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News and Events of Panchagarh in  2009  

Last updated : Saturday, July 23, 2011

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Dec 30, 2009 – The bounty of winter ‘Poush Mela’ in Panchagarh – Daily Star

A month-long 'Poush Mela' (winter fair) was inaugurated on December 24 at Balabhir Goalpara village in Panchagarh.
Lawmaker of Pan-chagarh-2 constituency Advocate Nurul Islam Shujan inaugurated the mela. Adibashi Kalyan Samity organised the event in association with local Adibashi Poush Mela Committee to highlight the varied lifestyle and cultural heritage of the indigenous communities living in the northern districts. A total of twenty stalls have been set up, where household items, hunting tools including bows and arrows, spears and harpoons and swords are on display. Following the inauguration of the mela, a discussion was held. President of Adibashi Poush Mela Committee and also Chairman of Boda Union Parishad Mofizar Rahman Dinu chaired the event. Deputy Commissioner of Panchagarh, Banamali Bhowmik; Boda Upazila Nirbahi Officer Sarwar Alam; Assistant Superintendent of Police Shahabuddin Ahmed attended the programme as special guests. Among others, leader of Adibashi Kalyan Samity Rajoni Mardi; former chairman of Boda union Abdul Mannan; General Secretary of Upazila Awami League Advocate Wahiduzzaman Shuja and General Secretary of Mela Committee Raziul Alam Prodhan, spoke at the inaugural programme. Later a vibrant cultural programme was held with the participation of indigenous artistes. The artistes performed songs and dances in their traditional costumes. This is the third time that the mela is being held at the same venue, organisers said. Enthusiastic students and people from all walks of life are gathering everyday at the mela.

Dec 30, 2009 – Jugantor

Dec 30, 2009 – Karatoa

Dec 27, 2009 – Janakantha

Dec 26, 2009 – Janakantha

Dec 26, 2009 – Jutantor

Dec 24, 2009 – Shortage of doctor’s hinders treatment in Panchagarh – News Today

Patients are being deprived of proper treatment at Sadar Adhunik Hospital due to mismanagement and shortage of doctors, reports UNB. Sources said only three doctors out of 34 are now working in the hospital. Of the three, one is Residential Medical Officer (RMO) and two others are junior consultants. Though the 100-bed hospital has modern equipment for conducting operation, the patients do not get service in absence of physicians in the surgical ward, said a source in the hospital. The sources said, of the total 34 posts, four are medical officers, three emergency medical officers, seven assistant surgeons, seven senior consultants, 10 junior consultants, one pathologist and one dental surgeon. There is no doctor in emergency department. Patients allege that most of the outdoor patients are to go back without treatment almost every day.
When contacted, Civil Surgeon Dr. M Abdul Karim said they informed the matter to the Health Ministry to take necessary steps in this regard.

Dec 24, 2009 – Prothom Alo

Dec 23, 2009 – Prothom Alo

Dec 22, 2009 –  Agro-based industry needed in Panchagarh – Financial Express

The farmers of Panchagarh need an agro-based industry for getting due price of crops, which grow in plenty in the fertile land of the area. An agro-based industry could not be established for the welfare of the farmers for want of storage facilities, incentives, bank loans, patronage and vocational training of the farmers. Jute, wheat, sugarcane, paddy, mustard, tissi and different vegetables like bringles and potatoes grow in plenty and rot in the absence of cold-storages. The farmers have to stock their produce in the cold storages in neighboring Thakurgaon district.

People of Panchagarh demanded establishment of cold storages for the preservation of their crops. They also demanded establishment of auto rice mills, oil mills and other small industries based on the locally grown agricultural crops to help remove the unemployment problem of the district. Kamrul Islam, a farmer of Maydandighi said, "We are not getting due price of our crops as we don't have cold storage facility. We have already drawn the attentions of the president of Jute Growers Association and the incumbent MP of Panchagarh-1 to our plight."

Dec 21, 2009 – 7400 hectares of land brought under potato cultivation in Panchagarh – Bangladesh Sanbad Sangstha

The Agriculture Extension Department (AED) of Panchagarh has brought 7400 hectares of land under potato cultivation in all five upazilas of the district in the current winter season. The upazilas are Sadar, Debiganj, Boda, Atwari and Tetulia. The AED sources said that the target of potato production is 19,900 tonnes of potato. The upazila wise breakup of potato cultivation and production target was follows: in Debiganj upazila potato cultivation target was 4,000 hectares of land with a production target of 58,822 tonnes of potato. In Boda upazila targeted land was 1450 hectares with a production target of 23,623 tonnes of potato. In sadar production target 1,159 hectares with a production target of 19,122 tonnes of potato. In Tetulia target land was 5,70 hectares with a production target of 9,560 tonnes of potato and in Atwari targeted land was 421 hectares with a production target of 5,700 tonnes of potato. AED sources said that this year bumper production may be achieved as climate of Panchagarh district was favorable for cultivating the lands and there is no crisis of fertilizer.

Dec 19, 2009 – Jai Jai Din

Dec 17, 2009 – Jai Jai Din

Dec 16, 2009 – Karatoa

Dec 16, 2009 – Karatoa

Dec 16, 2009 – Prothom Alo

Dec 14, 2009 – Jai Jai Din

Dec 12, 2009 – Sangbad

Dec 11, 2009 – Prothom Alo

Dec 11, 2009 – Naya Diganta

Dec 10, 2009 – BDNews24

Dec 9, 2009 – Karatoa

Dec 9, 2009 – Prothom Alo

Dec 9, 2009 – Karatoa

Dec 7, 2009 – Karatoa

Dec 4, 2009 – Prothom Alo

Dec 4, 2009 – Karatoa

Dec 3, 2009 – Amardesh

Dec 3, 2009 – Prothom Alo

Dec 3, 2009 – Karatoa

Dec 2, 2009 – Ittefaq

Dec 1, 2009 – Karatoa

Nov 27, 2009 – Govt. takes steps to expand tea farming in Panchagarh – New Nation

The government has taken a massive Taka 100-crore special package programme for boosting the growing small-scale tea farming that has already become very popular bringing fortunes to many in Panchagarh villages. Under the programme being implemented by Bangladesh Tea Board (BTB), the small and marginal farmers are being provided with training on the latest technologies for tea farming, loans, tea saplings and necessary inputs, officials concerned said.
The government initiatives will further prompt economic advancements of the common people, farmers as well as working women, as the small and marginal farmers have been showing more interest in farming the cash crop in the areas. Side by side with the latest assistance, local farmers and experts suggested setting up more tea processing industries, competitive markets for tealeaves and resolving some problems like power crisis for accelerating further growth of the tea sector. The prospective tea sector has created opportunities for hundreds of working women to change their fate by achieving self-reliance through earning wages as plucking workers in tea gardens of the officially recognized third tea zone in the country.
Presently, nearly 7,500 skilled and unskilled workers, mostly women, have been working in about 260 tea gardens, including 18 big estates, 13 medium-size and 229 small-scale gardens set up on about 2,200 acres in Panchagarh alone. Small-scale tea growers are now happier as the tea processing factories of Tentulia Tea Company Ltd (TTCL) and Karotoa Tea Garden started purchasing green tealeaves at Taka 11 per kg though the rate was only Taka 9.50 in the past. As per a survey conducted by BTB, there is over 16,000 hectares land suitable for tea farming in Panchagarh alone and nearly 2,200 acres have so far been brought under tea farming in the area since 2002. The BTB has taken the special steps, including finding newer areas for tea farming, with a view to further expanding tea farming areas and increasing tea production in the country to meet its growing local demand and increase exports. There are tremendous prospects of the expanding tea sector and creating job opportunities to enhance economic activities further in the region, president of Panchagarh Chamber of Commerce and Industry Iqbal Kaiser Mintu said.

Nov 27, 2009 – Karatoa

Nov 26, 2009 – Amader Shomoy

Nov 25, 2009 – Karatoa

Nov 25, 2009 – Bangladesh, Nepal to enhance trade thru’ transit route – New Nation

Bangladesh and Nepal have agreed to enhance bilateral trade and investment through Rohonpur-Singabad-Birganj transit route and proposed Dhaka-Kathmandu bus service via Banglabandha-Kakorvita corridor. The matters were discussed when Bangladesh Ambassador to Nepal Dr. Neem Chandra Bhowmik on Monday presented the Letters of Credence to Nepalese President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav at the President Building, Sheetal Niwas, to begin his new career as a diplomat in a switchover from science teaching at Dhaka University.
President Ram Baran Yadav assured full cooperation in further enhancing bilateral trade and other relations between the two countries. He specially mentioned Bangladesh's cooperation in facilitating Nepalese students to study medical science and engineering in Dhaka. According to a message from the Bangladesh mission in Kathmandu the President personally pointed out Dr. Bhowmik as an energy expert and wished he could work in this field in Nepal. The Ambassador showed his keen interest in Nepal's economically feasible potentiality to hydropower generation of 45,000 megawatts, saying that "it will be helpful for economic development in this region". Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sujata Koirala, the Chief of Army Staff, the Principal Secretary and other high officials were present on the occasion.

Nov 24, 2009 – Karatoa

Nov 23, 2009 – Karatoa

Nov 23, 2009 – Jai Jai Din

Nov 23, 2009 – BDNews24

Nov 23, 2009 – Nilphamari JMB chief arrested – BDNews24

Police have arrested the alleged Nilphamari district regional commander of outlawed Islamist militant outfit Jama'atul Mujahedin Bangladesh. Panchagarh police superintendent Shahriar Rahman said Golam Mostafa was arrested on Sunday in a raid on a pharmacy in front of Panchagrah General Hospital. Mostafa was behind bars for three years in connection with the series bomb attack in Nilphamari and released later, he said. He was accused in a case filed under Anti-Terrorist Act on Dec 4 last year with Jaldhaka Police Station. He had been hiding out for one year in the guise of a medical representative in Panchagarh, Rahman said. Mostafa was handed over to Jaldhaka police in Nilphamari on Sunday night, the official added.
bdnews24.com/corr/su/bd/1456h.

Nov 21, 2009 – Janakantha

Nov 21, 2009 – Jugantor

Nov 20, 2009 – Karatoa

Nov 19, 2009 – Prothom Alo

Nov 19, 2009 – Karatoa

Nov 18, 2009 – Nepal may trade via train with Bangladesh – Republica

KATHMANDU, MILAN MANI SHARMA : Nepal could soon make use of long-secured but never brought to use railways-based transit facility to trade with Bangladesh, something which can greatly facilitate trade with the country΄s second largest trading partner in South Asia. Such a situation surfaced after India, the transit providing country for Nepal, and Bangladesh decided to ink bilateral railways service agreement, starting operations of containerized cargo train service between the two countries. The two sides are inking the agreement during Bangladeshi Prime Minister΄s visit to New Delhi on December 18 -21. Nepal will mainly enjoy the new facility on the basis of Transit Treaty and Railways Service Agreement it has with India. Under the Transit Treaty, India has pledged Rohanpur-Singhbad railways route (connecting Bangladesh with India) as a transit corridor for Nepal for trade with Bangladesh. Also the provisions of bilateral Railways Service Agreement links Nepal΄s dry port in Birgunj with all transit ports and routes. Nepal further has an agreement with Bangladesh that recognizes bilateral trade through Rohanpur-Singhbad route. Despite holding this transit rights, Nepal had not been able to make use of the facility so far due to the lack of train service between India and Bangladesh. "Signing of Railways Agreement between India and Bangladesh will turn the situation in our favor," Commerce Secretary Purushottam Ojha told myrepublica.com.

He informed myrepublica.com that Nepal could start using the facility by exchanging letters of intent with India and Bangladesh, informing them that Nepal will be utilizing the facility for bilateral trade with Bangladesh. Exchange of letters will also be needed to initiate the process of customs and procedural harmonization. Traders, too, stated that signing of railways agreement between the two neighbors will open new trading opportunities for them. Mainly, it will help Nepali traders escape problems and hassles that they are facing while conducting trade via road-based transit route of Kakarbhitta-Fulbari-Banglabandh (K-F-B). According to a study carried out by Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), although Banglabandh is only 61 kilometers from Kakarbhitta border, bad roads conditions and hassles posed by Indian customs and security agencies make trading through K-F-B very difficult. Poor implementation of one-time lock system, unnecessary procedural hassles, weak trade supporting logistics and infrastructure on the Indian side of Indo-Bangladesh border and restrictions imposed by the Indian customs to Nepali containers from entering Banglabandh dry port are other major factors hindering bilateral trade through this route. All these problems ultimately add up to cost of trading, making exports expensive. As a result, trade between Nepal and Bangladesh stands at a mere Rs 5 billion a year, despite high potentials. According to the statistics of Trade and Export Promotion Center, Nepal exported commodities worth Rs 4.66 billion in Bangladesh in 2007/08 and imported goods worth Rs 491.21 million from it, enjoying trade surplus of Rs 4.17 billion. Traders stated the opening of the new route and operations of cargo trains will give new impetus to Nepal΄s trade with Bangladesh. However, they argued that the government should develop a railway terminal along the eastern border to make use of the facility more effectively.

Nov 18, 2009 – Amader Shomoy

Nov 17, 2009 – Jugantor

Nov 17, 2009 – Amader Shomoy

Nov 17, 2009 – Prothom Alo

Nov 16, 2009 – Meeting on supply of fertilizer held at Panchgarh – New Nation

BSS, Panchagarh : A views exchange meeting on smooth supply of fertilizer and potato during the current potato season was held at Debiganj upazila in the district on Saturday. Officials of the district administration and agriculture department, fertilizer and seed dealers and farmers were present in the meeting, which was chaired by UNO Abu Zafar. Agriculture officials said that all out preparation have been taken for cultivation of potato in the district known as country's largest potato producing region. Fertilizer dealers at ward level have been appointed and other necessary steps were taken so that they farmers can get their necessary fertilizer and seeds in time.

Nov 16, 2009 – Janakantha

Nov 14, 2009 – Karatoa

Nov 12, 2009 – Amader Shomoy

Nov 8, 2009 – Naya Diganta Karatoa

Nov 7, 2009 – Jai Jai Din

Nov 7, 2009 – Amar Desh

Nov 7, 2009 – Ras purnima begins today in Panchagarh – New Nation

Atowari Correspondent : The traditional Ras Purnima Festival and the month-long Aloakhoa Fair begins today (Monday) at Atowari Mirza Golam Hafiz Degree College adjacent ground in Panchagarh district. The presence of good number of buffaloes and cows, staging of jatra pala and circus, doll dance and housie reflect the fair. Everyday, many people from far and near assemble at the fair ground to enjoy. The fair and festival is the reminiscence of a Hindu saint who lived in a bush bordering the Nagor river of the area and who used to eat rice of sunned paddy.

Nov 6, 2009 – Jai Jai Din

Nov 4, 2009 – Jai Jai Din

Oct 31, 2009 – BDNews24

Oct 31, 2009 – Ittefaq

Oct 31, 2009 – Sangbad

Oct 28, 2009 – Manab Zamin

Oct 27, 2009 – National sanitation month begins – New Nation

BSS, Panchagarh adds that Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Panchagarh Bonomali Bhoumik has said that sanitation programme is very important for maintaining good health. Everybody must use Hygienic latrine, drink safe water, wash hands before and after having meals, he said while inaugurating sanitation month at Debiganj as the chief guest. The present government is working sincerely and stressed the need on sanitation programme, the DC said and hoped that 100 percent sanitation would be achieved by December in all ten unions under Debiganj Upazila. Dodomari Gram Unnayon Sangstha, a local NGO arranged the programme with UNO Abu Zafar in the chair. Upazila chairman Abdul Malek, UNICEF programme manager Al-Amin, Harun-or-Rashid, spoke as special guests. Teachers, imams, political leaders, UP chairmen, journalists took part in the program.
Oct 27, 2009 – Samakal

Oct 26, 2009 – Jai Jai Din

Oct 26, 2009 – Prothom Alo

Oct 26, 2009 – Potato cultivation changing conditions of farmers – New Nation

Potato cultivation has brought smiles on the faces of a large number of farmers at Debiganj upazila of the district this year. The farmers of different villages of the district are now showing interests to cultivate potato more in lieu of cultivating jute and paddy. "I have earned Taka 1.5 lakh to Taka 2 lakh by cultivating potato on 3 acres of land as compared to Taka 80,000 to Taka 1,00,000 from paddy and jute cultivation earlier on the same land", Monu Islam, a potato farmer of village Kacharipara under Debiganj upazila, told BSS. Safiul Islam, Upazila Agriculture Officer of Agricultural Extension Department (DAE), said the DAE is encouraging the farmers to cultivate potato more due to better yielding of the crop.

Oct 26, 2009 – Small poultry farms will go out of business in Panchagarh – Financial Express

Small poultry farms will go out of business in Panchagarh district because of increasing cost of poultry birds and feed. There is serious frustration among small poultry farm owners who number about 200 in the five upazilas in Panchagarh district. Many of the owners are unemployed educated young people who are struggling hard to become economically self-dependent. They are also trying to remove poverty by providing jobs for other less educated but also unemployed youths in their farms. Bigger farms are producing chicken as well as feed so the small poultry farms cannot compete with them and if the trend continues the smaller farms would soon have to close down. The small poultry farm owners have to buy necessary material from those bigger farms who, it is alleged, have a syndicate. The smaller farm owners have to buy everything at a high price and sell at a lower price. For a small farmer, it costs Tk 100 to rear a chicken up to 1 kg. However, a wholesaler has to sell a 1 kg hen for Tk 85-90. These and other impediments are the causes for the price spiral of eggs. Among other things, the small farm owners have called for a halt in the import of eggs to save their farms.

Oct 24, 2009 – Ittefaq

Oct 23, 2009 – Jai Jai Din , Prothom Alo , Sangbad

Oct 22, 2009 – Prothom Alo

Oct 22, 2009 – Tk 10cr RAKUB loans for Panchagarh farmers – Daily Star

Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan Bank disbursed Tk 10 crore agricultural loan among farmers in the district this fiscal year. The bank also realised Tk 7 crore as default loan during the disbursement period from July to the current month. The bank has set a target to disburse Tk 33 crore loans for the current fiscal. Mohammad Khorshed Alam, zonal manager of RAKUB, said as per the directive of the Bangladesh Bank they are also disbursing loans among landless farmers and share-croppers. He said the commercial banks will also disburse Tk 20 crore as loan among the farmers of the district. The loans are being disbursed for crop production, fishery, livestock, purchasing agriculture and irrigation machinery, establishing agro-based small and medium industries and poverty alleviation, Alam added.

Oct 22, 2009 – Ittefaq

Oct 20, 2009 – Panchagarh jute mill workers block highway – Daily Star

Road communication on Thakurgaon-Panchagarh highway was disrupted for more than four hours on Tuesday as jute mill workers blocked the highway following death of their colleague in a road accident. The dead was identified as Mofizul, 24, hailed from Malgoba village in Panchagarh Atoari upazila was a worker of Zem Jute Mills Limited, reports our Thakurgaon correspondent. Mofizul died on the spot as a Dhaka-bound bus smashed his bicycle at Dhanipara in Boda upazila in Panchagarh at about 8:00am. After hearing the death news, the mill workers put barricade on the highway demanding arrest of the bus driver and compensation. Over hundred vehicles got stranded on the both sides of the highway causing immense sufferings to the travelers. The local people removed the barricade at about 12:10pm after getting assurance from the police regarding to their demands.
Oct 20, 2009 – Jugantor

Oct 20, 2009 – Sangbad

Oct 17, 2009 – Manab Zamin

Oct 15, 2009 – Manab Zamin

Oct 14, 2009 – Jai Jai Din , Amader Shomoy

Oct 14, 2009 – BSF man faces trial for killing three Bangladeshis – Daily Star , APP , BDNews24

Trial of a member of Indian Border Security Force (BSF) has begun for killing three innocent Bangladeshis by crossing the border in Tentulia upazila of Panchagarh district on November 16 last year. The accused, BSF jawan RP Singh is being tried as per departmental rules, BSF sources said.

On Monday, two Bangladeshi doctors -- Dr Abdul Qaiyum, head of the Department of Surgery of Rangpur Medical College Hospital and Dr Baharam Ali, resident medical officer of Panchagarh Sadar Hospital -- went to Phulbari BSF camp through Banglabandha border and gave their statements before the trial court. The two doctors gave treatment to the injured including RP Singh, who was caught by the villagers during the incident, and conducted autopsy of the killed persons. Acting Commander of 25 Rifles Battalion Major Mozaffar Rahman, Tentulia Upazila Nirbahi Officer Monjur Alam and Operations Officer of 25 Rifles Battalion Captain Hasibul Hossain Nobi also went to Phulbari camp with the doctors. The same court on Saturday took statement of Sub-Inspector Abdul Latif, who was working at Tentulia Police Station during November 16 killings by BSF. Latif rescued RP Singh from villagers and rushed him to Panchagarh Sadar Hospital for treatment.

Eight to 10 drunken BSF personnel including RP Singh from Nayabari camp in India entered Mynaguri village of Tentulia near Majipara border on November 16 night and ransacked several houses. When villagers protested, the BSF men entered the house of Shahidul Islam and fired indiscriminately, killing three people including a minor boy and injuring another person. Villagers then caught RP Singh and gave him a good beating. He was handed over to BSF through a sector commander-level meeting several days later. Following the incidents, the BSF authorities formed the six-member court headed by a deputy inspector general.

Oct 13, 2009 – BDNews24

Oct 9, 2009 – Jugantor

Oct 7, 2009 – Sangbad

Oct 5, 2009 – Sangbad

Oct 5, 2009 – Janakantha

Oct 5, 2009 – Nayadiganta

Oct 5, 2009 – Nayadiganta

Oct 4, 2009 – Panchagarh tea farming faces hindrances – NewAge

Kazi Azizul Islam and Abdur Rahim . Panchagarh : Small-scale tea growers in the country’s northern most district, Panchagarh, are now facing manifold problems that hinder the expansion of such cultivation, considered the most suitable for the area. Tea cultivation was initiated in Panchagarh in 1999. Seeing the growing tea gardens on bordering Indian land, some retired officials of Bangladesh Tea Board pioneered tea plantations there and found the land suitable. They were hopeful that unlike large-scale tea estate in Sylhet and Chittgong, small holding tea plantations would gain ground in Panchagarh.
After a decade, small and medium-sized Panchagarh tea planters now point out that the dreams remain unimplemented with large-scale tea planters grow well only while small ones face many problems including finance and expansion. Visiting different areas of Tetulia and other areas Panchagarh district New Age also found last week that shortage in the supply of seed tea plants, which have become exorbitantly costly, threatening expansion of tea plantation. ‘Per piece of seed tea plant is now sold at around Tk 5, more than double as against a year ago,’ said Layek Ali, a medium-sized tea planter.
Layek, who and whose relatives own a 33-acre land at the shore of River Korotoa, initiated tea plantation four years back. Land of Layek and his relatives were never cultivated but he started dreaming to be a tea planter. About 15 years back, he began to nourish the dream when he noticed growing tea gardens in the Indian border areas, just on the other shore of Kortora. ‘I dream to buy entire 33-acre plot and turn it as a tea garden,’ said Layek who earns around Tk 50,000 per month from his still immature gardens and reinvest that in extension. Kudrat Ali, a farmer at Tetulia, said he was thinking to turn his two acres of land into a tea garden. Kudrat is now convinced that tea would open scopes for earnings more that he gets from ever fluctuating price of paddy. ‘Really substantial amounts of money that required for first couple of years, during sowing and early growing tea plants, discourage farmers from tea plantation,’ Kudrat said. Many farmers in Tetulia and other areas of Panchagarh told New Age that availing finance from banks was quite difficult. Procedural hassles especially documentations of personal land ownerships discourage farmers from taking loan. Official survey confirms that at least 6,000 hectares of Panchagarh land are very much suitable for tea cultivation. But less than 2,000 hectares, mostly owned by large-estate owners, have so far been planted, said a senior official of Bangladesh Tea Board.
It is officially categorised that farmers having 1-5 acres of tea farming would be termed as “small growers”, above 5 acres up to 20 acres as “small holding” and above 20 acres as “Tea Estate”. An official of the Panchagarh Department of Agricultural Extension said motivation and extension support programmes for potential and small tea planers had been dampened during the past few years. ‘Constant and effective supports to small tea planters are required,’ said the official, seeking anonymity. In the past fiscal year ended in June, Panchagarh tea gardens produced more than one million kilograms which is more than one sixth of the country’s entire tea productions. Moreover, the Panchagarh gardeners and officials hope within the next couple of years, production would be doubled as plants in growing gardens will be maturing, eventually yielding more leaves.

Oct 4, 2009 – Tea in Tetulia – Daily Star

If you drive to Bogra and beyond, you would stop over for a break at the Aristocrat, a decent and clean restaurant, a stone's throw from the roundabout of Pabna, Rajshahi, Bogra and Sirajganj. As the doorman opens the door, you are greeted with a waft of friendliness. The large size luchi with vegetable bhaji, an omelette and a sweetmeat to top off is a welcome meal. Even the tea is special and soothing. As we were gorging up on the delicious food, I noticed a familiar face across the tables. Taking care the luchi, oil was on the tissue and not on my fingers, I walked up to greet him. What a pleasant surprise because I knew Mintu Bhai from Chittagong and it was unusual to see him so far up. So what are you doing here? I asked. We're returning home from Tetulia. Oh Tetulia!

Many of us are aware that Tetulia, at the northern most tip of Bangladesh, has suddenly become a lure for big bucks. If you have cash with an eye to invest, it seems Tetulia is the place. Why this sudden interest? As you relax in the veranda of the bungalow on the bank of the Mahananda river on a clear night, you see the faint glittering lights of Darjeeling perched in the faraway hills, famous for its tea. The sloping hills of Darjeeling merge at the plains of Tetulia making the land ripe for tea plantation. Like the first undulating tea garden set up in Sylhet in 1854, tea has found a foothold in Tetulia. During a recent social gathering, I met Mosharraf Hossain and his colleague Monjur Hossain, veterans of the tea industry. Mosharraf is a veritable treasure of knowledge on tea. You could feel his passion for tea and the pioneering role of using this relaxing beverage as a tool for poverty alleviation and food security. Having retired after thirty years living in tea gardens, he was wondering what to do. A flash of innovative idea led Mosharraf to think, why not separate tea production and processing, like jute? Jute is grown by farmers, bought by and processed in mills. With that seed of a thought, he sought out his recently retired colleagues who too thought it was an idea worth trying. As is wont to happen with innovative ideas, their colleagues in Sylhet gardens smirked at their audacious thought.

Looking at the geography of Bangladesh, the only sensible place where tea could be grown was in Panchagarh with 16,000 hectares of hospitable tea soil. As the managing director, Mosharraf and his colleagues formed Tetulia Tea, and with a missionary zeal, began preaching benefits of tea cultivation to sceptical farmers. Overcoming hurdles of all kinds, the first ever tea sapling in Tetulia was planted by Mosharraf in April 2000. Soon the tea boom began to take shape as investors gobbled up hundreds of acres setting up tea gardens. Mosharraf and his team, on the other hand, discouraged farmers to sell and instead encouraged them to cultivate tea on their own land, and till date, 950 hectares have been planted by individual tea farmer-entrepreneurs.

His firm set up a tea processing plant as well as a nursery that clones and gives out tea saplings to farmers willing to invest in tea production. They have completely turned around the concept of large tea gardens to individual farmer holdings. The smallest tea garden is a 35-decimal plot. Production in Tetulia is 4,500 kg versus 1,200 kg per hectare in Sylhet, bringing in huge dividends to farmers. Over a cup of tea, Mosharraf explained how their venture is helping local farmers sustain their lives profitably with a guaranteed future as the tea plants mature in ten years and will give stable production for the next 60 years. As Mosharraf enlightened us, Bangladeshis seem to have developed a real taste for tea. Twenty years ago, we produced 39 million kg of which local consumption was 16 million kg and 60 percent was exported. Having produced 59 million kg in 2008, we consumed 51 million kg locally and exported the rest 14 percent. This is 150 gm in 1989 and 340 gm per capita, per annum today.

With this rising annual consumption and a stagnating land situation, Bangladesh would need to import tea from 2016 unless we find more land to grow. So Mosharraf and his colleagues' endeavour to grow tea in Tetulia is a double opportunity for the local farmers and for our country. Abdul Haque, now 46, with a family of 5, used to struggle for a livelihood. Owning 2.5 acres of land, half of which remaining fallow, the other half would yield 350 kg of rice that the family could stretch out for barely three months. He had to labour out, feeding his family hand to mouth, with his daily wages.

As soon as Tetulia Tea began to take roots, Haque came seeking for a daily labour job. Convinced at the sight and growth of succulent tea plants, he took the plunge in 2002 and planted tea saplings on his fallow land. He had nothing to lose anyway. Three years later, his first 3,700 kg of tea brought Tk 40,000 -- enough to feed his family for the whole year, truly food secure for the first time in his life. The year 2008 saw him make his first ever Tk 1 lakh. For Haque, this is like owning the Aladdin's magic lamp with the tea genie making his dreams come true. Affluent Haque and his posterity, now live happily ever after.

Margaret Mead, a famous anthropologist, says: "Never believe that a few caring people can't change the world. For, indeed, they are the only ones who ever have." This quote aptly describes people like Musharraf and his colleagues, who quietly without ado, fanfare or seeking international glory, are changing scores of downtrodden lives for the better, showing them a way out of perennial poverty. If anything is a social business, this is one, truly social, truly business. Buy land in Tetulia, not that you may find any. If you are lucky enough, you may soon be a proud owner of a tea garden.

Oct 3, 2009 – 2 killed in Panchagarh road mishap – New Nation / Financial Express

UNB, Panchagarh: At least two people were killed and two others injured in a road accident at Baniapara in Sadar upazila on Friday morning. The dead were identified as Ibrahim, 10, son of Habibur Rahman at Prodhan Para village and Ashraful Islam, 31, son of Mujibur Rahman at Diabari village, in Sadar upazila. Police and witnesses said the accident took place at about 10:30am when a motorcycle hit a bicycle. Bicycle rider Ibrahim died on the spot while three bike riders, including Ashraful, injured in the head on collision.
Later, Ashraful died on way to Rangpur Medical College Hospital. A case was filed.

Oct 2, 2009 – Jai Jai Din

Oct 1, 2009 – A treat for music enthusiasts in Panchagarh – Daily Star

Jhilik, Channel-i Shera Kontho 2008 winner, entertained hundreds of music lovers in Panchagarh with her melodious songs on Tuesday evening at the Muktijoddha Sirajul Islam Stadium in Panchagarh. Panchagarh Shilpakala Academy organised the cultural programme. The concert started with a chorus "Dhan-o dhannye pushpey bhora" performed by the artistes of the district Shilpakala Academy. Bangladesh Television and Radio artiste Rafiq Hanif then rendered "Bande maya lagaise," "Tomra ektara bajaiona" and "O re sampanwala".

Jhilik's father spoke on the occasion said that the young singer is a "daughter of Panchagarh". According to him, she grew up in Rangpur but her identity is rooted in Panchagarh.The young artiste finally took the stage and started her performance with an adhunik song "Amar prem-er dunia". One after another, Jhilik rendered "Janinato mon-er majhey," "Shona bondhu tui amarey," "Bondhu tin din" and more. The Channel-i Shera Kontho finished her performance with a folk song "Jey jon prem-er bhaab janey na". The song was widely popularised by renowned folk minstrel Nina Hamid. A sizeable crowd enjoyed the programme till midnight and Jhilik ensured her fans that she will return to Panchagarh soon. Lawmaker Mazharul Haque Prodhan and Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Panchagarh Banomali Bhoumik spoke prior to the concert.

Sep 29, 2009 – Ittefaq

Sep 29, 2009 – Ittefaq

Sep 26, 2009 – Janakantha

Sep 25, 2009 – Ittefaq

Sep 25, 2009 – Jai Jai Din

Sep 20, 2009 – Jai Jai Din

Sep 19, 2009 – Tension mounts as BSF kills 2 – Daily Star

Our Correspondent, DinajpurTension prevails at Tetulia border under Panchagarh district as Indian Border Security Force (BSF) fired shells indiscriminately into Bangladesh territory on Thursday evening killing one Indian national. According to BDR sources the deceased was identified as Md Jayedul Islam, 43, a resident of Darjeeling district. Jayedul was hit by bullet when he entered into Bangladesh territory and he was rushed by BDR men to Tetulia health complex where he died the same night.

BDR sources at Panchagarh 25 Battalion quoting villagers said the BSF fired at least 120 bullets towards Bangladesh territory on Thursday evening without any provocation. Md Ashraful Islam, a villager of Mominpara at Tetulia border area, said the BSF fired bullets at Tetulia-Puratan-Bazaar, Zianagar, Mominpara and Siddique Nagar villages forcing the local inhabitants to move to safer places. When contacted Md Abdul Zabbar, company commander of Tetulia BDR Camp, said the BDR has lodged strong protest with the BSF against firing of bullets without any provocation. The panicked villagers have started returning to their homes, he added.

A flag meeting was also held at the border yesterday to diffuse the tension. Meanwhile, the BSF men at 57 Bhimpur camp in Dinajpur district returned the body of a Bangladeshi national after holding a flag meeting on Thursday night. He was gunned down on Thursday morning according to BDR sources. The deceased was identified as Azizar Rahman, 35, son of late Nilbor Rahman of Bhaigarh village under Birampur upazila. With this killing, the BSF gunned down at least five people at different border points since September 12.

Sep 18, 2009 – BDNews24

Sep 17, 2009 – Ittefaq

Sep 16, 2009 – Sangbad

Sep 14, 2009 – Jai Jai Din

Sep 14, 2009 – Prothom Alo

Sep 13, 2009 – Prothom Alo

Sep 11, 2009 – Sangbad

Sep 10, 2009 – Prothom Alo

Sep 10, 2009 – Sangbad

Sep 7, 2009 – Jugantor

Sep 7, 2009 – Janakantha

Sep 6, 2009 – Naya Diganta

Sep 5, 2009 – Ittefaq

Sep 4, 2009 – Prothom Alo

Sep 1, 2009 – Prothom Alo

Sep 1, 2009 – Phothom Alo

Aug 31, 2009 – Ittefaq

Aug 31, 2009 – Jai Jai Din

Aug 31, 2009 – Manabzamin

Aug 30, 2009 – Sangbad

Aug 30, 2009 – Janakantha

Aug 29, 2009 – Janakantha

Aug 29, 2009 – Small-scale tea farming becoming popular in Panchagarh – The Independent

BSS, RANGPUR - Aug 26 : Small-scale tea farming is becoming popular in Panchagarh villages and adjoining districts bringing fortunes to the small and marginal farmers by changing their overall socio-economic conditions. The tea sector might prompt faster economic advancements of the common people, farmers as well as working women in future, as the small and marginal farmers have been showing more interests in farming the cash crop in the sub- Himalayan areas. Local farmers and experts opined for further government assistance, setting up more tea processing industries, competitive markets for tealeaves and resolving some problems like power crisis for accelerating further growth of the tea sector. Side by side with the common people, hundreds of working women are now changing their fate and achieving self-reliance by earning wages as plucking workers in the tea gardens of the officially recognised third tea zone of the country.

At present, nearly 7,000 skilled and unskilled workers, mostly women, have been working in about 260 tea gardens, including 18 big estates, 13 medium-size and 229 small-scale gardens set up on about 2,200 acres of land in Panchagarh alone. Small-scale tea growers are now happier as the tea processing factories of Tetulia Tea Company Ltd (TTCL) and Karotoa Tea Garden started purchasing green tealeaves at Taka 11 per kg though the rate was only Taka 9.50 last year. As per a survey conducted by Bangladesh Tea Board (BTB), there is over 16,000 hectares land suitable for tea farming in Panchagarh alone and nearly 2,200 acres have so far been brought under tea farming in the area since 2002. Tea farming is being expanded every year in Panchagarh and its adjoining areas following huge growing interests among the farmers and small-scale and marginal farmers ushering brighter prospects of the sector there.
In Panchagarh, most of the tea gardens are smaller in sizes and many people, including small-scale and marginal farmers, have been cultivating tea in their own lands and selling the green tealeaves to the processing factories and companies. The BTB has taken necessary steps, including finding newer areas for tea farming, with a view to further expanding tea farming areas and increasing tea production in the country to meet its growing local demand and increase exports. "More areas have been identified in Panchagarh, Thakurgaon and surrounding areas in the sub-Himalayan region suitable for tea farming because of soil composition, climatic conditions and weather," BTB officials said.
"There are tremendous prospects of expanding tea sector and creating job opportunities to enhance economic activities further in the region, President of Panchagarh Chamber of Com-merce and Industry, Iqbal Kaiser Mintu, said. Tea is being cultivated mostly in the area on a 'small-scale gardening basis' and this concept has been attracting the small, medium and marginal farmers more and more that further brightens the prospects of tea farming. Small-scale tea farmer Mozahedul Hassan while talking to BSS recently said he has been farming tea in seven bighas land after selecting 20 bighas for the purpose and lifting 90 to 100 kg tealeaves every week from the garden. Small-scale tea farmers Ab-dur Rahman, Esahaq Ali Mondol, Golam Kibria and Mosta-fa Jamal and Motiar Rahman and female workers Mohsina, Bulbuli Begum, Aklima and Morsheda said that tea farming was getting firm footing in the area.

Aug 29, 2009 – Workshop held in Panchagarh – The Independent

A day-long workshop was held at Debiganj Upazila Health Complex hall room on August 20. Speakers at the workshop said that most of the people in Debiganj upazila being poor have no ability to take proper medical treatment. Every patient has to depend on hospital for free treatment. Civil Surgeon of Panchagarh Abdul Karim was present at the workshop as chief guest, while Residential Medical Officer Dr. Rabiul Islam was in the chair. Dr. Ashok, RDRS Programme Officer, Apurba Roy, Vice- Principal of Degree College, Umapati Roy spoke at the function. Hospital doctors, nurses, employees and journalists took part in the workshop.

Aug 29, 2009 – Shangbad

Aug 27, 2009 – Chhitmahal inhabitants won't have space in voter list: Sohul – Daily Star

Star Online ReportElection Commissioner Muhammed Sohul Hussein today said the people of 16 enclaves in Panchagarh district would not get the opportunity to register as voters.
Around 40,000 people living in 16 enclaves in Panchagarh have long been demanding the implementation of Mujib-Indira treaty enabling them to register to vote. The treaty was signed in 1974 by the then two premiers. After visiting the site of voter server station at Boda upazila, Sohul told reporters that the local government election including Union Parishad and Pourasava would be held after the parliament passed the local government law. “I don’t believe we would be able to hold the election before December," said Sohul.
The election commissioner also said election commission was now strong, neutral and independent. No one will be able to raise any question against voter list in future, he added.

Aug 27, 2009 – Jugantor

Aug 23, 2009 – Ittefaq

Aug 21, 2009 – Ittefaq

Aug 20, 2009 – Prothom Alo

Aug 20, 2009 – Prothom Alo

Aug 18, 2009 – Prothom Alo

Aug 17, 2009 – Ittefaq

Aug 17, 2009 – Sangbad

Aug 16, 2009 – Tense situation prevailing in Panchagarh – The Independent

A CORRESPONDENT, PANCHAGARH - A tense situation following face to face position taken by general stone workers and stone lifters centering the lifting of stones through dredging machines has been prevailing in Tetulia upazila in the district. The people of the area apprehend demonstration including clashes between the two groups at any movement. The stone workers were to announce programme for movement on August 9. The programme was not announced as the police on August 8 night seized three dredging machines installed in the river Dahuk for lifting stones. The circumstances leading to the tense situation dates back to period of the last four-party alliance government when Asia Trade International started lifting stones from the river Dahuk at Shahbahan area in Tetulia upazila through setting up over 100 dredging machines. During the time, agitated stone workers damaged dredging machines set up in the river. This led to a clash which left a good number of people of both the groups injured. The stone workers who were to go for a movement suspended programme for it as the district and the police administration assured the stone workers of stopping lifting stones through dredging machines.
At the same time, a division bench of the High Court following a writ petition filed by the district administration imposed an injunction on lifting stones. Asia Trade International filed an appeal with the Supreme Court challenging the injunction of the High Court. The Appellate Division Bench of the Supreme Court comprising the chief justice issued an order prohibiting the lifting of stones through heavy machines. In recent times, the stone lifting gang has become active in lifting stones through illegally setting up dredging machines in the river under the very nose of the law enforcers. Three dredging machines were used in lifting stone from the river at Lohakachi area on August 8. The work for lifting stones was suspended when newsmen rushed to the spot. The stone lifting workers told the newsmen that the dredging machines belonging to Belal Hossain, Foijul and Islam Member of the area had been used in lifting stones from the river for the last few days. On August 9, the workers prepared to announce a programme for movement. They postponed the announcement of the programme as the district administration took up necessary steps, including seizure of dredging machines. Police said a team of Tetulia thana police led by executive magistrates Abdullah-Al Khairum and Shahed Parvez and additional police force from Panchagarh seized three dredging machines set up in the river Dahuk at Luhakachi area under Shahbahan Union on August 8. Police seized 18 drums from the dockyard made with drums for setting dredging machines. Meanwhile, the machine operators grew furious on upazila chairman Mukatarul Huq Muktar for his activities against the use of dredging machines for lifting stones. They equipped with country weapons took position at Shalbahan road to make an attack on the upazila chairman. The stone workers also took position there to resist the attack thus leading to the tense situation.

Aug 16, 2009 – Jai Jai din

Aug 16, 2009 – Sangbad

Aug 14, 2009 – Jai Jai Din

Aug 13, 2009 – Ittefaq

Aug 13, 2009 – Prothom Alo

Aug 13, 2009 – Jai Jai Din

Aug 11, 2009 – Amardesh

Aug 11, 2009 – Ittefaq

Aug 11, 2009 – Sangbad

Aug 11, 2009 – Jai Jai Din

Aug 11, 2009 – BDNews24

Aug 11, 2009 – Nepal to get transit facility through Bangladesh – Cargo News Asia

Nepal will receive the transit facility to carry its export and import cargoes to and from the Mongla port of Bangladesh under a new deal likely to be signed between the two countries soon, the Bangladesh Financial Express reported. The Core Group on Connectivity Matters at a meeting last week cleared the longstanding issue with Nepal with its Chairman Ali Kabir, who is also the secretary for communication ministry, in the chair. "The agreement is likely to be signed very soon as we have okayed the draft agreement,'' a high official in the communication ministry said.

''At least six to seven rounds of negotiations took place between Katmandu and Dhaka spanning over five years.''

The high officials of the ministries of communication, commerce, foreign affairs and revenue board are the members of the Core Group, which was constituted in 2006 to solve the connectivity issues of regional countries, including accession to the Asian Highway. Bangladesh and Nepal signed a transit agreement on April 2, 1976 without incorporating any provision for using the territory and ports and routes for entry and exit for Nepalese vehicles that made the agreement almost non-functional, a trade diplomat said.According to the latest draft of the agreement, two routes have been allowed for Nepal. One route for road and the other is for rail.The route identified for road communication is Banglabandha -Syedpur-Kushtia-Khulna-Mongla and the rail route is Rohanpur (Rajshahi)-Rajshahi-Iswardi-Khulna-Mongla. A maximum of 25 Nepalese transports would be allowed to ply through the Bangladesh territory at a time.

Aug 10, 2009 – BDR foils BSF fencing at Panchagarh border – BDNews24

Dhaka, August 10 (bdnews24.com) - Bangladesh border guards foiled an attempt by Indian Border Security Force to erect barbed-wire fencing on disputed territory along the border in Bangladesh's northernmost district of Panchagarh, a BDR official said on Monday. BDR Rifles director (operations) Col Jasim Uddin told bdnews24.com, "The incident happened in Paharipara, some 8 kilometres off from pillar number 774/1 under the Malkadanga border operation post." He said both BDR and BSF lay claims to 15 acres of land there, and BSF had erected 36 metres of barbed-wire fencing on Sunday before Bangladesh border guards could stop them. "Malkadanga BDR commander protested, but the BSF did not respond and continued with the fencing," said Col Jasim. "BDR members were forced to take position with heavy arms aimed at the Indian side."  He said BDR members were then able to uproot the fence without any protest from the BSF side," said Jasim. BDR called for a flag meeting, he added, but BSF informed them their commander was not at station.

Aug 3, 2009 – Tea farming in Panchagarh empowering women – New Nation

BSS, Rangpur - Increased tea farming is bringing economic solvency to the people, especially empowering the distressed women in the district, with a positive change in their life and living ushering in a new hope for their future generations. Over the recent years, farmers at all levels side by side with big investors have been showing their utmost interest in tea farming, now considered as a cash crop in the sub-Himalayan district.  Tea production has been increasing continuously, prompting a faster growth of the sector in changing the socio-economic condition of common people, including the small and marginal farmers as well as the poor women. After the recent prolonged drought, as mush as 175 mm rainfall over the week helped the tender tea plants grow excellent in all the gardens in the district, farmers and officials told BSS today. The recent drought had a temporary adverse affect on the normal growth of the tender tea leaves, newly pruned branches and saplings, but the plants are now regaining their full strength wearing a greenish look.

The growers, workers, chamber leaders and local experts said tea plantation could be further expanded in the district and its adjoining areas with setting up of more tea processing industries, competitive markets for tea leaves and resolving problems facing this sector in this area. Presently, nearly 7,000 skilled and unskilled workers, mostly housewives, widows, divorcees and unemployed young girls, have been working in 264 small, 18 medium-sized and eight huge tea estates on an area of 2,200 acres in Panchagarh district.According to the officials, the growing tea sector is predicting the economy's further enhancement with increased empowerment of women, as hundreds of distressed females are gradually becoming self-reliant by earning their bread and butter from tea gardens and sending their children to schools. The small-scale tea growers are now not incurring losses as the tea processing factories of Tentulia Tea Company Ltd and Karotoa Tea Garden in Panchagarh have been purchasing green tea leaves at Taka 11 per kg against their demand of Taka 15 per kg. According to a survey of Bangladesh Tea Board, there are 16,000 hectares of land suitable for tea farming in Panchagarh alone and many more in Thakurgaon though only 2,200 acres have so far been brought under tea farming there since 2002. Most of the Panchagarh tea gardens are small in sizes and owned by the small-scale and marginal farmers, who have been cultivating tea on their own lands and selling green tea leaves to the local processing factories and companies.

President of Panchagarh Chamber of Commerce and Industry Iqbal Kaiser and Convener of Bangladesh Small Tea Garden Owners' Association Amirul Haque said the tea plantation could be further expanded to enhance economic activities in the area. Tea is being cultivated mostly in small-scale gardening basis and this concept has been attracting the small, medium and marginal farmers further brightening the prospects of tea farming in the area, they said. Tea farmers Mozahedul Hassan, Abdur Rahman, Esahaq Ali, Mostafa Jamal Raju and Motiar Rahman told BSS that tea farming would see a further expansion in the area if the green leaves are purchased at Taka 15 per kg. Women workers Fahima Begum, Fuli Begum, Aklima Khatun, Rojina Begum, and Halima of Tentulia said they are getting only Taka 40 to 60 per day salary depending on the quantity of plucked green tea leaves. There is no fixed daily wages for us, they said. They said issues like fixing the minimum daily wages and working period, appointment letters, overtime payment, leave, medical facilities, maintenance of register books and safety and security for the labourers are yet to be resolved. Despite these problems, the women workers said they were now well-off, using sanitary latrines, drinking pure water, preventing child marriages and dowry and taking care of health by dint of their earnings from the tea gardens. Harunur Rashid of Mohananda Tea Garden stressed the need for arranging adequate irrigation facilities to provide water during the droughts to the tea gardens.

Aug 3, 2009 – Sangbad

Aug 1, 2009 – Ittefaq

July 31, 2009 – Prothom Alo

 

July 31, 2009 – Prothom Alo

July 31, 2009 – Jai Jai Din

July 30, 2009 – Bangla wants corridor through W Bengal to Nepal, Bhutan – Times Now

Bangladesh wants a corridor through West Bengal to revive bilateral trade with Nepal and Bhutan, Tripura Chamber of Commerce and Industries (TCCI) president M L Debnath said on Thursday (July 30). Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina told him on July 21 in Dhaka in the sidelines of a FICCI business meet, that her government wanted a corridor through Bhurimari and Banglabandh land ports in West Bengal to revive bilateral trade with Nepal and Bhutan, Debnath said.

Sheikh Hasina also expressed interest to open border haats along the Indo-Bangla border to enhance bilateral trade, he said. Debnath said that the Bangladesh government has urged Railway minister Mamata Banerjee to reopen abandoned rail links between India and Bangladesh. Meanwhile, a 14-member team of Bangladesh tour operators today left for Dhaka after spending three days in Agartala. During their stay, they visited some eco-tourism spots and held meetings with local businessmen. This was the first business tourism trip to Tripura that was organized by Indo-Bangla Chamber of Commerce and Industries.

July 29, 2009 – Jutangor


July 28, 2009 – Sugarcane farming drops by half in the north – Daily Star
Kongkon Karmaker, Dinajpur Sugarcane cultivation by four mills in the north is far from reaching the target as farmers have opted for other cash crops. Sugarcane growers are complaining of harassment and delayed payment from sugar mill owners and unsupportive government policies. The four mills were able to reach the target only halfway. The four sugar mills in Dinajpur, Thakurgaon, Panchagarh and Joypurhat, which failed to achieve their sugar production targets, are counting Tk 153 crore in losses. The sugar mills cultivated 19,842 acres of land, while the target was 35,950 acres, aiming to produce 178,578 tonnes of sugarcane. The industry people said the target would no longer be met because of adverse weather conditions. Setabganj Sugar Mill of Dinajpur cultivated 4,300 out of 7,000 acres of land, Thakurgaon Sugar Mill of Thakurgaon used 5,492 out of 14,000 acres, Panchagarh Sugar Mill in Panchagarh farmed 5,850 out of 10,000 acres and the Joypurhat mill cultivated 4,200 out of 4,950 acres for sugarcane farming. The four sugar mills cultivated at least 30,000 acres land last year. This year, the four mills have cultivated 55.1 percent of land, recording the lowest production of canes in the history of sugar mills. Generally, at least 55,000 farmers under the four sugar mills cultivate sugarcane, but the number has dropped to 22,000 this year. “In fact, the land under sugarcane cultivation is much lower than shown,” claimed Ali Mortuza, president of Setabganj Cane Growers Association. Atul Chandra Roy, 45, from the village of Dollah under Chirirbandar upazila in Dinajpur, said he had grown sugarcane every year in the past. "This year is an exception." He said the farmers reduced sugarcane cultivation because of the difficulties in obtaining payment from sugar mill owners. Last year, mill authorities purchased sugarcane from farmers at Tk 153 per maund. But farmers alleged that most farmers are yet to get their dues and refused to cultivate this year. “Last year, we staged a series of protests to get our dues. Even government agencies supported sugar mill owners for their own interests," said Roy. "In such a situation, it becomes very difficult for us to make ends meet." Roy said local farmers have now shifted their focus towards other cash crops and cultivation of vegetables instead of sugarcane. Officials form the Department of Agricultural Extension suggested farmer-friendly policies and timely payment to save sugarcane cultivation.
July 25, 2009 – Jai Jai din

July 24, 2009 – Karatoa

July 23, 2009 – Prothom Alo

July 22, 2009 – Click here for Solar Eclipse News

July 21, 2009 – Prothom Alo

July 21, 2009 – Prothom Alo

July 20, 2009 – Naya Diganta

July 19, 2009 – Sangbad

July 18, 2009 – Jugantor

July 17, 2009 – Kantipur Online

Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal and other delegates, including Foreign Minister Sujata Koirala, are arriving in Kathmandu on Saturday morning from Egypt after taking part in the 15th NAM summit this week. On the sidelines of the Summite, PM Nepal met his Indian, Pakistani, Malaysian and Bangladeshi counterparts, and presidents of Sri Lanka, Egypt, according to the Foreign Ministry. Nepal briefed Indian PM Manmohan Singh on Nepal's peace process and the government's endeavour to bring about durable peace and draft the constitution on schedule. Singh appreciated efforts of the new government to work in collaboration with all political parties for peace, stability and constitutional development.
He assured India's full cooperation in this regard. Nepal-Bangladesh talks focused on the possibility of activating the Phulbari-Banglabandha route further and making the Mongla Port more accessible for trade.

July 14, 2009 – Daily Star

Favorable soil and weather conditions in Panchagarh have put orange farming in the spotlight. Panchagarh is a moderately drought-prone area, but there are a few spots that are ideal for orange cultivation -- due to its proximity to the Himalayas. Its soil is largely sandy and alluvial and bears close affinity with the soil of the old Himalayan basin. The popular fruit has the potential to become a cash crop for farmers in the four upazilas of the Panchagarh district, sector people said.
The Horticulture Department, District Agriculture Department and Orange Orchard Development Board have taken steps to help orange farming flourish in the northern district.
The first orange farming project was introduced in 2006 with some Indian varieties, including Khashiya and Nagpuri being widely cultivated in Shiliguri, Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling of India. Ashim Kumar Paul, an official of Panchagarh Orange Orchard Development Project, said Panchagarh oranges would hit the international market by 2011, after meeting domestic demand. At least 1,000 people have so far been trained and about 100 hectares of land in different upazilas of Panchagarh have been marked for orange cultivation. An additional 100 hectares of land will be brought under orange cultivation, as the district is fixing the production target at about 500,000 tonnes. Hundreds of interested villagers in the area also planted orange trees around their homes. According to a 2003 survey, at least 1,450 hectares of land in four upazilas of the district are ideal for orange cultivation -- 400 hectares in Tetulia, 400 hectares in Panchagarh, 300 hectares in Atwari and 350 hectares in Boda. The Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) along with the Horticulture Orange Orchard Development Department took steps to encourage farmers to cultivate oranges in 2006. In 1998, Md Mominul Islam of DAE distributed orange plants among farmers, which brought in good yield. The Horticulture Department in collaboration with the Panchagarh Orange Orchard Development Board has also organised awareness programmes -- “Scope for Commercial Orange Cultivation” -- to educate farmers. “A large number of farmers in the district have begun orange production this year," said an official who visited several orchards. Achinta Kumar Roy of Shardarpara village under Boda upazila said his orchard produced oranges this year. "This new crop is inspiring many farmers in the area to follow suit," Roy said. However, the sweet fruit from the district is yet to reach local markets. “Since the availability of water is a major consideration for this fruit, we have identified certain areas that are ideal in this regard," said Paul. “The orange cultivation project has so far received encouraging response from the farmers in the district." The Panchagarh Orange Orchard Development Project official said efforts would be made to popularise orange cultivation in the district by involving various agencies associated with the crop, based on modern techniques

July 11, 2009 – Prothom Alo

July 11, 2009 – BDNews24

July 11, 2009 – Tree fair ends in Panchagarh  – The Independent

A five-day long tree fair ended in the district recently. The fair began on Boda upazila parishad premises on June 27. Boda upazila administration and Boda Agriculture Department jointly arranged the fair. Parliament Member from Panchagarh-2 constituency (Debiganj-Boda) Advocate Nurul Islam Sujan inaugurenteel the tree fair as chief guest, while ADC (general) Md. Manjur Hasan, Police Super Md. Harun-or-Rashid Hazari, Sadar upazila Chairman Abdul Khalek were special guests. Upazila Krishi Officer Md. Aliuzzaman spoke in the function. Boda Upazila Chairman Md. Abdul Aziz was in the chair. A total of 60 stalls took part in the fair. On the other hand, GPA-5 holding students were accorded reception and poor meritorious students were given economic assistance at the function held on the premises of Boda parishad on the same day. MP Sujan distributed Tk 1.57 lakh in cash among the 105 indigenous meritorious students. Of them 30 students out of 105 got each Tk 2,400, 75 students got each Tk 1,000. MP gave the economic assistance to the indigenous students for their educational progress. After the programme PM Sujan distributed English dictionaries and crests among 60 students who got GPA-5.
Later, a cultural show was presented. A huge number of people enjoyed the function.

July 10, 2009 – Bumper jackfruits in Panchagarh – Financial Express

Jackfruits are grown a bumper record in the district this year. By fulfilling the local demand, the fruit is being supplied in different regions of the country. The climate and soil of the region are quite fit for the cultivation of this fruit. Cash crops like rice, jute and so forth do not grow in plenty in the district due to rocky and inflate soil. Tea, pineapple, orange, litchi, mango and many other seasonal fruits are grown abundantly in the district and these fruits can also fulfil the demand of other regions. Jackfruit is grown abundantly everywhere in the district. People of the district are eager to grow jackfruit commercially. Many people have been enriched themselves by the cultivation of jackfruits. They show less interest to grow jackfruit although there is a bright prospect of jackfruit cultivation in the district. Jackfruit is sold by so-called price in the wholesale market in the district.  Businessmen from different places come to Panchagarh to buy jackfruit and one hundred jackfruits are being sold at Tk 1200 to Tk 1300. Many farmers and retailers of jackfruit bring them from different places in the district by rickshaw-van and or about owner at cheap rate. These jackfruits are supplied and sent to different places of the country. Local businessmen informed that the jackfruit in the district is larger, juicy, tasty and sweet.

July 7, 2009 – Prothom Alo

July 9, 2009 – Ittefaq

July 2, 2009 – Ittefaq

 

June 29, 2009 – Cable operators of 3 districts hold conference in Panchagarh – New Nation

The cable operators of Panchagarh, Thakurgaon and Nilphamari districts held a daylong conference at the auditorium of youth development deparement in Panchagarh on Saturday. Deputy commissioner of Panchagarh district Bonomali Bhowmik was present at the conference as the chief guest. While police super of Panchagarh Harun-or-Rashid Hazari and deputy director of Panchagarh Youth Development Shahin-ur-Rahman were present as the special guests. The conference was presided over by Moklesur Rahman Mintu. Among others, Hasim Akhter, Karim Dad, Reza Md. Shamsuzzoha Ripon, Md Rashedul Islam, Saiful Islam Saifur Rahman Labu, Nazrul Islam Md. Rasheduzzaman Polash and Monjurul Islan spoke at the conference.

June 28, 2009 – Jaijaidin

 

June 28, 2009 – Measures for dev of Northern Bengal demanded – The New Nation
UNB, Dhaka : North Bengal Development Council has demanded proper government measures for the development of the backward North Bengal region, remained neglected for long. The council made the demand at a press conference at the National Press Club yesterday. Council's secretary Shairful Islam read out a written statement elaborating the prospects and problems of the Northern region and demanded government measures to solve the problems of the region. The statement referred that the north Bengal region is plagued with multifarious problems including desertification. But sufficient and planned measures have not been taken yet to solve the problems, it added. It also mentioned a survey report by the Board of Investment (BoI) that revealed the huge potentials of establishing various industries in different districts of the region including of Rajshahi, Rangpur, Chapainawabganj and Natore. The press conference said that no measures were taken to extract the mineral resources despite having huge reserves.
Shairful Islam also presented a set of demands to the Prime Minister. The demands include establishment of industries for creating employment opportunities for the people of the region, ensuring supply of gas and power, construction of gas transmission line from Bogra-Ranbgpur-Sayedpur EPZ to Dinajpur-Panchgarh, establishing rail communication between Jamuna bridge and Bogra, announcing Rangpur as a separate division and steps for eradicating Monga. The demands also included establishment of Export Processing Zones (EPZ) in various places of North-Western region including Rajshahi, establishment of separate Investment Board and resumption of Chilahati, Mogolhat, Banglabandha and Birol land stations.
Among others, former Adviser Dr AB Mirza M Azizul Islam, senior vice-president of Mutual Trust Bank M Habibur Rahman, senior vice chairman of North Bengal Development Council Abul Hashem Khan were present in the press conference.

June 28, 2009 – Prothom Alo

June 28, 2009 – Prothom Alo

June 22, 2009 – Janakantha

June 21, 2009 – Karatoa

June 21, 2009 – Ittefaq

June 19, 2009 – Janakantha

June 18, 2009 – Karatoa

June 18, 2009 – Prothom Alo

June 15, 2009 – Janakantha

June 12, 2009 – Prothom Alo

June 12, 2009 – Prothom Alo

June 8, 2009 – Janakantha

June 6, 2009 – 50,000 people of Panchagarh, Thakurgaon suffering from eye diseases – New Nation

Aout 50,000 people of the two neglected and backward northern districts of Panchagarh and Thakurgaon have been suffering in various eye diseases. And they easily fall prey to different eye diseases due to poverty and unawareness. Since there is no eye treatment center locally, the patients cannot treat their eye diseases. According to a survey of a non-governmental organization(NGO), over 20,000 children of Thakurgaon districts have been suffering from different opthalmological problem. Physicians say lack of nutrition and ignorance were behind the diseses. Moreover, excessive use of pesticides in crop lands and environmental degradation were the reasons behind the eye problems in the districts.

At present Shafiuddin Foundation, an service-oriented private organisation has set up a eye hospital titled " Vision Centre" at Devipur of Sadar Upazila of Thakurgaon district to serve the eye problems of the people of Thakurgaon and Panchagarh districts. The Vision Centre set up in February in 2006 is treating the eye patients of the district. Later the Vision center with the help and cooperation of the international agency 'Orbis International' and Dinajpur Gausul Azam Eye Hospital set up the second Vision Center at Lohagarah under Pirganj upazila of Thakurgaon district in 2007. after seeing the situation is aggravating day by day, then the Vision Centre opened two more centers, one at Garea under Sadar upazila of Thakurgaon and the second one at Bhoda of Dinajpur. Foundation chairman Al-haj Tashrifa khatun said 28,800 students of 96 primary schools ill be examined this year free of cost and give treatment to them. A few days ago, the foundation opened a camp at Shabdalhat government primary school and examined eye of 500 children As part of the Sight Testing of students free of cost, the foundation had treated the children through their own doctors. During the treatment it was found that several hundred of children have been suffering from eye diseases, but the children and their guardians are unaware about it.

June 6, 2009 – Janathantha

June 3, 2009 – Ittefaq / Jaijaidin

June 2, 2009 – Panchagarh farmers selling paddy at low price – Financial Express

The farmers of Panchagarh District could not sell their paddy to the government for the complexity of customs rules. Farmers are disappointed at the price of paddy. There is no system of purchasing paddy from the farmers directly in the district. As a result farmers are compelled to sell their paddy to the local market at a low price. Some farmers claim that some government employees of the food godown, leaders of the ruling party and millers have formed a syndicate and compelled the farmers to sell their paddy to the local market at low price. Each maund of paddy is sold at Tk 300 to Tk 350 at the local markets. A farmer of Catonhari village said that a lot of paddy traders have become farmers overnight and were selling the paddy to the government godown at a fixed rate. He also claimed that the common farmers could not sell their paddy at the government fixed rate.  Panchagarh Zilla food inspector said that 4714 tonnes of paddy and 2808 tonnes of rice would be purchased in the district. He, however, denied the complaints of the farmers.

June 1, 2009 – Prothom Alo

May 31, 2009 – Janathantha

May 28, 2009 – Ittefaq

May 27, 2009 – Janatantha

May 23, 2009 - Jaijaidin

May 22, 2009 – Prothom Alo

May 20, 2009 – Karatoa

May 19, 2009 – Ittefaq

May 19, 2009 – Jugantor

May 17, 2009 - Ittefaq

May 16, 2009 - Jugantor

May 15, 2009 - Karatoa


May 13, 2009 - Janakantha

May 13, 2009 -Tormuj- Karatoa



May 13, 2009 - Karatoa

May 12, 2009 - Janakantha


May 12, 2009 - BDNEWS24.COM



May 3, 2009 - Savar road crash kills 4 of a family - BDNEWS24.COM
Savar, May 3 (bdnews24.com)— A head-on collision between a corpse-carrying pick-up truck and a bus at Baroipara, Savar Sunday left four persons dead and five injured, police said. The dead were identified as Habibur Rahman, 55, his wife Sufia Begum, 40, mother-in-law Halima Begum, 70 and sister-in-law Morjina Begum, 45. They hailed from Bashail, Tangail. Sub-inspector Murad Ali of Ashulia Police Station told bdnews24.com that Lovely Akter, 20, daughter of Habibur Rahman, night guard at Shah Ali's mausoleum at Mirpur, died at their rented house in Mirpur in the city. The family of the dead had started Sunday morning for their village home in Bashail, Tangail carrying Lovely's corpse in the pick-up for burial there. As the pick-up reached Baroipara, Savar, a Dhaka-bound Khaleque Enterprise bus arriving from Panchagarh rammed into it at around 7am, killing four van passengers on the spot. Five including a child sustained injuries, who are being treated at different local clinics. The pick-up front was crushed and crumpled, police said and added neither driver was traceable. Police have seized the vehicles. Relatives of the dead reached Ashulia Police Station as soon they received news of the accident. bdnews24.com/corr/wz/1239h.
May 8, 2009 - Karatoa

May 6, 2009 - Janakantha

May 5, 2009 - Katatoa

May 4, 2009 - Jaijaidin

May 3, 2009 - No recreation for kids - Prothom Alo

May 1, 2009 - Karatoa

April 30, 2009 - bdnews24

April 30, 2009 - Janakantha

April 30, 2009 - Inqilab

April 30, 2009 - Prothom Alo

April 30, 2009 - Jaijaidin

April 28, 2009 - 300 farm animals died in Panchagarh Jaijaidin

April 28, 2009 - Land crisis in Tetulia Karatoa

April 28, 2009 - Digging out pebbles from deep surface causes erosion - The New Nation
Panchagarh, the northern most district of Bangladesh, is full of small stone, that is being dug out regularly from the deep ground surface which is turning into desert most areas of Tentulia upazila of the district. Thousands of acres of plain lands have turned into desert and moor. These lands have become uncultivable as crop does not grow in these lands.
The farmers of these areas are loosing their cultivable land day by day. These huge withdrawals of pebbles have been able to meet the demand of the country. These pebbles are being used for various purposes. So their demand are on the rise day by day, but the price is not increasing accordingly. The pebble businessmen have left the ancient system of collecting pebbles and a applying their modern system to draw more benefit from it. The district pebbles and sand association have taken the cultivable land as lease and are digging for pebbles. This is happening for want of government supervision and as a result the government is losing crores of taka. It may be mentioned here that a survey that pebbles are being dug out recklessly without ministry permission for Environment Ministry. It is said that some of the rivers of Tetulia have already lost their flowing.

April 24, 2009 - Jamiruddin's corruption news - Jaijaidin

April  24, 2009 - Sylhet poses high potential of strawberry cultivation - The New Nation
BSS, Sylhet - The greater Sylhet region has great potential of strawberry cultivation, growers of the high valued fruit, said on Monday, urging media to encourage others to produce it. The cash crop strawberry, mainly grown in chilly weathers in western countries, has been taking ground in some places of the country because of its high demand and good profit margin. Sylhet is the latest in the series of introducing strawberry compared to come other parts of the country, including Savar, Panchagarh and Jessore, the growers said at a conference here. They said the government should come forward with incentives at public and private levels to grow strawberry as part of efforts to offset impacts of global economic slowdown on local exports. They also demanded distribution of khas lands for strawberry production. Rotary Club of Sylhet Sunshine in cooperation with Sylhet Chamber, Bangladesh Strawberry Samity and Rangdhanu Agro Complex Limited organised the function, which was chaired by Rotarian Shamim Ahmed. President of Sylhet Chamber Zunun Mahmud Khan, general secretary of Strawberry Samity Dr M Manzur Hossain and managing director of Rangdhanu Agro Dewan Sultan.

April 23, 2009 - Loan return fails in Panchagarh - Prothom Alo

April 22, 2009 - Panchagarh lawyers news - Prothom Alo

April 20, 2009 - More than 300 animals died for unknown disease in Panchagarh - Daily Karatoa

April 11, 2009 - Panchagarh and Rangpur play "Ka" zone final in Women's Handball today - The New Nation
UNB, Dhaka - Panchagarh and Rangpur DSAs meets in the 'Ka' zone final of the EXIM Bank 20th National Women's Handball Championship at the Rangpur Stadium today (Saturday). EXIM Bank (Rangpur Branch) managing director Osman Ali Mincha will be the chief guest in the day's final and distribute the prizes. On way to the final, Panchagarh DSA crushed Rajshahi DSA by 20-9 goals in the first semi-final while hosts Rangpur DSA beat Dinajpur DSA 12-8 in the second semis at the Rangpur Stadium on Friday. Earlier, in the day's group matches, Dinajpur DSA beat Joypurhat DSA by 6-3 goals, Rajshahi DSA outclassed Nilphamari DSA 11-5 and Tangail DSA edged past Gaibandha DSA 4-3.

April 4, 2009 - Sangram

April 1, 2009 - Unbridled digging of stones in Panchagarh - The Financial Express
PANCHAGARH, Apr 01: Panchagarh district, in the northeastern tip of Bangladesh has a huge deposit of small stones, which are being excavated at random from underground. As a result of the senseless digging of soil a part of Vajanpur, Vitorgarh, Salbahan and some other places of Tetulia upazila are turning into deserts and posing threat of land erosion in these areas. The farmers of the areas are loosing thousands of acres of cultivable land each day and are compelled to work as day labourers to earn their livelihood. The excavated pebbles are being used in construction work. Although the prices of construction materials have increased, the prices of stones have not risen accordingly. The stone collectors have abandoned the ancient system of collecting pebbles. They are now using mechanical diggers for extracting stones from deep under the surface. So the poor labourers, who were engaged in manually extracting stones, have become jobless.  The excavated sand is destroying the fertility of the land making it difficult for farmers to grow crops in the land. Moreover, the possibility of erosion in this area is increasing day by day. The pebbles and sand businessmen are taking cultivable land on lease for digging up pebbles in the absence of government supervision. As a result the government is losing millions of taka in revenue. Local elite urged the government to take proper action to control such activities. Otherwise, natural calamity may take a heavy toll of lives and property anytime.

March 27, 2009 - Paragon set to grow organic tea - The Daily Star
Sohel Parvez - Paragon Agro, a concern of Paragon Group, plans to cultivate organic tea, aiming to exploit the growing consumer demand for the product in domestic and global markets. “Everybody demands organic food. That is why we are preparing to organically grow tea. We are now readying our garden to accomplish the mission,” said Moshiur Rahman, chief of a poultry hatchery and feed based entity of the Paragon Group. Paragon Agro, which stepped into the domestic market with eggs, mushrooms and poultry meat under the brand Tatka, is expected to be the second local firm to market "Organic Tea", also under the brand Tatka. Paragon plans to grow tea using organic means, as the demand for the drink is on a steady rise due to growing health consciousness among the middle-income urban consumers. People like to drink the organic variety of the tea, despite its relatively higher price. At present, KK Tea, produced by Kazi & Kazi Tea Estate Ltd, is the country's lone organic tea brand. An 80-gram tea pack of KK Tea, containing 40 bags, costs Tk 70 at the retail level, while a 100-gram pack of Ispahani tea, containing 50 bags, costs Tk 48. Paragon Agro will be the second organic tea maker after Kazi & Kazi Tea Estate, a concern of the Gemcon Group. Kazi & Kazi ventured into organic tea plantations by taking up a project in the country's northwestern border belt of Tetulia, Panchagarh in 2000, to attract consumers in both the local and global markets. Kazi & Kazi markets tea in the global market under the brand Tetulia.

The export of tea is on the downturn in recent months, but local consumption remains vibrant, helping to sustain the country's tea industry and providing employment for about 8,00,000 people, directly or indirectly. In 2007-08, the total domestic consumption of tea stood at 48.26 million kilograms, out of the 58.83 million kilograms production. A decade ago, total internal consumption was 24.45 million kilograms, according the Bangladesh Tea Board. Despite huge domestic consumption, Kazi & Kazi Tea has the capacity to produce only about 2.4 lakh kilograms of tea a year and the entry of Paragon Agro is expected to add about 1 lakh kilograms on a yearly basis, in the organic tea segment. “We expect to introduce our tea by the end of 2010. We will focus both on the domestic and global markets,” said the Paragon Group top official.

“Even though we eye international markets, our primary focus will be the local consumers,” he said. According to Paragon chief, organic tea will be grown on one of their two tea estates --Hajinagar Tea Estate at Maulavibazar. “We have not been administering chemical fertilisers for the last three years. We will observe the garden for another year,” Moshiur Rahman said. "On government approval, the product would then be put on the market." The Paragon Group secured turnover worth about Tk 400 crore in the fiscal year 2007-08. Setting up of a processing factory next year is now the the group's plan, Rahman said. “We will follow orthodox measures to produce organic tea,” he said.

March 22, 2009 - Bangladesh To Privatize Three More Land Ports This Year - All Head News
Siddique Islam - AHN Correspondent, Dhaka, Bangladesh (AHN) - Bangladesh government plans to privatize three more land ports this year under Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) arrangement for a period of 25 years to help boost cross border trade, officials said Sunday. The land ports that will be handed over to private operators in the second phase are Bhomra in Satkhira, Akhaura in Brahmanbaria and Burimari in Lalmonirhat. The Bangladesh Land Port Authority (BLPA) has already invited applications from interested investors for pre-qualification for development and operation of land port at Bhomra in Satkhira, they added. Besides, the state-run BLPA is now developing infrastructures including erecting boundary walls and earth works at Akhaura and Burimari aiming to hand over the ports to the private operators by the end of this year.

"We'll invite fresh applications from interested investors for participating in the pre-qualification for development and operation of the land ports after completing the development works," a BLPA senior official told AHN in Dhaka. He also said the BLPA is now preparing the ground works to privatize the land ports for strengthening cross border trade through developing these ports. The BLPA has earlier handed over six land ports out of a total 12 to private operators in line with the government decision, the BLPA official added. The ports that have already been transferred through open tenders to the private operators include Sona Masjid in Chapai Nawabganj, Hili in Dinajpur, Banglabandha in Panchagarh, Bibir Bazar in Comilla, Birol in Dinajpur and Teknaf in Cox's Bazar. The government earlier decided to hand over the operations of the country's 12 land ports to the private operators in phases under the BOT arrangement to gear up cross border trade with neighbouring countries including India and Myanmar. According to the earlier decision, Tamabil in Sylhet, Darshona in Chuadanga and Haluaghat in Mymensingh will also be transferred to the private sector in the third phase after successful completion of the second phase.
But, the BLPA has recommended the government to include the name of Jibonnagor land port in the list instead of Darshona in Chuadanga to boost trade relations with India.  "We've submitted our recommendations to the government aiming to provide maximum facilities to the businessmen through developing of the ports," another BLPA official told AHN in the capital, Dhaka.

March 17, 2009 - Fire service stations to be set up in each thana - The New Nation
Responding to a question of Md Nurul Islam Sujon from Panchagarh-2, Sahara said her ministry along with the foreign ministry and the expatriate welfare and overseas employment ministry with cooperation from Bangladesh mission in Delhi were working relentlessly to get back those smuggled children, men and women who remained detained in prisons in India.

March 15, 2009 - Load shedding hampering boro cultivation in Panchagarh - The New Nation
UNB, Panchagarh - Farmers of the district may not achieve the production target of boro this season due to frequent load shedding and erratic power supply. Many farmers could not transplant boro seedlings on their land as they failed to irrigate their land due to acute power crisis. They said many of their cultivated lands have dried up and developed cracks for the same reason. The situation aggravated in Sadar, Atowari, Debiganj and Boda upazilas as farmers of those upazilas are getting electricity for only 4 to 5 hours in a day.
Local Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) said if the situation continues, farmers may not achieve the production target of boro this season. Thakurgaon Palli Bidyut Samiti, Panchagarh Zone, said there is a demand of 19 megawatt of electricity for running the deep and shallow tube wells under the zone daily but they are getting only 4 to 5 mw. Deputy General Manager of Rural Electrification Board (REB) Shah M Razzakur Rahman said they could operate only one feeder at a time with the electricity supplied from the Thakurgaon power house. Agriculture Department said a target has been set to bring 43,380 hectares of land under boro cultivation this season with an output target of 1.96 lakh mts. Deputy Director of local DAE Abul Kalam Mandal also expressed his apprehension that the production may hamper adversely this season due to the acute power crisis.

March 13, 2009 - Strawberry eyes Tk 10cr a year - The Daily Star
Strawberry growers and traders in Bangladesh are expecting Tk 10 crore in annual turnover, as they go into its first-ever commercial cultivation this year. Rajshahi University teacher Dr Manzur Hossain, who developed the fruit nearly a decade ago, expects nearly 25 tonnes of output from about 8.5 acres of land in 45 districts until April. Growers claim the cultivation of this money-spinning, nutritious, delicious foreign fruit will spin nearly Tk 10 crore worth of trade a year. “The initial commercial production will meet 50 percent of the gross annual demand for the fruit. At present, the demand for the fruit stands at 50 tonnes,” said Hossain, also the general secretary of Bangladesh Strawberry Farmers Association, which monitors the fruit's cultivation in the country.

Production will continue to increase significantly from next year, as the growers taste success, he said. Meanwhile, horticulturist Quamruzzaman in Natore has successfully grown two American varieties of strawberry this year, a major breakthrough in its cultivation. The variety is of optimal weight, better taste and colour. Each strawberry nearly weighs 75 grams, three times higher than the usual 25 grams. The new varieties are becoming popular, especially among buyers, said Quamruzzaman. “I have been experimenting on the export quality camarosa and festival varieties for the last few years. This year, it proved to be a success,” he said, adding that each plant bears some 15 fruits with an average weight of 750 grams. Many young businessmen have taken the fruit to urban markets in Dhaka, cashing in on lofty sales. Although growers get between Tk 500 and Tk 750 per kilogram, the fruit is sold for Tk 850 to Tk 1300 per kilogram, said people familiar with the matter. As the fruit gains popularity and cultivation increases, the price will come down, said traders. “The strawberry trade is quite lucrative as it provides employment opportunities for many,” said ASM Mizanur Rahman, who intends to take a tonne of the fruit to Dhaka from Rajshahi. “So far, I sold 250 kilograms of the fruit. I also employed several youths to give me a hand at marketing the strawberries. The fruit is receiving good responses in markets,” said Rahman, a private jobholder in Dhaka. Many are currently involved in collecting strawberries at Tk 650 from the farmers and selling at an average Tk 850 per kilogram. Dr Hossain of Rajshahi University, who recently travelled to many districts to study the cultivation of the fruit, said it is gaining popularity at a good pace. It is growing best in Dinajpur, Panchagarh, Mymensingh, Kushtia, Jessore, Khulna, Dhaka and Chittagong. He said each strawberry plant bears around 250 to 300 grams of fruit and some 6,000 plants can be grown on one bigha of land. A farmer can easily do business worth Tk 6 lakh, by a yield of 2,000 kilograms of fruit on a bigha of land at an expense of Tk 20,000.

“Even if strawberries sell at Tk 100 per kilogram, a farmer can earn Tk 2,00,000,” said Hossain. M Shamim Ali cultivated strawberry on a small piece of land at Yousufpur, Charghat. He hopes to sell nearly 150 kilograms this season. “I spent only Tk 9,000 on cultivation and I fetched profits of Tk 1,00,000. I sell 3 kilograms of strawberry per day. I will cultivate it on a bigha next year,” he said. Sector people said the country meets its current demand of 50 tonnes of strawberries via imports from different countries, including the USA, Thailand and Australia. Strawberries are eaten as it is and used in preparing ice-cream, jam, jelly, pickles, chocolates, biscuits, cake and milk shakes. Growers urged the government to take immediate steps to support the export of the fruit. With a great export potential, the sweet and attractive fruit will open a new horizon for farmers, if it gets government patronisation, they said.

March 09, 2009 - Woman killed in Boda - Jaijaidin
Woman named Murali (45) was killed in Boda upazila.

March 08, 2009 - Art competition for the poor kids - Prothom Alo

March 07, 2009 - BSF kills 1 in Tetulia - Daily Star
One Bangladeshi cattle trader was killed when Indian Security Force (BSF) opened fire on a group of traders at Kirtanpara under Tetulia upazila in Panchagarh early yesterday. The deceased was Shamu, 40, son of late Tamizuddin of Joyganj under Tetulia upazila of the district. Around 1:00am BSF personnel of Madanbari camp shot at least six to eight rounds at the group, said Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) sources and the chairman of Debnagar union. Sources said the incident took place as the traders reached near the pillar (no. 739/R-17) to purchase cattle from India. Shamu died instantly while others managed to escape unhurt. After the incident the Indian border guards took the body to India. BDR strongly protested the killing and asked its Indian counterpart to return the body. Company Commander of Bhutipukur BDR camp sent a proposal for a flag meeting and in response around 7:00pm the BSF agreed to hold the meeting at 12:00 noon today.

March 07, 2009 - Bangladeshi killed by BSF - The New Nation
Border Security Force (BSF) of India shot dead a Bangladeshi cattle trader on Kirtanpara border under Bhutipukuri border under Tetulia upazila in the district in the early hours of Friday. The victim was identified as Shamu, 40, son of late Tamizuddin of Joyganjoth village under Tetulia upazila. BDR sources said BSF personnel of Modanbari camp opened fire on a group of cattle trader at around 1:00 am while they reached near the demarcation line after buying cattle from India. Shamu died on the spot while others managed to escape the place unhurt. After the incident the Indian border guards took away the body of Shanmu inside India. BDR strongly protested the killing and asked its Indian counterpart to return the body. So the new export initiatives under the scheme is only slowing down as only few new exporters are taking interest to export RMG to India while they have ready market in Europe and America, said a business source. The Indian government is reportedly saying as information suggest, it has only removed the basic import duty at 10 percent on RMG import from Bangladesh. But other internal duties have remained in place. Duties which the Indian government is collecting on Bangladesh apparels include central government VAT, Special central government SCVAT, secondary education tax (ETS) and higher secondary education tax (ETHS)- altogether 18 percent, exporters said. "BGMEA president Anwarul Alam Chowdhury blamed poor negotiating capacity of the Bangladesh for the problem saying it should have made sure that duty free means no duty at all. Now it appears that most duties have remain in place, he said. . Exporters have also listed many non-tariff barriers. They alleged that customs officials on the Indian side raise question on the credibility of invoice value relating to export documents and often apply duty several times higher than the real value. Very often they keep trucks loaded with export consignment stranded at the check post unattended for hours and exporters have to pay additional charges on hourly basis. Indian government officials handling duty free export moreover, create unnecessary problems looking for small faults with export documents and sending it back to Dhaka for correction if they find some shortcoming. Consequently the exporters have to pay demurrage charge bringing inconveniences to both exporters and importers, they said. Exporters said buyers at Hariyana, Mumbai, Kolkata and especially in northeastern states of India are taking big interest in knitwear, trousers, ladies shirts and pants made in Bangladesh. But the question remains whether the Indian buyers can take this opportunity while the exporters are wondering whether the duty free scheme under SAFTA arrangement can over live the troubles.

March 07, 2009 - Lawyers abandoned the court - Prothom Alo

March 07, 2009 - Railway development - Railway Gazette
Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina has asked the Ministry of Planning to study conversion of BR’s Dinajpur – Panchagarh line to dual gauge, facilitating direct services from Dhaka to the northwest of the country. The National Economic Council has already approved a Tk2·5bn upgrading programme for the metre-gauge route.

February 28, 2009 - Prothom Alo

February 20, 2009 - Ekushe Book Fair in Panchagarh
An 11-day Ekushey Book Fair has begun on the premises of the town hall in 20-Feb-2009. District administration and district council jointly organized the fair with assistance of Greemenphone. Deputy commissioner of Panchagarh Mohammad Munir Hossain inaugurated the program. A total of 30 stalls have been set up in the fair. Discussion and cultural functions are being held on the fair premises every day highlighting the significance of immortal Ekushey.

February 19, 2009 - Panchagarh-Dinajpur rail line in bad shape - The New Nation
The condition of Panchagarh-Dinajpur Rail line is in bade shape in absence of reconstruction and day by day the line is being inoperative. Since there was no reform work in the line during the past three decades, the line is seeing train accidents and derailment in every month. As the meter-gauge rail-line has become risky, the number of passengers and transportation of goods are falling. Concerned official sources said every 39 feet rail-line requires 15 sleepers , but the 100 kolimeter rail-line from Kanchan of Dinajpur has only 8-9 sleepers in every 39 feet line. The number of sleepers are lower than that in some places. The source said almost half of the sleepers are inactive from Ruhia to Kismat. From Bhomradaha to Ruhia, 39 kilometer rail-line has no stone at all. Because of these reasons accidents often occur in these rail-line. In past two years over 100 derailment of passenger or goods train happened in this road.. one mixed train saw derailment thrice on bothway from parbatipur to Panchagarh on a single day this month.

February 14, 2009 - Irrigation problem hits Boro farming in Panchagarh - The Daily Star
Prospect of Irri-Boro cultivation in Boda and Debiganj upazilas in Panchagarh district has become bleak as large areas of land cannot be irrigated due to shortage of electricity supply. With drastic fall in electricity supply in the district, power-run tube-wells, both deep and shallow, can lift only a little water. Cracks developed on Boro fields on hundreds of acres of land in Barashashi and adjacent unions under Boda upazila for want of irrigation as deep tube-wells in the areas, conducted by Barind Multipurpose Development Authority, failed to lift water from under ground due to low voltage of power during the last 15 days. “After planting we were able to irrigate Boro field only for one day as the Barrind's No.1 deep tube-well failed to lift water due to low voltage of power during last 15 days. Dried up Boro field has developed cracks. Our Boro plants will dry up within days if the situation continues,” said Abdur Rashid and Abul Kashem, small farmers of Mohishbathan village in Barashashi union under Boda upazila. “We fear huge loss in the current season as we cannot afford to irrigate our Boro field with diesel-run shallow pumps,” they said. “I cultivated Boro on three-bigha of land by taking loan from an NGO but am now facing trouble, as deep tube-well failed to supply water required water,” Waliur Rahman, a small farmer of the same area, told this correspondent. “Several times we informed officials of Barind Multipurpose Development Authority of the matter but got no response to solve the problem,” Omar Faruq, another farmer of the area, said. During a recent visit to the areas, this correspondent saw that many farmers prepared their land but they are yet to sow Boro plant due to lack of irrigation facilities as deep tube-wells failed to supply water. “The problem arises due to low voltage of power. We have nothing to do in this regard,” a sub-assistant engineer at Boda office of Barind Multipurpose Development Authority said.
DAE officials said they have set target to cultivate Boro on about 43,380 hectares of land in the current season with the production target of 1,96,682 tonnes. About 40 percent of the land depends on power-run pumps for irrigation. Connection to about 1400 power-run shallow pumps was given in the district, deputy general manager of Rural Electrification Board in Panchagarh said. Power supply for irrigation in Boda and Debiganj upazilas is awfully scanty as only 4-5 megawatt (MW) is available on an average a day against the requirement of 18 MW, he said, adding that stoppage of power generation in Thakurgaon Power Station caused the situation. Every day power remains off for 14-16 hours in the two upazilas, he said. The Boro farmers who had earlier eyed good yield of paddy due to smooth supply of fertilisers and reduction of its prices have now become frustrated due to shortage of power supply for irrigation in the district.

February 10, 2009Commercial production and marketing of strawberry begins in Panchagarh - The New Nation
Production and marketing of strawberry have been started on commercial basis after its successful farming in Panchagarh district paving the way of tremendous economic prospect for the farmers. Jessore Golden Seed Farm (JGSF), a subsidiary organisation of Jessore Ulshi Himagar, achieved the success after eight months of undertaking a strawberry farming programme on 2.7 acres of land in Panchagarh. Earlier, Bangladesh Strawberry Association (BSA) launched a coordinated strawberry research activity involving the JGSF at Haldharjyote village in Sadar upazila of Panchagarh on July 10 last. The JGSF then launched a Strawberry Nursery Research Project (SNRP) with the assistances of pioneer of strawberry farming in the country Prof Dr Manjur Hossain of the Department of Botany of Rajshahi University (RU). Strawberry farming will soon gain huge popularity everywhere in the country's northern region, as its farming was also successful in the Barind area for the last couple of years and the fruit has tremendous economic prospects, experts said. Launching of the SNRP and its huge success in shorter period, have created enthusiasm among the farmers to go for massive cultivation of the nutritious fruit in Panchagarh and adjoining districts. Professor Dr Manjur Hossain first launched the strawberry farming using tissue culture method and the BSA undertook a series of programmes to expand its farming in the country. On Tuesday, a commercial harvesting and marketing ceremony of strawberry was organised at the JGSF farm with Additional Deputy Commissioner of Panchagarh Manjur Hassan Bhuiyan in the chair and Prof Dr Manjur Hossain attended as the chief guest.

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