idune has so far posting alone in this thread. This time just to make idune cheer a bit as he always remain hot tempered.
WB spurs govt
The World Bank (WB) has urged the government to punish those who were involved in corruption in the Padma bridge project.
“The World Bank stands by its investigations, and we strongly urge the Bangladesh government to pursue its own investigation into these serious matters under its sovereign laws and hold wrongdoers accountable,” Ellen Goldstein, country director of the bank, told The Daily Star yesterday.
The WB's assertion came two days after the resignation of a cabinet minister over allegations of bribery.
Citing alleged corruption in the bidding process of the Padma bridge project, the WB in September 2011 had launched an investigation and suspended disbursement of its fund committed for the project.
Earlier this month, the bank temporarily suspended a unit of SNC-Lavalin, a Montreal-based engineering giant, on charges of corruption allegation in the bidding process of the project.
Construction of the bridge was supposed to start sometime around last October.
But the WB's vice-president made a sudden trip to Dhaka on September last year and met Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to convey that the bank has evidence of corruption in appointing the Canadian consulting firm.
Later, the bank wrote to the government about corruption in selecting pre-qualified bidders for the bridge construction. Then communications minister Syed Abul Hossain and his business firm Sahco's name came up in the scam.
“The World Bank began sharing findings of serious corruption in the project with the Bangladesh government in September 2011,” said the bank's Bangladesh chief.
At one stage, the government was forced to remove Abul Hossain from the communications ministry.
After some initial defensive statements, the government asked the Anti-Corruption Commission to probe the alleged corruption. The commission later gave a clean chit to Abul Hossain.
The bridge would be built over the Padma river at a cost of $2.9 billion (nearly Tk 24,000 crore). When completed, the multipurpose road-rail bridge will connect the country's south-western parts with the capital.
Of the total expenditure, the WB agreed in April last year to give a $1.2-billion loan to the government while Asian Development Bank pledged $610 million, Japan International Cooperation Agency $400 million and Islamic Development Bank $140 million.
But none of them disbursed their pledged money.
Amid confusion over the project, Malaysia in February came up with an offer to help construct the bridge.
Both Dhaka and Kuala Lumpur signed a memorandum of understanding last week for the construction of the bridge.
Suranjit bribery scandal: Suspicion spreads upward
Railway Minister Suranjit Sengupta resigned last week from the cabinet only to become a minister without portfolio again in 24 hours of time. It looked like a high stake political gambling and observers here believe that it might have been possible for Suranjit’s powerful lobbies in different quarters at home and abroad.
He resigned Monday last on advice of the Prime Minister on the alleged ground of his involvement in a bribery scandal. It came as a big humiliation to Suranjit having a 55 year eventful political career at the back.
He looked fragile and diminished when he made the announcement of the resignation at the Railway Bhavan in the city. But to the utter disbelief of the nation the Prime minister took him back to the cabinet. Even it happened to the disbelief of the fallen minister as he jumped back to smile again combative.
This melodrama started when Suranjit was visibly identified in a reported bribery scandal which unfolded at the Peelkana BGB gate in the city on April 9 midnight. Railway Minister’s APS Omar Faruque, GM Yusul Ali Mridha and the Ministery’s security commandant Enamul Haque were caught with a cash of Tk 70 lakhs at the spot when driver Ali Azam of the car in which they were traveling suddenly drove it inside the BGB headquarters and asked the on-duty army personnel to search it. He said the Railway personnel were carrying huge illegal money.
The money was immediately discovered from the car’s bonnet. On questioning, they said they were going to the Railway Minister’s home to hand over the cash.
Electronic and print media got the information instantly as the event was unfolding and some TV channel put the images in the air immediately. Online news agencies also carried it to global network that night. Suranjit was overpowered by the rash of the events and media reports.
He dipped into a sea-size corruption scandal in the Railway, besides other corruption allegations covering his son’s newly acquitted telecom license and public land grabbing at his home constituency.
The reported bribery scandal as the first such incidence highlighting a minister’s involvement in rent seeking, bribery and job selling touched the conscience of the nation. He became the talk of the table in the next few days throughout the country when public outcry demanded probes into his role in the scam, besides that of his son’s newly acquired assets and business.
Suranjit went out of media contact in the next two days as he kept waiting for the Prime Minister’s to return home from her Turkey visit. On return she summoned him at the Gonobhavan on the night of Pahela Baisak after consulting the president, senior ministers and advisers and advised him to resign. The minister however dismissed such claims, no direct or indirect link he said, even when he resigned from the cabinet.
His resignation however became morally incumbent, besides facilitating a free and fair investigation into the financial involvement of the minister, his son and the family as news reports disclosed unusual deposits and transactions in his and the family’s bank accounts.
Suranjit claimed he was victim of a conspiracy to undo his rejuvenation programme of the country’s railways. On political pressure BGB also released all three railway personnel with the cash next day as police also did not come forward to take a case and take custody of the cash.
Suranjit tried to defend the APS initially saying the money belonged to him. But as pressure started mounting, he sacked him and put the two other railway officials on temporary suspension. He also set up two hand picked probe committees to investigate into the incidence. He kept on saying if these committees find his involvement in the scandal, he would resign.
These committees were just eyewash measures. The first committee was headed by his PS to investigate into the charges against his APS. The second committee was formed to probe into GM Mridha and Commandant Enamul Haque with a railway joint secretary whose corruption scandal topped headlines of local newspapers when he was Deputy Commissioner of Madaripur last year.
Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) also opened investigations into the railway men role in the scandal at a time allegations also galore to the fact that GM Mridha and his agents had collected crores of taka from job aspirants in the Railway.
Railway Sramik League leaders came out at a press conference at Chittagong Press Club immediately after the unfolding of the scandal to disclose that GM Mridha and his agents have collected at least Tk 10 crore from job aspirants. Moreover, in taking the money they have clearly said they have to give the money to the minister at the top to clear their names on the list of recruitment.
There are also allegations about the source of funding of a telecom firm that Suranjit’s son is going to set up on obtaining an operating license from the regulatory body only two weeks ago.
He deposited Tk 5 crore for the purpose. Moreover the setting up of the business would require at least Tk 40 crore and where the money is coming from.
Suranjit has grabbed Waqf land along with other land in his home constituency. He has opened the Sengupta Trade Center at the local town only few days ago and the land on which the market has been set up is also reportedly based on false deeds.
People were demanding his resignation. It is important, critics say to allow a free investigation by a judicial body, in addition to ACC and such other committees. But his return to the cabinet will impede these investigations, they say. Moreover, the ACC can’t investigate into a Minister if the President does not give permission. On his return to the cabinet such prospects of probing into his or his son’s assets and source of income appear distant
Meanwhile, the departmental investigations committees have started working. Omar Faruque told the committee that the money belonged to him. Others said they were not aware of the money in the car, or have not seen it at all.
They told the same story to the ACC last week. The probe committees said nobody has spoken so far on the Minister’s involvement and so no investigation has been ordered against him.
Reports said BGB has not only released the three railway men next day, they have also released the money and APS Omar Faruque has already deposited the money to his banks.
He may face the revenue authorities (NBR) charge now for holding unaccounted money, but as far as the bribery scandal is concerned, it may remain untraced as things are now developing. There is no police case and no eye-witness either. BGB remained tight lipped.
Meanwhile, the whereabouts of the lone witness driver Ali Azam also remains shrouded with mystery. He may be in the custody of the intelligence agencies or elsewhere. It is not clear if the BGB has passed him to any third party custody. He is the only witness to the scam and he is also required to explain why he handed over his bosses to the BGB check posts.
It also remains a mystery why the probe committees are not asking the BGB to produce driver Ali Azam before them. Why Railway is not clearing the whereabouts of its driver at a time the accused are about to be set free from charges in absence of a witness.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina may have planned the whole thing this way. She asked Suranjit to resign as an eye wash to calm public outcry. His return to the cabinet may be justified now in absence of any proof that a bribery or his involvement to such things has at all taken place.
But the question remains whether the people will exonerate him or treat the entire cabinet now with more suspect. The opposition has therefore asked the Prime Minister to seek an apology to the nation.
Another grand corruption, state money looting and land grabbing scheme by awami league in the name of bangoboltu. This time initial plan is to loot 200 billion taka but with awami plan this looting scheme will expand into few billon dollars involving indian connected foreign corruption partner.
Govt to earmark Tk 2b for launching construction of proposed int'l airport
The government will earmark Tk 2.0 billion (Tk 200 crore) for launching construction of the proposed Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib International Airport (MSMIA) next fiscal year under Public Private Partnership (PPP) initiatives.
The construction cell of the proposed airport has already identified four locations for the project and submitted a detailed pre-feasibility plan.
Civil Aviation and Tourism Secretary Md. Atharul Islam told the FE that the cell has identified locations at Charjanajat at Shibchar upazila in Madaripur district, Char Bilaspur in Dohar upazila of Dhaka, Keyain union and Latabdi union in Sirajdikhan upazila of Munshiganj district.
The Ministry already sent a draft on the proposed sites to the Prime Minister for her final decision about the spot. Sources said the Prime Minister will soon hold a presentation meeting with the cell officers to know details about the best site for the mega project.
Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister Faruk Khan said among the four sites, Charjanajat is the best because most of its required lands are government khas land.
"Soon after the Prime Minister gives her final nod, we will recruit consultants for feasibility study," the minister said adding that the government wants to start feasibility by next fiscal and construction work of the project by the current tenure of the government.
The site is on the southern side of Padma River, nearly 10 kilometres from Jazira point of the proposed Padma Birdge and 50 kilometres from the capital Dhaka.
Char Janajat is a vast tract of land that emerged from the Padma river around 50 years ago and now connected to the mainland. The proposed site covers nearly 72,000 acres of land in the north of Char Janajat.
Keyain of Sirajdikhan is only 18 kilometres from Dhaka city but the density of settlements is higher there than Char Janajat. Nealy 4400.51 acres, including 390 acres of vested property and khas land is available in Sirajdikhan.
Ministry sources said according to the roadmap, the authorities concerned were scheduled to complete selection of advisory wing of the project by March 31, appointment of advisors by April 30, submission of feasibility study report by October 31 and final selection by December 31next.
A high official of the cell said, "We considered khas land as the top most priority in selecting the sites. We found that most of the land of Charjanajat is khas land. It is also located adjacent to proposed Padma Bridge which will help link the airport with rail network."
He said apart from that, transportation of jet fuel for the airport will very cheap because jet fuel will be supplied by river vessel through the Padma.
The minister hinted that the selection of the locations would be completed by next month.
The project got approval from the cabinet committee on economic affairs in September, 2010 which was supposed to be implemented through Public Private Partnership (PPP), he said.
The project cost has been estimated at Tk 5.0 billion, said ministry sources.
Earlier in 2010, Trishal upazila in Mymensingh district was selected for Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib International Airport which was later cancelled due to the objection from the Air Force.
Later, the government took decision to set up the airport at Arial Beel in Munshiganj district and started land acquisition. But the government retreated in the face of vigorous movement by the local people leading to clashes with law enforcers that left three people killed last year.
Construction of the airport will be carried out in three phases spreading over 15 years. It will be opened for operation on completion of the first-phase including setting up of the rudder station, runway and the terminal building.
The proposed airport will be modelled on the Changi International Airport in Singapore or Suvarnabhumi Airport in Thailand.
Many experts during the movement against the Arial Beel airport have argued that the country does not need another international airport. They favoured expansion and renovation of the existing Hazrat Shah Jalal International Airport in Dhaka.
Govt to earmark Tk 2b for launching construction of proposed int'l airport
With graft rate Suranjit Sen Gupta set, Awami League set to loot another
2,00,000X 11,000= 220,0000000 or 220 crore taka
11,000 new recruits for BR soon
Railway and Communica-tions Minister Obaidul Quader on Friday said a total of 11,000 new recruitments will be made for Bangladesh Railway (BR) within a few months. — BSS.
11,000 new recruits for BR soon
Power project under political consideration
Monday, 30 April 2012
DHAKA, APR 29: Despite having no notable progress in power situation during the last three years of the grand alliance government, Power Grid Company of Bangladesh (PGCB) is going to undertake another project for line expansion under political consideration. However, the project evaluation committee (PEC) of planning commission raised a number of questions about the details project plan (DPP) and asked for clarification on different proposals of the project.
Already PGCB has submitted a project titled “National Transmission Network Development project” to the planning commission to evaluate the DPP. PGCB estimated Tk 2452 crore for implementation of the project during 2012 -16.
According to the DPP, of the total cost, Tk. 1819 crore would come from project assistance, Tk 258 crore from PGB and the rest from the government fund.
Earlier, Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC) had to approve a Tk. 5,440 crore project titled “rural electricity line expansion” for the benefit of 18 lakh new subscribers, as the Awami League government is willing to loosen its belt on political considerations despite the growing budget deficits.
According to the DPP, PGCB proposed for acquisition of 63 acres of land for establishment of two new sub-stations and 11 new grid system sub-stations.
PGCB argued for the project to release power from the proposed coal based 282 Megawatt (MW) and 1320 MW power plants at Anwara in Chittagong, supply of power to Chittagong city corporation area via Rampur and Shikalbaha and meet up the additional demand for power through proposed 132/33 KV sub-station (Agrabad, Ramganj, Bhaluka, Baraierhat, benapol, Shariatpur, Barisal, Mohasthangarh, Jaldhaka and Rajshahi area).
Planning commission sources said, JICA will provide Tk. 1819 crore under the agreement of Minutes of Discussion (MoD) signed between Bangladesh and JICA on December 22, 2011.
Meanwhile, PEC asked PGCB to inform about the implementation process of proposed coal based power plants. It also asked PGCB to clarify the issue regarding the proposed employment for the project as well as it urged to mention details about the staffs in the DPP.
PEC further urged PGCB to clarify whether construction of river crossing tower will be mandatory or not during implementation of the project.
Besides, PEC demanded clarification on proposed custom duty VAT of Tk. 376 crore.
On April 26 at a pre-budget discussion, chairmen and members of the different parliamentary standing committees pressured the finance minister AMA Muhith for additional allocation in the up coming national budget for the power sector to improve acute power crisis. They also suggested allocating budget for establishment of new power line expansion for future use.
Power project under political consideration
lol, i am the latest victim of Awamileague! I had oral exam today, and my department head is a Awami politician! He asked me about politics and i honestly replied i am a JCD activist! Got the result immediately! Failed though i had done enough to pass! :-)
lol bro, i realized it later. Now He knows my face and it will be very hard for me to pass in his subject in upcoming fourth year final !
...Now where is TIB ??? Are they really biased ? I've heard from a top rated constructor that a few month ago he grab a tender of 1 crore TK. But he had to give away 20 % of that amount immediately to the state minister 'Some Khatun'. Without it he won't be able to get the order....
MoF won't form commission, asks probe body to go on
The Ministry of Finance (MoF) has decided against the formation of a commission to look into alleged irregularities of the Destiny-2000. Rather, it has tasked the probe body formed earlier to do the job.
The sudden development took place on Monday manifesting the change in strategy of MoF on Destiny-2000, a multilevel marketing (MLM) company. The Destiny was found guilty of doing illegal and unauthorized banking business, under the cover of its cooperative venture, in a probe conducted by the Bangladesh Bank (BB).
"It is our decision not to form any commission right now on Destiny-2000. Rather, we have asked the probe committee on the company concerned to submit their complete investigation report on Destiny at the earliest," a senior official in the MoF told the FE on Monday.
The issue of forming commission might be considered after getting the complete investigation report on the alleged irregularities of the Destiny, he added.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith on April 8 vowed to take stern action against the illegal activities of Destiny. He promised to form a commission to deal with the illegal banking and fraudulent business activities of the errant MLM company.
MoF won't form commission, asks probe body to go on
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