated, that works like it does in Turkey.

Sohel
August 31, 2007, 03:07 AM
Pity it's not french cheese.

Swiss cheese is full of holes, and when past the expiration date, the pleasantly sweetish, almost almandine nuttiness becomes bitter and not quite palatable. I was talking about the post, not the poster whose rather Orwellian response to my initial comment was not entirely unexpected I must say. The insinuated thought-policing on the other hand, was amusing as usual, and can only be justified by stretching an extremely liberal interpretation of forum rules. I made a comment without dumbing it down, because I did not deem original the post to be worthy of an opinion, as emotionally charged and well written as it is. The situation has changed. So I will give an opinion, pasted from another post. I am willing to remove the post from that particular thread, if required.

1. On the nature of our expectations in general- Be it in cricket or affairs of the state, our expectations are never met quickly enough. That's to be expected simply because we've known of our potential and looked at it wither away for long enough, and we've gone out of our way to give someone the benefit of the doubt only to be disappointed over and over again in the past.

Sadly, neither pointless and counter productive cynicism nor dough-eyed, rainbow optimism can make the input from real events match our expectations any faster. Be it Mohammad Ashraful and his team, or Dr. Fakhruddin Ahmed and his, the situation on the ground often dictates its own timeline, and I'm willing to give both the time they need. Ash and company gets more simply because cricket, more often than not, brings us together, and by Allah's infinite grace, can bless us with the joy of being something greater than ourselves and our narrow frames of reference.

2. On the reforms- The reforms must continue, but must be continued by a government elected by the people in free, fair and lawfully financed elections. The current reforms are critical prerequisites for such an election, continued reforms and establishing the rule of law in the spirit of the Constitution of the People's Republic. There is obviously a political vacuum left behind by the BAL/BNP/JIB Mafiosi who have raped, pillaged and betrayed the public trust in more ways than one, and only time will reveal the organization and people ready to step up to the plate, earn the people's trust and do what they are expected to do, namely represent the people who elected them while protecting the democratic rights of those who didn't, and always keeping national interest above those narrow political ones. The traditional and often unlawful politics-as-usual and the subsequent business-of-politics must be shelved and sealed where they truly belong, the proverbial glass cage where other such harmful ideas and activities, such as BAKSAL and self-serving Martial Law have been put away for good. Someday we'll have a transparent and accountable system where it would be possible to learn something from those relics of our turbulent past, the dreams they have shattered, and the hearts they have broken.

3. On the claim of the CGT losing support- After recent events, based on what I've seen and heard during my flood relief work in rural Bangladesh, and extensive volunteer work in urban slums, they seem to be more popular than ever amongst "common" Bangladeshis as well as the "uncommon" ones. People know that the CTG can only do so much to control prices of basic necessities in a free market economy sensitive to global price fluctuations, and deeply influenced by highly politicized syndicates who want nothing better than to go back to the good old days that have given them so much. They are neither stupid nor naive after years of falling for the same lines, and that is very good news indeed.

4. On the "class" issue: Assuming the "upper class" CTG's activities and connection with the "masses" based purely on supposition and bias, its popularity or lack there of based on a similar "science", and blaming them for inefficiency after years of total inactivity, though understandable, is nevertheless a cheesy attitude full of silly, unsightly holes. I'm willing to let the events unfold at their own pace and do what I can to be a part of the solution, however small that may be.

What I find most heartening about the CTG is their ability to admit to their errors, and the demonstrable will to learn from them. That alone, especially within the Bangladeshi context of the past 36 years, makes some us honor bound to hold them accountable to their own timeframe at this time, nothing more and nothing less.

Besides, what is the real alternative at this juncture, other than a return to the past which has undoubtedly benefited the few at the expense of the many, and leave those iniquitous few to reform themselves? Can they, including the many corrupt businessmen, and retired civil servants and military officers already in that BAL/BNP/JIB Mafiosi be allowed to do that? Should the current focus shift before the ongoing structural reforms trying to establish the rule of civil law can give the voters and only the voters such a prerogative?

No.

The math is simple enough folks, let’s not make it too complex or too simple if Bangladesh, and not your ego comes first as it probably should.

PoorFan
August 31, 2007, 04:27 AM
We easily can spot the damage to those poor people, and there is no way we can deny its significance.

However what is not visible is the significant damage to those who grabbed public lands and property, controlled, made evil money, treated as hostage, using as tools and what not. Those gangs and thugs, corrupted police, as well as politicians lost their constant income source and muscle power. Not only freed the illegally occupied lands and property of public, also contributed in curve down crime, corruption and political unrest ( ill motivated or not ) for last few months perhaps.

<!--StartFragment -->An example from Prthom Alo (http://www.prothom-alo.com/mcat.news.details.php?nid=NTcxOTY=&mid=Mw==) of a slum on illegally occupied DMCH land, and who and how it was controlled for last 50 years.

Another example is those illegal VOIP business, which has destroyed by RAB. Some people directly related to politicians were earning crores of money every month, when govt. lost several hundreds crores of money each month. Financial damage to those people is significant, on the other hand govt. boosted their revenue significantly, but the visual picture often pops up as the sufferings of NRBs. Though this example no way cant be comparable with those poor peoples sufferings, but the difference between visible and invisible picture and its existence is my point.

Miraz
August 31, 2007, 06:48 AM
A well written hypothetical essay showing good language skill, unfortunately reality is not virtual and the information given (through flood relief or slum activity as claimed) does not represent the reality.

Undoubtedly CTG is doing good in tackling corruption and we all applaud that, but the steps which are affecting poor majority need to be reviewed ( and I am happy to learn that they are thinking about allowing hawkers during Ramadan time. I hope after Ramadan they will find some places for them).

I guess people definitely saying different thing to different people, I am getting completely different picture from poor, hawkers, slum dwellers about the current CTG while some people are finding CTG very popular among them.

May be they prefer to remain hungry, without medical facilities and under open sky within rains, and they are grateful to CTG for arranging the ideal facilities for them.

Miraz
August 31, 2007, 06:53 AM
Another example is those illegal VOIP business, which has destroyed by RAB. Some people directly related to politicians were earning crores of money every month, when govt. lost several hundreds crores of money each month. Financial damage to those people is significant, on the other hand govt. boosted their revenue significantly, but the visual picture often pops up as the sufferings of NRBs. Though this example no way cant be comparable with those poor peoples sufferings, but the difference between visible and invisible picture and its existence is my point.

Poorfan bhai, I have heard your family is now in Bangladesh for a holiday, try to get some real picture from her (about the condition of the poor). I am sure you will find the real scenario about the status of mass people after recent price hike and displacements.

upper class, Middle class can cope with significant financial damage but its next to impossible for the poor. Moreover, for the poor people it was not their choice to select a profession which might look illegal (like doing business on street). Middle class has got more freedom and they often select illegal professions (like VOIP) to earn more money.

Sohel
August 31, 2007, 07:03 AM
The "condition" of the poor is not the same as what the poor think is responsible for that condition, or what they think of the CTG in relation to all previous governments.

Sauron
August 31, 2007, 01:36 PM
Supposedly French cheese gets better with rotting.

Anyway, Miraz, you latched on to the last sentence of my post. But you failed to explain why you imply that time is running out when you don't have a time frame in mind.

Miraz
August 31, 2007, 05:11 PM
Sauron, whether I have a time frame in mind or not is not an important issue for the mass people of Bangladesh. What matters is the time frame promised by the CTG and that is 2 years.

Time is running out as we have already passed 6 months but no effective steps were taken to curb the price hike which is directly affecting the livelihood of mass people especially poor. Moreover some dubious steps were taken which is further worsening situation for them.

CTG must address these issues before more damage is done in the mindset of poor people as they require support from every section of the society to achieve their ultimate goal.

Sohel
September 1, 2007, 02:49 AM
People know that the CTG can only do so much to control prices of basic necessities in a free market economy sensitive to global price fluctuations, and deeply influenced by highly politicized syndicates who want nothing better than to go back to the good old days that have given them so much...

... The "condition" of the poor is not the same as what the poor think is responsible for that condition, or what they think of the CTG in relation to all previous governments.

A vague question for those interested in a straight answer: -

Q- How do you control prices of basic necessities in a free market economy sensitive to global price fluctuations, and deeply influenced by highly politicized syndicates - such as the Haji Selim Group, the Shah Alam Group and the Abul Khair Group among about 25 others - who want nothing better than to go back to the good old days?

Possible As, I'm sure there are others: -

1. Subsidize production, import and distribution by manipulating duty structures and interest rates, and try to get on the good side of people who can pay for it. Something the CTG has done without results and I wonder why.

2. Forcibly nationalize the syndicates and their trucks, barges, storage facilities and what not, without having the Constitutional authority to do so, bureaucratize the economy and set it all the way back to the Soviet 1970s, don't worry about whose going to pay for it, and finally say goodbye to tangible economic growth.

3. Invade the OPEC states, Russia, Norway, Texas, California, Alaska and Oklahoma to control the price of fuel needed to generate power, and for transportation.

4. Initiate a hostile take-over of the Commodities Exchange in Chicago to control the price of grain and other staples.

5. Just bitch, moan, claim to have no twisted ulterior motives from the comforts of your vantage point, and hope for the best, whatever that may be.

6. Go back to the good old days, because our people are too poor and stupid to understand or care about being blackmailed into submission ... and let the Spirit of '71, the Constitution and the Letter of the Law rest in peace.

Please feel free to combine the answers, add your own, or keep on sidestepping the meat of the matter.

Miraz
September 1, 2007, 03:09 AM
A simple question.

Why do you (CTG) fail to curb the price hike of local produce (like vegetables) where farmers are selling them cheap but market price is 4-5 times of farmer price?

For essential commodities free market, global price fluctuations, all are true, but the problem is the price hike is way more than the global price rise in most occasions.

If someone is interested to compare the price of the global market with the local market over the last 6 months, please do some research before coming with vague generalizations.

Here's a link.
http://www.globalfinancialdata.com/
(http://www.globalfinancialdata.com/index.php3?action=detailedinfo&id=5997#metadata)

Sohel
September 1, 2007, 03:19 AM
As expected no straight, easy answer. In fact, no answer at all.

Dumbing it down ... first comes the producer, then the middlemen (distributors and wholesellers) and their "value addition", then the retailer with more "value addition", and finally the consumer. The market in BD is neither centrally planned nor controlled like in North Korea and Albania, though the mob has similar power over prices like in Russia.

In Bangladesh, 90% the middlemen = 100% of the syndicates. "Sima Trading" and "United Brothers" ... two more names. Oh BTW, there's also the flood with all of its impact on the prices, destruction of crops, rehabilitation and rebuilding to name a few.

I encourage everyone not to pass the buck and do their research and extrapolations ... the quality underneath the questionable gloss always exposes itself.

Puck
September 1, 2007, 06:15 AM
am i to assume that it is the middle men, i.e., the various groups mentioned by sohel who are partially responsible for the price increases?

if that is the case, perhaps a measure of control could be instilled by specifying how much a distributor or middleman could charge to transport the goods from the producing farmer to the consumer market?

i am certainly not suggesting a wholescale nationalisation process. however, there could be part nationalisations of the bazars, haats and major venues where the working classes buy their commodities from. surely, the individual sellers have to pay a fee of sorts to the market owner. if we could reduce this fee, alongwith how much the major distributor is allowed to charge to transport goods between the producer and the seller, there would be at least a semblance of price control?

Sohel
September 2, 2007, 11:54 PM
am i to assume that it is the middle men, i.e., the various groups mentioned by sohel who are partially responsible for the price increases?

if that is the case, perhaps a measure of control could be instilled by specifying how much a distributor or middleman could charge to transport the goods from the producing farmer to the consumer market?

i am certainly not suggesting a wholescale nationalisation process. however, there could be part nationalisations of the bazars, haats and major venues where the working classes buy their commodities from. surely, the individual sellers have to pay a fee of sorts to the market owner. if we could reduce this fee, alongwith how much the major distributor is allowed to charge to transport goods between the producer and the seller, there would be at least a semblance of price control?

Puck, here's a few great ideas from your fellow Josephite GM Niaz Murshed, also an economist. The legislative authority of the CTG, and the subsequent real-life feasibility of those ideas, is the primary question being assessed by the authorities as we speak in order to bring some these ideas to life.

Inflation and price fixing
Niaz Murshed discusses how existing legislation may be enforced by the government to ease our inflation woes

http://img2.freeimagehosting.net/uploads/2952911f1f.jpg (http://www.freeimagehosting.net/)

While watching the news on a cable TV channel recently, I came to know about a few arrests made by the authorities for price fixing. The questions that automatically came to mind were: How may these arrested persons be brought to justice? What legislation in Bangladesh deals with price syndicates?

Price fixing

Price fixing entails collusive behaviour among competitors. If the reader is not familiar with it, all he has to do is wonder why all the fruit vendors ask for exactly the same price when he goes to market to buy a kilo of apples. The same practice adopted on a larger scale, and in an organised manner, often leads to price levels much higher than desired by the market.

This article looks at the relationship between price fixing and inflation. In particular, it sheds light on the legislation relevant to the issue.

What exactly is this legislation?

Strictly speaking, there is no such thing as "price fixing legislation." It only works within the broader framework of a competition policy. It is competition that the law protects. The way it works is as follows: if you make a collusive agreement regarding price, then no further proof is required that you have affected competition in a way that is detrimental to the well-being of the consumers.

The law refers to it as a "deeming" provision. Under such clauses price fixing is prohibited per se, that is, no matter what.

The obsolete law

Although there is much debate in the media regarding the issue of price syndicates, existing legislations or their enforcement are hardly ever discussed in any of the newspaper articles or in the television talk shows. In most cases, the focus tends to move tangentially, leaving the listener or reader rather uncertain regarding appropriate action. In fact, the piece of legislation relevant to price fixing in Bangladesh is quite difficult to get hold of, and even after I had discovered it in the law indices, it was not clear if it was still operational.

The MRTP Ordinance 1970 (PC vol17 pp.508-523) was written under martial law 37 years ago, and some of the clauses make no sense in today's context. As it stands today, the ordinance is as good as obsolete.

Interestingly, the price fixing under collusive agreements between competitors was prohibited even in that ordinance. If the ordinance is still operational, price fixing is theoretically still prohibited under it:

"Unreasonably restrictive trade practices shall be deemed ... If there is any agreement between actual or potential competitors for ... fixing the purchase or selling prices or imposing ... with regard to the sale or distribution of any goods or services."

However, it is limited by a few exclusion clauses drafted in old US anti-trust metaphors. If it were a part of any comprehensive national competition legislation today, as mentioned earlier, the exclusion clauses would not have been there.

As we can see, the concept of a competition policy is no stranger to us. We just need to revisit it and put things into perspective, in particular, with regard to its relationship with the current situation.

The inflation debate

There are three major reasons for the unabated inflation that we face today :
*Excess money supply.
Pressure from exports earnings, remittances, etc (pointed out prudently in "Where is Bangladesh Bank in the Inflation Debate" (June 14, The Daily Star, Faisal Salahuddin).

*The structural issues of the market.
The existence of cartel and exploitative behaviour of actors within the supply chain (there are the issues relevent to competition policy and this article).

*External shocks.
Oil prices, exchange rates, economic factors in neighboring countries, etc.

The point to clarify here is that the excess money supply is definitely the largest contributor to the inflation that we are faced with. Therefore, no matter how well you handle the structural nuances, it will remain as the major problem. However, the reverse argument is also true. That is, even if you manage the monetary policy well, you need to rectify your market structures sooner or later. The two issues are very much independent in nature; while one relies on the central bank and its policies, the other relies on legislation and their proper enforcement.

On the other hand, external shocks are part of any modern, open economy. It is very difficult to predict them, and it is even more difficult to insulate a market from them. This makes the structural issue and the competition policy all the more relevant to the anti-inflation campaign.

The main legislation

The anti-price fixing legislations fall under a category known as the Restrictive Trade Practices (RTP) legislation. It is the mainstay of a competition policy, and definitely the most relevant legislation pertaining to our inflation debate (not "anti-hoarding law," whatever that is). These sets of legislations are usually designed to safeguard competition against anti-market forces which "substantially lessen" it. This concept follows from the US anti-trust law. In particular, the Sherman Act of 1890 and the Clayton Act of 1941 were the basis of its origin.

The idea behind RTP is simple. It is assumed that competition is beneficial to market allocation and productive efficiencies, thereby reducing prices. This leads to obvious benefits to the consumer. However, given the chance, some businesses tend to monopolise the market in search of higher, or supernormal, profits, as in the case of our price syndicates. RTP legislations prohibit such behaviour.

The Sherman Act 1890, proposed by Senator John Sherman and enacted by President Benjamin Harrison, was the first of its kind, and stated:

"Every person who shall monopolize, or attempt to monopolize, or combine or conspire with any other person or persons, to monopolize any part of the trade or commerce among the several states, or with foreign nations, shall be deemed guilty of a felony …"

There are basically three types of RTPs which affect the market:

*Horizontal Acts, or collusive behaviour among competitors; e.g., price fixing, bid rigging, market sharing, etc.

*Vertical Acts, or agreements among buyers and suppliers; e.g. minimum sales price (also known as resale price maintenance, misuse of market power, etc).

*Mixture of horizontal and vertical acts; e.g. mergers and acquisitions.

The economic benefits from prohibiting vertical acts are intuitively less clear than that of the horizontal acts. Therefore, as far as we are concerned, the focus should be on horizontal acts or collusive behaviour among competitors only.

This move will serve two purposes. Firstly, it will address the issue of price fixing directly, which after all is the order of the day. Secondly, bringing in the prohibitions against collusion will also serve as an "introducer" to the public, for the legislation may be difficult to comprehend at first. We have to understand that, in a country where killing of the innocent go unheeded at times, the niceties of the Sherman Act may not be appreciated overnight.

However, the other categories cannot be pushed under the table. For example, the time for dealing with mergers and acquisitions may arrive sooner than we think. What if tomorrow one of our cell phone companies wanted to take over one or more of its competitors? Should the government allow it?

Therefore, in our context, it is better to enact all of RTP together. However, enforcement should be selective. The horizontal prohibitions should lead the way; the other ones should follow according to need.

An important by-product

The second set of legislations relevant to our inflation debate concerns consumer protection (CP). The primary role of CP is to protect the consumers against unfair practices. Its positive effects on competition and, hence, on prices of commodities come almost as a by-product. The Australian Trade Practices act 1974 describes the scope of consumer protection as "for its own sake and for the sake of competition." Although its primary objective is to make sure that the ordinary consumer is not cheated, in effect, it also enhances competition.

It is assumed that a certain behaviour, called "unconscionable conduct," is responsible for higher prices. As far as we are concerned, it involves unscrupulous or immoral behaviour within the supply chain of our market. It may occur at the very beginning, when the product moves on to the suppliers (middlemen in our case) from the producers. It may also take place at the other end, in the market place, were sellers take advantage of the weaker bargaining power of the buyers.

It was very encouraging to see that the Consumer Association of Bangladesh (CAB) had pushed a legislation called Consumer Protection Act 2000, which actually incorporated the points mentioned above. The draft proposal also identified that our supply chain problems have a certain "Bangladeshi flavour," hence, they should be handled accordingly.

But where is CP Act 2000? It is already the middle of 2007. For the reasons mentioned below, as far as CP is concerned, time is of the essence.

Tip of the iceberg

One has to realise that the remedies discussed are mostly enforcement based. Specialised units, independent statutory bodies, or parts of government departments, are normally given the responsibility of enforcing the law. The duties of this body would be varied, to say the least; starting from case by case administrative assessments (mergers) to pure "economic espionage" (price fixing). Well-trained technical staff would be needed to ensure that the legislation is correctly enforced.

In addition, jurisprudence must also be given time to develop and align itself with the idiosyncrasies of the enforcement. The situation in practice may be different from the one originally perceived in the legislation. Adjustments must be made to take care of loopholes.

For the reasons mentioned above, our government should introduce the legislations as soon as possible. We have to remember that enactment of the laws in this case is merely the beginning, and not the end, of the solutions.

Conclusion

I have heard experts talk about the current inflation and the government's role in it. The argument, often very elegantly put forward, is that the economy cannot be run by an iron hand. You need an "invisible hand" to tame it. They usually refer to the contingency plans adopted by the government to stabilise prices.

However, to deal with the cartels and the unscrupulous conduct, one would need to use a firm regulatory hand ultimately. RTP and consumer protection is based on the reverse argument of "laissez-faire." The government just needs to get its direction right. These are cases of market failure, and to rectify the situation the first thing that is needed is comprehensive competition and consumer legislation. And it is also vitally important for our national interest that the new law be an enforceable one.

Niaz Murshed is a graduate in Economics, University of Pennaylvania and the first chess grandmaster of the sub-continent.

DS Forum link:http://www.thedailystar.net/forum/2007/september/inflation.htm

PoorFan
September 3, 2007, 02:02 AM
Poorfan bhai, I have heard your family is now in Bangladesh for a holiday, try to get some real picture from her (about the condition of the poor). I am sure you will find the real scenario about the status of mass people after recent price hike and displacements.

upper class, Middle class can cope with significant financial damage but its next to impossible for the poor. Moreover, for the poor people it was not their choice to select a profession which might look illegal (like doing business on street). Middle class has got more freedom and they often select illegal professions (like VOIP) to earn more money.
<!--StartFragment -->Bhai Miraz, there is no way I can deny poor peoples suffering, I wish we have better way to fix this problem, in fact there is none I afraid, if we look around the world slums are everywhere in developing country, means no perfect way to fix it.

However there could be some way to reduce their suffering in some certain areas, such as education, health etc. I guess some NGOs are already working on this regard, and I do believe a huge research and analysis is needed if we wish to develop these poor peoples living standard. For example with my limited knowledge when I try to think even a temporary solution, I always end up like I am lost in the middle of the sea.

Lets think about a road that will be open for hawkers for example...

Since its a limited ( not enough for all hawkers ) area the place will be overflowed by hawkers in no time. Since there is no way to identify who is hawker and who is not, there is no way to control proper distribution of position, in fact some goons will occupy position using 'tokai' and will rent or sale those position to hawkers, moreover some corrupted officials may get involved in this process. Since its a road, there needs some restriction or guideline on who will decide what type of hawkers will be allowed or not ( ex. no raw grocery is allowed ). Now think about the security, in a mass place like bazar may need some extra care of security, means extra security force and human resource. Lastly, who will take the responsibility of cleaning the garbage everyday? Imagine if they were allowed to sale vegetable, fish, meat, chicken etc., even if not so, the road will become a road inside an average 'kacha bazar' in a few week I guess. Many more problems could be there which I didn't notice yet.

Same way If we think about more proper settlement or rehabilitation of these poor people, such as distribution land to live etc., there must have to be a proper identification system, otherwise huge corruption and crime is inevitable, or perhaps may escalate peoples flow towards city. Many more problem could be point on, but that's necessary at the moment.

What I am trying to say is we need huge research and analysis on slum and its people, only then there could be some transparent and better way to develop their life and right in some areas if not all.

PoorFan
September 3, 2007, 03:00 AM
Another example is those illegal VOIP business, which has destroyed by RAB. Some people directly related to politicians were earning crores of money every month, when govt. lost several hundreds crores of money each month. Financial damage to those people is significant, on the other hand govt. boosted their revenue significantly, but the visual picture often pops up as the sufferings of NRBs.

Daily Star latest report on VOIP. (http://www.thedailystar.net/story.php?nid=2151)

Foreign, Local Phone Cos, ISPs Won't Get Overseas Licences
VoIP operators grab over Tk 15,000cr calls a year

Sharier Khan


The government's newly adopted international telecom service policy bars already-licensed local and foreign private telephone companies and internet service providers (ISPs) from getting licences to operate any kind of system through which all overseas calls will be channelised in the near future.

This means the foreign investors, phone companies and ISPs will not be able to operate the three private International Gateway (IG), Interconnection Exchange (ICX) and Internet Exchanges (IX), implementation of which will stop illegal VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) activities. They will however be entitled to Internet Protocol (IP) telephony licences.

Such a hard stance was taken because all phone companies, including foreign investors, and ISPs were found involved in illegal VoIP activities which were depriving the government of thousands of crores taka in revenue from overseas calls.

It was previously thought that illegal VoIP operators were gobbling up international calls worth around Tk 2,000 crore each year but the latest assessment puts the figure at around Tk 15,000 crore a year. “This demands that we establish a policy regime where the entities that grew on illegal activities are not allowed to get new business,” notes a source.

Besides, the new policy makes it mandatory for all telecom-related operators to provide access to law enforcement agencies for lawful interception as per Bangladesh Telecommunication Act, 2001.

Under the newly adopted International Long Distance Telecommunication Services (ILDTS) Policy, only new Bangladeshi private entities able to show the source of their investment will be given these vital licences while the state-owned Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board (BTTB) will operate one IG.

The three new international call systems that demand at least Tk 900 crore investment may become operational from mid-2008 in the best case scenario.

Bangladesh Telecom Regulatory Commission (BTRC) is set to float an open auction for setting up three IGs this December. “The process will be transparent and the auction will be held at Bangladesh-China Friendship Centre,” the source added.

Each of these IGs will handle and monitor Internet Protocol-based phone calls that use the country's land and cell phone systems, the submarine cable and the overseas phone exchanges.

“Setting up the IGs and associated system would effectively eliminate illegal VoIP activities but the BTRC will also have to stop the use of VSATs (very small aperture satellite). No country around the world allows use of VSATs by ISPs or for commercial use. VSATs are used only for corporate communication everywhere and we also have to limit its use within corporate entities,” said an official.

“Illegal VoIP calls are still being made using thousands of VSATs across the country while all the legal calls are now being channelised through the submarine cable and the BTTB exchange,” he mentioned.

But VSATs are now providing an important back up for the on-land fibre optic line linked with the submarine cable that connects the nation to the information highway of the world. Often when the fibre optic line between the submarine cable in Cox's Bazar and Chittagong's phone network is cut-off by miscreants, the VSATs provide a slower but workable back up.

“Again, we suspect that some vested interests involved in illegal VoIP operations, are involved in snapping the fibre optic line. To eliminate this, the BTTB must take the solid fibre optic line of the Power Grid Company of Bangladesh (PGCB) as back up. The PGCB line is set up on high tension power lines. Miscreants will find it difficult to snap those. Besides, the BTTB had signed the primary agreement to rent the PGCB line for Tk 20 crore two years ago as a back up system,” the official said.

ILDTS policy highlights
The government framed this policy amid tight secrecy to avoid pressure or influence from the illegal but very powerful VoIP lobbies. It aims at facilitating, liberalising and legitimising ILDTS including VoIP. “The policy is primarily focused on providing affordable communication means to people… encouraging local entrepreneurs, encouraging new technologies to grow and ensuring due earning of revenue for the government,” says its preface.

The 13-page policy's most important aspect is the licence awarding procedure. It says, “IGW, ICX and IX licences will be issued only to Bangladeshi entities… Foreign entities… and non-resident Bangladeshi entities cannot be eligible to the Owners/Directors/ Shareholders/ Investors/Partners of these licencee entities. All financial transactions must be through a scheduled bank of Bangladesh.”

The licences will be awarded through open auction.

IGW, ICX and IX operators will issue Initial Public Offer (IPO) in the stock market of Bangladesh.

IP Telephony licences will be issued only to the holders of ISP operators licence except PSTN/PLMN operators having ISP licences.

The licence shall not be transferable.

The policy notes, “Indiscrimate use of VSAT has been one of the means of conducting unauthorised VoIP call business. As such it is crucial to control unauthorised use of VSAT. VSAT will not be allowed for voice services except IGWs. VSAT connected to IXs will be allowed for data communication only.”

All operators will provide call detail record and any other monitoring facilities of voice and data calls for on-line and off-line monitoring by the BTRC.

Illegal VoIP operations
A source pointed out that the drive against illegal VoIP operation launched earlier this year surprisingly revealed that all mobile and 30-plus Public Switch Telephone Network (PSTN) companies as well as majority of the ISPs were involved in this illegal activity. These include City Cell, Grameenphone, AKTEL and Banglalink.

Cases have been lodged against these companies and the BTRC is considering financially penalising each of them.

“Some companies, admitting their misdeeds, are literally bargaining with the BTRC on how much penalty is justified for them -- whether it should be a few hundred crore taka or a thousand crore,” notes a source.

“Official figures show that we have 17 million paid minutes of overseas calls every day. This used to be just 8 million paid minutes before the February drive against illegal VoIP operation,” he points out.

“But according to our international telecom sources, outgoing and incoming overseas calls in Bangladesh stand at a stunning 70 million minutes. This means we have not succeeded in uprooting illegal VoIP operations … This also means that there is a largely untapped legal business opportunity here.”

New investor uncertainty
As setting up each of the IGs demands as much as Tk 300 crore investment, the biggest question is whether the BTRC would get any bidder not already involved in telecom or ISP business. “There is also this question whether there is any investor of this magnitude with clean money,” the source noted.

The BTRC hopes that solid investors backed by banks would spring up at the bid.

“The BTRC bid may fail, and then we might consider other options. But as it stands today, the business proposition is very strong. Even if we consider setting up the IGs to handle the 17 million minute calls per day, with per minute call charge of only 3 US cents, we are talking about a revenue of 186 million dollars,” he adds.

According to him, an investor for IG or ICX would recover the cost of investment within 18 months even after giving up to 82 percent of the gross revenue to the government and the BTRC. Then onwards, the IG operator will get huge returns.

Policy criticism
Phone companies are critical about the policy's investment restriction saying that it will ultimately make overseas calls costly and affect end-users.

“This policy aims at creating middlemen. Majority of the subscribers are mobile phone users. So, when the new system adds new operators, they would charge the phone companies extra for each call. This charge will be ultimately passed on to the subscribers,” said an executive of a phone company requesting not to be named.

Besides, the new investors will lack the level of efficiency that the phone companies have.

Regarding investment, he said, “I guess there will be new business consortiums, instead of just one investor for each of the bid. Surely the phone companies will not be in this field even indirectly. We hope the BTRC follows strict transparency and does not favour certain quarters.”

PoorFan
September 6, 2007, 10:26 PM
Long history of slum eviction and plan for rehabilitation, but yet to see proper implementation. From Prothom Alo (http://www.prothom-alo.com/index.news.details.php?nid=MTAyODc=).


Hopeful action on hawkers rehabilitation before Ramadan, from Prothom Alo (http://www.prothom-alo.com/index.news.details.php?nid=MTAyOTA=).

Rabz
September 7, 2007, 02:05 AM
According to the report, the housing project sounds good to me.
And to be honest, TK 2 Lac is not much when repaid over 5 years.
Its about TK 3400 per month. With atleast 2 or 3 earning members in the household, the money can be saved to repay the house.

Dont get me wrong, its not an easy task by any means, but indeed a daunting challenge with the ever rising price of everyday commodity.
But to live in a better condition with a proper roof over the head, i think its achievable.

The only other way i see is increasing the period of loan. if it can be increased from 5 to 7 years, the minimum repayment goes down around TK 1000 per month.

Im sure the guys at the top are working a plan out.

But its good to see the CTG is taking actions to implement this plans.