এই নিবন্ধটি লেখক সংঘে প্রকাশিত হয়েছে।

মুহম্মদ তাওসিফ সালাম
২৩ জানুয়ারি, ২০১০

তিনি বোর্ডের সভাপতি। আমি জানিনা বিসিবি সংবিধানে পদবী অনুযায়ী ঊর্দ্ধতন-নিম্নস্তন অবস্থানের ক্রমটি কি রকম, শীঘ্রই জানতে হবে। কিন্ত আপাতদৃষ্টিতে তিনি বোর্ডের সভাপতি, দীর্ঘকাল যাবৎ তার পরিচয় তিনি একজন শীর্ষস্থানীয় ব্যাবসায়ী, বর্তমান সরকারী দলের একজন নেতা এবং হয়তোবা একজন দাতাও। বর্তমানে তার পরিচয়ে আরও মাত্রা যুক্ত হয়েছে – তিনি ক্ষমতাসীন দলের একজন প্রভাবশালী আইন প্রণেতা। অতএব বাইশ তেইশ বছর বয়সী বাংলাদেশ জাতীয় দলের ক্যাপ্টেন, সে যে-ই হোননা কেন, ক্ষমতা ও প্রতিপত্তির বিচারে অবশ্যই অনেক নীচের সারিতে অবস্থান করছেন।

লক্ষ্য করুন এখানে কোন নির্দিষ্ট রাজনৈতিক দলের নাম উল্লেখ করিনি। উল্লেখ করিনি কেননা উল্লিখিত রাজনৈতিক অবস্থানের ব্যাক্তিবর্গ দেশের উভয় বড় দলেই বিদ্যমান এবং তাদের দৃষ্টিভঙ্গির উল্লেখযোগ্য পার্থক্য এখনও কারও গোচর হয়নি। অতএব এই লেখাটি রাজনীতির সাথে সম্পৃক্ত কোন নিবন্ধ হিসেবে চিহ্নিত না হোক, সেটাই চাইছি।

বিসিবির সভাপতি এ.এইচ.এম মোস্তফা কামাল লোটাস সম্প্রতি জনসমক্ষে ন্যাশনাল টিমের বিরুদ্ধে যে উষ্মা প্রকাশ করেছেন, তা অবশ্যই পর্যালোচনার দাবিদার। তিনি কি বলেছেন সেটা ইতমধ্যেই সবার জেনে যাওয়ার কথা। তাও পুরো ঘটনাটা সংক্ষেপে নীচে একটা ছোট প্যারায় তুলে ধরা যাক।

হোটেল সোনারগাঁওয়ে ন্যাশনাল টিমকে সংবর্ধনা দেয়ার জন্যে একটি অনুষ্ঠানের আয়োজন করা হয়েছিল। এই অনুষ্ঠানে উপস্থিত ছিলেন বিসিবি সভাপতি লোটাস কামাল। অনুষ্ঠানে বক্তব্য রাখতে গিয়ে কামাল প্লেয়ারদের সম্পর্কে বলেন- তারা দায়িত্মজ্ঞানহীন; তাদের প্রয়োজনীয় কমিটমেন্ট নেই; খেলার মাঝে জেতার ষোলআনা ইচ্ছা নেই; এক রানের জন্য লিড নিতে পারেনা; ড্রেসিং রুম থেকে তাদের উদ্দেশ্যে কোন কাজের মেসেজ যায় বলে মনে হয়না; কোন কমিউনিকেশান নাই। এসব কথা চলতে থাকা অবস্থাতেই হতভম্ব প্লেয়ার, প্রেস ও অন্যান্যরা একে অন্যের দিকে তাকাতে থাকেন। তারা হতভম্ব হতেই পারেন, কারন তারা তো জানতেন এখানে পুরষ্কার, সংবর্ধনা, ফটোসেশন ইত্যাদি সুন্দর সুন্দর জিনিষপত্রের সাথে থাকবে সুন্দর সুন্দর কথা। গোলাগুলির আশংকা তাদের দূরতম কল্পনাতেও ছিল না। প্রতিরক্ষামূলক ব্যাবস্থা নেই উপলব্ধি করে এক পর্যায়ে ন্যাশনাল টিম ক্যাপ্টেন সাকিব আল হাসান প্রতিআক্রমণকে শ্রেয়জ্ঞান করেন, মাইক্রোফোন হাতে বলেন, “আমাদের দায়িত্মবোধ নিয়ে যারা কথা বলেন, আশা করি কথা বলার সময় তারা নিজেদের দায়িত্মজ্ঞান বজায় রাখবেন”। এই মন্তব্য শোনার পর নাকি লোটাস কামালের চেহারা হয়েছিল দেখার মত। বক্তব্যদান শেষ হওয়ার পর সাকিবকে কেউ একজন ডেকে নিয়ে যায় লোটাস সাহেবের কাছে। সম্ভবত অলি গলিতে বড়ভাইরা যেমন ‘চিপা’-এ নিয়ে যায় অনেকটা সেরকম ঘটনা। চিপা অবশ্য কারওরই দৃষ্টির অগোচর ছিলনা, সেখানে সাকিবকে দেখা গিয়েছে নত মস্তকে লোটাস কামালের দাপটাদাপটির সামনে দাঁড়িয়ে থাকতে। সাকিব সেখানে লোটাস কামালের কাছে দুই হাত জোড় করেছেন, ক্ষমাই চেয়েছেন হয়তো। সেই ফটো আবার দৈনিক কালের কন্ঠ পত্রিকায় ছাপাও হয়েছে। তেলেসমাতি আর কাকে বলে!

লোটাস কামাল অবশ্য কিছু ব্যাখ্যাও দিয়েছেন। তিনি বলেছেন তিনি একজন প্রফেশনাল। তিনি চাইবেন পারফর্ম্যান্স। তার দাবি থাকবে জয় এবং তার কাছে প্লেয়ারদের কমিটমেন্টও হতে হবে জয়। ম্যাচ শেষে সেটা জয় না হয়ে যদি জয়ের কাছাকাছিও হয়, সেটা তিনি বিবেচনা করে দেখবেন। কিন্তু প্লেয়াররা খেলার আগে জেতার কথা না বলে বলবে ভালো খেলার জন্য খেলব, ওটি হবে না।

লোটাস কামালকে বাংলাদেশের আপামর ক্রিকেটপ্রেমী ও একনিষ্ঠ দর্শকদের একজন ধরে নিলে তার ক্ষোভের বিষয়বস্তু উপলব্ধি করা সহজ। তার তুলে ধরা বেশিরভাগ পয়েন্টকেই ক্রিকেটের সমঝদার ও না-সমঝদার, সবাই সমর্থন করবেন।

কিন্তু কয়েকটা ব্যাপার মেলানো যাচ্ছেনা। যেমন লোটাস কামালের স্থান-কাল-পাত্র জ্ঞান। তিনি বলেছেন তিনি প্রফেশনাল। সম্ভবত বোঝাতে চেয়েছেন যে তিনি একজন নেতা যিনি প্রতিষ্ঠানের অর্গানগুলোর কাছ থেকে সর্বোচ্চ পারফর্ম্যান্স আশা করবেন, এবং সেটা সম্ভব করার জন্য নরম-গরম কোন পন্থা অবলম্বন করতেই দ্বিধাবোধ করবেন না।

কথা হচ্ছে, একজন প্রফেশনাল কি কখনও বিশ্ববাসীকে জানিয়ে সমস্ত মিডিয়াকে সামনে রেখে তার অধীনস্তদের গুষ্টি উদ্ধার করবেন? এরকম নজির কি আছে কোথাও? একজন প্রফেশনাল যিনি প্রতিষ্ঠানের শীর্ষে অবস্থান করেন তাকে অবশ্যই তার সাবঅর্ডিনেটদের প্রতি অম্ল ও মধুর দুই আচরণই করতে হবে, নেতৃত্বরক্ষা ও দক্ষতা বাড়ানো, উভয় উদ্দেশ্যেই। কিন্তু তিনি কি সেই প্রতিষ্ঠান আয়োজিত কোন সংবাদ সম্মেলনে কোনদিন তার কর্মীদের এক হাত নিবেন? এতে তার কর্মীদের মনোবল কোথায় যাবে? নেতা হিসেবে এ ধরণের পেটপাতলা লোক কি কখনও নিজেকে প্রফেশনাল দাবি করতে পারে?

একজন ফ্যান হিসেবে বাংলাদেশ ক্রিকেট টিমের প্রতি লোটাস কামালের সমর্থন নিয়ে কোন সন্দেহ নেই, এবং টিম জিততে না পারায় তিনি হতাশ। তো এ ধরণের সমর্থক তো দেশে আরো ১৬ কোটি আছেন। জিততে না পারলে তারাও হতাশ হন। অনেকে প্লেয়ারদের গ্যালারি থেকে দুয়ো দেন, কেউ কেউ মারতেও ধরেছিলেন। তো এদের সাথে আর বিসিবি প্রেসিডেন্ট লোটাস কামালের তফাত কি রইল? তিনি একজন ক্ষমতাবান এমপি, যার বিরুদ্ধে অবস্থান নিলে খোদ আওয়ামী লীগের অনেক নেতাকেই নাকানি চোবানি খেতে হতে পারে। এই অহংকারই কি লোটাস কামালের বোধবুদ্ধিকে হজম করে নিয়েছে? সাকিবকে দুটো কথা শোনালে কেউ কিছু বলার নেই, বরং প্রতিবাদ করলে সাকিবকেই হার মেনে ক্ষমা চেতে হবে, এটা জেনেই কি তিনি বিষ উগরে দিলেন?

মনে পড়ে, বর্তমান সরকার ক্ষমতায় আসার পর তাদের একজন বিশিষ্ট নেতা জয়নাল হাজারী জামিনে মুক্ত হওয়ার পর জানিয়েছিলেন বাকি জীবন ক্রিকেট নিয়ে থাকতে চান, প্রধানমন্ত্রী ও তার প্রিয় সভানেত্রীর কাছে আবেদন করবেন বিসিবির দায়িত্মটা তার হাতে দেওয়ার জন্যে। তখন আমরা বলেছিলাম, বাহ্! এবার তো আমাদের ব্যাটসম্যানরা আউট হলে আর ড্রেসিং রুমে যাবে না, মাঠ থেকে সোজা আত্মগোপনে যাবেন। প্রাণের ভয় কার নেই? বিশেষ করে টিপু সুলতানকেই বা কে চেনে না। তো সেটা ছিল জয়নাল হাজারীর ক্ষেত্রে প্রযোজ্য।

লোটাস কামালকে যখন বিসিবির প্রেসিডেন্ট বানানো হল, তখন সত্যিই ভেবেছিলাম যে অন্তত এই অ্যাপয়েন্টমেন্টটা অ্যাটর্নি জেনারেল বা ঢাকা বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়ের উপাচার্যের মত হয়নি। লোটাস কামাল, আরেফীন সিদ্দিকী বা মাহবুবে আলম এনারা সবাইই রাজনৈতিক লোক ও নিয়োগও পেয়েছেন একান্ত রাজনৈতিক বিবেচনায়, কিন্তু লোটাস কামালের বিসিবির প্রেসিডেন্ট হওয়াতে তেমন নিরাশ হইনি। তাকে একজন সফল ব্যাবসায়ি ও দক্ষ ব্যাবস্থাপনার লোক বলেই জানি। কিন্তু তিনি সম্প্রতি আমাদের নতুন করে ভাবতে বসিয়ে দিলেন।

ঘটনা অতিবাহিত হতে হতেই সাকিব সমর্থন পেয়েছেন বাংলাদেশের প্রায় সব ক্রিকেটারের পক্ষ থেকেই। এককালের ক্যাপ্টেনগণ যেমন নাইমুর রহমান দূর্জয়, খালেদ মাসুদ পাইলট এবং আমিনুল ইসলাম বুলবুল, এনারা সবাই বোর্ড সভাপতির আচরণকে ঔদ্ধত্য হিসেবে দেখছেন। সভাপতিও যে সমর্থন পাননি তাই বা বলি কি করে। দেশের স্বঘোষিত সর্বাধিক প্রচারিত দৈনিক যারা এই সভাপতির নিয়োগে উদ্বেল হয়ে উঠেছিল, তারা মোটামুটি চেপেই গিয়েছে এই পুরো ঘটনাটা।

তবে এটা ঠিক যে তাৎক্ষণাৎ প্রতিক্রিয়া দেখানোতে সাকিব আল হাসানেরও কিছুটা ছেলেমানুষি প্রকাশ পেল। লোটাস কামাল বিসিবির প্রেসিডেন্ট, আওয়ামী লীগের ক্ষমতাধর এমপি ও আবাহনী ক্রিকেটের শীর্ষস্থানীয় কর্মকর্তা বলে বলছি না। সাকিব আল হাসান জাতীয় দলের ক্যাপ্টেন। এ ধরণের তাৎক্ষণাৎ প্রতিক্রিয়া দেখানো তার শোভা পায় না নিশ্চয়ই। এ কথা সত্য যে ক্যাপ্টেন হিসেবে তিনি বোর্ডের কাছ থেকে আরও সমর্থন আশা করেন, অন্তত পক্ষে লোটাস কালামের এই লোকসমক্ষে রূঢ় আচরণ আশা করেন না। কিন্তু খেলোয়াড় হিসেবে এসকল পরিস্থিতিতে নিঃশব্দে সামলে ওঠার গুণটা তার থাকা জরুরী। বোঝা গেল এখনও সেই গুণ পরিপক্ক ভাবে রপ্ত হয়নি। তাড়াতাড়ি রপ্ত হওয়া প্রয়োজন। আর লোটাস কামাল সাহেব, বেশ পরিণত বয়স্ক মানুষ, তাকে আর কি শেখার জন্য বলব, শুধু বলা যেতে পারে, স্থান-কাল-পাত্র জ্ঞানটা আরেকটু ঝালিয়ে নিলে সবারই মঙ্গল।

তবে সবশেষে এটা না বলে উপায় নেই, লোটাস কামালের মত মানসিকতার দিক থেকে পিছিয়ে থাকা কর্মকর্তাদের অভিভাবক হিসেবে পেয়ে আমাদের প্লেয়াররা এগিয়ে থেকেও সামগ্রিক ভাবে হয়তোবা পিছিয়েই থাকবেন। এদের কাছ থেকে প্লেয়াররা যখন স্বান্ত্বনা চান তখন পাবেন ধিক্কার, আর যখন সমর্থন চান তখন পাবেন আক্রমন। আর এক সময় যখন এই প্লেয়াররা সব কাটিয়ে উঠে সাফল্য পাবেন, তখন এই কর্মকর্তারাই লজ্জা বিসর্জন দিয়ে সাফল্যের ক্রেডিট তুলে নিবেন নিজের কাঁধে। এনারা কর্মকর্তা হিসেবে নন, বরং গ্যালারিতে বসে হৈচৈ করবার যোগ্য। অতএব এনাদের গ্যালারিতে পাঠিয়ে দেয়া হোক। এনারা বরং হসপিট্যালিটি বক্সে বসে সপরিবারে খেলা দেখুন আর বুঝে না বুঝে যা খুশি মন্তব্য করুন, যেগুলো কেউ শুনবে না। বোর্ড বরং ছেড়ে দেওয়া হোক তাদের হাতে যারা প্লেয়ারদের সাথে ব্যাক্তিগত আলোচনাকে গুরুত্ব দিয়ে আপত্তির কথা তখন জানাবেন, অন্তত সংবাদ সম্মেলনে উচ্ছৃংখলতার জন্ম দিবেননা, প্লেয়ারদের স্পিরিটের বারোটা বাজাবেননা।

* * * * *

মুহম্মদ তাওসিফ সালাম একজন বাংলাদেশী ব্লগার।

Moinuddin Naser
14 January, 2010, New York

India has become desperate to capture the Bangladesh’s telecommunication system and to build up a fibre optic network by using the Cox’s Bazar submarine cable to connect India’s seven sisters in the Northeast India. In this connection the Indian Telecom companies Bharti Airtel and Reliance Communications have already submitted a joint proposal to Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC). Thaindia news, a web based news media reported about the development centring the Bangladesh’s communication system.

Bangladesh’s defence network

Experts opined that if India has to depend on Bangladesh regarding maintaining communication with its north eastern provinces, why it had turned down the proposal of sub-regional cooperation as was mooted by the Awami League government in the year 1996. Experts now opine that if it happens so, India will be able to control Bangladesh’s communication system, including the defence network fully. Even the military establishments of Bangladesh will be nothing but an extension of the Indian eastern command.

Apart from the proposal of fibre optic network, Bharti Airtel is about to complete a deal to buy 70 per cent share of Bangladesh’s Warid Telecom for a reported $900 million from Abu Dhabi Group. While Bharti and Reliance are rivals to each other in the Indian domestic market they have joined hands while bidding for fibre optics network in Bangladesh.

Before getting Transit – Corridor through Bangladesh for easier communication with the isolated North-Eastern Provinces (Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Monipur, Mizoram, Arunachal and Nagaland), India wants to build up the fibre-optic network, by using the existing submarine lending cable of Bangladesh, the backbone of the Bangladesh’s international communication. The cable again is frequently disrupted, sometimes due to theft of cable and sometime for technical reasons. However Bharti and Reliance have offered Bangladesh access to the alternative submarine cable in exchange of the permission to build up fibre optic network.

The seven north eastern states now get telecom services through VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal) at a high price.

Cox’s Bazar: Disruption likely

A BTRC official confirmed the report and said that as per the proposal Bangladesh could use the companies’ undersea cable network as an alternative to lone submarine cable SEA-ME-WE-4. The existing optical fibre line connects Dhaka to the south-eastern Cox’s Bazar’s submarine cable landing station. It serves as the backbone of international communication, while satellite services act as backup with limited bandwidth.

Experts opined that if India is allowed to build up fibre optic network in Bangladesh that will surely disrupt the Bangladesh’s communication with outside world. It is not feasible before launching its own satellite by Bangladesh.

Meanwhile Bangladesh plans to join 50 other countries, including South Asian neighbours India and Pakistan, to ramp up its communications network by launching a satellite.

The cost of the programme will be between $150 million and $200 million according to Post and Telecommunications Minister Raziuddin Ahmed Raju. Bangladesh has started talking to different countries including the US, Japan and China, to help launch own satellite by Bangladesh.

Reuters’ report

Bharti Airtel has almost finalized a deal with the Abu Dhabi group to buy 70m percent of Bangladesh’s Warid Telecom. The total deal will cost $900 million while the initial investment will be $300 million. Reuters reported from India that Bharti declined to make any comment, but its share has gone up by 2.8 per cent while Abu Dhabi Group Chief Commercial Officer Ali Tahir said that they expect to seal the deal by mid-January 2010. But he did not disclose the sale price.

Bharti targeted this small deal with Abu Dhabi Group to buy Bangladesh’s share when the company failed to materialise its $24 billion merger with South Africa’s MTN. South Africa showed its reluctance to allow a flagship corporate to lose its national character.

Warid is the Bangladesh’s fourth-biggest telecom company. As per the contemplated deal, Abu Dhabi Group will retain 30 per cent share, said the report quoting the source of the selling firm. The sale proceed is likely to help Dubai, which has been crunched recently.

Reuters report said: UAE-based Abu Dhabi Group, a consortium of investors that includes members of the royal family of Abu Dhabi, sought approval from Bangladesh’s telecoms regulator for the sale on December 13, according to the regulator’s chairman, Zia Ahmed.

The deal is set against a backdrop of this week’s announcement that oil-rich Abu Dhabi will provide $10 billion to Dubai in order to help its neighbour meet its debt obligations.

Bharti’s expansion would give the Indian phone leader access to Bangladesh’s rapidly growing mobile sector at a time when it is locked in an intense price war in India with rivals Reliance Communications. For the Abu Dhabi Group, the deal will enable it to focus on other telecoms markets where it can have a bigger market share, Tahir said.

No comment from Bharti

Bharti said on Wednesday it was evaluating international opportunities, but declined to comment on plans to buy Warid. Bharti initially plans an investment of $300 million. He said a written proposal by Abu Dhabi Group did not pin a full value on the deal. A section of newspapers in Bangladesh had reported the final deal could be worth $900 million, citing Warid officials.

“The dynamics of the Bangladesh market are similar to those in India, where Bharti has proven itself,” said Phani Sekhar, fund manager at Angel Broking, which holds Bharti shares, in Mumbai Stock market.

Warid Telecom also operates in Pakistan, Uganda and the Congo. Singapore Telecommunications bought a 30 percent stake in Warid’s Pakistan business for $758 million in 2007 from the Abu Dhabi Group. Warid’s operations in Pakistan, India’s neighbour and political rival, are not part of the Bharti deal. At the end of October, Warid had 2.79 million subscribers – far fewer than Grameenphone whose majority share is owned by Norway’s Telenor.

Bharti, which has more than 100 million subscribers in India, is looking to replicate its staggering growth at home in other emerging markets, where scale is vital, many customers are poor and rural, and penetration rates are low but rising fast. Indian mobile operators are locked in an intense tariff war that has raised concerns about profitability. The price war is aimed at grabbing new users as new firms enter the market.

Bangladesh’s mobile sector has grown rapidly, with subscriber numbers reaching more than 51 million at the end of October from 200,000 in 2001, helped by low penetration levels, competitive tariffs and steady economic growth. Analysts predict the number of subscribers could top 70 million by 2011, nearly half the country’s population of 150 million.

The news came two-and-a-half months after talks between Bharti and MTN Group to create the world’s third-largest mobile operator collapsed for the second time in just over a year on South Africa’s reluctance to allow a flagship corporate to lose its national character.

* * * * *

Moinuddin Naser is a Bangladeshi writer, contributes in the Weekly Holiday from New York.

Rumi Ahmed
USA

The recent controversy on Chevron deal and the follow up political rumblings surrounding the PM’s son and her energy advisor on one side and Amar Desh editor on the other side has captivated nation’s attention for the last few weeks. While we debate how freedom of speech is being used to trash political opponents, or how political thuggery is trying to gag free speech, the very important issue of a specific corruption allegation is getting crowded out.

Let’s keep Mr Sajib Wajed or Mr Mahmudur Rahman out of the issue. Mahmudur rahman is making full use of the victimhood, and his showmanship on this issue is ugly. And Mr Wajed is also dragged in this issue unnecessarily or prematurely. It is an unfortunate fact of life for the children of politicians of Bangladesh and beyond that they are always under close scrutiny and often victim of rampant character assassination attempts.

However, leaving these individuals aside, we are still left with a specific corruption allegation that has merit enough to demand further discussion and scrutiny. Amar Desh reports a specific corruption report with copies of leaked official correspondence.

The specifics of the corruption allegation are self revealing. A $52 million job was allocated to Chevron without required transparency that includes a tender process. And while protesting the report, PM’s energy advisor repeatedly misrepresented facts. While he said there was no bid in three tenders, the fact is that the Government cancelled earlier lowest bid from Korean Company Hyundai only to award the job to Chevron. He also lied about his agenda for the US trip.

Instead of relying on Amar Desh, let’s turn to the premiere newspaper of Bangladesh, the Daily Star. The Daily Star printed at least seven reports on this specific issue. (Interestingly, while Amar Desh report is based on government documents, the Daily Star series report, as usual, is based on unnamed sources. But let’s leave this aside, as no one would accuse the Daily Star of partisan hatred of the current government, or Mr Mahfuz Anam, its editor, of ugly showmanship.

On April 11 2009, the Daily Star warned that

a compressor station for gas distribution pipeline was being planned to be awarded to Chevron which would “… unduly give Chevron the authority to control major chunk of the country’s gas distribution system. This will definitely create a number of serious legal complications over the authority and ownership of the compressor station and the distribution pipeline” .

Another follow up report published on June 21 2009 quotes,

a gas transmission expert: “Even if we accept the idea of pumping PSC investment in compressor, I say Muchai gets no priority for a compressor station now. Because of high volume of gas produced by Chevron, the gas pressure at Muchai and onwards is 1024 pressure per inch (PSI). This pressure will stay for a couple of years at this point. But we need a compressor at Ashuganj where the pressure drops to 700-800psi. A number of new plants are being set up close to the Ashuganj pipeline system. Then why prioritise Muchai now?”

The same report also quotes another official: “Petrobangla’s extreme reliance on foreign investment in the gas sector has already created a precarious situation for the national exchequer. The cost of gas is now very high because foreign companies are producing more gas than the national companies which have been denied adequate funds for their healthy growth”.

On August 02 2009, based on undisclosed sources, a piece reports that:

…Petrobangla continues to hammer hurriedly awarding US oil company Chevron the contract for an over-priced gas compressor station project in the Gas Transmission Company Ltd (GTCL) system through a questionable process by totally sidelining a host of technical and financial questions raised by a GTCL consultant.”

The report also quotes a GTCL consultant: “Chevron has not yet submitted its detailed technical and price proposals for Muchai station. An energy ministry approval would actually give Chevron a go-ahead without scrutinising what the GTCL is buying.”

According to Daily Star’s sources the report raised the following important points,

  • The cost-recoverable Chevron’s Muchai station’s actual cost would be much higher than $ 52.7 m because this cost does not include two years’ operation and maintenance cost or that of spare parts.
  • The sources also raised questions whether Petrobangla could bypass the cabinet’s approval for imposing a cost of $ 52.7 m for a GTCL project outside a PSC area just by making an interpretation of a PSC clause in favour of it.
  • GTCL sources questions were also raised in the report “… where is the mechanism to see if it is a fair price? Where is the competition and transparency?”
  • Petrobangla’s move to award the deal to Chevron raises further questions because the GTCL board headed by the Petrobangla chairman in May had cancelled a GTCL tender to award contract to Korean company Hyundai to install three compressors with Asian Development Board (ADB) funding.
  • “Gas supply through this pipeline can be increased by 50- 60 million cubic feet a day (mmcfd) by augmenting production in these fields, even without installing compressor,” says a pipeline expert. “By installing compressor, the pipeline will be able to increase only 9 mmcfd gas.”
  • The above were also stated in the report of an independent consultant hired by the ADB.
  • It was also mentioned that PetroBangla improperly cancelled Hyundai’s initial bid.

Then another report on August 30 announces that: “The PMO sought the project files and explanation following a report in The Daily Star revealing this fact.” The report continues: “As the prime minister sought explanation from Petrobangla chairman why he was so eager to award US company Chevron a $52.7 million contract to install a gas compressor station over the Gas Transmission Company Ltd (GTCL) system by cancelling an open tender, the chairman gave a smoky response last week…..While seeking the energy ministry’s approval late last month for allowing installation of Chevron’s compressor station over GTCL system, Muktadir ( PatroBangla Chairman) concealed the fact that Chevron had not clarified the 16 technical questions. …Petrobangla’s move to award the deal to Chevron poses serious questions because the GTCL board headed by the Petrobangla chairman cancelled in May the GTCL tender to award Korean company Hyundai a contract to install three compressors under an Asian Development Bank (ADB) fund.”

Something must have transpired during the time when the file was in PM’s office. Either PM and her advisors took an executive decision to go for the Chevron contract bypassing the cabinet purchase commitee ( On the ground that it was advance of block 12 PSC money) to expedite the process or Chevron must have made an offer to the advisor which he could not refuse.

The follow up report on this issue on September 09 states that:

“The prime minister yesterday approved a Petrobangla proposal to award a $ 52.7 million contract to US company Chevron to install a gas compressor station to improve gas flow pressure in the Gas Transmission Company Ltd (GTCL) system under a Production Sharing Contract (PSC).”

Even in this report it is suggested that : “The approval was given amid a number of contradictions, including that the GTCL is not a party to the PSC and that earlier the Petrobangla chairman had a GTCL tender for the compressor cancelled to award the deal to Chevron. He has been pursuing Chevron to install the compressor station at Muchai on GTCL’s pipeline. Petrobangla’s move to award the deal to Chevron raises serious questions because the GTCL board headed by the Petrobangla chairman in May had cancelled the GTCL tender to award contract to Korean company Hyundai to install three compressors under the ADB funding.” According to the report, ” This project would also be a unique example where a PSC operator like Chevron would hold a stake in a national gas transmission system without any clear legal framework to support it, experts noted. This is also an unsolicited deal.”

According to another report on 27 October:

”No sooner had the government changed Petrobangla chairman earlier this month than Petrobangla raised questions whether installing a costly gas compressor station for Gas Transmission Company Ltd (GTCL) by US company Chevron has any justification. “

Quoting a PetroBangla official, this report asks: “with the recent increase of gas supply from different gas fields of Chevron, the flow pressure has already reached 1050 PSIG. Therefore, why should Chevron be allowed to install such a costly device and get that money out of gas production and sales from block 12?” .

The report again stresses that: “It is a sharp contrast to Petrobangla’s earlier position. Its past chairman M Muktadir Ali had cancelled an open tender of the GTCL for the same project; and strongly recommended awarding the job to Chevron under a Production Sharing Contract (PSC) for block 12. But the GTCL is not a party to the PSC, thereby leaving a lot of legal issues for the future.”

The report adds that:

“…Chevron’s compressor station project cost is actually $12 million higher than the cost proposed by Hyundai at Muchai point in the GTCL tender that was cancelled… This is also an unsolicited deal that is also the first of its kind in the public sector gas transmission system, which should be a monopoly of the GTCL.

According to Daily Star’s sources, PM’s approval of the Chevron contract made many related official very uncomfortable. It reports: “… following the PM’s approval of Chevron’s project, Petrobangla invited GTCL’s experts several times to attend Petrobangla-Chevron Joint Management Committee (JMC) meeting on setting up the compressor station. But these officials declined saying that they did not want to be part of the controversy.“

Although the same reporter reporting all these loved to connect all the vices that took place during BNP’s 2001-2006 rule to PM’s son Tarique Rahman, this time, suddenly he becomes mum. No further investigation why sudden change in mind of PM office, why so much push for Chevron!

There is enough here to demand an investigation. This is not about Sajeeb Wajed or Mahmudur Rahman. This is much bigger than these individuals. And we do the nation a huge disservice by clouding the message here.

* * * * *

Rumi Ahmed is a Bangladeshi blogger from United Sates.

Also published in In the Middle of Nowhere.

Senior Journalist Beaten

in response of reporting graft allegation
against Prime Minister’s son and adviser

M. Abdullah, Amar Desh journo beaten at response of reporting graft case against PM's son Sajib Wajed Joy

M. Abdullah, a journalist of Daily Amar Desh who reported a graft allegation against the son of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina along with one of her advisors, has received severe injuries after a group of miscreants launched an assault of him. The attack took place within less than 36 hours of Syeda Shajeda Chowdhury, Jahangir Kabir Nanak and some other senior ruling party Awami League leaders threatened M. Abdullah and declared of ‘serious measures’ to be taken against him for the report he wrote.

It appears that the attackers were waiting at multiple points. The first wave came near the Army Stadium where stones were pelted toward his car and resulted at smashed glasses. Speeding up from the site, the car came at the Kakoli intersect toward Banani and the attackers again halted him. This time M. Abdullah himself received pelted stones and became injured. Immediately after knowing that the car can’t move without running over any of his halters, Abdullah jumped out and ran to escape the what appears to be a lynching attempt on him. He hustled in a running bus but before he could get on it, the attackers made it to hit him for several times and pelted stones and other objects to him on pursuit. At this, Abdullah received severe skull injuries.

In the meantime the car he escaped from was still left on the street with his chauffer Akkas Ali. The attackers attended the car and ended up with smashed glasses and the critically injured Ali. Police took a safe side by occupying the spot after the triumphant Awami League activists left an injured Abdullah, even more seriously injured Akkas Ali and the nearly destroyed vehicle standing like a fool. Apart from any of the attackers, all were rescued to Gulshan Thana.

Until all of us turn to be stupidly reticent, none of the newspapers existing in Bangladesh can satisfy us all in all. Readers can find a pile of articles in this website vehemently criticizing the Daily Star and Prothom Alo. Here the entity is not criticized. The entity Prothom Alo and Daily Star are not criticized. What receive vehement criticism are somewhat appear to be politically motivated or any ill-motivated contribution by those particular medias. But that’s just criticism, expression of disapproval to an unacceptably partisan or ill-motivated presentation, and that is the best possible way.

But now it looks like the best way now to express disapproval against a journalist and letting the people know about this is to halt his car, smash his skull with melee weapons, bleed him in back by frequent stoning and show rest of the wrath on his chauffer and vehicle when he escapes from the scene.

Beside those who actively took part in the carnage and those who provoked them openly in public speeches (Syeda Shajeda Chowdhury, Jahangir Kabir Nanak etc.), each and every person will have to take responsibility who have been vocal against attacks against journalists years ago but has decided to keep mum this time.

Related links,

against

Arbinda Rajkhowa being produced to a court at Guwahati, Asam.

So it appears Bangladesh government handed over Arbinda Rajkhowa without going by any definite extradiation treaty with India? Within hours of Adv. Sahara Khatun, the Minister of Interior strongly denied arrest of any ULFA leader taking place in Dhaka, evidences came out that she gave flawed information to the local media. Arbinda Rajkhowa was produced to a Guwahati court where he told he was held by the Bangladeshi authorities from Dhaka and then handed over to BSF through Tamabil-Daoki border. Later Indian officials told the media thata 10-member ULFA group including Rajkhowa’s wife Kaberi Kachari (42), his two sons Gadadhar (5) and Kamsena (13), Raju Baruah’s wife Nirala Neog (30) and his minor son Hemanta, Sashadhar Chowdhury’s wife Runima Choudhury (41), his 10-month-old daughter Hema and Raja Bora, PSO of Rajkhowa were held by BSF on Bangladesh-Meghalaya border on Friday morning. So according to Rajkhowa’s statements he gave after being produced to the court, all the mentioned were held by Bangladeshi authorities and then handed over to Indian authorities at Tamabil-Daoki border.

Dhananjay Mahapatra of Times of India stated here,

Two facts are significant in Rajkhowa’s arrest. First, India does not have an extradition treaty with Bangladesh. Second, there was no formal request for his extradition through proper channels, which begins with a competent court issuing letter rogatory to its counterpart in the foreign country for extradition of the accused for trial in offences committed in India.

In the absence of these two, the arrest of Rajkhowa and his aides clearly shows that they were detained by Bangladeshi authorities and then pushed across to India at a mutually agreed place for the BSF to take them into custody. This is substantiated by Rajkhowa’s repeated assertions before media prior to being produced before the CJM that he had not surrendered.

Meanwhile Kolkata based The Telegraph reveals the fact that the handover of the ULFA kingpins without even a minimum consideration of proper ways from Bangladeshi side have something more to do than just Sheikh Hasina’s smoothing the ties with India. It says that Delhi is to start the process of handover of two prisoners from Indian custody to Bangladesh. These two prisoners appear to have names Abdul Mudib and Muslimuddin, two of the prime suspects of murder of Bangabandhu and his family on 15 August, 1975.

Nishit Dholabhai of The Telegraph writes here,

Bangladesh’s generosity in handing over leaders of the United Liberation Front of Asam springs from Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s eagerness to see Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s assassins brought to justice, apart from her interest in smoothing relations with India.

Delhi is expected to return the favour to Dhaka by probably sending two persons wanted in the Mujib murder case who are lodged in Tihar jail, sources said. The duo’s identities are being kept under wraps though sources said their aliases could be Abud Mudib and Muslimuddin.

So it appears the Bangladeshi authorities under the present Awami League government has been showing immense generosities to India since their beginning.

  • A group of protesters where beaten mercilessly when they appeared in a procession demanding expel of the former Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty in September 2009.
  • A pair of Bangladeshi ministers (Dr. Dipu Moni, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Abul Hossain, Minister of Communication) was keeping mum when this Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty added the adjective “so called intellectuals” behind a panel of academics from University of Dhaka, Jagangirnagar University, University of Rajshahi and Shahjalal University of Science and Technology in August 2009.
  • The Minister of Water Resources Ramesh Chandra Sen found it fun to tell in July 2009 Bangladesh as a smaller neighbor can easily accept some damage to maintain a friendship with the bigger neighbor India.
  • The Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Dipu Moni was shy to spare a word when an Indian journalist called Bangladesh “a buffer state” in last February.

Now a group of people were handed over to India without the confirmation of their being criminals and even without any mutual extradition treaty just to show how generous the present regime is to India.

Reading the entire pile of emotional stories on the generosity of a 162 million’s nation to a 1200 million’s nation, we can expect the generosity from our Minister of Interior Adv. Sahara Khatun to answer the following question that,

For what on earth she denied that Rajkhowa was arrested in Bangladesh? And if she was telling the truth, why she is this ultra-generous to put not a single protest against any of the Indian medias those apparently made her contend for being provider of the most viciously flawed information?

Rumi Ahmed
20 November, 2009, USA

Take from the altar of the ancients, not the ashes, but the fire.

– Gustav Mahler

The verdict of the Appellate Division regarding the murder of President Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and members of his family is an important milestone in our political and judicial history. The men accused of the murder went through our entire judicial system, from the District Court to the Appellate Division. Some of the individuals initially accused were acquitted. Those who were convicted had the chance to present all suitable defences, and were accorded all the rights which our state gives defendants in criminal prosecutions.

For all those individuals who were affected by the gruesome murders, one hopes that this comes as some salve to the personal wound that will undoubtedly haunt them the rest of their lives. The psychological trauma that comes from the assassination of loved ones, and the dislocation that comes from seeing our elders and guardians lying bloodied and lifeless, is unparalleled. We hope the pain that they carry around every day is a little lighter today.

As a result of the verdict today, at least five individuals will soon die. I hope their families will make peace with that, and be able to continue with normal and productive lives.

However, where justice ends, reflection begins.

Let’s think of sets, and Venn diagrams.

Think about the set of people who had responsibility for the 15th August massacre. Narrow that set to all individuals alive today. Are there only twelve people in that set?

Let’s narrow it still further. Let’s think about all the people against whom there exists tangible evidence regarding dereliction of duty or involvement in conspiracy. Are there only twelve people in that set?

Let’s narrow the set still further. Only include the people who were at Dhanmondi Road 32 that fateful night and morning, with weapons in their hand and murder in their heart. Have we gotten all of them?

Here’s the funny thing, just as there were people there that night and early morning who were not supposed to be there, there are a lot of people that morning who should have been there, but were not.

One think about police guards and the army units guarding the President. But where was the Rakkhi Bahini, the President’s hand-created paramilitary unit? Where were the leaders of Awami League? At least some of them had fought in the war four years past, they could have potentially held off the attackers until help arrived.

“Shafiullah, your units are attacking me.”

“Sir, I am seeing what to do. Can you leave your residence?”

A response worthy of all the commanders of the Army of Bengal who stood idle at Plassey.

“Tofael, send the Rakkhi Bahini.”

“We are under attack by Army tanks, sir.”

Only, it later turned out, the tank was disarmed, it did not have any shells in it.

In a sense, it is of lesser importance to pinpoint those who pumped all those bullets in Sheilh Mujib, Begum Mujib, and their family members. Army units started surrounding their home and taking positions to shell Dhanmondi from the evening of 14th August, at least twelve hours before the massacre. How could the entire machinery of the state remain inert for twelve hours? Consultation and conspiracy regarding this started at least months ago. Apparently Indian intelligence warned Sheikh Mujib of the attack. So did at least one civilian intelligence agency. Then Deputy Army Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Ziaur Rahman visited the President and warned him regarding grumblings of unrest in the Army.

Who then, were the individuals who negated all these warnings? The individuals who said, “Mujib Bhai, nothing will happen?”

Of course, whom would President Sheikh Mujib trust, a superseded officer such as Ziaur Rahman, who was never a part of the AL inner circle? Or Khandkar Mushtaque Ahmed, the “Ukil baba” in the marriages of both Sheikh Jamal and Sheikh Kamal?

Zia? Or Dalim, a close personal friend of the Sheikh family who could take personal grievances directly to the President?

Bangladesh started rejecting the perpetrators of the massacre soon after, as evidenced by the flight of the guilty to various countries within two months of the massacre. Make no mistake about it, history would have been different today if they had all stayed in Bangladesh. It is no accident that the most prominent of those convicted to death is Lt. Col. Syed Faruq Rehman, a former Presidential candidate in 1988 and former chief of Freedom Party. It is not a coincidence that he never fled Bangladesh, but instead chose to stay and attempt to shape Bangladesh’s political climate in his favor.

Part of the reason Sheikh Shaheb never paid heed to any warnings about uprising because he blinded himself to the most egregious fault in our collective nature. We love to over-exult when the times are good. However, when the chips are down, and it is time for action: we are hesitant, doubtful, and faltering. Today, Dhaka is full of people claiming that they have borne a burden in their heart for 34 years. In addition to being a grievous insult to those who have actually borne a burden for 34 years, it is also a lie. It is easy for people to stand in Bangladesh in 2009, with a ten-month AL government with a nine-tenth majority in the Parliament and Sheikh Mujib’s daughter as Prime Minister and his close associate as President, and claim that this is the single greatest moment in their lives. It was, likewise, extremely easy to tell the President of Bangladesh, and the dictator of our state (not in the sense we understand it, but in the actual sense of the word), that there was no way that a couple of army punks would dare to against Sheikh Mujib. And boy, if they did, they would soon see “koto dhane koto chaal.”

Except, when it really matters, action trumps words. And there was only one side in 15th August 1975 that took action. Something our current Prime Minister, and all future prime ministers, would do well to remember and internalize.

It is our nation’s sincerest hope that such a circumstance as 15th August 1975 never occurs again. That force never substitutes political discourse again. Let us go forward to better times.

* * * * *

Rumi Ahmed is a Bangladeshi blogger from United States.

The recent attack on the young ruling party lawmaker Fazle Noor Taposh MP was not the first among deadly forays over politicians of Bangladesh. A common phrase in our country goes like, “where the murderers of Bangabandhu & Ziaur Rahman are never held, there will be no surprise if other high profile murders are let getaway.” Even after the unparallel massacre inside Bangladesh Riffles HQ at Pilkhana, Dhaka, many told that “the murderers here too will getaway and we won’t mind because we’ve seen trials on murders of Sheikh Mujib and Ziaur Rahman unsolved and it doesn’t matter whether we do mind or else”.

2009-10-21-23-08-25-Tapas-inside
Confusions are being created that why the ministers are extensively making statements to relate the carnage with Bangabandhu assassination trial.

Nobody has anything to deny the fact that most of the legal fights for assassinations or attempts on high profile statesperson have not been properly conclusive just because the government at office has tried to politically utilize the issues, has ignored unhealthy diversion of investigation for sake of discomforting domestic political rivals. This is a tragic fact that’s applicable for almost all trials of the kind.

General population often gets annoyed at the common obsession that our politicians have of debating past sour issues. Here some sentences about past have been written just to amplify the fact that, may be a powerful bomb flew toward a member of the house all of a sudden shook the nation, but it won’t be a surprise if his legal fight too is found to have the same fate of being on pursuit of a zero.

Fazle Noor Taposh MP, although a very young lawmaker and is in quite an early stage of his expectedly brighter political future, has been put on the top of the current political focus by the attempt and it has rang to the minds of us that indeed Fazle Noor Taposh is stringed fervently to various high profile political concerns. He is,

  • a notable panel lawyer in the trial on Bangabandhu’s assassination,
  • a figure related to the controversy of government’s unpopular dialogue attempt with BDR mutineers at the late night of 25 February, 2009,
  • an anticipated select by Sheikh Hasina to fight the upcoming mayoral elections in Dhaka for Awami League,
  • and again a very close aide to Sheikh Hasina, almost the most trusted one having a political future brighter than almost anyone of his stage.

These are few positions we consider when we think about how Fazle Noor Taposh MP has been politically being since his appearance to acclaim.

Now let also have a serial of what the senior figures in the ruling party or the government have been saying over the matter.

Sahara Khatun Advocate Sahara Khatun, the Minister of Interior who already has seen the wrath of few AL leaders for possible security negligence, told Taposh attack is ‘linked’ to Mujib killer .


SYED-ASHRAFSyed Ashraful Islam, General Secretary of Awami League and Minister of LGRD & Cooperatives, told “the nation believes the killers of Bangabandhu, the extreme communal and anti-liberation forces were involved with the attack .


Mahbubey AlamBarrister Mahbubey Alam, the Attorney General and leader of a pro-AL lawyers’ group, told The attack on Taposh proves that those who do not want the trial of the murder of Bangabandhu are trying to become active.


Shafique AhmedBarrister Shafique Ahmed, the Minister of Law, told Taposh attack aimed to save Mujib’s killers


Dipu MoniDr. Dipu Moni, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, told The attack was made by those who don’t want progress in trial of Bangabandhu’s murder”.

I don’t understand that why these senior AL leaders and others are pushing the matter to be a concern of Bangabandhu assassination trial. I mean it can be a fact that those who don’t want the trial being conclusive orchestrated the attack. But this is just a possibility, a speculation; so are the others that attack on Taposh could be a knock-off attempt by his domestic political rivals.

Shwapon
One of several arrested people is Karmul Haque Shwapon, brother of Maj. Dalim, also a 5-years long neighbor of Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh MP. We expect the arrest to be a part of true investigation, not by a provocation of some minister’s supra-enthusiasm to relate the case with Bangabandhu’s trial. (Photo: BDNews24)

There has been a complaint made to police and they will investigate it, they will have to do it to dig for the truth. At this stage of investigation where nobody knows more than it was a bomb, the series of statements from AL leaders is just looking like a planned media manipulation where the immense influences are being made to manipulate public opinions. Questions may arise that how the ministers and the Attorney General are so confident that the attackers are linked to Bangabandhu’s assassins. Did the attackers tell them before bombing? Or did Bangabandhu’s assassins confirm that the new generation carnage will take place on Taposh?

This is highly concerning that why respective AL leaders and also the party’s Central Working Committee in absence of Sheikh Hasina is pressurizing the people to believe the attack having a link to Bangabandhu’s trial. What’s their source of confidence, what’s their source of information and finally what’s the motive of such premature statements? There are other grounds those have to be considered, why we have not heard a single person anywhere to talk about that?

Bangladeshi people have already learnt that they have a legal system that is not blind. This system can smell one’s political identity, can see the height of one’s political influence and finally can realize one’s power. The system drives itself in accordance with those feelings that a legal system is immensely malicious to have. Forgoing the attackers of a Member of Parliament won’t be a surprise because murderers of the Presidents and Prime Ministers in this country are let getaway.Facebook users click here.

Facebook users click here.

M. Tawsif Salam
11 September, 2009, Dhaka

Bangladeshis Killed in 9-11

Clockwise: Mohammed Salahuddin Chowdhury, Mohammad Shahjahan, Nurul Haque Miah, Abul Kashem Chowdhury, Shakila Yasmin and Shabbir Ahmed.

Immediately after the horrible 9/11 attacks, the perception about Bangladeshi fatalities was that at least 50 of our countrymen have been missing in the rubles, dead or else. Watching the twin towers of the World Trade Center emitting smokes almost like two sky-scrapping chimneys, initially very few people overseas were concerned about knowing how much people of what nationalities have been victims, apart from those who knowingly had family members, coworkers or friends working in New York’s Lower Manhattan that day.

People of approximately 60 nationalities were among the victims. The initial perception of around 50 Bangladeshis killed was later corrected as there were 12 Bangladeshi victims documented. Now this information too ain’t assuring as there were talks that there could be some Bangladeshis working around but ‘not documented’, might have been in terms of legal measures. This means disappointment, that the actual number of how many Bangladeshis were killed in 11 September 2001 attacks won’t be known ever.

For someone looking for stuffs about the Bangladeshi victims of 9/11, the initial disgust will be offered by the authority of Bangladesh, that’s our government. Throughout a staggering hunt for information about brothers & sisters we lost that day, one will completely fail to get something that can be thought is given or provided by any agencies or departments of Bangladesh government. It’s understandable that during the attack the administration at home was to execute a general election of nearly 70 million voters, so it couldn’t respond at once. But not only years passed rather it’s being almost a decade after a number of Bangladeshi deaths overseas, we rarely found any of our government people to pronounce a word about it or to provide at least some statistics. It can be that we ain’t keen enough to get them so they ain’t keen enough to provide.

Among 12 confirmed Bangladeshis who were killed on September 11, 2001 there are Mohammad Sadeque Ali, Shabbir Ahmed, Nurul Haque Miah, Nurul’s wife Shakila Yasmin, Mohammad Shahjahan, Mohammed Salahuddin Chowdhury, Abul Kashem Chowdhury, Navid Hossain, Osman Ghani and Ashfaq Ahmed. As the Bangladesh High Commission at United States has a confirmation of 12 victims, definitely there are two more names those I’ve failed to mention here. However all the mentioned 10 were the citizens of United States of America and except Ashfaq Ahmed, Navid Hossain & Osman Ghani, I can provide at least something about seven others.


Mohammad Sadeque Ali

Mohammad Sadeque Ali, 62, according to a former Bangladeshi diplomat Syed Muazzem Ali, was a newspaper vendor. He lived in New York’s Jackson Heights with his wife Mumtaz. During the attack Ali was at Lower Manhattan presumably somewhere too-close-to or inside the World Trade Center and was later never found.

Shabbir Ahmed

Shabbir Ahmed

Shabbir Ahmed

Shabbir Ahmed, 47, worked in the famous ‘Windows on The World’ restaurant on the 106th floor of the WTC North Tower. Migrated to US from Bangladesh in 1981, he loved the job he had in ‘Windows on The World’ and he stayed there for 11 years. Ahmed was married to Jeba and the couple had three children. Ahmed became able to meet his dream of sending all of them for college education. At the time of Ahmed’s death, a son named Tanvir was 16-year old and a daughter that went to Brooklyn College were 19-year old. The family’s home is at Marine Park, Brooklyn, New York. At the time a plane penetrated the tower, Ahmed was at work in his beloved workplace with 89 other coworkers including Mohammed Salahuddin Chowdhury, another Bangladeshi employee in there, reportedly were serving 76 guests; none of the people survived.


Mohammad Shahjahan

Mohammad Shahjahan

Mohammad Shahjahan

Mohammad Shahjahan, 41, lived with his wife Mansura at Spring Valley, a neighborhood at the border of towns Ramapo and Clarkstown at Rockland County, New York. He was a Computer Administrator in the professional service provider & insurance brokerage farm Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc. (MMC)., which held offices between floors 93 & 100, the ultimate impact zone of the attack. 295 employees including Shahjahan and two other Bangladeshis, Nurul Haque Miah & Shakila Yasmin, were working at MMC at the time of attack; among them nobody survived.


Abul Kashem Chowdhury

Abul Kashem Chowdhury

Abul Kashem Chowdhury

Abul Kashem Chowdhury, 30, was 2nd generation Bangladeshi-American, child of a former Bangladeshi diplomat. He resided in New York with his family of his wife, parents, a brother and two sisters. A College of Staten Island graduate, Chowdhury was about to pursue a career on computer expertise, which even he had one at financial services farm Cantor Fitzgerald L.P. as a Senior Assistant Analyst. His brother Abul Qaiser Chowdhury said that he and his brother worked to support their family; have been like two arms to their loved ones. During the attack Chowdhury was on the 103rd floor, who even called his brother after the plane made the hit and he was approaching to come down, but the communication was tragically brief and everything was finished in hours. Months before the attack Chowdhury got married to Young Kim, a 2nd generation Korean-American. Kim, remarking his husband as a ‘devoted moviegoer’, was about to go to movies with him after work on the fateful day.


Mohammed Salahuddin Chowdhury

Mohammad Chowdhury

Mohammad Salahuddin Chowdhury

Mohammed Salahuddin Chowdhury, 38, was a Queens, New York resident where he lived with his wife Baraheen Ashrafi. Salahuddin, a Dhaka University physics graduate, migrated to US in 1987. In US he studied real-estate and also obtained a diploma in Computer Science. Initially he worked in Baltimore but later came to New York for something better would come up. He decided to stay in New York in anyways so he started working in the famous ‘Windows on The World’ restaurant as a waiter. Salahuddin & Baraheen had a 6-year old boy. In the time of attacks Baraheen was pregnant and was due to operate at late hours of the fateful date. In fact Salahuddin usually attended the work in evening hours but that day chose to serve in the morning so that he could stay with his wife to the operation. Farqad Chowdhury, born 48-hours after deadly attack took away his father with 88 other coworkers, has been perhaps one of the first 9/11 orphans to be born. HBO’s 9/11 documentary “In Memoriam: New York City, 9/11/01” has covered the tragic fate of Salahuddin’s family.


Nurul Haque Miah

Nurul Huq Miah

Nurul Haque Miah

Nurul Haque Miah, 35, was born in Bangladesh to an immensely pious family in 1966. A mid-80s immigrant to US, Nurul started working for Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc., (MMC) in 1986. In 1999 he married Shakila Yasmin; an early-90s immigrant whom he met in a friend’s wedding in 1995 & dated for 5 years. Nurul had a very good reputation at work & was awarded as recognition of merit in MMC. Nurul studied and had a degree in audiovisual technology, as the final position he had in MMC was an Audiovisual Technologist where he worked for 15 years. Nurul’s workplace was on the 93rd floor. But during the attack he was in a meeting on the 99th floor, while his wife Shakila, also an MMC employee, was on the 97th floor; MMC was a tenant holding 8 floors from 93rd to 100th. To mention, all these floors got the worst impact after the plane made hit especially the floors 93th-99th through where the plane actually penetrated, let as assume Nurul and his wife to be two of the very initial victims of the deadly attack.


Shakila Yasmin

Shakila Yasmin

Shakila Yasmin

Shakila Yasmin, 26, wife of Nurul Haque Miah, went to US with her parents Sharif A. Chowdhury and Shawkat Ara Sharif when she was 16. She did her S.S.C in Bangladesh and in US got admitted in Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia. Obtaining US citizenship in the sixth year of stay, she graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1999 with a degree of Management Information Systems. As told before, she was married to Nurul Haque Miah in 1999, joined her husband’s workplace MMC as a Computer Assistant one year prior to the deadly attack. She was on the 93rd floor when the first plane penetrated the building.


Renaming Brooklyn Streets after Shakila and Nurul

ShakilaYasmin

Shakila Yasmin and Nurul Haque Miah

Nurul and Shakila lived in Brooklyn, New York and they had a very good relationship with the neighbors. One of their neighbors Diane Hunt, touched by her neighbors’ tragic deaths, took an initiative to propose renaming of the street in Brooklyn in names of Shakila and Nurul, took the matter to the city council. At her proposition and consent from the fellow councilors, the Mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg (world’s 8th richest man, the Republican politician who owns Bloomberg L.P) passed a bill 746-A on 29 December, 2005 that renamed a total 67 streets of New York, including the Evington Avenue and the Third Avenue in Brooklyn those got the new name “Shakila Yasmin & Nurul Haque Miah 9-11 Memorial Way”. Mayor Bloomberg, fellow New Yorker Hunt and others who consented in paying respect to our fallen countrymen are yet to receive gratitude officially from Bangladesh. You know we have a lot of real works to do than just go thanking people like recently dead Senator Ted Kennedy who was singled out in US Senate just for talking for Bangladesh in 1971, or the Jewish NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg who honored Bangladesh by naming streets whereas he could choose from people of 59 other nationalities.

M. Tawsif Salam
23 August, 2009. Dhaka.

Majority of the Bangladeshi cricket fans no matter in times of disappointment or pleasure, rarely have denied the fact that the national team contains skilled players required for a pleasant end of a game. It can be that people around have been disappointed immensely for a batsman’s getting out in almost the same way he gets out in most of the occasions; or the one which happens to be more usual for Bangladesh throughout the time that is sudden collapse of the batting order. But rarely has it been told that they couldn’t do because they weren’t meant to do.

However while talking about what they still need and is quite difficult to have, is the consistency of their better performances. In other sense and though it’s a fact that not necessarily a winning game is always the one with good cricket, we can interpret that one of the things the tigers were still looking for has been the consistency of winning. Bangladesh’s consecutive outfighting of Zimbabwe and West Indies can be taken to set up as what we repeatedly call Bangladesh team to have required for years.

Beside good cricket from both the sides a better contribution from the neutral part of the game also seems as a mandatory, which Shane Warne has recently appeared to be concerned about. Recently he was found to lambaste the present day umpiring stating, “The standard of umpiring is as low as I’ve known it in 20 years.” Well, let not just take few disputable decisions to specify a general deterioration. Especially in case of relating the matter with time, it has to be accepted that the advanced use of an advanced technology have made some stuffs quite outcast and mistakes at the grounds are now exposed in a better way. But what really makes us take seriously that are consecutively disputed decisions from certain umpires have very scant record of accountabilities or dramatic improvement.

Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe 3rd ODI 236`
Celebration

It really hurts to accommodate any criticism about the ultimate decider of the game in a post-game talk. But talks really do favor in such situations where it sometimes turns to be unbearable and an explication comes up as precedence.

For example we must not mind if Asoka De Silva’s umpiring is brought to attention to at least some extent. Bangladesh team already has received unexpected damages by what appeared to have been disputable decisions of the Sri Lankan umpire. Bangladesh’s tours to Pakistan in 2003 and to West Indies this year are the noted ones.

Asoka as a cricketer has however been impressive in his test debut where he bowled stood nearly as a solid obstacle on ways of the Indian scorers in Colombo back in 1985. As an umpire, well his decisions gave births to few notable flaps. Considering the fact that technology nowadays does even a cruder exposure of man’s mistakes at instance and instead of just regretting a sum of ‘regrettable’ decisions at the international level, there can be suggested a tradeoff between technological aspects and their acceptable contributions to evade any contentiousness among the people around.

Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe 3rd ODI 206
The post-game at Sher-e-Bangla Stadium, Mirpur, Dhaka.

Sunil Gavaskar once has regretted a fact which also we often do; that as the time has advanced it has took away what once was innocence in cricket they had back in their times. Gavaskar told Ayaz Memon on 10 July this year, “There was an innocence about the game when I was kid, which is perhaps not quite there now. I think I would prefer the innocence of the game that was there when I was a teenager.” Things take place which make us think in the same way too. Like, there was some sort of celebration among the fielders in the ground after an opponent batsman made a half-century. It ain’t like such things have disappeared nowadays, but the players are aware that the TV cameras are on them, according to Gavaskar.

After the 4th ODI of Bangladesh-Zimbabwe series in Bulawayo this year, Tamim Iqbal did set something easing Sunil Gavaskar and ourselves too. Charles Coventry’s spectacular 194 not-out ultimately came at nothing for Zimbabwe as Iqbal’s decisive 154 did it sealing the match for Bangladesh. It was the ‘Man of the Match’ trophy that Iqbal was co-chosen for with Coventry and it’s where our point lies. Tamim Iqbal, who’s steady and epic 154 won the match for Bangladesh, stated “I congratulated him (Coventry) and told him that he could keep the trophy. He deserved it… You don’t make world records every day. It was a truly magnificent innings.” That was a good one to ease us as well as Sunil Gavaskar; really a winning habit and else.

This has also been published in the 23 August, 2009 issue of Weekly Economic Times.

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