Journal from July – Wrath of the night

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Photo: Saad Hammadi

A man who escaped with his life from the restaurant was himself a kitchen staff. He was working when he heard gunshots. He ran off from the kitchen and was hiding on the second floor of the restaurant before he managed to escape. Inside, there were 50 to 60 restaurant staffs and another 25 to 30 customers dining, he said. That’s a lot of people held hostage but there was no way to verify except sources like him who were direct witnesses.

 

I walk a little further and find an anxious guardian who has a nephew-in-law among the hostages. The nephew went there with his girlfriend. His girlfriend had communicated with her father saying they were safe inside the restaurant but advised him not to call them. Since then they have been incommunicado.

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Journal from July – Into the dark

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Photo: Saad Hammadi

At the hospital gate I hear one person saying his brother, a ranking police official was injured in the attack. I took down his information. He would not be let inside until another police official heard his pleading and ordered the gatekeepers to allow him inside.

 

I spent a few minutes recceing the place. The place was empty except a few pressmen and cops in the area. I have to dodge the crowd to make my way in. With the waiting journalists at the front gate, it would not be possible to exploit an entry from there.

 

If there were any possibility it would have to be an entry from the OPD. The OPD gate was wide open. A couple of security guards were there who did not bother stopping me because they knew it was only the first layer of security. At the glass door leading inside the hospital building, there were more guards. Expectedly, one of the guards at the glass door resisted.

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street markings and signals abided in dhaka

is this really dhaka? i was amazed to see vehicles assembling in rows behind a white street marking in the city. this is something i have never seen happen in dhaka or anywhere in bangladesh. for the first time, it seemed the signals were indicating the right light for the right movement. pedestrians crossing the street on red light, vehicles driving on green light.

this actually calls for a celebration

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Generating power

Saad Hammadi chronicles the power sector of the country- its past failures, recent improvements and its future needs

Illustration by Shibu Kumar ShillEven a few months back, one of most frustrating, painful and exhausting aspects of life in Dhaka, or for that matter any other part of the country, were the frequent power outages. Businesses, including the thrust sectors of our economy, households, students, goods, including perishables, as well as various kinds of services have been inadvertent victims of load-shedding for over a decade now. The chain effect of load-shedding bore a much higher cost that went beyond the direct sufferings.

Meanwhile, the power sector, despite facing some of the harshest criticisms, threatened by riotous situations like the one in Kansat, sat idle, riddled by massive corruption. Years of political influence had destroyed the process of tender distribution; the power distribution had been manipulated, while huge sums of money in unrealised electricity bills had virtually put the sector in a standstill.

A recent sea of change, however, with load-shedding coming down significantly, and power shortages going down from thousands of megawatts to merely hundreds, has brought back some hope for the sector.

In the long run, however, a significant part of the population which now remains out of the national power grid will gradually demand its inclusion. Experts, therefore, point out, that the current upsurge in power is merely a brief honeymoon.

At a glance

  • Power shortage brought down from approximate 2,000 MW to 300 MW
  • 58 per cent of the population outside the national power grid
  • Limited gas reserves threat to the future of electricity supply
  • Corruption drive increased PDB’s revenue by 110 per cent
  • 2020 ‘electricity for all’ project depends on resources’ availability
  • Existing resources may fulfil 50 per cent of the 2020 target

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War-torn Dhaka

Between guns, teargas, canisters and armours, Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh turned into a war-torn city with fresh agitations led by the students and teachers against the military-backed interim government since 20 August to withdraw the army from all educational institutes across the country. In consequence, the caretaker government once again imposed an indefinite curfew on the streets of the country’s six divisional cities since 22 August.

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