Tuesday, May 23, 2006

2 RMG units set ablaze, 100 damaged, 1 killed Are we Stupid?

Angry garment workers(inset), throng the highway in front of Dhaka EPZ demanding payment of arrear wages and higher wages. They torched buses parked on a field while a garment factory is in flames in the background. PHOTO: STAR

A garment worker of Savar export processing zone (EPZ) was killed yesterday as several thousand of his colleagues clashed with employees loyal to the owners of factories while rampaging through the area demanding that their 11-point charter of demands including a pay raise be met.
Workers of different garment factories in the EPZ yesterday came out on the street, set two factories on fire, damaged more than a hundred factories and a number of vehicles, and put up barricades to drive home their demands. They also demanded payment of all unpaid salaries, overtime wages, basic wages for all, and an end to harassment by employees loyal to the owners of factories.
They torched 10 to 12 vehicles on Parishad road in Ashulia inside the EPZ.
More than a hundred persons including workers, police and journalists were injured as employees loyal to the owners attacked the workers.
Rana, 25, a garment worker from the EPZ, was admitted to the National Institute of Traumatology and Orthopaedic Rehabilitation with a bullet wound in the back. He died there in late afternoon. Tejgaon police sent the body to Dhaka Medical College morgue for autopsy. Three other garment workers were admitted to hospitals with bullet wounds.
Another worker Saiful, 30, received treatment at Dhaka Medical College Hospital for an injury in the head.
This was the second incident of garment workers' protest in a week in the capital. Following the incident EPZ authorities announced a two-day shutdown of the factories.
Demonstrating workers became violent as a rumour spread that at least one worker in the EPZ was killed as law enforcers opened fire.
A witness said the incident started as workers of Universe Knitting Factory in the EPZ called a strike yesterday morning for fair 'piece rate' (rate of wages per piece of ready made garment).
Workers of the production unit, who do not get basic wages, demanded basic and overtime wages.
"Employees loyal to the owner keep three percent from our salaries for an unknown reason. They have been doing it for years making the workers angry," said Ashiq, a worker from Universe.
Following an altercation with the management regarding yesterday's strike and their demands, the workers of Universe got locked in a battle with employees loyal to the owner. Some workers vandalized some cars inside the EPZ. The Ansars opened a few rounds of fire to control the mob, which made the workers more violent and they started damaging factories, sources said.
The demonstrating workers went to other factories and asked the workers there to join them. Hundreds of workers stepped out on the street and started damaging vehicles and throwing brickbats at windowpanes of garment factories and the EPZ branch of Shahjalal Bank.
Within an hour several thousand workers with iron rods, bamboos, and wooden planks in hands blocked the Savar-Ashulia road and started attacking all garment factories around.
"They do not pay us wages regularly. So we are on the street and damaging factories," said a garment worker.
They put up barricades on the Ashulia-Tongi road, forcing several hundred vehicles on the busy route to halt in long queues till 5:00pm. Hundreds of workers were seen walking all the way from Savar EPZ to Tongi Bridge as no vehicle was plying the road.
Fire brigade sources said the workers set fire to the factory of Bando Design Ltd in Jamgara area near Fantasy Kingdom and to A-1 Garments Factory inside the EPZ.
"Suddenly they came and started throwing brickbats at my factory. Cloths worth at least Tk 15 crore were damaged as they set my factory on fire. They also burned five buses of my factory," said Siddiqur Rahman, chairman of Bando.
BDNEWS reported that Bangladesh Export Processing Zone Authority (BEPZA) said agitators from outside incited the workers, forced into the EPZ and ransacked garment factories there. It said there are several Chinese, Korean and Malaysian factories in Savar EPZ.
PHOTOJOURNALIST ASSAULTEDSaiful Islam Kallol, a photojournalist of the daily Prothom Alo was assaulted by some employees loyal to the management of a garment factory inside the EPZ while discharging his duties there. He was assaulted as he went inside a factory to take photograph of a scene where some employees were beating some workers. The employees of the factory beat Saiful up and vandalised his motorbike.
RAB TOOK CONTROL As the workers became furious, the law enforcers allegedly took a passive posture at one stage. Later large contingents of armed police and RAB went to the scene at 2:00pm. A bullhorn in hand, a RAB officer reached the EPZ gate and told the workers that persons responsible for opening fire on them will be punished.
Getting the assurance the workers slowly calmed down. However, they continued damaging factories at different places outside the EPZ.
While throwing brickbats at a glass fa├žade of Irish Knitwear Ltd, one of the workers said the owner of Irish Knitwear has not been paying workers' wages for the last two months.
As this report was being filed yesterday evening hundreds of police and RAB personnel took control of the area while hundreds of workers were still demonstrating at the EPZ gate.

So who is behind this?

They are saying India is it because they don't have the guts to utter the word Opposition?

So India from thousands mile away putting fire in our Factories? Indain did progress a lot?

Isn't it all political ? are we stupid or the government is stupid or the opposition is stupid?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Check with the Election Comission if you are enlisted in the voter list?

Bangladesh Election 2007 : Voter Registration Issues tell us what you think is wrong with the Election ComissionThis survey aims to raise questions about the 8 days left to fix thehuge mismanaged eligible voter list database. The numbers to call are8129325 and 9129033 , find your names and make sure someone else isnot going to get a free ride on your ballot. Call your commisioner now

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

We seek your opinion on the National Election 2007

Please take our weekly survey.The more people responds the better the questions become. Also please tell us what questions you want to ask your politicians in your constituency. Be bold here . We respect your privacy. Mention which constituency and the politicians name. Send us your ideas to info@changebangladesh or comment to this post.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

25 Issues for consideration

25 issues: help us prioritize them, what in your opinion belongs on the top. Number them and send us your comments. We also encourage you to write concept papers on each issue and send it to info@changebangladesh . Please mention clearly the issue you are wrting on. Help us frame a constructive debate and give reporters ideas on what to write on. We are developing the Issue Central on our site, your paper will link from there. If you don't want to publish your concept paper that is fine too. Just mention it. We respect your privacy.
Our target is 100 papers on each issue for the voters consideration. Please help changebangladesh by putting a priority number and send us comments on why you think they are more important than the next. Please participate and see Bangladesh change through dialogue.

Corruption issues
Desher Mati Security issues (against those who bomb us)
Power generation and distribution issues
Water purification and distribution issue
Unsustainable Price hike of essentials issues
Agricultural issues
Dhaka traffic congestion issues
Monga issues
Foreign direct investment issues
Hartal issues
Educational issues
Garments issues (industry in general issues)
Small Medium Enterprises issues
Student politics issues
Technology issues (ICT)
Macro-economic issues
Overcoming Leadership challenges (profit and non-profit sector) issues
Political leadership term limit issues
Article 70 of Bangladesh constitution issues
Separation of the judiciary issues
Autonomy of local government issues
Legislative committee functionality issues
Business Money in National Politics issues
Dredging issues (hoar, baor and main water arteries of the country)
Within Party democracy, institution building democracy issues

more on article 70:
1 .http://www.thedailystar.net/2005/11/19/d51119110290.htm
2. http://www.pmo.gov.bd/constitution/part5.htm
Article 70.
Vacation of seat on resignation, etc.
(1) A person elected as a member of Parliament at an election at which he was nominated as a candidate by a political party shall vacate his seat if he resigns from that party or votes in Parliament against the party. Explanation. - If a member of Parliament-
(a) being present in Parliament abstains from voting, or
(b) absents himself from any sitting of Parliament, ignoring the direction of the party which nominated him at the election as a candidate not to do so, he shall be deemed to have voted against that party. (2) If, at any time, any question as to the leadership of the Parliamentary party of a political party arises, the Speaker shall, within seven days of being informed of it in writing by a person claming the leadership of the majority of the members of that party in Parliament, convince a meeting of all members of Parliament of that party in accordance with the Rules of procedure of Parliament and determine its Parliamentary leadership by the votes of the majority through division and if, in the matter of voting in Parliament, any member does not comply with the direction of the leadership so determined, he shall be deemed to have voted against that party under clause (1) and shall vacate his seat in the Parliament.
(3) If a person, after being elected a member of Parliament as an independent candidate, joins any political party, he shall, for the purpose of this article, be deemed to have been elected as a nominee of that Party.]

Still more for your background. Give us links to read.


Monday, May 01, 2006

Welcome to Changebangladesh community blog

We welcome everyone to our changebangladesh organism. We call it an organism since our aim is to organically and sustainably grow to be one of many effective pressure groups to knock some sense onto our political leadership. It is not an organization yet. You can help us become one. Send us emails with your ideas to info@changebangladesh.com
We recently received some exposure from the alternative press. We encouraged everyone with blogs and other web outlets to link to us.

A lot is planned this year in our programs. Our "HaterModheJoggoPrathe" tool where each candidates five components stands for the five fingers of the hand.The five components are :

a. Biographical information
b. Campaign finance
c. Issue positions
d. Voting records in Sangsad
e. Public statements

The thumb stands for the candidates Biographical information, the thinking is its the 'fattest part of the equation' his psychological, personal and educational development. The index finger stands for campaign finance, the crux of human evolution to form the pinch and in contemporary Bangladesh politics, because of black-money and corruption, the Pinch is the ethical dimension that will make us in Bangladesh become effective "human" leader again.The peoples' "fist" is the people's power. This is all memory aid for the voter. We have borrowed these concepts from evolutionary biology and Brac. It is in a sad attemt to dumb down for all voters, ways to remember in that voting both what they should vote on, what they should consider for its country's next leadership. These crude examples obviously needs to be developed further but this can be a start. The inspiration of Brac oral rehydration program where famously their "pinch of salt, ak mot gur and ak litre pani makes for good saline "You are welcome to develop our programs, send us an email and let us know you are interested. They all involve producing substantive public policy debate instead of mindless heckling and uninformed political partisan rhetoric.
We really are not against the two parties. We believe the two big parties , AL and BNP among others should reform into leadership organizations and they must encourage a playing field where only substantive people with expertise join their ranks. We believe their student leaders do not belong on the streets. They must be nurtured back into the classroom, the labrotary and research conventions. They are the future leaders of the country. A leader cannot do what he does not know. We must nurture away from all violence, negative confrontation for the next generation. We have to stop shooting at our foot. All implications of what is the result is well ducumented.
The utilization of black money and muscle power is by no account helping the people at large. This is also harmful for the politicians themselves. We want to believe that politicians will have the best interest of the people at heart. They will be the gatekeepers of ethics in a land as ancient as ancient itself. Our 3000 long history speaks to our determination to exist and survive as an ethnic group. Contemporary politics does not speak to our golden sage heritage. We must rediscover our ancient traditions and adapt to modernity all that applies. We can do this. Think now together so we can act organically as a whole in december 2006 at the Probashi conference hosted by Center for Policy dialogue.

Together we can have "HaterModheJoggoPrathe"