Bangladesh Army to Run Taxi

In a desperate bid to improve taxicab service, the government has decided to involve Bangladesh Army to launch a new taxicab service for the capital and Chittagong metropolis.

Under the new scheme, the army will import 5,000 good quality AC and non-AC taxicabs — 3,000 for Dhaka and rest for Chittagong — from Japan.

“The import is expected to begin from this October,” Communications minister Obaidul Quader told a function.

He said the government had accepted the army proposal considering the fact that the disciplined force would be able to operate the service in a systematic and secured manner.

An army delegation led by its chief has recently met the communications minister at the Setu Bhaban and formally placed the proposal to run the taxicab service in the two major cities, which seriously lacked the service.

As per the primary discussion, a memorandum of understanding will be signed between the army and the communications ministry to outline the routes, fares, meters and 24-hour operation.

Sources in the ministry said a central system would be established to monitor each cab through GPS and video cameras.

There would also be a hotline option so that anyone could call for a cab anytime from anywhere in the two cities, said the sources, adding that the good quality cabs would be deployed at airports and railway stations.

The communications minister said the Army Welfare Trust would invest in importing the cabs.

He said, “Retired officers and drivers of the army will be engaged to operate the service, which will be monitored by the communications ministry.”

The minister said the police department had also showed interest in importing and operating taxicabs in the country. “We may consider this proposal too,” he added.

Despite several attempts in the last few years, the government could not bring in new taxicabs.

“We had to relax a policy in this regard and only one local company has recently got the permission to import some taxis,” he said explaining the reason behind agreeing to the army proposal.

“Dhaka, a city of 1.5 crore people, cannot be considered as a modern city unless it has good taxi service,” added Quader.

Presently, about 1,000 cabs are operating in the capital and their service is way too poor.

 

Source: The Daily Star

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Fear of Propaganda in Bangladesh Army

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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the Generals’ Conference.

Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina went to Dhaka Cantonment on Sunday and addressed the Generals’ Conference of the Bangladesh Army. In her speech, she made some observations and stated that a ‘vested quarter’ has been spreading ‘baseless information and rumors’.

He comment came at a time when Bangladesh is holding trial of a number of people accused in crimes against humanity during the 1971 war of liberation. The Prime Minister referred to the trial in her speech and said her government has brought the war criminals under the trial process, which was not an easy task and there were many obstacles.

Her indication is close to clear and it is quite simple who the quarter she meant. So she called upon the army to remain vigilant as ‘anti-state conspiracy is being hatched to resist the trial and creating anarchy to stop the trial process’. The Prime Minister urged them to remain vigil so that the junior officers are not victimised by the propaganda of the vested quarters who, what she said, ‘want to create confusion among the members of the armed forces through spreading baseless information and rumors’.

Not many months have passed that the Army had arranged a press conference for the first time in its history to tell the people through media that a number of junior officers were involved in a coup plot and their bid was foiled.

The trial for the crimes against humanity has seen smart information campaign on behalf of the accused and much less has been seen on the part of those who were holding the trial. Their campaign has seen a number of reporting in the international media questioning the process of the trial. Many international human rights organisations voiced concern and lately Turkey, known long as a friendly country of Bangladesh, openly spoke on behalf of the accused. So, the next area of showing strength is obviously the military for those who are against the trial.

In order to counter the information campaign, too little has been done. Just a small example could be lack of an official website. The International Crimes Tribunal has no website of its own and one may get more information from the website of Jamaat-e-Islami, the political party which has seen almost all its top brass on the dock of the tribunal. The info-sphere is full of information provided by those who are accused.

Now the Prime Minister is well aware that propaganda has been playing a major role. But what her government has done so far? Is it enough to call upon the Generals to remain alert so that their juniors do not fall prey to such propaganda? Try to learn something from the opposite camp.

Moral supports are more than huge for holding the trial. But such moral support in home and abroad could be augmented if the pro-trial side was bit smarter to realise the importance of propaganda. Without that her adamant attitude of holding the trial defying all odds may appear as a ‘political vengeance’ as narrated by her opponents.

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