The news is very eye-catching and commensurate in terms of ‘positive Bangladesh’: recently the ministry of Industry has sent a proposal to the cabinet division for the decision to reopen three state-owned mills. The National Coordination Committee (NCC) to combat serious crimes has recommended positively on the proposal. But the outcome is not so simple, as we see that NCC recommended to handover North Bengal Paper Mills, one of these three mills to the Bangladesh army for proper maintenances and productivity!
The Daily Star, one of the critical corporate media of Bangladesh reports on 13 July, 2008:
According to an industry ministry proposal sent to cabinet division early this month, the NCC recommended: “In order to make the mill productive, it is necessary to hand over the mill to an organisation that is disciplined and neutral. Therefore, it will be rational to handover the mill to the Army for its revival.”
Nice Recommendation! But it is not clear why they did not make the same recommendation for the other two mills when the NCC feels that productivity comes from only ‘the disciplined and neutral organisation’ like ‘Bangladesh Army’.
In the same news the newspaper has a different tone than usual and includes comments in favour of NCC’s proposal by Zaid Bakht, research director of Bangladesh Institute of Development:
Its better that the mills are run directly by the army and not an organisation like the Sena Kalyan Sangstha (Armed forces welfare association), which he says, will not make the effort viable.
The process indicates an alternative way to accumulate the corporate power by controlling and administering the state-owned industry. After the 1/11 turnout of events we heard many things about the army’s role and their part in the public administration but not so much on their involvement in the corporate arena. The process of formulation of the National Security Council is still now in the pipeline which can take a more prominent role than NCC. This handover of the state-owned industry to the army might be the emergence of a pattern of the army’s intervention in the corporate power structure. Or it may be the starting point of conflict of civil corporate power with the emerging armed forces corporate. Because civil corporate thinks that privatisation is the only solution for the state-owned industrial crisis.
The international weekly magazine ‘Economist’ published an article on Bangladesh’s anti-graft efforts on November 08, 2007, in which they wrote:
For the regime, the anti-graft drive has had some useful side-effects. The intelligence services are systematically acquiring shares in private media companies, by offering the release from detention of their owners in return.
So it is clear that a part of the media industry of Bangladesh has been working in a conditional way, some visibly under self censorship. Now it can be deducted that the media industry works not only in favour of the civil corporate, but is also paving the armed forces foray in the corporate world.
It might be good time for Naomi Klein to start writing another book on corporate power, on their new characteristics especially in some Asian states.