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Forget Cricket Talk about anything [within Board Rules, of course :) ]

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Old August 15, 2003, 12:45 PM
rafiq rafiq is offline
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Default Rahmans busy with mag lev trains

If we started threads on corruption, I guess we could make several new posts everyday, and it would need to cover not just present BNP corruption, but past AL & Ershad corruption as well. I am making this post only because we had been discussing cricket boss Arafat Rahman elsewhere, and not as a political statement of any kind. I realize many people here are supporters of one party or another. That's OK, but let's not be naive about what goes on.


Why Bangladesh Spends Big on Projects it Can't Afford
Sharier Khan
OneWorld South Asia
14 August 2003

DHAKA, August 14 (OneWorld) - Bangladesh's undue haste in clearing an
exorbitant US $500-million magnetic levitation (maglev) train project
while its citizens go without bare necessities, has stirred up a
controversy, with auditors and economists hinting at corruption in
high places.

The 175-mile maglev line, which will link the capital Dhaka with the
port city of Chittagong, is typical of the government's lopsided
priorities. Observers allege the maglev train - a high-tech luxury
that doesn't exist even in rich countries - is being pushed through
by its political patrons.

In fact, the Public Expenditure Review Commission (Perc) earlier this
week, wanted to submit a report to Finance Minister M. Saifur Rahman,
stating that the project was unnecessary.

But Rahman refused to accept the report, saying, "The issue is still
premature. There is no point in submitting a report on something that
has not materialized."

Rahman claims the project is still in its embryonic stage. "The
proposal on the magnetic train has not been discussed at any level in
the government," he maintains.

But Bangladesh Railway's additional director general, (marketing and
corporate affairs) Sazzadur Rahman nailed the lie Wednesday, "We have
sought requests for proposals from companies and have received their
offers. This is an ongoing project," he admitted.

Earlier too, on June 19, Communication Minister Nazmul Huda had
announced at a press conference that the country was considering a
maglev train on the Chittagong-Dhaka line.

"We are considering proposals from international vendors to handle
the dream project which will reduce the travel time between Dhaka and
Chittagong to less than an hour instead of the present five hours,"
enthused Huda.

The press conference was attended by Arafat Rahman, the younger son
of Bangladesh Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, the Communication
Minister's younger brother Badrul Huda and Alexander Wagner, the
chairman of the German company, InterGlobe Euro-Arab Group.

It isn't a coincidence that Rahman represents the InterGlobe Euro-
Arab group while Huda acts as an independent consultant.

The shortlisted companies include InterGlobe, American McAllen and
Associated Research Management, a consortium of local and Japanese

Wagner feels that the train meets Bangladesh's needs. "The train is
very economical as it consumes less energy and has low maintenance.
It can be completed within 18 months," he claims. His company is
currently undertaking a similar project in Shanghai.

Such claims are trashed by the Perc which is trying to halt the
project in its tracks. Chairman M. Hafizuddin Khan says, "There is no
such train system anywhere in the world right now. The lone 20-mile
maglev scheme in China has not started operation. It's way too high-
tech for Bangladesh in the first place."

"If installed, this would be the most costly and economically
nonviable transport system in Bangladesh," Hafizuddin believes.

The chairman refers to a PERC report submitted to the Finance
Minister back in December. The PERC writes, "This technology is not
used commercially anywhere in the world. Not even in Germany where it
has been developed."

"In such a context, using this technology in Bangladesh is very pre-
mature and technically nonviable. This will require huge investment,
leading to high train fares that the general public cannot afford,"
he stresses.

But the Communications Minister defends his pet project. He questions
the PERC's jurisdiction in the matter, remarking that, "I will
obviously bring it (maglev train) in the public interest."

Professor of economics and a trustee of Transparency International
(Bangladesh), Mozaffar Ahmed, believes it isn't a straight deal.

Says Mozaffar, "Why does the Communication Minister holds a press
conference along with the Prime Minister's son? We smell corruption

He says a project of such magnitude should not be introduced without
a detailed feasibility report. "If they must set up this train, the
entire infrastructure will have to be set up afresh. Currently, there
are buses, trains and air services on this route. Then how will this
scheme be profitable?" he asks.

But the maglev isn't the only white elephant whose bill the exchequer
will have to foot. The Perc identifies schemes in the railway sector
costing more than US $150 million that get high priority although few
economic or social benefits are likely to accrue from them.

In addition, two expensive fertilizer plants - that were shelved last
year after an Industry Ministry study revealed that fertilizer from
them would cost the country US $17 million more per year than the
import price - have just been cleared.

On the other hand, projects that will immensely benefit the rural
population are on the backburner.

A US $1.5 billion project to build roads at the village level
countrywide, which was sanctioned in 1994, has a mandate to finish by
June 2003. But with an annual spending of just US $15 million, the
project lags so far behind schedule that the PERC calculates it will
take another 76 years to be completed.

The PERC notes that in the education sector, 90 per cent of
government spending is focused on buildings, providing employment to
teachers and pay hikes. Little attention is paid to improve the
quality of education.

In the health sector, the government spent funds to build healthcare
units staffed by the lower tiers of the administration. As these
units ludicrously function sans physicians, they contribute little to
improve public health.

Such profligacy hasn't gone unnoticed. An audit report by Auditor
General Asif Ali placed before a parliamentary committee last month
shows that government spending is routinely siphoned away from the
intended recipients.

The fact that the auditors objected to a US $48 billion total of
spending between 1972 and 2003 shows the level of corruption in

Transparency International (Bangladesh) reports that in 2001, the
nation incurred a loss of US $16 billion because of government
corruption. For Bangladesh it wasn't small beer - it wiped out 4.6
percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product.

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Old August 15, 2003, 05:47 PM
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Zobair Zobair is offline
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Any news on the Independent Anti-corruption Bureau on the works?
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Old August 15, 2003, 06:53 PM
chinaman chinaman is offline
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Your service is noteworthy. However, is there a run scored or wicket fell?
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Old August 15, 2003, 09:25 PM
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Zobair Zobair is offline
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chinaman I didn' t get your response...but I am gonna go ahead and respectfully hazard a guess...if you mean that while rafiq bhai's article is interesting its not related to cricket, you are right. However, this section is for all topics non-cricket and thus rafiq bhai is fully within his right to post it.

In case I have got you all wrong my apologies.

[Edited on 16-8-2003 by pompous]
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Old August 15, 2003, 10:01 PM
Pundit Pundit is offline
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Location: Virginia, USA
Posts: 3,338

Maybe a forum ought to be opened just for Awami League's supporters. We/They will finally get the much needed forum to blah blah blah...knowing fully well how amiss that opportunity is in the current parliament.Then there won't be any bickering over rights and such.

Plus, Shubho can post any pic he so wishes, x100, and for every day of the year, with all the grandeur and decor absent during the demi-god's own living life. I'm sure the bandwidth is their for allocation. And oh, Mr. Rafiq can also set the stage for his new career path: rooting out Arafat Rahman's misdeeds. Ain't that a smashing idea for a start-up intellectual think-tank. Be sure to recruit your peers from this forum before looking elsewhere.

Rajputro, can you accommodate ?
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Old August 15, 2003, 10:16 PM
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Orpheus Orpheus is offline
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Default Oh yeah!

This thread should be interesting now !

!!!Let the batrachomyomachy begin!!!
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Old August 16, 2003, 12:04 AM
rafiq rafiq is offline
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Location: Chicago
Posts: 3,394

Pundit, your rather personal post can unfortunately only be answered with a personal reply, which just serves to take this discussion down a non-constructive path. If you have something positive/negative to say about the subject of this thread, pls. jump in. Demonstrate your ability to say something intelligent or original without resorting to trite comments such as in your above post. I have read a lot of good stuff from you on this board, just not here.

I also can't understand your need to make personal attacks on board members, even if we disagree on Arafat or demi-gods or whatever. Perhaps you should start a cricket board where all 150+ members think, act and sound off exactly like you?

And for the record, I for one don't need you to find career paths for me, God willing I have a great one. And besides, unearthing Arafat's misdeeds sounds too dangerous, I don't want to get killed!

I am also not an "AL supporter"! I may have a historical appreciation for them, but what sane person is an "AL supporter" anymore (no offense intended to esteemed AL supporters on the board).

I guess it was a stupid idea to post this article here (my general problem with the whole Forget Cricket idea), as truth is always too bitter to swallow and perhaps everyone in the audience is not mature enough to handle it.

By the way, for anyone who wants to debate this (I don't): the article only insinuates corruption, it doesn't prove it. And everyone is innocent until proven guilty.

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Old August 16, 2003, 12:41 AM
chinaman chinaman is offline
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pompous, googly and chinaman deliveries are generally troublesome.
Sadly, we can nether score runs nor take wickets without a heavy toll in a situation like that.

You don't have to be sorry, It's a typical chinaman delivery. Best regards.
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Old August 16, 2003, 07:57 PM
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James90 James90 is offline
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Chinaman is just a left-arm legbreak not a variation of delivery.....so you think no-one can score runs off Brad Hogg?
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Old August 17, 2003, 06:05 AM
Shubho Shubho is offline
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Default *Sigh*

Enjoy the picture of the 'demi-god' (I prefer 'Father of the Nation')...I thought it would be a nice addition given its relevance to this thread.

Hello again, Pundit. It's nice to see you again. Are we still hazarding guesses about other people's political affiliations and leanings? Time wasted, I think. Supporting an institution or a personality is not the same as supporting a party. But in that warped country you live in, politics has been turned on its head anyway, and hero-worship is equal to party-support (Did you vote for Bush?).

Anyway, chill out, just sit back, relax, and enjoy the debate...oh, and keep voting Republican (had to hazard a guess myself).
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Old August 18, 2003, 11:08 PM
Nascer Nascer is offline
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[Edited on 6-9-2004 by Nascer]
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Old August 19, 2003, 10:55 PM
deshitrader deshitrader is offline
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This bit of news about the magnetic train idea has been reported in the Bangladeshi papers for the last couple of weeks. From what I have heard thus far, it sounds like a very bad idea...and suggests that something is not quite right in this proposal (think probable cause of potential corruption). I think the PERC has done a good service to the nation in documenting some concrete facts about the idea. And I think that is what we need to do to attack corruption. If one makes indiscriminate allegations without probable cause, that tends to dull the efficacy of allegations against corruption in general...and can have the perverse effect of actually hurting the fight against corruption.

The Bangladesh economy in 2001 was worth about $49 billion in exchange-rate converted terms and about $213 billion in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms (PPP adjusts for differences in price levels across countries). The Tranparency International estimate of a $16 billion annual loss from corruption is likely calculated on a PPP basis. That would put it at about 7.5% of GDP, which is still a substantial figure. The estimate likely includes the loss in efficiency to the economy from corruption, not merely the actual number of dollars pocketed by corrupt individuals. While a number of countries with high levels of corruption (e.g. Indonesia) have developed rapidly, I do agree that corruption is a massive problem in Bangladesh and we need to do whatever possible to minimize its impact on the economy.
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Old August 26, 2003, 12:00 PM
Nascer Nascer is offline
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[Edited on 6-9-2004 by Nascer]
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