Wednesday, October 14, 2009

World's Largest Dam on Brahmaputra River

(RealTimeBangladesh Blog Report, October 14, 2009 (c))

Brahmaputra- the mightiest of the rivers of Bangladesh – one of the last untamed major rivers of the world is going to change! Good buy Jamuna and Meghna.

 The Sun is Setting over Brahmaputra 
(a picture taken  by the author on a river trip near Jamuna Bridge, July 2008)

If you are tormented about TipaiMukhi Dam on Surma and Kushiara then brace for more agonizing news.

Entire Bangladesh is now apprehensive as the Tipaimukh Dam rises. None is optimistic how much our big neighbor India is going to care about the concerns of Bangladesh. 

The irony is that Bangladesh's big neighbor is in a similar peril concerning its bigger neighbor China. Indigenous Portal Reports:
“As Bangladesh engaged India to drop construction of Tipaimukh dam, India too is busy raising concerns with Chinese Govt’s efforts to dam Yarlung Tsangpo (Brahmaputra)..

The project has been acknowledged by Chinese officials. Mr. Shu Yinbiao, vice president of State Grid Corp. of China opined::
, “An initial study shows the river can accommodate hydropower stations with a total capacity of 70 gigawatts, or about 10 percent of the nation's overall generating capacity”.

But behold! This is not going to be just any ordinary hydro -engineering. 

This will be an gigantic power plant with an astonishing generation capacity of 20-40,000 Mega Watt! Nothing like this exists today. If built- this will be the largest in the world. How large? Sheer three times bigger than the current world’s largest hydroelectric plant- the Three River Gorges Dam. To put it into perspective this one plant can fulfill the entire energy need of Bangladesh five times over. The taming of this mighty river will require nuclear explosives to punch hole in Himalayan mountains!

But, the real concern in the downstream in not on the generation of hydro-electricity. The proposed dam will: 
"divert 200 billion cubic meters of waters to the Yellow River for easing water shortages in cities of Shaanxi, Beijing and Tianjin in Northern China."

How it will impact us ? Profound, massive and unknown.The above article reports:

“The water diversion project at the Great Bend will spell disaster for the Tibetan plateau and the lower riparian countries, India’s North East and Bangladesh.[12] Officially the projects has been termed as the great South-North water diversion project of China. .. India fears Chinese reported plans to use nuclear technology in the project will lead to environmental concerns in the Eastern Himalayas.[13]  Indian experts say the mega scheme could be disastrous for the 185 million people of India’s North East and Bangladesh.
There is also serious concern about the Earthquake disaster:
the region’s regular earthquakes, that can hit 8.0 on the Richter scale, can destroy the proposed Chinese dam and cause devastating floods downstream.”
Brahmaputra itself is one of the most seismically active rivers of the world. Earthquakes have dramatically shaped its course even in close history. About 250 years ago the river inside Bangladesh used to have one flow. A massive earthquake splitted it into its two present flows.  The Brahmaputra reports:

“Due to the colliding Eurasian (Chinese) and Indian tectonic plates, the Brahmaputra valley and its adjoining hill ranges are seismically very unstable. The earthquakes of 1897 and 1950, both of Richter magnitude 8.7, are among the most severe in recorded history. These earthquakes caused extensive landslides and rock falls on hill slopes, subsidence and fissuring in the valley and changes in the course and configuration of several tributary rivers as well as the main course. .. The earthquake of 1950, for example, raised the bed level of the Brahmaputra at Dibrugarh by at least three metres leading to increased flood and erosion hazard potential in the river.”

A sizable part of world population will be affected by this project. Sudha Ramachandran's  AsiaTimesOnline Report reports: 
"..47% of the world's population, are dependent on water rising in the Tibetan plateau. ...With the Yalong Tsangpo's waters being diverted, the amount of water in the Brahmaputra will fall significantly, affecting India's northeast and Bangladesh. It will severely impact agriculture and fishing there as the salinity of water will increase, as will silting in the downstream area.”
 The Tibetan Plateau Blog from UK reports that this is indeed a series of projects and companies have been already signed up:
“A China Daily story yesterday acknowledged that the "Zangmu Water Power Station" is on the main stream of the middle reaches of Brahmaputra, at dZam (རྫམ་) township. Sources tell me that there are five dams planned in this section of the river, and construction has been going on since 2006. .. The installed capacity of 'Zangmu Water Power Station' will be 510 MW. The project is located in Lhokha (Shannan) Prefecture of Tibet Autonomous Region, about 140 km southeast from Lhasa.. Huaneng, China's top power company, is backing the financing of the project and, Gezhouba - one of China's biggest dam construction companies, will build the project...China is likely to approve more dam projects on the Brahmaputra this year.”
Indianexpress confirms the story with a satellite image of the site.

Brahmaputra the River Like None Other

The river Brahmaputra has touched all aspect of Bengali life and culture. 

Countless novels, poems, and songs portray the impact of this river on the life of Bengal. The life along the banks of Brahmapurta has remained almost unchanged for eons. The people in its banks continually fight with annual flood, river erosion and frequent earthquake. It symbolizes the unchanged condition of Bengali commoners- represent the menace of common man in the hand of more powerful. It also tells about the heroic determination of the people- the ability to rebuild lives and village even after being crushed by powerful indomitable forces.

Fishing nets on the river of Brahmaputra, India
Bengal "Still Life". For hundred's of years this is how fishermen cast the nets for their livelihood (BBC)

The river has become such an integral part of our life- it often feels invisible like the air we breadth. In Bangladesh we are little aware how special this river is. Indeed, this is one of the most fascinating rivers of the world.

The 2,906-km long Brahmaputra is one of Asia's largest rivers. Like several other great rivers of ours, Brahmaputra originates at sacred Mountain Kailash in the northern Himalaya. 

It then traverse its first stretch of 1,600+ km in China's Tibet region, the next 900+ km in India, another 400+ km in Bangladesh and finally emptying it all into the Bay of Bengal. 

Despite the legends, its identity with the Tibet was only established formally by an exploration in 1884-86. Its upper stretch is the Yarlung Tsangpo river of Tibet.

In Bangladesh, the Brahmaputra splits into two branches: the larger branch is known as the Jomuna and flows into the Padma. The older branch curves towards east as the lower Brahmaputra and flows into the Meghna. Both paths eventually rejoins near Chandpur. However, 250 years ago the actual Brahmaputra river in Bangladesh flowed through current Jamalpur and Mymensingh districts undivided. A serious earthquake split it into present flows.

Bay of Bengal - March 24th, 2009

Rivers of Bangladesh from space.  Padma flows from the left. The largest is the Brahmaputra or Jomuna. See the relative sizes. Imagine the potential impact.

In the plains of Bangladesh the river is so wide that in places the other side of the bank is not visible in a typical day. The average width of Brahmaputra is close to 10 km in plains which is on the widest in the world. The average depth of Brahmaputra is 124 feet (38 m) and maximum depth is 380 feet (120 m). The Brahmaputra along with Ganges creates the largest delta in the world, Sundarban in Bangladesh.

With an average annual discharge of 19,830 cubic meter per second at its mouth, the Brahmaputra ranks fourth among the large rivers of the world. It is second largest river in the world in terms of sediment carriage about 0.4 billion metric ton (Earth’s weight is estimated to be 5000 trillion metric ton!). This is enough to build a 10-15 square mile island in 35 feet deep-ocean every year.
Growing up with the expanse of the river at great confluence of Chandpur. Also look carefully at the horizon where sky meets water-  there is no visible other bank. Chandpur is the largest river confluence in the world. (See more enchanting photos:

However, its charms are not only the numbers- this unique river has mysteries of mythical proportion in recent years which have evoked interest among scientists and explorers of the world like no other.

The Real Sangri-La?

In recent Bangladesh we are familiar with the Story of Shagri-La- less from out Buddhist past but more due to James Hilton's book and film. The word actually comes from Sanskit word Shambhala meaning "place of peace". Shangri-La is an Eden on Earth- an utopia described in Tibetan scripture where people never age, trees grant wishes, and happiness reigns eternally.

According to the Tibetan scriptures there are only seven such places. But, where? According to it- such earthly paradise resides within the lush, subtropical area between two towering Himalayan peaks. A Shangri-La myth is that the river's waterfalls conceal a secret passageway to the spirit world. It is told that in case of great cataclysm life will sustain only in these seven places of the world. So where are those places exactly?

The mysterious river chasm from the ridge top.

The Lure of Brahmaputra
One of the focal points of this interest is the Himalayan stretch. Once this river enters the great Himalayan mountains between Namcha Barwa (25,436 feet) and Gyala Peri (23,891 feet)- each standing only approximately 12 miles apart the river becomes astounding- the world’s wildest, deepest, steepest. It's now known to be the world's deepest gorge (17,758 feet)- three times deep and eight times steeper than Grand Canyon of Arizona! If you have hiked below to the grand chasm of Grand Canyon and felt the lapping sound of Colorado river you can only imagine what it might feel like down there looking up!

To make it further unique- yet another formidable mountain Dorje Bragsen (12,818 feet), stands guard to this entrance thus forming the most protected, elusive, secret and mysterious gorge of all.

Namcha Barwa  to the far left  and Gyala Peri to the far right. The world's deepest gorge lies between. The formidable Dorje Bragsen mountain stands guard (Photo 1998 Gilenwater Expedition).

The area is however sacredly protected by the local people. The 1870’s British explorers noticed the river Tsangpo's disappearance into the gorge of Namcha Barwa foothill and the Brahmaputra’s emergence below. Though, British could not explore the stretch due to fierce resistance by the locals- however the height difference between the two ends inspired a scientific curiosity fueled by the allure of the Himalayan version of the utopia

By the 1870s, a controversy was raging in Royal Geographical Society with unresolved rumors about a waterfall the size of Niagara or Victoria Falls in this uncharted segment. Now it is known that there are several large waterfalls in the area though not visible even from satellite images.
In modern times, National Geographic reports it as one of the last of the lost world on earth. It sent a river expeditions into the area in 1997 and 1998 but the expedition was abandoned due to the death of one of its explorer into its formidable rapids- Douglas Gordon, a PhD student of University of Utah and a member of US national canoing team. Here is the YouTube video that captures the  ultimate lure of  this river and the final moments of Douglas.

In 1998 a land expedition ventured upon the Gorge in search of the fabled and legendary “Hidden Waterfalls of Shangri-La". Readers can read the expedition report in Hidden Waterfalls of Shangri-La .In one place  explorers states:
“Western logic is inadequate to explain certain phenomena that we experienced here … We saw rivers flowing side-by-side but in opposite directions. We would be guided back onto lost trails by Tibetan priests directing us to follow brilliant double rainbows. Local hunters would miraculously appear out of the mists to lead us to our next destination. And when we were running out of food an Asian black bear appeared frozen in a glacier. We then lived on bear meat for a week.”
Still very little is known about the detail-except it is a very large waterfall.

Going into the River of Hell

In 2002 again another group of explorers set out to ride this river. Read Peter Heller’s article Liquid Thunder about this 19th century like expedition story in 2002 where seven of world’s best ten expedition paddlers from seven countries led by Scott Lindgren from California made the first ever descent into the gorge:
“It's the cradle of Shangri-la, and one of the deepest river gorges on earth. It's a fortress guarding sacred waterfalls, and a cauldron of savage whitewater and unrunnable rapids. In the chill of the Himalayan winter, seven world-class kayakers led a massive expedition into the shadowy realm of Tibet's Tsangpo River , and launched their boats down its roaring throat. They were either going to die—or emerge transformed.”
“The gorge was a Himalayan chasm so shrouded in mystery and danger that a legendary waterfall in its depths, sought by explorers for more than a hundred years, was never even photographed until late in the 20th century. And it was a place, like Everest, that shimmered with mythic lore and menacing superlatives. By some measures, it is the deepest river gorge in the world—three times deeper, with the river tilted eight times steeper, than the Grand Canyon.”

If you have rafted the class III-IV rated rapids, watch here some unbelievable video of this first descent of Upper Tsangpo Kayaking. You are sure to get some adrenalin rush watching the ride and the rapids which are beyond rating:

This is the upper river only. The lower Tsangpo is still unconquered.  The team simply gave up!

The Lost World of Unknown Species?

Not unexpectedly, the area now has become the latest treasure trove for world's biologist.  Bio-diversity wise- some of the areas fed by this river is now considered one of the top  two (or perhaps the top) bio-diverse ares of the world - The rate of new species discoveries here now is at per with Borneo. Read the The World Worldlife Fund's (WWF) report: The Eastern Himalayas – Where Worlds Collide detailing discoveries made by scientists between 1998 and 2008. Among the finding of many strange animals it also reports the finding of a blue flower which changes color with day:
"the rare plant can grow as tall as 60cm and flowers all year round. The many flowers are dramatic in both colour and form and, extraordinarily, the colour seems to change with temperature and exposure. They sometimes appear truly blue when in a cool climate and change to purple when temperatures rises".
Here is a picture of the flower.

Its is also turning the pages of science. The oldest known gecko species found in fossil is known to be 100 million years old. Scientists discovered a living sample of this creature in the region.

This shoal mach (fish) with purple and orange spots found from the tributaries of  Himalayan Brahmaputra in 2000 found is listed as a new species. 

International Co-operation: Dialogue of the Deafs?

Bangladesh is concerned.

The irony is that Bangladesh's big neighbor is in a similar state to its bigger neighbor China on the issue of even a bigger dam the dam of Brahmaputra.

However, while Indian’s are concerned about China over the Brahmaputra dam, China is not alone in the frenzy of exploiting hydroelectricity from Brahma Putra. India has its own plan on it too. The study Brahmaputra by Indian scientists reports: 
“The Ministry of Power, government of India, has identified 226 potential sites for large multi-purpose dams on the rivers of northeast India, most of them being in the Brahmaputra basin. Further the ministry is contemplating the generation of a colossal 99,256 MW of hydropower from the rivers of the region in the next fifty years (Brahmaputra Board, 2000), much in excess of what will be actually required for the region (see figure on pg. 14). Several mega-dam projects such as the Upper Subansiri (2,500 MW), Upper Siang (11,000 MW), Middle Siang (750 MW), Lower Siang (1,700 MW), Kameng  (600 MW), Tipaimukh (1,500 MW) and Ranganadi (450 MW) are presently at various stages of planning and development.”

Sudha Ramachandran's  AsiaTimesOnline Report reports:
 Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is reported during his recent Beijing visit to have raised the issue of international rivers flowing out of Tibet. Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao has said that water scarcity threatened the very "survival of the Chinese nation".

The projects has been part of  the official great South-North water diversion project of China . The initial idea was laid out by Mao Zedong himself in 1950's. But due to enormous cost of such colossus projects it took the affluence of 21st century's China to embark on real start.

Atleast until some time ago, there were also concerns within Chinese experts about the water diversion part of the project. A 2006, article published in ChinaDaily reported that then- no one else but the water resources minister of China himself - Mr. Wang Shucheng, also a hydraulic engineer (read his book on the topic) opposed it as unscientific:
"There is no need for such dramatic and unscientific projects.. For example, we must keep an eye on possible floods when the Yellow River has 58 billion cubic metres of water. If another 50 billion cubic metres, not to mention 200 billion [from Brahmaputra], is poured in, I am sure all the dams and protection embankments will be destroyed immediately."

The river is about to pour serious  fuel to the geopolitical conflict. Journalist  Claude Arpi writes:
If Beijing goes ahead with the Tsangpo project it would practically mean a declaration of war against South Asia."
The FrontierPost from Pakistan voices the peril of Bangladesh and writes and article with title: "Water Grabber and Nuclear War".

It is important to know that the area has always been sacredly guarded by the local people. They resisted and stopped the British exploration.

The energy crisis, the limitless apatite for  power to fuel the growth of consumptive lifestyle has  put all of us into  this new situation. The world will change faster around us as we follow the false prophet of progress.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

News From Around

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Tens of Thousands Dhaka Apartments Built with Toxic Dump?

(RealTimeBangladesh Blog Report, October 4, 2009 (c))

Last weeks we blogged about apartments- if the recent houses built in this decade of apartment mania can withstand the big jolts?

[Villagers in the Dominican Republic claim children have been born without limbs and organs. And, they are blaming the abnormalities on rock ash dumped by a Virginia coal company. ]

You are feeling lucky? No earthquake in Bangladesh in last few days?  Well if your apartment or house is recently built you may have more reasons to be shaken.

An alternate title for this report might have been Radioactive Apartments of Bangladesh!  Read on..

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

PM Hasina's Paper Co-Authored with US Army Officer: Chittagong Hill Tracts is the Road Map for Pakistan Tribal Areas

(RealTimeBangladesh Blog Report, September 29, 2009 (c))

Extensive Training facilities of Islamic militants have been discovered in Chittagong Hill Track (CHT) areas of Bangladesh.

Do you know in January 2009 The Prime Minister Hasina Wazed co-authored  an article with a US military officer, a graduate of West Point Military School, and a First Lieutenant of Iraq War- published in the Internet edition of Armchair General magazine titled Smoking al Qaida and the Taliban Out of Pakistan’s Tribal Region?

If you did not know- PM's son Mr. Sajeeb Joy has also authored another article with the same officer of US Army.  It is possibly interesting to look at these two articles from two very important personalities in current Bangladesh.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Suicide Sqad Training Camps by Islamic Militants Discovered in the Jungles of Bangladesh

Suicide Squad Training Camps Run by Islamic Militants Discovered in Bangladesh Jungle

    The captured senior militant commander Mr. Saifullah- being very true to his name- is disclosing stunning information about the extent of JMB operations in Bangladesh.

    Just not that one tin shed bungalow published in yesterday's Dhaka news papers- that there are now 14 training campuses in various remote jungles.  Indeed where there is a popular jungle retreat- Coxes’ Bazar to Sylhet they are also lurking close-by inside the jungle.

    It looks like it’s almost a university like situation. More than 500 militant officers are receiving training in various areas ranging from explosive making, suicide bombing and even in information technology! Who says women education is at peril under the Islamist. It also has squad of female suicide bombers.

    The Arabic name Saifullah means “Sword of God”.  But, the group is using much more than human sword. The groups R&D department has devised various smart bombs such as flask bomb, pen bomb, book bomb, etc. For example, a book bomb can be carried in a simple bag while the pen bomb can be carried in shirt pockets. These devices can be detonated by remote operation.

    The explosives required to make these smart devices are coming from local and Indian free markets. According to unnamed sources- Mr. Sword has further indicated that the funding is coming from sources in UK, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Perhaps, each of these countries should be rebuked to aid in terrorism in Bangladesh.

    The spin around the news has also begun. RAB and the authorities are claiming that this capture and bust indicate how successful they are in countering militants. They are near elimination. So did the last two administrations. Looking at the bigger picture it is however, not clear who is actually winning. Apparently, this capture also indicates that the militants are planning for the long haul- much longer than the terms of our administrations.

    The foreign policies of US and West are fueling JMB recruitment. But also, thanks to the added wisdom of our own government. The opening up of the worm of amendment of the 5th amendment of country's constitution- can only help further fuel the problem.

    Wednesday, September 23, 2009

    Health Care Bangladeshi Style

    Heart Bypass Patient Slapped, Cursed and Killed by Nurse in National Heart Foundation Hospital.

    Yes it happened last week!

    As health care debate rages in USA- it is probably time to reflect back in our own yard- the horrific state of health services in Bangladesh. Every family now has horror stories. Many doctors and rouge institutions are operating with open license to kill. There exists no patients bill of rights.

    Can doctors, and medical professionals take note how much the profession has sunk?  Below are some reports which should defy all sensibility:
    This Princeton University and World Bank study performed by random visits found that doctors are suffering from absenteeism pandemic. It states:

    Nationwide the average number of vacancies over all types of providers in rural health centers is 26 percent. Regionally, vacancy rates (unfilled posts) are generally higher in the poorer parts of the country. Absentee rates at over 40 percent are particularly high for doctors. When separated into level of facility, the absentee rate for doctors at the larger clinics is 40 percent, but at the smaller subcenters with a single doctor, the rate is 74 percent.
    If you are poor- of course you have no care. If you are rich then also the industry will be glad to take your money- but still you wont have the care. The only way to get service is to know closely someone in the hospital.

    In Bangladesh too many doctors are collecting kickbacks from test laboratories by referring tests. Some test labs and hospitals are paying kickback's up to 33-40% [Ref]. Some have devised indirect schemes to launder the payment. This is completely unethical and even declared criminal in many countries.. Even Bangladesh Medical Association (BMA)'s ethics statement says:
    "The following practices are deemed unethical:
    (3) Receiving any money in connection with services rendered to a patient other than a proper professional fee, even with the knowledge of the patient."
    BMA and Government should investigate the doctors and clinics enaged in such practice and take back all the income and profit generated from such practice by prosecution, black mark on practice license and above all hefty fine. It is time, the country must look into its own health care reform and perhaps take a fresh look at the state.

    Monday, September 21, 2009

    8.0+ Earthquake Imminent?

    A big shake- ostensibly shaking the Dhakaite's sense of invincibility- lasting a full 20 seconds was felt at Dhaka immediately following the Eid, at about 3:55 p.m. Its epicenter was 460 kilometers north-northeast of Dhaka near the Bhutan-China border. This is the 5th jolt felt in the north eastern India and Bangladesh region- in last few weeks each with increasing magnitude 4.0, 4.3, 4.9, 5.3, and 5.9 and now a 6.4.
    Map showing earthquakes

    See how hot the area have become from the Real Time Earthquake Map served live by USGA.

    Is an Earthquake of thousand year now imminent? A paper by geophysist Roger Bilham at the University of Colorado is predicting  a mega earthquake of more than 8.0 magnitude is imminent here, putting over 50 million people at risk in India, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Bhutan. The paper says: 

    Sunday, September 20, 2009

    Nirjhar's New Film Namuna Held at Censor Board

    Its story about the battle between two power obsessed ladies. The satire is right on mark expressing something that millions have in heart- but none of the two ladies would like. It goes like this:

    Breaking News From Around

    Friday, September 18, 2009

    Bangladesh Joins The List of Countries with Nuclear Ambition

    Bangladesh has also revealed its interest to join the growing ranks of countries set to get nuclear energy. The step minister for Science, Information and Technology Yafes Usman said that already it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Russians in May. A Russian team has visited Bangladesh. A team from Dhaka is due to visit Russia in late October. The first step of the plan is to get a 600-1000 MW Plant to meet the extreme electricity scarcity of the country. It is part of consorted national effect.   It sought the approval from IAEA  in 2007 said Tapan Chowdhury, adviser to then interim government and head of the energy ministry.
    The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

    Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated countries on Earth. It also has a relatively smaller geographic area. The safety of the plant can be a major concern. It has the potential to turn into a mega disaster.

    On the other hand there is almost no reserve in natural energy in the country.  Bangladesh has about 14 tcf of proven and recoverable gas reserves. More than 3 tcf of gas has been extracted and it consumes around 1.6 billion cubic feet (bcf) gas per day. It's small gas and coal reserves will run out within decades if used at the present rate.

    Hidden among the development is probably a brewing mini nuclear race in the Ganges Delta.  Read on Myanmer's nuclear ambitions too.  Steps ahead, Burma is building  a 10 MW light-water nuclear Research Reactor. It has an active uranium search program which confirmed deposit discoveries in five sites Magwe, Taungdwingyi, Kyaukphygon and Paongpyin in Mogok, and Kyauksin. In 2006, a full fledged nuclear engineering departments at Yangoon Technological University (equivalent of BUET) has been established with BS to PhD program. There is uncorroborated report about a secret weapons program in the Naung Laing mountains [Google Earth View of the Secret Installation] - located less than 400 km east of Dhaka.

    How hard it will be for Bangladesh to set a foot in the game? In 2008, Pakistan has offered strategic partnership to Bangladesh in nuclear technology.

    It a classic nuclear chain reaction. Pakistan got it for India. India did it not that much to fight Pakistan- but to secure itself against China. China got it to be balance it's power with US and the West. But by now it has nothing to do with US or West. The complex geopolitics of the sub-continent makes its a matter of mere Bangladesh's national will.

    Thursday, September 17, 2009

    Abducted NSU Student in FBI Custody: Father Appeals PM to Intervene

    Father says DGFI picked up a North South University student from Tejgaon Arong Store at Dhaka and was flown by CIA to FBI back in 2006.  Father urges PM Hasina's help in his release. The father does his news conf. at the alter of Dhaka University's 'Oprajeyo Bangla'- as if this symbolism bears some meaning.

    If you have not followed it before.. its a complex story. The boy born in US returned to Bangladesh for education and then left Bangladesh for US perhaps in the pursuit of happiness. But then at some point returned to BD and planned to settle and get married back in native country. Why? Who knows. But, by this time US did not want to part him. Uncle Sam sent a plane to pick him up. Now wont let him go..

    Family explains the tribulation in YouTube. Dont forget to see many other YouTube appeals for "freeing Shifa". As if YouTube have some mythical power to deliver justice for those who do not have other recourse?

    Airport Security is Such a Pain These Days..
    How we take it now a days? with a bit of asian humor. Read Airport security and Humor: A perilous journey through the anti-joke zone By Nury Vittachi

    Hasina Orders Metro Rails for Dhaka

    Hasina announces preliminary works..
    Initial Specifications Unveiled. Estimated about 10,00,000 people will be able to travel ..

    USD $$2 Billion bid for 33 mile freeway in Dhaka

    Master Plan from Lewis Berger Group

    Bangladesh Learning Internet Censor

    Bangladesh Interior Ministry has informed BTRC about 84 websites, some operated from abroad perhaps by NRB's- for encouraging pornography and prostitution. As a country with traditional culture it faces the dillema of balancing freedom of speech, adult right for pornography, commodification of women, and ruling parties need to silence opposing points of view. During the massacre at BDR early this year, the government also tried to block in vein Internet sites including youtube, when leaked video showed angry army officers shouting vehemently at the prime minister.

    Tipaimukhi Dam: Goodbye Surma, Kushiara as You Know It!

    FM Dipumoni's "Congenial" Talk with India | Shipping Minister: Bangladesh "will not be Harmed" | Water Resources Minister: "We Know Nothing About It!" | Bangladeshi Experts: "Ecological Disaster" | Indian Expert: "A Geo Tectonic Blunder"

    If you are agonizing over the dam- then behold- read about World's Largest Dam to Come on Brahmaputra which has been planned by China.

    More to Come: 100 more Dams Under Construction in Himalayas
    Indian Scientist on Hunger Strike to Stop Himalayan Dams

    Wednesday, September 16, 2009

    Asian Highway vs. Transit to India

    Hasina: Asian Highway to Run Through Faridpur.. Dhaka.. Bangladesh..
    Drive from Iran to Malysia via Dhaka. Asian Highway-1 (AH-1) would be constructed on the Benapole- Jessore- Bhanga- Dhaka- Kanchpur-Sylhet-Tamabil route and AH-2 on the Bangalabandha- Hatikamrul- Tangail- Dhaka- Kanchpur- Sylhet-Tamabil route..

    Transit to India: Group Threats Akhaura Port will be Bombed

    Army Deployed to Fight Hopeless DhakaTraffic Jam

    List of198 Dhaka Buildings Creating Traffic Jam
    Mobile phone company distributing mobile eiftar to hungry fasting commuters immobilized in traffic..

    People are not afraid of traffic police anymore..

    Real time traffic jamming in Gulshan..

    Politics & Business: Exit The Dragon Enter The Tiger

    Sajeeb Joy Aims at US Outsourcing Business

    Following The Trail of Bribe Money Paid by Siemens

    Tarek Zia in Melodic Video at UK

    Open Season Again for Land Grabbing: Even UN!

    Government land-grab by political and business bigwigs and administrative inactivity is a serious problem in Bangladesh. It is growing and land prices are skyrocketing.

    The Rangs Building- was owned by a powerful business group of Bangladesh. The group first made its fortune being one of the first distributor of SONY electronics goods in Bangladesh. The building stood as the 'national monument' of land pirates- as a symbol of corruption and abuse. In one of the few people's success stories it was demolished in 2008. This national 'accolade' now bestows on another building not too far from that Rang's Monument- featured below!

    There is also now new alarming trend that even public entities are diverting lands designated for public use for short term profits often political in nature with blatant disregard for public interest and environment. Even Local United Nation has gotten involved in this orgy. New Nation reports:
    "The government is going to inflict yet another taint on Louis I Kahn's Sher-e-Bangla Nagar capital complex by leasing out land for a training academy and a UN office.

    The Ministry of Public Works and Housing has leased out permanently a piece of open green land ... a two-acre plot to the UN office, sources say.  ... Noted architect Prof Shamsul Wares says the site falls within the 1,600-acre Sher-e-Bangla Nagar capital complex, also known as the National Assembly Complex, designed by world famous architect Kahn."
    Here are some recent news which should expose to the complexity of the problem:

    Public Grabing Kaptai Lake | RAJUK Grabing the Dhaka Rivers | Are You The Lucky One to Get a Plot in Purbachal? | United Nation to Grab 2-Acre from Shangshad Bhaban Lawn

    MOYEEN is Gone. Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) to Hold on to "Illegal" Skyscraper in the Middle of Precious Wetland at the Heart of Dhaka with Blessings from Govt.

    After the negative news of child labor, poor treatment of workers, the garments industry is earning another black spot. The misguided leadership of BGMEA is putting its members into trouble- opening its members to more national and international criticism-  making them appearing as rouge cohorts in the leadership's  dishonest mindset- apparently for no benefit to its members.

    In fact, the way things are turning - it might cost way more.

    The particular building -blatantly stands in the middle of Kawran Bazar's wet land. Such anti-environment activity  coupled with their other issues- can spar international boycott.

    It is not clear if BGMEA is aware of its precariousness. The labor unrest situation in Bangladesh Garment's Factory is one of the most explosive in the world. Extreme low wages- high awareness about the exploitation among the workers- and weakness of the management is  spelling  an accident to happen.

    You can write to BGMEA at

    Govt Recovers 26 Bigha Land Grabbed
    The grabber seems to be a member of the ruling party. To set example it should expel such members from the party of Bangabondhu.