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Govt action to improve rural power supply system

The government gave nod to a Tk 1,332.68 crore project aiming at improving rural power supply system in five divisions. Under the project, state-owned Power Grid Company of Bangladesh Limited (PGCB) will enhance capacity of grid substations and transmission lines in rural areas of Dhaka, Chittagong, Khulna, Rajshahi and Rangpur divisions by December 2017. Approval for ‘Enhancement of Capacity of Grid Substations and Transmission Line for Rural Electrification’ project came at the meeting of The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) held in the city yesterday with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair. The ECNEC also approved a Tk 10.50 billion project on Skills for Employment Investment Programme (SELP Phase-1) to offer technical education to around three lakh people to meet the growing demand for skilled manpower at home and abroad.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina sought cooperation from the German government, its people and political leaders as in the past to expedite her government’s relentless efforts to ensure a better life for the people of Bangladesh. The PM made the request when a five-member parliamentary delegation of Germany paid a courtesy call on her at her office in the city yesterday.

Bangladesh has made significant improvements in trade liberalisation in recent times due to numerous policy reforms. In terms of total trade as percentage of gross domestic product, the country is now the second most open economy, after Sri Lanka, among the four major economies of South Asia. The country’s trade-GDP ratio reached 47.1 percent in fiscal 2012-13, up from 30 percent in fiscal 1999-2000, data from Bangladesh Bank shows. It was revealed when Joint Directors of BB made a presentation at a seminar of SAARC Finance, a grouping of governors and finance secretaries in South Asia, at Ruposhi Bangla Hotel in Dhaka yesterday.

Dhaka signed a deal with China to set up a 1,320-megawatt coal-based power plant in Moheshkhali upazila of Cox’s Bazar. Abduhu Ruhullah, chairman of Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB), and Zhao Longjun, president of Huadian Hong Kong Company of China, signed the memorandum of understanding (MoU) at Bidyut Bhaban in the capital yesterday.

The government signed another deal with the Malaysian government yesterday to construct a 13km flyover, 12,000 apartments in Uttara, and high-rises in Kamrangirchar of the capital. The flyover will run from Shantinagar to Jhilmil Project in Keraniganj while the 12,000 apartments will be constructed in Uttara 3rd phase. Housing and Public Works Minister Mosharraf Hossain and special envoy of Malaysia’s government Dato Seri Utama S Samy Vellu signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at the ministry.

Germany wants further amendment to the existing labour laws for ensuring improved working safety and social standards in the readymade garment (RMG) sector of Bangladesh.  “With the help of the Accord and ILO, also with the support of the Alliance, some progress has been made no doubt and all stakeholders deserve praise for this. But it is only the beginning of a long way, which Germany is ready to go with Bangladesh,” Dagmar G Wohrl, MP, head of a seven-member German parliamentary delegation told the newsmen yesterday at a press conference at GIZ conference hall in the city.

India is building a barrage on the Gidari river, just 400 metres upstream from the no man’s land at Putibari village of Aditmari upazila in Lalmonirhat, to divert its water for irrigation. After completion, it would seriously affect water flow in Bangladesh. Border Guard Bangladesh has issued a protest when India started building the barrage. Durgapur BGB Camp commander Subedar Shamsul Alam said, “As the Indian Border Security Force [BSF] didn’t respond to our protest, we informed our battalion commanding officer of the matter and he has conveyed it to the higher authorities concerned.”

The government yesterday launched an online fertiliser recommendation system meant to ensure balanced use of fertiliser that can optimise productivity by 20 to 30 percent. By furnishing location of the piece of land, its size, crop category and type, and which fertiliser he intends to apply in the given form of Bangla website, a farmer can get the recommended dose of fertiliser online. “It is yet another step to make a digital Bangladesh,” said Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury at the inauguration of the website in Bangladesh Agriculture Research Council (B©d‰) auditorium yesterday.

The government has decided to appoint Maj Gen KM Mominur Rahman as the new ambassador of Bangladesh to Bahrain, says a Foreign Ministry press release.

DSEX, the prime index of the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) yesterday came down below 4,600 points mark after 7-session and ended at 4,567.04 points, shedding 57.71 points or 1.24 percent.

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