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Farmers suffer as dealers charging higher fertilizer prices




Abdul Jalil, a farmer in Jamalpur, started looking for Muriate of Potash (MoP) fertiliser last week, but he found none in the nearby shops. When he managed to find it, the seller charged him Tk1,500 for a 50kg sack, which is actually priced at Tk750.

Farmers across the country said they have already been confronting a crisis of urea fertiliser, and the scarcity of MoP has worsened the situation.

Farmers in various districts, including Rangpur, Bogura, Dinajpur, Rajshahi, Jamalpur, Barishal, and Barguna, said the government recently fixed the price of a 50kg bag of urea at Tk1,100, but the sellers are charging them Tk1,300-1,400.

Sources at the agriculture ministry said there is no shortage of fertilisers in the country, but unscrupulous dealers have created an artificial scarcity to manipulate prices.

The dealers currently get Tk100 commission from a 50kg sack, and they have been demanding that it be increased to Tk200, citing the recent increase in the cost of living caused by the fuel price hike.

Mobile courts fined 383 dealers across the country Tk57 lakh on 30 August for irregularities in their operation. The highest number of dealers were fined in Jashore. The process of cancelling the licences of two dealers in Bogura and Rangpur is also going on.

Currently, there are over 5,500 fertiliser dealers across the country.

According to the agriculture ministry, the fertiliser shortage is most severe in Jamalpur, where Jamuna Fertiliser Company Ltd is located. The factory has not been in operation for over three months due to a shortage of gas. There are 257 dealers in the district, who buy fertilisers from Jamuna Fertiliser.

The dealers in Barguna and Barishal were also told to collect fertiliser from Chattogram, but they did not do it, causing a crisis.

Earlier, three factories were closed down due to a lack of gas, but now all the factories, except Jamuna, are operational, according to Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC) officials.

Kazi Mohammad Saiful Islam, joint secretary and director (commercial) of BCIC, told, “There is no shortage of urea. Fertiliser is also being imported. We are providing fertiliser on demand everywhere.”

According to the sources at the agriculture ministry, BCIC and Bangladesh Fertiliser Association, there are many dealers who are not collecting fertiliser even after depositing money. Wherever the authorities concerned are aware of a crisis, they are resolving it through the intervention of the deputy commissioners. But the crisis has spread across the country in such a way that it cannot be alleviated easily.

Balai Krishna Hazra, additional secretary of the Agriculture Ministry’s Fertiliser Management and Materials Wing, told , “We have no shortage of fertilisers. Dealers who are causing trouble are being brought under the law. The licences of some of the dealers are also being cancelled.”

A senior official of the Ministry of Agriculture said on condition of anonymity that a vested quarter is trying to create instability by creating a fertiliser crisis ahead of the election.

Last Wednesday, the secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture held a meeting with deputy commissioners across the country to remedy the fertiliser crisis.

At the meeting, Agriculture Secretary Md Sayedul Islam gave instructions to field-level officials to prevent fertiliser price manipulation, artificial scarcity, and the sale of fertiliser without receipts.

He also instructed the officials to display a price list, ensure the supply of fertilisers to retailers, and visit the dealers’ warehouses to confirm the arrival of fertilisers.

The agriculture secretary further asked the officials concerned to operate mobile courts to prevent irregularities. Besides, instructions were given to the BCIC chairman to allow the delivery of fertilisers from the BCIC immediately after the agriculture ministry allocates it.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, currently, there are 6.41 lakh tonnes of urea in stock against a demand of 3.5 lakh tonnes for the months of September and October.

There are also 4.15 lakh tonnes of TSP fertiliser against a demand of 96,000 tonnes, 9.04 lakh tonnes of DAP fertiliser against a demand of 2.19 lakh tonnes, and 2.46 lakh tonnes of MoP fertiliser against a demand of 1.21 lakh tonnes.

President of Bangladesh Fertiliser Association (BFA) Kamrul Ashraf Khan Poton told, “It is true that there have been some problems all over the country. We are also trying to normalise the situation with the government. Alongside the government, we are also monitoring the situation across the country.”

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UN says: Extraordinary economic dev among BD’s many achievements




Greeting Bangladesh, the United Nations on Sunday (26th March) said Bangladesh has many accomplishments — extraordinary economic development, a significant cultural legacy, leadership on a global stage for climate-vulnerable countries, and immense generosity in welcoming and hosting nearly a million Rohingya refugees.

“The hospitality of Bangladesh’s diverse people is just one of the many facets of a country that my colleagues and I have been fortunate to experience every day,” UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh Gwyn Lewis said in a press statement on the occasion of the country’s Independence Day.

“On behalf of the United Nations, I warmly congratulate the people of Bangladesh on the 52nd anniversary of independence,” she said.

Over the last 52 years, Bangladesh has made impressive and remarkable achievements: evolving from a war-torn country to one of the leading economic powers in South Asia, standing at the threshold of upcoming graduation from least developed countries (LDCs) in 2026, and planned achievement of the sustainable development goals (SDG) by 2030, she said.

The UN fully supports Bangladesh’s commitments to economic and sustainable development and appreciates the strong and long-lasting relationship with Bangladesh and our shared values.

The constitution of the country, which was adopted even before Bangladesh had formally become a member of the United Nations in 1974, guarantees fundamental human rights. The right to freedom of speech, religion, movement and assembly, the right to speak one’s own language and other rights that are in line with the UN charter, said the UNRC.

“Wishing you all a Happy Independence Day!” — she concluded.

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PM Sheikh Hasina, President pays homage to Liberation War Martyrs




Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina & President M Abdul Hamid paid rich tributes to the Liberation War martyrs by placing wreaths at the National Memorial at Savar on the outskirts of Dhaka early on Sunday (26th March), marking the 53rd Independence and National Day.

The president first placed the wreath at the altar of the memorial followed by the prime minister.

After laying the wreaths, the president and the premier stood in solemn silence for some time as a mark of profound respect for the memories of the martyrs of the Great War of Liberation in 1971.

A smartly turned-out contingent drawn from Bangladesh Army, Navy and Air Force presented a state salute at that time while the bugles played the last post.

The head of the state and the head of the government also signed the visitors’ book kept on the memorial premises.

Flanked by her party leaders, Sheikh Hasina, also the president of the Awami League, paid glowing tributes to the Liberation War martyrs by placing another wreath at the National Memorial on behalf of her party.

Jatiya Sangsad Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, Chief Justice Hasan Foez Siddique, senior AL leaders, leaders of AL-led 14-party alliance and high civil and military officials, among others, were present there.

Later, the Jatiya Sangsad (parliament) speaker and the chief justice also paid homage to the martyrs by placing wreaths at the National Mausoleum.

Every year, March 26 brings the most tragic reminiscence of history’s blackest episode that heralded a nine-month bloody ordeal from the night of March 25, 1971, achieving the long-cherished independence on December 16 the same year at the cost of a sea of blood.

In the wake of the military crackdown by the then Pakistan occupation force, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman proclaimed the independence of Bangladesh through the then EPR (East Pakistan Rifles) wireless at 00-30 hours on March 26 (the night following March 25) in 1971 at his historic Road-32 residence at Dhanmondi in Dhaka.

The day is very auspicious and precious to the Bengali nation.

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Bangladesh Observed Independence Day Today




The Independence Day of Bangladesh is celebrated on 26 March as a national holiday in Bangladesh. It commemorates the country’s declaration of independence from Pakistan in the early hours of 25 March 1971.

In the 1970 Pakistani general election, under the military government of President Yahya Khan, the largest political party Awami League, led by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, won a clear majority in East Pakistan national seats as well as provincial assembly. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto conspired with Yahya Khan and changed their position, refusing to hand over power to Sheikh Mujib.

Negotiations began between the two sides, however, the ruling West Pakistani leadership did not trust Sheikh Mujib, due to instances such as the Agartala conspiracy case. When it became evident that the promises made by the West Pakistan government were not going to be kept, many East Pakistani Bangla-speaking Muslims and Hindus began a spirited struggle for independence.

On 7 March 1971, Sheikh Mujib gave his famous speech at the Ramna Racecourse, in which he called for a non-cooperation movement.

Authorities, mostly West Pakistani personnel, rounded up Bengali armed forces officers, NCOs, and enlisted personnel. Forced disappearances went rampant. On the evening of 25 March, in an interview with David Frost, Sheikh Mujib still called out openly for negotiation and a united Pakistan. That night the Pakistan Army began Operation Searchlight, conclusively signalling West Pakistan was not ready for a transfer of political power to the Awami League led by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.[4]

The Independence of Bangladesh was declared on 26 March 1971 at the first watch by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman . Another declaration was read out on 27 March 1971, by Major Ziaur Rahman, on behalf of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Major Zia (who was also a BDF Sector Commander of Sector 1 and later of Sector 11) raised an independent Z Force brigade, Chittagong and the guerilla struggle officially began.

The people of Bangladesh then took part in a nine-month guerilla war against the Pakistan Army and their collaborators, including paramilitary Razakars. This resulted in the death of about 3 million Bangladeshi, as per Awami league and Indian sources, in the Bangladesh War of Independence and Bangladesh Genocide. The BDF, later with military support from India, defeated the Pakistan Army on 16 December 1971, leading to the end of the war and the Surrender of Pakistan.

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