Analog Bangladesh

j@shadakalo

j@shadakalo

My day job, how I earn my living, is technology, and my passion is the effect of technology on society. As a result, I feel I am qualified to make the following statement: People can not eat bytes, and I can assure you that they will not care one little bit if Bangladesh is digital or not if they are hungry and struggling to make ends meet.

When Bill Clinton was campaigning against George Bush Sr. in 1991 (who had 90% approval rating at that time), a Clinton adviser, James Carville, hung a sign in his office that said “It’s the economy, stupid.” This referred to the fact that Bush’s 90% approval rating came from winning the 1991 Gulf War but the economy was getting bad and it will hurt Bush soon. That’s exactly what happened–in 1992 Bush had 64% disapproval, and “It’s the economy, stupid” became immortalized as the phrase that best describes what voters care about the most. We saw another example of this when Clinton was president: despite personal scandals, Clinton oversaw a booming economy and is still hugely popular in the USA–the voters really did not care what he did that did not affect the country or the economy.

There is no reason to think that Bangladeshi voters are any different. They punished AL in 2001, BNP in 2008, and will do it again in 2014 if AL can not deliver on its promises.

So here is my humble suggestion: take care of building a solid Analog Bangladesh before trying to go digital.

In the Bangladeshi context, what does this mean? The answer is simple: Food and essentials prices, law and order, transportation.

First, kill Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB). Since 1974, TCB has never been able to control market prices–so why carry this white elephant?

Second: remove the requirement for government licenses to import food. Why would a marchant need a new license to import Onions or Rice if he already has a license to trade? This only keeps out competition, and makes the Khatunganj syndicate stronger. AMA Muhith spoke last night about breaking up the syndicates. Give everyone the power to import, and the syndicates will vanish on their own.

Third: Accept that police officers are sometimes corrupt. Change the current process called “closing” when a police officer is caught. That is nothing but a joke. The current laws of the republic are sufficient: just enforce them. Establish an “Internal Affairs” department under the ACC, give them the power and the task to root out police corruption and misdeeds, and see what happens. Start with Kohinoor Mia and the other corrupt police officers who framed Joj miah for the bus bombings.

The PM has kept defense in her own hand, and a former DGFI chief, Major Gen. (rtd) Tarique Ahmed Siddik is now her security adviser. Can we expect that crimes committed by the Army will not be swept under the rug any more? Specifically, I am referring to the Chalesh Ritchill Sangma’s death, and the judicial commission that was set up to investigate it. Let us, for once, see that a uniform does not grant a virtual indemnity, and that justice is served. Set one example, dear Prime Minister, and the rest will follow.

Fourth: Ask each Minister to take a public oath that they will not call any police officer and ask them to release any criminal.

Fifth: Establish an efficient mass transit system in Dhaka. Please, I beg you. Just an overhead light rail will do. Start with Mirpur to Motijheel by 2012, and add routes in the next few years if possible.

Then we can talk about a Digital Bangladesh.

J @ Shada Kalo [http://shadakalo.blogspot.com] writes using a pseudonym and is best known for exposing government, military, corporate foul plays through whistle-blowing investigative reports.

[Read posts by J @ Shada Kalo]


4 Responses to “Analog Bangladesh”

  1. Engr Khondkar Abdus Saleque

    Good write up. Common people of Bangladesh whose daily income is less than a dllar a day are little concerned whether they have analog or Digital Bangladesh. They want to live in a peaceful society where they can have two square meals. Most of them live from hands to mouth any way. If one considers the inflation , orice spirals aginset the salry of Government officails one can not make out how it is possible to to survive . So most either live very miserable life or resort to corruption some for fun others for mere living. So long major corrupt perosn, corruption syndicates hardly got punished. The just past CTG could successfully bring a portion of corrupt persons under law. But big wigs ultinmately slipped through the loopholes of the law.Scimiter , Saipem ,Niko, Gatco, Barapukuria, Magurchara, Shangu all have massive corruption where major political personalities are involved. The beneficiaries have not been punished and probably will never be punished. But people have right to know about these. Can ACC prepare a White paper? People must hate these obnoxious weeds and boycot them socially> Well can Hasina make Police service respectable. In Western World Police is real friend of the People>. How can our poorly paid police with so many opportunity of corruption remain honest? Look at the facilities and logistics the Police Stations have.? Even to run day to day office expenditures OCs have to collect money . Every Government make police their own servant> Police sercvice must be made respectable. They must have good traning, good facilities, enough resources to confront challenges. We now have National ID cards. Every police station should have IT failities, GIS facilities. Police must have modern cars, sophisticated weapons. Every police officer must be accountable. Bangladesh can very well be a police coutry. We definitely need strong Border security and Strong Navy to police our borders . But we need proper modern police force to comfort civic life.
    Next priority is definitely Agriculture. Bangladesh is urviving despite of poor governance, unbriddled corruption mainly due to wonderfully performing farmers. They must get all kinds of support. Agri inputs like seeds, fertilisers, pesticides, diesel, power for irrigation must be made easily available to them.The syndicates must be crashed. Farmers must get good value of their products. More Godowns and Cold storage must be set up at Growth Centers. TCB and BADC must be made truely effective.
    Keeping Defence, Finance, Planning , Home , Foreign minstry in Dhaka city rest of the minstry head quarters may be moved outside Dhaka in surrounding diustricts to relieve pressure on the city, RMG, Ltaher and Textile Villages must be set up outside Dhak city to move at least 50% population out of the city. Then only with about 0.75-0.8 million people in the Capital Government can plan and implement proper infrastructure development, Circular Rail, Road, Metro, Elevated Roads . The surrounding Duistricts like Gazipoor, Tngail, Narayanganj, Norshingdi, Bbaria , Comilla, Munshiganj, Manikganj can take away most of the pressure of Dhaka city. The Western region like Rajshahi Division, Khula and Barishal division may also grow utilising the natural resources .
    We belive Bangladesh has enourmus potential to achieve Digital vison by 2021.

  2. Dejected BNP supporter

    BNP has been shattered. People have rejected us for our misdeeds. We terrorised and vandalized villages one after another, made AL supporters leave their home and never allowed them to return in the next five years, collaborated with war criminals of 1971, lied about Bangladesh’s true history, allowed scoundrels like Tareq, Babar, Coco, Mamun to plunder and loot Bangladesh, politicised education, administration and police, made a false voter list of one crore twenty five lakh voters and so on andon. We only failed to win the heart of army. Otherwise we would have won this time by massive rigging.

    I think we have been outsmarted by Awami League on all fronts. Just look at their cabinet. Tareq is no match for Sohel Taj. Taj has brains while Tareq indulged in terrorism.

    BNP must take lessons from its gloomy past. We must work very hard and score points on Awami League’s failures.

    Hartal and anarchy will be suicidal for us. With a fair voter list it will be difficult for us to win in 2012. But we must try by correcting our wrong-doings of the past.

    First and foremost, we must distance ourselves from war criminals and collaborators of 1971. We must voice support for their trial and conviction.

  3. Complete hydroponic system

    Pretty cool post – raises some interesting points for debate. I just stumbled upon your blog this morning and wanted to say that I have really liked browsing some of the posts. Anyways, I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope to read more very soon!

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