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Crisis averted as VAT dropped n Tribune Report Demonstrations turned into celebrations yes- terday following the withdrawal of an unpop- ular VAT on private university education, end- ing nearly a week of sit-ins that ground traffic to a halt in the capital and averting potential clashes between law enforcers and students. The decision came following a directive from the prime minister that the tax be with- drawn. In a U-turn on the contentious issue, the Awami League-led government appeared to back down in the face of public disapproval, but won tremendous support in the process. Protesting students withdrew their block- ades and began joyful rallies after receiving news that the government had withdrawn the VAT. The decision to withdraw the VAT was an- nounced yesterday in a press release signed by Finance Ministry Senior Information Officer Shahedur Rahman. The press release reads: “The government does not want to create any interruption at educational institutions and suffering in public life. Considering the issue, the govern- ment has decided to withdraw the 7.5% VAT imposed on private universities, and private medical and engineering colleges. “The government hopes students and teachers of private education institutions will discontinue their street agitation and return to class. The government hopes they will not do anything that could create obstacles for the development of the country.” In a press briefing around 3:45pm yester- day, National Board of Revenue Chairman (NBR) Nojibur Rahman also announced that the 7.5% VAT on private university tuition fees had been withdrawn. A special order signed by NBR Chairman Nojibur Rahman said the NBR, under section 14 of the Value Added Tax Act, 1991, withdrew the VAT on private university, private medical and engineering colleges. “It will be considered that this order was executed from June 4, 2015,” the order read. The order said that since private university PAGE 2 COLUMN 1 SECOND EDITION STORIES, ANALYSES ON ANTI-VAT PROTESTS P3 PM WINS TOP UN ENVIRONMENT PRIZE PAGE 32 5 THINGS WE LEARNED FROM VAT PROTEST PAGE 3 CLINICAL DJOKER CAPS GREAT YEAR PAGE 25 TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2015 | Bhadro 31, 1422, Zilqad 30, 1436 | Regd No DA 6238, Vol 3, No 152 | www.dhakatribune.com | 32 pages | Price: Tk10
Transcript
  • Crisis averted as VAT droppedn Tribune ReportDemonstrations turned into celebrations yes-terday following the withdrawal of an unpop-ular VAT on private university education, end-ing nearly a week of sit-ins that ground tra c to a halt in the capital and averting potential clashes between law enforcers and students.

    The decision came following a directive from the prime minister that the tax be with-drawn.

    In a U-turn on the contentious issue, the Awami League-led government appeared to back down in the face of public disapproval,

    but won tremendous support in the process.Protesting students withdrew their block-

    ades and began joyful rallies after receiving news that the government had withdrawn the VAT.

    The decision to withdraw the VAT was an-nounced yesterday in a press release signed by Finance Ministry Senior Information O cer Shahedur Rahman.

    The press release reads: The government does not want to create any interruption

    at educational institutions and su ering in public life. Considering the issue, the govern-ment has decided to withdraw the 7.5% VAT imposed on private universities, and private medical and engineering colleges.

    The government hopes students and teachers of private education institutions will discontinue their street agitation and return to class. The government hopes they will not do anything that could create obstacles for the development of the country.

    In a press brie ng around 3:45pm yester-day, National Board of Revenue Chairman (NBR) Nojibur Rahman also announced that the 7.5% VAT on private university tuition fees had been withdrawn.

    A special order signed by NBR Chairman Nojibur Rahman said the NBR, under section 14 of the Value Added Tax Act, 1991, withdrew the VAT on private university, private medical and engineering colleges.

    It will be considered that this order was executed from June 4, 2015, the order read.

    The order said that since private university PAGE 2 COLUMN 1

    SECOND EDITION

    STORIES, ANALYSES ON ANTI-VAT PROTESTS P3

    PM WINS TOP UN ENVIRONMENT PRIZE PAGE 32

    5 THINGS WE LEARNED FROM VAT PROTEST PAGE 3

    CLINICAL DJOKER CAPS GREAT YEAR PAGE 25

    TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2015 | Bhadro 31, 1422, Zilqad 30, 1436 | Regd No DA 6238, Vol 3, No 152 | www.dhakatribune.com | 32 pages | Price: Tk10

  • CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

    Crisis averted as VAT droppedmedical and engineering college education is expensive, imposing a VAT will increase stu-dents education costs.

    The press release from the Finance Minis-try also said: When the budget was passed in parliament in June, the original proposal for a 10% VAT on education at private univer-sities and colleges was reduced to 7.5% at the instruction of the prime minister. After nearly three months, a handful of students have em-barked on a movement against the VAT.

    Those who study at private educational institutions spend a lot of money but do not want to pay an extra 7.5% in taxes. That is why they have quit their classrooms and disturbed public life by holding rallies and creating scope to hinder development.

    Earlier in the morning, Bangladesh Chhatra League, the student wing of the ruling Awa-mi League, called upon the prime minister to withdraw the VAT.

    Finance Minister AMA Muhith on Sunday said the government had not closed the door to discussion on the VAT issue.

    I am not rigid about the National Board of Revenues decision to impose VAT on tuition fees of private universities, he said. Muhith said he had not been rigid on any matter dur-ing the six years he has served as nance min-ister.

    The taxmans take on the issueIn the wake of widespread criticism for pro-

    posing the VAT, the National Board of Reve-nue (NBR) on Sunday night sent a report on the VAT on private university tuition fees to Finance Minister AMA Muhith.

    The report contains information on various countries that charge VAT on private educa-tion and estimates the amount of revenue that would be realised by imposing a VAT on pri-vate university education here.

    The NBR report also laid out legal argu-ments for making universities liable to paying VAT, sources said. NBR o cials said in many countries private education is not outside of the VAT net.

    VAT is imposed on private university edu-cation in England according to a certain crite-ria. There is a 15% VAT on private education in New Zealand and a 7% VAT on it in Singapore, NBR o cials said.

    According to the National Board of Reve-nue, the government would have collected Tk150 crore by imposing a 7.5% VAT in FY2015-16.

    The tax on private schooling would have cost an additional Tk1,500 per course per se-mester, according to a private university stu-dent.

    In its report to the nance minister, the NBR also provided details of several dozen pri-vate universities income tax les for the last decade and a half.

    The NBR reported that private universi-ties paid insigni cant amounts of income tax

    compared with pro ts made from tuition fees and other charges.

    The report contained information about in-come tax paid by 66 of 83 private universities in the country.

    According to the report, the NBR estimated that the private universities should have paid Tk123.47 crore in income tax between FY1998-99 and September 12, 2015 on the basis of their stated income.

    But they have paid only Tk47.78 crore in income tax during the period, while the rest of the amount remains pending as 25 universities have taken the matter to the High Court.

    NBR eld o ces are now collecting more data to dig deeper into the issue, o cials said.

    Cops and kidsThe recent spike in street agitation against the VAT on private university education began on September 9 when a group of East West Uni-versity students took to the streets in Rampu-ra, clashing with police who red rubber bul-lets at the students.

    Nearly 30 students were injured in the clash in which law enforcers charged batons and opened re on the students.

    By the next day, the student movement had spread like wild re across the city and else-where in the country.

    Private university students staged protests at key intersections of the city demandingthe withdrawal of the VAT, choking o

    tra c and leaving the capital in severegridlock.

    Dhaka students were joined by their col-leagues in Sylhet, Chittagong and Rajshahi following the police action against private university students on September 9.

    The rallies and blockades were largely peaceful, except for one incident on September 10 in which a group of unidenti ed assailants scu ed with protesters on the corner of Dhanmondis Road 27 and Satmasjid Road at the end of the day. Shortly afterwards, one student was clubbed on the head by a policeman while he was speaking to the media. He was sent to a nearby hospital in a rickshaw.

    Water-cannon were deployed around the capital and police in riot gear, armed with ba-tons, shields and shotguns were seen in force at major intersections of the capital early yes-terday morning.

    But the tense mood of the morning soon gave way to cheers of jubilation following the governments withdrawal of the VAT.

    We are very happy now, because our demand has been ful lled. Thanks to the government for withdrawing the VAT, said Ahmed Jubayer, a Law student at Uttara University.

    It is our right to have a tax-free education this victory restores our right to an educa-tion that is not taxed like a commodity, but is treated as a human right, he added. l

    TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2015NEWS2DT

    Even though students withdrew from the streets following the governments decision to cancel VAT on tuition fees in private universities, the tra c situation did not improve much yesterday as long queues of vehicles were seen around the city. The photo was taken yesterday at Kakali area MAHMUD HOSSAIN OPU

    Social Welfare Minister Mohsin Ali diesn Tribune Report

    Social Welfare Min-ister Syed Mohsin Ali died of a cardiac ar-rest yesterday morn-ing at a hospital in Singapore. He was 67.

    Acting secretary of the ministry

    Rupon Kanti Sheel con rmed the news: He breathed his last in Singapore at 8.59 am (Bangladesh time), the BSS reported.

    A veteran freedom ghter, Syed Mohsin Ali

    left his wife, three daughters, relatives, party men and well-wishers to mourn his death.

    He was an elected lawmaker from Hab-iganj-3 constituency.

    He had been su ering from pneumonia and some other diseases and went to Singa-pore recently for treatment there.

    At the death of Minister Mohsin Ali, Pres-ident Abdul Hamid, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her cabinet colleagues, Jatiya Sangsad Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaud-hury, Leader of the Opposition in Parliament Begum Raushan Ershad, among others, have expressed profound shock. l

    Pankaj: Water management next focus n Sheikh Shahariar ZamanIndian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Pankaj Saran yesterday said water manage-ment was going to be the next focus of the bilateral relationship.

    I think after the land boundary agree-ment, we seem to be heading for that di-rection, he said at a discussion on Bangla-desh-India relationship in the city.

    He said basin-wise management was men-tioned deliberately in the Bangladesh-India framework agreement signed in 2011.

    There have been some discussions be-tween the two governments at informal level, not within the JRC (Joint River Commission) framework. But it was not being as intense as it should have been, he said.

    About signing Teesta agreement, he said it was still in progress because it was better to work quietly behind the scene, rather than advertising progress.

    But I am con dent it will happen, because that is the approach of India. It is something that both sides want to happen.

    He said water is a broad area what both the countries need to address. I think once we get some con dence boost from Teesta, then everything will become easier.

    Felani killingThe Indian envoy admitted that the Felani inci-dent was the most unfortunate incident in the relationship between Bangladesh and India.

    When asked if the acquittal of BSF jawan who killed Felani would encourage more kill-ings in the border, he replied negatively.

    My answer to your question whether it will encourage more killings is no. It will not, because that is not the way Indian border guard functions.

    He said India wants to bring down the border killing to zero. Over the last couple of years, a number of steps have been taken to prevent such incidents and ensure better management of the border.

    He said smuggling of cattle and cows across the border was perhaps one of the sin-gle biggest sources of illegal activites along the border.

    A lot of time wastedThe Indian envoy said the implicit message of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modis visit to Dhaka in June was we have wasted lot of time. Lets catch up.

    He said Bangladesh and India are the mas-ters of their own destiny and for that they need to identify who their friends are and who their partners are and how to take the re-lationship to a new height.

    Visa The Indian High Commission has taken a num-ber of steps to reduce hassle of visa seekers.

    Saran said now 10 Indian visa centres are op-erating in the country to provide service to visa seekers. He said they had decided eight months ago to introduce a system where nine out of 10 categories of visas would be issued without any appointment or token requirement.

    At present, only tourists need to get ap-pointment prior to seeking visa from the high commission, he said. l

  • NEWS 3DT

    TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2015

    NEWS ANALYSIS

    Five things we learned from the VAT protestn Zafar SobhanThe government can listenThe rst and most important lesson we learned is that, contrary to popular opinion and expectation, the government is willing to listen to protests, and that, in the right circumstances, it is willing to reverse course. This exibility on the part of the government signals both a political maturity as well as a growing self-con dence that augers well, both for the government and for the public.

    Compromise is not weaknessFor too long in Bangladeshi politics, the government reversing course on any question was seen as a sign of weakness, both by the

    government, and possibly by the electorate, as well. This made compromise on almost any subject virtually impossible, as to compromise was seen as losing. What is notable about the governments about face on VAT on private universities is that the move has been hailed as statesmanlike by the general public, and the government has gained points not lost them by virtue of its reversal. The lesson is clear, and this is a very positive development for our political culture.

    No need for violenceI hope the opposition is watching carefully and noting that this protest succeeded in large part because it was peaceful. The notion that there is no alternative to the mayhem and murder of

    political protests has been de nitively disproved. Imagine what the BNP might have achieved over the past few years if it had pressed its case peacefully. In fact, it was the non-violent nature of the VAT protests which ensured that they did not alienate the public, something that was crucial to the movements success.

    The only language the governmentunderstandsThat said, it should be noted that it was only when protesters took to the streets and shut the city down that they got what they wanted. The long campaign both before and after the tax was imposed was contemptuously ignored until the students took their beef to the streets. It should

    never have had to get to that point. No violence is good, but if the only way we can change the governments mind is to make the public feel the pain, then that remains a serious problem.

    Public opinion mattersOne of the key advantages the protesting students had, and which was not lost on the government, was that there was widespread support for their movement, even among those who were being severely inconvenienced by it. In short, what the public thinks does make a di erence, and there are limits to policies the government can enact which do not have popular support. Had the popular support not been there, the outcome may have been very di erent. l

    Protests turn into celebrationsn Tribune ReportScenes of student protests turned into mas-sive celebrations yesterday as soon as news broke that the government will be withdraw-ing its VAT on private university education.

    The road blockades across the capital transformed into jubilant processions, with students expressing joy for what they are see-ing as a victory for the united student move-ment.

    Earlier around 10am, hundreds of private university students came to streets to join the sixth straight day of protests demanding withdrawal of the 7.5% VAT imposed on pri-vate university fees.

    They staged sit-in programmes, block-ing roads in the citys Uttara, Dhanmondi, Baridhara, Shyamoli, Panthapath, Mohakhali, Banani and Rampura areas.

    Like the previous days, the road blockade resulted in huge tra c jams across the capital and caused public su ering.

    But when di erent media outlets started reporting about the governments turnaround from the VAT decision, the jubilant students called o their demonstrations and started moving away from the streets.

    Following the news, the student gather-ings erupted in cheers and celebrations, with some students breaking down in tears with joy.

    The authority had to bow to the demands of the students. Private university students have proved that VAT [on education] is un-acceptable, said University of Development Alternatives BBA student Sakil Ahmed, who joined the celebrations yesterday.

    Thanking Sheikh Hasina, he said: Thanks to the prime minister for understanding that education is not a product. It is a right for all.

    Faiza Ahmed, a student of Da odil Univer-sity, said: Besides students from rich fam-ilies, many students from middle-class and poor families also come to study at private universities. If VAT on education had been implemented, then it would have been a bur-den for the low-income families.

    Meanwhile, when the breaking news ar-rived on VAT withdrawal, there was some confusion among students as they could not get word of any o cial announcement.

    Students of East West University, who were demonstrating near Rampura Bridge, were joined by other students from Independent University Bangladesh as they all brought out a procession around 2pm welcoming the prime ministers directive to withdraw VAT.

    The o cial announcement nally came when the Finance Ministry issued a press release, signed by Senior Information O cer Md Shahedur Rahman.

    The release read: The government does not want to create any interruption at edu-cational institutions and su erings in public life. Considering the issue, the government has decided to withdraw the 7.5% VAT im-posed on private Universities, medicals and engineering colleges.

    At 2:30pm, Md Salauddhin Mithu, one of the leaders of the student movement, o cial-ly announced the end of protests by all pri-vate university students.

    If we did not take position on the street, there would have been no solution on the VAT issues said Rubel, a fth-year BBA student of East West University.

    It is a great achievement for us. We are glad that we could stage a non-violent pro-test, said Ilias, an 11th semester student at EWU who had been involved with the move-

    ment since the start.Rashed, a student of IUB, said: It is good

    to see a collective action by all private univer-sities. Without any collaboration, the decision [on VAT] would not have been changed.

    The government decision was celebrat-ed by students from East West University, Da odil International University students, ASA University Bangladesh, European Uni-versity Of Bangladesh, State University, United International University, Universi-ty of Liberal Arts Bangladesh, BGMEA Uni-versity of Fashion and Technology, Asian University, Shanto-Mariam University, andUttara University.

    Titumir students attack demonstratorsThe students of Government Titumir College yesterday attacked demonstrating private university students at the Kakoli intersection.

    The attack took place when three buses carrying Titumir College students were stuck in the blockade.

    Witnesses said Titumir students swooped on the private university students and beat them up indiscriminately.

    However, the students from Titumir Col-lege claimed that they acted after their buses were vandalised by the demonstrators. l

    Students demonstrating at Dhanmondi 27 intersection erupt in joy yesterday after hearing about the governments decision to cancel the 7.5% VAT imposed on private universities RAJIB DHAR

    How much private university students haveto pay n Shadma MalikThe students of private universities pay roughly around Tk700,000 as tuition and other fees for a four-year degree and diploma.

    The fees for students of private medical schools would be almost twice the amount hovering around Tk14 lakh.

    The gures emerged from interviews by Dhaka Tribune among the studentswho staged demonstration during last cou-ple of days protesting VAT suggests the g-ures. The government yesterday announced withdrawal of the VAT on the private uni-versities and, medical and engineeringcolleges.

    The VAT would then stand at around Tk52,000 had the tax not withdrawn. The amount is roughly equals to an average fee for one trimester.

    According to the University Grants Com-mission (UGC) of Bangladesh, there are 83 pri-vate universities in the country approved by UGC. Of them, 75 are running their academic activities. The number of students enrolled in the private universities was around 330,000 as of 2014.

    In a four-year graduate programme, Ill have to pay more than Tk600,000. With the semester course and other activities, now I have to pay Tk45,000 per semester, said Imrana Tasnim, a second semester student of genetic engineering and bio technology of East West University.

    Mahdeeb in his last semester of BBA at North South University pays semester fees of Tk58,000 for four courses, including student activities. When he was enrolled, the fee was Tk13,500 per course and it is now Tk16,500. So the new students pay Tk66,000 per semes-ter for four courses.

    Tasnim Batool in her third semester in Computer Science and Engineering at Brac University said: The fees per course in Brac University stands at Tk16,500. I need to pay Tk85,000, including student activityfees. l

  • TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2015NEWS4DT

    Obaidul: BBIN cross-border vehicle run from Januaryn Shohel MamunCargoes as well as passenger-carrying and personal vehicles from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal will be able to travel across each others borders from next January, Road Transport Minister Obaidul Quader has said.

    The vehicles will cross borders in accord-ance with the BBIN motor vehicle agreement, the minister told reporters at the secretariat yesterday.

    A combined working group formed with representatives from the four nations met in Dhaka on September 8 and 9, and decided unanimously to allow [cross-border travel of] passenger and personal vehicles. They also prepared the draft protocol for movement of passenger and personal vehicles under the BBIN motor vehicle agreement, Obaidul said.

    However, sources at the Road Transport and Highways Division said delegates from the four countries known as BBIN for their initials are yet to agree on a draft protocol for operating cargo vehicles by the January deadline.

    A number of problems, including

    cross-border policy and immigration and cus-toms system, have been identi ed against the operation of cargo vehicles, the sources said.

    So the working group has decided to launch a trial run for cargo vehicles before meeting again to reach a nal decision, the sources at Road Transport Division said.

    When asked about a potential date for launch-ing cargo vehicle operations, Obaidul Quader said: The proposed route for operating car-go vehicles has been a ected by heavy rain. So, the working group has decided that a trial run for cargo vehicles will be held in October to take quick preparation for a draft protocol.

    Pointing out reasons behind the delay, Road Transport and Highway Division Sec-retary MAN Siddique said: Immigration and custom policy are also causing delays in pre-

    paring the draft protocol for cargo vehicles.On June 15, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and

    Nepal signed the BBIN motor vehicle agree-ment to ensure movement of passengers and goods among the four countries.

    According to the agreement framework, the combined working group are supposed to conclude all formalities by December and passenger-carrying and cargo vehicles are supposed to start operating in January next year.

    Meanwhile, the BBIN working group has reportedly also agreed to ease the visa issu-ance system for each others citizens, and held discussions on settling a policy on passenger movement, customs procedures, volume of passengers, transit fees, routes, insurance etc.

    The road transport minister said a sec-retary-level meeting will be held in Dhaka on October 6 to discuss how to ease the visa system; he expressed hopes that the meeting would produce positive outcomes.

    The four countries will also stage a car rally between November 14 and December 1 in or-der to promote the launch of the cross-border vehicle movement, Obaidul Quader added. l

    Civil court, Coast Guard acts okayed in the cabinetn Tribune ReportThe cabinet has approved the draft of the Civil Courts (Amend-ment) Act, 2015 keeping the provision to increase the duciary jurisdiction of the lower court judges to dispose of civil cases.

    The cabinet has also approved the draft of the Bangladesh Coast Guard Act-2015, keeping the provision of punishment.

    The approvals came in the regular cabinet meeting held at the Secretariat with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as the chair.

    After the cabinet meeting, the cabinet secretary briefed re-porters that the amendment proposed increasing the jurisdiction of assistant judges to deal with civil cases of assets worth Tk15 lakh from the current Tk2lakh, while for senior assistant judges, it would be increased to Tk25 lakh from Tk4 lakh.

    In the appellate courts, the amendment proposed that a dis-trict judge would deal with civil cases worth Tk5 crore, which is now Tk5 lakh, the cabinet secretary said.

    It would expedite the disposal of civil cases, since civil cas-es with more monetary value would be disposed o in the lower courts at the district level, he added.

    The cabinet secretary said the Coast Guard Act has been framed in the same framework of the Border Guard Bangladesh Act. l

    JU BCL men beat JCD leader on campusn JU CorrespondentChhatra League members of Jahangirnagar University unit yesterday beat up a Chhatra Dal leader for writing what was described as negative comments on the ruling partys stu-dent wing on Facebook.

    The victim, Isra l Chowdhury Sohel, a -nal-year student of economics, is the joint convener of Chhatra Dals Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Hall unit.

    He was assaulted at the social science fac-ulty building around midday.

    Witnesses said the Ra q-Jabbar Hall unit

    Chhatra League president, Nawshad Alam Anik, asked Sohel to come out of the class-room, saying he would like to talk to him.

    Several Chhatra League leaders, including Sumon Sarker, Ishtiak Ahmed, Mehedi Roman and Anik Kumar, then beat Sohel up with iron pipes, rods and wooden sticks.

    The universitys Assistant Proctor Mehedi Iqbal arrived on the scene and sent the victim to the university medical centre.

    But doctors recommended that Sohel be taken to Enam Medical College and Hospital at Savar for better treatment as he was in a critical condition.

    Sohel told the Dhaka Tribune he was beat-en up badly. Chhatra League leader Nawshad told reporters that Sohel was beaten up as he made negative remarks on Chhatra League and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasinas son Sa-jeeb Wazed Joy.

    General Secretary of Chhatra Leagues Jahangirnagar University unit Rajib Ahmed Rasel said the comments Sohel made on the social networking site disgraced the student organisation.

    The assistant proctor, Mehedi, said actions would be taken if the victim lodged a com-plaint. l

    Forest o cer attackedn Our Correspondent, MaymensinghA forest beat o cer was severely injured af-ter a group of miscreants attacked him with sharp weapons in Fulbaria upazila, Mymens-ingh on Sunday night.

    The victim, Solaiman Miah, was admitted to Mymensingh Medical College Hospital in critical condition. Police has arrested forest guard Yousuf Ali in connection with the attack.

    Sources said a group of ve or six miscre-ants attacked Solaiman and hacked him near Santoshpur beat o ce around 10:30pm on Sunday. Being informed, police later went to the scene and took Solaiman to the MMCH. l

    6 CU BCL men suspended n FM Mizanur RahamanSix members of Bangladesh Chhatra Leagues Chittagong University (CU) unit were sus-pended from the party on Sunday night for breaching the organisations rules.

    The suspended student activists are Sa-jidul Kabir of the mathematics department, Fahim of the accounting department, Shimul Bishwas of the marketing department, Imran Khan of the English department, Imam Hos-sain of the Islamic History department and Ataur Rahman of the Physiology department, sources said.

    All six of them are the intake of the 2012-13 academic year in the university.

    They [the suspended activists] put a lock on the universitys main gate, violating the Chhatra Leagues rules and regulations, which is why they have been suspended un-til October 5, Alamgir Tipu, president of CU Chhatra League, told the Dhaka Tribune.

    During the suspension, the six activists time, will not be allowed to take part in any political activities of the party.

    The Chhatra League activists put the CU gate under lock and key on Sunday afternoon for a few minutes in protest of an alleged in-cident of mobile theft recently at the Chhatra League-dominated Shahjalal Dormitory. l

    The BBIN working group has reportedly agreed to ease the visa issuance system

  • NEWS 5DT

    TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2015

    Malaysia widens Bangladeshi migrants opportunities under G2G Plus schemen Adil SakhawatMalaysia has agreed to open more sectors for Bangladeshi migrants through a new man-power recruitment scheme called G2G Plus, said Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Em-ployment Minister Nurul Islam yesterday.

    He said Malaysia would recruit Bangla-deshi workers in construction, service, man-ufacturing and agriculture sectors where it earlier hired only for the plantation sector.

    Explaining the G2G Plus scheme, the min-ister said: It is much like the G2G system but additionally o ers the inclusion of Bangla-desh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (Baira) in the hiring process which

    was absent in the G2G scheme.Malaysia hopefully will begin hiring a

    huge number of workers from Bangladesh within a month through the government as well as private recruiting agencies. The mi-gration cost will be low under the G2G Plus scheme, Nurul told reporters after a meeting with a visiting Malaysian delegation.

    The six-member Malaysian delegation led by the secretary general of the countrys ministry of human resources, Saripuddin bin Hj Kasim, is now in Bangladesh to attend the sixth joint working group meeting with the Ministry of Ex-patriates Welfare and Overseas Employment.

    The delegation said the migration cost would be Tk36,000-37,000 if anyone is re-

    cruited via the Bureau of Manpower, Em-ployment and Training. In case of migration through private recruiters, the amount will stand at Tk60,000, Nurul said.

    The minister said the delegation was re-luctant to discuss recruting manpower from Bangladesh under the B2B scheme. They were not interested to talk about any non-gov-ernment recruitment system and hence made no proposal regarding that.

    A Memorandum of Understanding is ex-pected to be signed with Malaysia today to expedite manpower export to the Southeast Asian country.

    Nurul said Malaysia would hire from a da-tabase containing the details of migrants who

    had registered themselves for migrating to the country.

    The database currently has around 1.8 mil-lion names.

    Baira President Abul Bashar said the expa-triates welfare minister had taken a timely decision to increase labour migration from Bangladesh to Malaysia.

    He also emphasised the role of private recruiters in expanding the overseas labour market, saying that such recruiters are the experts in marketing the manpower business.

    The G2G Plus scheme will allow private re-cruiters under the Baira to work with the govern-ment for expanding the overseas labour market and we welcome such a move, said Bashar. l

    Advance train tickets go onsale todayn Shohel MamunBangladesh Railways is going to start selling train tickets in advance from today in order to ease the journey of the home-bound people ahead of Eid-ul-Azha.

    Railway Minister Mujibul Haque will visit Kamalapur Railway station today to monitor ticket sales.

    Advance tickets for the Eid will be sold from today to September 19 and the return tickets will be sold from September 23 to 27.

    Eid-ul-Azha will be celebrated in the coun-try on September 25.

    Tickets for September 20 will be available today while the return ticket for September 27 will be made available on the 23rd of the month.

    Tickets for September 21,22,23 and 24 will be sold on September 16,17,18 and 18 respec-tively.

    Earlier, Railway Minister Mujibul Haque said: A person can buy up to four tickets but the tickets will not be refunded. l

    Alleged militant nancier Enamul remanded again n Tarek Mahmud, ChittagongReady-made garments businessman Md Enamul Haque, charged with militant nanc-ing in a case led with Chittagongs Hathaz-ari police station on February 19 under the Anti-Terrorism Act, was placed on two days remand yesterday.

    Senior Judicial Magistrate Mahmudul Hasan passed the order after Enamul was pro-duced in court and shown arrested in a case lodged over the raid of Al Madrasatul Abu Bakar, the ideological training centre of new militant out t Shaheed Hamza Brigade (SHB), in Hathazari upazila, said Prosecutor Abul Hashem.

    Rapid Action Battalion 7 (RAB 7) raided the Hamza Brigades ideological training centre on February 19, and then busted the out ts military training centre two days later on Feb-

    ruary 21. The elite force discovered the mili-tant out ts explosives warehouse on Febru-ary 29.

    Enamul, director of Golden Touch Appar-els in the capitals Turag area, was nabbed from his workplace by RAB 7 on September 5, after the elite force discovered that he had deposited money into the bank account of Hamza Brigade leader Moniruzzaman Masud alias Don.

    On September 10, Enamul made a state-ment under section 164 of the Criminal Pro-cedure Code (CrPC) in a case lodged under the Anti-Terrorism Act with Banshkhali police station over the raid of a Hamza Brigade mili-tary camp on February 21.

    He was later remanded for three days after being shown arrested in the Banshkhali case.

    Hamza Brigade members Harunur Rashid, Md Asadullah, Mostakim Billah and Moham-

    mad Yusuf, who were sent on three days remand, on Sunday made statements under section 164 of the CrPC before the court of Ad-ditional Chief Judicial Magistrate Shahidullah Kaisar in the Hathazari case.

    On the night of August 18, the daughter of BNP former whip Sayed Wahidul Alam, Supreme Court Barrister Shakila Farzana, Supreme Court Advocate Md Hasanuzzaman Liton and Dhaka Judge Court Advocate Mah-fuz Chowdhury Bapon were arrested for alleg-edly nancing the Hamza Brigade.

    They confessed to depositing money into the account of Hamza Brigade leader Mon-iruzzaman Masud alias Don, but claimed to be returning their clients advance fees. They denied involvement in funding the militant out t.

    RAB 7 also found links between the Hamza Brigade and Dubai citizen Allama Libdi, with

    evidence that Libdi visited Bangladesh sever-al times to give cash to the militant out t.

    RAB 7 nabbed 29 Hamza Brigade members and four alleged nanciers. But RAB sources said the out ts kingpin was still on the run.

    Between February and June, the elite force seized 25 sophisticated native and for-eign made arms including eight AK-22 ri es, 4,443 bullet rounds, 76 powerful bombs, 150 kilogrammes of explosives, 30 kinds of bomb making materials out of which 2,000 bombs could be made and a large number of docu-ments.

    RAB said the Chittagong-based Hamza Brigade modelled on the Syria-based in-ternational militant out t Mujahideen was formed in November 2013 by former members of Islami Chhatra Shibir, the student wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami, Hefazat-e-Islam and oth-er militant groups. l

    Hundreds of hectares of Aush elds have been inundated in oodwater at Bhabsan village in Naogaon districts Manda upazila. Farmers are harvesting the paddy early to avoid rotting, but they still fear a signi cant nancial loss this season AZAHAR UDDIN

  • TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2015NEWS6DT

    Trucks not to enter Dhaka before 10pmn Mohammad Al-Masum MollaIn an attempt to regulate the Eid tra c rush, the government has decided to bar trucks from entering Dhaka city before 10pm and recommended that work on Moghba-zar-Mouchak yover stay suspended for the time being.

    The restrictions will stay in place between September 20 and Eid day, according to deci-sions made by a special government taskforce yesterday.

    We have made 20 decisions to make trav-elling during the Eid holidays hassle-free for people, Kaikobad Hossain, chairman of the taskforce, told the Dhaka Tribune following

    the bodys rst meeting at the citys Nagar Bhaban.

    The 20-point decision has been sent to all the relevant departments and transport or-ganisations as well as law enforcement agen-cies.

    Kaikobad, who is also the executive direc-tor of Dhaka Transport Coordination Author-ity, said the Road Transport and Highways Division formed the special taskforce to ease holiday commuting and ensure road safety during Eid.

    According to the minutes of the meeting, the taskforce recommended that all entry and exit roads of the capital be repaired ahead of Eid.

    The city corporations and metropolitan tra c police were asked to pay special at-tention in controlling the movement of the Gabtoli-bound cattle-laden trucks that cause jams. The taskforce further requested all de-partments concerned to assist the police in solving the capitals tra c congestion crisis.

    All construction materials, including those of the Moghbazar-Mouchak yover, must not obstruct tra c movement, the meeting also decided.

    The taskforce also asked the Dhaka north and south city corporations to take necessary steps to clean the waste left behind from sac-ri ced cattle and to distribute bleaching pow-der among the city dwellers. l

    BLOGGER RAJEEB MURDER TRIAL

    Witness blacksmith identi es machete buyern Md Sanaul Islam TipuOne more prosecution witness yesterday testi ed before a speedy trial tribunal of Dhaka in the case led over the 2013 murder of blogger Ahmed Rajeeb Haider.

    Judge Syeed Ahmed of Dhaka Speedy Trial Tribunal 3 recorded the deposition of blacksmith Manik Karmakar and xed September 30 for next hearing in the case.

    Manik told the court that Maksudul Hasan Anik, one of the seven students accused of the murder, had bought two machetes and four knifes for Tk2,600 from his shop located at Natunbazar in Vatara of the capital city before the killing of Rajeeb.

    The witness also identi ed accused Anik at the courtroom after giving deposition. Earlier, he also gave a judicial statement before the court on June 2, 2013 in this case.

    The tribunal has so far recorded depositions of 11 prosecution witnesses including Rajeebs father Dr Nazimuddin, younger brother Newaz Mortaja Haider and cousin Kazi Galibul Islam.

    On May 21, the court framed charges against militant group Ansarullah Bangla Team chief Mufti Jasim Uddin Rahmani, and seven students of the North South University (NSU) Redwanul Azad Rana, Md Faisal Bin Nayem alias Dweep, Maksudul Hasan alias Anik, Md Ehsan Reza alias Rumman, Nayem Sikdar alias Iraj, Na s Imtiaz and Sadman Yasir Mahmud.

    Of them, Rana, who was mentioned in the charge sheet as the planner of the murder, is on the run. All the seven other accused were produced before court by jail authorities yesterday.

    In January 2014, detective Inspector Nibaran Chandra Barman submitted the charge-sheet, in which Mufti Jasimuddins name was mentioned as an instigator.

    Ahmed Rajeeb Haider, known as Thaba Baba in the bloggers community, was an activist of the Shahbagh movement. He was hacked to death at Pallabi in Dhaka on February 15, 2013.

    Later, his father Dr Nazim led a case with the Pallabi police station. l

    1 sentenced to death, 3 jailed for killing bank o cialn Md Sanaul Islam TipuA Dhaka speedy trial tribunal yesterday awarded the death sentence to a young man and di erent jail terms to three others for kill-ing a Brac Bank o cial in 2011.

    After examining records and witnesses, Judge Abdur Rahman Sardar of Dhaka Speedy Trial Tribunal-4 pronounced the verdict in the presence of three of the four convicts.

    The condemned convict, Abdul Majid Dal-im, 34, of Purba Balikha village in Dhamrai upazila of Dhaka, was also ned Tk20,000.

    One of the accused, Jahangir Alam, 26, of Nayadangi village in Singair upazila of Man-ikganj, was sentenced to life imprisonment and ned Tk20,000, for which he would spend an additional year in jail if he defaults.

    The other convicts, Mohammad Idul, 26, of Goubda village in Rajarhat upazila of Kurigram, and Faruk Hossain, 27, of Jolapa-ra village in Sayedpur upazila of Nilphamari, were sentenced to ve years imprisonment each and also ned Tk5,000.

    Of them, Faruk is on the run while the oth-ers are now in jail.

    According to the case documents, TM Me-hedi Masud, a former Brac Bank o cial of the

    Gulshan branch in the capital, went to Jamga-ra in Savar by car after receiving a call from Abdul Majid Dalim on September 16, 2011.

    Dalim, along with Jahangir, Idul and Fa-ruk, strangled Masud to death and dumped his body under Shubhulya Bridge in Mirzapur upazila of Tangail that day. The accused were professional kidnappers, and they killed the bank o cial after snatching his car.

    Masuds body was later recovered by Mirzapur police in the area on September 17, 2011.

    Sub-inspector Bimal Chandra led a case with Mirzapur Police Station in this connection. Two years after the sensational murder, Tangail CID Inspector Zafar Iqbal, also the investigation o cer of the case, submitted a charge sheet against the four accused on September 29, 2013.

    A total of 19 prosecution witnesses gave depositions against the accused in the case.

    Of the four convicts, Jahangir and Idul had given confessional statements under section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedures (CrPC).

    Expressing satisfaction over the verdict, the victims mother Amena Begum told the Dhaka Tribune: I will be more grateful to the judiciary if the judgment is implemented within a short time. l

    22 suspected Shibir men held in Chittagongn FM Mizanur Rahaman, Chittagong Police yesterday evening detained 22 sus-pected Islami Chhatra Shibir members from a coaching centre in Chittagongs Patiya upazila.

    The details of the detainees could not be ascertained immediately, said Sub-Inspector of Patiya police station Shah Alam Hawladar.

    He said police raided Probaho Coaching Centre near Patiya bus stop after a tip-o that Shibir members were plotting subversion at a rendezvous.

    Police also seized Jihadi literature and an-ti-government lea ets from the possession of the detainees.

    The identities of the detainees are being veri ed and legal actions will follow, said SI Shah Alam. l

    Court asks Mosharraf Hossain to surrendern Tribune ReportThe High Court yesterday cleared the way for the lower court to resume trial proceedings of the Barapukuria coal mine case against former state minister for energy AKM Mosharraf Hossain.

    It also directed Mosharraf to surrender before a lower court within 50 days in connection with the graft case.

    The HC bench of Justice Bhabani Prasad Singha and Justice ASM Mujibur Rahman gave the order vacating the HCs previous order that had stayed the trial proceedings of the case.

    The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) had led the case in February 2008.

    ACC lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan said the 50-day countdown will begin after the order reaches the court. l

    Razzaques rst death anniversary today n Tribune Report Today is the rst death anniversary of Miah Abdur Razzaque, a former agriculture o cer and father of Hasan Jahid Tusher, a senior reporter of The Daily Star.

    Razzaque, born in Sreerampur village under Magura sadar upazila in 1923, was involved in di erent social activities during his life.

    He died of old age complications on this day last year, leaving behind four sons and two daughters.

    To mark the death anniversary, recitations from the Quran and special prayers will be held at the deceaseds Sreerampur village home after Asar prayers today.

    Special prayers will also be organised at all the mosques in the village on Friday after Juma prayers for the salvation of his departed soul.

    Relatives and admirers have been requested to attend the prayers, stated a press release. l

    A huge chunk is missing from the railing on one side of Postagola Bridge on the Buriganga River in Dhaka, creating around a 3.5 feet high gap and posing a great risk to small vehicles and children RAJIB DHAR

  • TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2015NEWS 7

    DT

    Source: Accuweather/UNB

    D H A K ATODAY TOMORROW

    SUN SETS 6:03PM SUN RISES 5:45AM

    YESTERDAYS HIGH AND LOW

    36.4C 23.9C

    Saidpur Kutubdia

    SourceL IslamicFinder.org

    F O R E C A S T F O R T O D A YDhaka 31 27Chittagong 33 27Rajshahi 33 26Rangpur 32 26Khulna 33 26Barisal 30 26Sylhet 34 26Coxs Bazar 31 27

    PRAYER TIMESFajr 4:27am

    Sunrise 5:44amZohr 11:54am

    Asr 4:19pmMagrib 6:03pm

    Esha 7:22pm

    WEATHER

    TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15

    THUNDERSHOWER WITH RAIN

    Housewife hacked to deathn Our Correspondent, NarsingdiA housewife has been hacked to death by some miscreants at Tengorpara village, Po-lash upazila in Narsingdi.

    Nasrin Akter, daughter of Abdul Jalil, went to sleep in her room on Sunday night. But yes-terday morning, her family members found her dead body, said police. On receiving information, police went to the spot and recovered the body.

    O cer-in-Charge of Polash police station told the Dhaka Tribune that they were yet to know the reason behind the killing.

    A case was led in this connection. l

    Two minor girls drown in Kushtian Tribune Report Two minor girls drowned in a waterbody at Darpara village in Daulatpur upazila yesterday.

    The deceased were identi ed as Mim, 10, daughter of Sukchand of Darpara village, and her cousin Ritu, 9, daughter of Riazul Haque of the same village. Mim and Ritu were stu-dents of class IV and III respectively of a gov-ernment primary school in the village.

    OC of Daulatpur police station Aminul Is-lam con rmed the incident. l

    Mymensingh a division nown Shohel MamunThe National Implementation Committee for Administrative Reform (Nicar) has approved the constitution of Mymensingh division as the eighth administrative unit in the country.

    The decision was made at Nicars meeting at the Secretariat yesterday, with Prime Minis-ter Sheikh Hasina in chair.

    Cabinet Secretary M Mosharraf Hossain

    Bhuiyan briefed reporters in this regard after the meeting.

    He said the new division will consist four districts: Jamalpur, Sherpur, Netrokona and Mymensingh. The total area of the division will be 10,584sq-km with a population of nearly 1.14 crore.

    Earlier, the government directed the Cabi-net Division to take necessary administrative steps to turn Mymensingh into a division.

    The cabinet division formed an inter-min-isterial committee to take measures in this regard.

    At yesterdays meeting, Nicar also ap-proved a proposal for the constitution of Bhandaria municipality in Pirojpur, a propos-al for the expansion of the boundary of Hom-na municipality in Comilla, and a proposal for the constitution of Bangura Bazar police sta-tion in Muradpur upazila, Comilla. l

    Ershad: No good governance in the countryn Tribune Report Chairman of Jatiya Party Hossain Mohammad Ershad yesterday said every day people were dying in the country as there were no good governance in the country.

    The Jatiya Party chief said: We do not know how many people die every day. Rajon was killed in front of us. But we could not be able to save him.

    Where is our morality? he said while ad-dressing the biennial conference, Khulna dis-trict unit, Jatiya Party held at Shahid Hodis Park in the city.

    He said he was waiting to see when BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia would be landed in jail and how she is freed from there.

    Criticising Khaleda Zia, he said Khaleda at a meeting in Mymensingh

    several years ago had said: Ershad will go to jail and remain there till his death.

    Now I am alive and waiting to see who re-turns from jail after death, he said.

    She has seen her younger sons body, her elder son is staying abroad and most of her party leaders are in jail, and her partynow is in co n and the last nail would bedriven into the co n after she is jailed, he said.

    Accusing, BNP while in power patronized

    terrorists and militants.He posed question What would happen if

    BNP comes to power again? Terrorism, bomb-ing will reappear and they would kill farmers, villagers demanding fertilisers and electrici-ty, as happened at BBaria and Kansat during their tenure, he said.

    Ershad, also a special envoy of Prime Min-ister, said Where is Khaleda

    Zia? Why she does not come out to the street like me. Where are her partys stalwarts and activists, they are now in holes, he said.

    He said, Khaleda called upon the coun-trymen to come to the street and jointhe so- called movement against the govern-ment but the countrymen rejected her call, reports BSS.

    Presided over by JP presidium member and convener of the conference committee of Khulna JP Sunil Shubha Roy, the conference was also addressed,

    among others, by Water Resources Minister Barrister Anisul Islam Mahmud,Secretary General of JP Ziauddin Ahmed Bablu, Khulna city Unit JP presidentSheikh Abul Hossain and member secretary of the conference committee Sha qul Islam Modhu.

    A total of 544 councilors and thousands of delegates attended the conference. l

    Students protest EEE department at RUn Our Correspondent, RajshahiStudents of Applied Physic and Electronic En-gineering (APEE) department at Rajshahi Uni-versity yesterday protested the authorities decision to launch a new department under Engineering Faculty.

    Sources said ,in the last academic coun-cil meeting, the university authorities took a decision to launch a new department namely Electrical and Electronic Engineering (EEE) under Engineering Faculty.

    The students declared of boycotting class-es and examinations for inde nite period in protest at the authorities decision.

    More than 300 students of the department brought out a protest procession from in front of the university rst science building which paraded the main streets of the campus and ended at a human chain in front of the univer-sitys central library.

    Addressing the human chain, students said that the new EEE department and existing APEE department cannot run under the same faculty as the syllabuses and course curriculum of the both departments is almost 90 percent same.

    Giving reference to Dhaka University which earlier converted APEE department to EEE department, students informed none of the universities run both of the department at the same time.

    If the university authorities want to in-troduce new department, they should have to change the name of the existing APEE depart-ment to EEE, students however demanded. l

    Workers of state-owned jute mills bring out a procession yesterday in Khulna city demanding ve-point demand including their arrears DHAKA TRIBUNE

  • NEWS8DTTUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2015

    Primary edn in sorry state in ShariatpurAbout 50,000 children lack access to education, as there is no primary school in 225 villages across the district

    n Our CorrespondentPrimary education in Shariatpur district is su ering a setback due to poverty and the shortage of schools in all six upazilas.

    About 50,000 children lack access to ed-ucation, as there is no primary school in 225 villages across the district, according to SEBA, an NGO working in Bhedarganj upazila.

    The children, belonging to the age group of 8-12 years, do odd jobs for earning their liveli-hood instead of going to school.

    According to sources in the district primary education o ce, there are 667 government, 87 community and 40 non-government pri-mary schools in six upazilas of the district. Be-sides, there are 61 kindergarten (KG) schools. The total student enrolment is 198 thousand.

    However, many of the students drop out of schools, as their poor parents are unable to bear their educational expenses.

    The number of dropouts from primary schools is increasing in the district due to the poverty of their parents, sources said.

    Azizur Rahman Miah, a farmer of Char Sensus village under Bhedarganj upazila, said he did not a ord to send his six children to school due to his abject poverty.

    Babul Majhi, a farmer of Chhaygaon in the upazila, said he also met the same fate as he was unable to bear the educational expenses of his four children.

    The poor farmers have no interest in educat-ing their children. They are rather engaging their children in income generating work, like cattle grazing and rickshaw pulling. Some are even do-

    ing odd jobs in restaurants and factories. The children sell their labour for poor wages

    and often fall victim to ill-treatment or harass-ment at the hands of their masters, sources said.

    On the other hand, most of the existing school buildings in char areas are in a deplor-able condition.

    A large number of schools, damaged by ooding and storms over the last few years, have not yet been repaired, the local people said. So classes in many char schools are held under the open sky. Most of the schools also have no tubewell, leaving the students to suf-fer from a drinking water crisis.

    Ajaher Ali Molla, Headmaster of Pomlakar-ta Government Primary School in Pomlakar-ta village under Bhedarganj upazila, said his school, which was damaged by a storm few

    years ago, could not yet be repaired. However, according to sources, some schools

    in the district and upazila headquarters are run-ning with surplus teachers while those in rural areas lack the requisite number of teachers.

    Sydur Rahman, headmaster of 19 No Baher-char Govt Primary School, said: Shortage of teachers is one of problem in Chanrapur union.

    Sirajul Haque Sujan, headmaster of Ramb-hamrapur Govt Primary School, said: Lack of accommodation and teacher shortage ham-pers education in the upazila.

    When contacted, Md Mizanur Rahman, Primary Education O cer in Shariatpur, said, Some children do odd jobs for earning their livelihood because of poverty. As a result, the number of dropouts from the primary schools is increasing in the district, he added. l

    Students of Binapani Government Girls High School block a road in Gopalganj Sadar Upazila yesterday, demanding removal of headmaster for his alleged irregularities DHAKA TRIBUNE

    Schoolgirl commits suicide n Our Correspondent, JessoreA schoolgirl allegedly committed suicide in Sirali Madanpur area under Monirampur upazila in the district yesterday.

    The deceased Mush kha Akhi,14, was daughter of Mosta zur Rahman and class IX student of Saropal High School in the area.

    Rakhia Sultana, mother of Akhi said that they had take dinner together. After taking dinner she went to bed.

    Later, she found her daughter lying in blood and her wrists were amputated.

    Jamuna, a teacher at the school did not al-low her to classes and Fazlu, another teacher beat up her mercilessly as she did not wear school dress on the day.

    Akhi might have committed suicide by cutting o her wrists as she could not bear the insult, Rakhia said.

    Aklima, friend of Akhi, said: Akhi might have committed suicide over love a airs.

    Akhi was in frustration as her relation with a youth named Akash, class X student in the school was broken up, she said.

    Contacted, Sahdon Adhikari, head mas-ter of the school said that he could not know about the incident. SI Akram of Monirampur police station con rmed the incident. l

    Two killed overland dispute n Our Correspondent, Coxs Bazar A man was killed at Nazirpara village, Coxs Bazar Sadar upazila yesterday afternoon over the ownership of a piece of land. Local sources said there had been a long-standing dispute between Markin Mia and Siddiq Gang over the ownership of a piece of land.

    Markin Mia along with his family tried to put up resistance against Siddiq Gong when they tried to grab their land in the afternoon and a clash ensued between them.

    During the clash Markin and his brother were injured indiscriminately. They were tak-en to Teknaf Upazila Health Compelx where Markin died. Police arrested four persons in this connection.

    Meanwhile, a man was killed in a clash with rivals following a dispute over money at Gagli village in South Sunamganj upazila of Sunamganj. The deceased was identi ed as Eklasur Rahman, 55, son of late Abdul Man-nan of the village.

    Locals said an altercation ensued between Eklasur and his neighbour Alal Miah over the handover of some money at about 6pm.

    At one stage, Alal along with his men at-tacked Eklasur and beat him mercilessly, leaving him seriously injured. l

  • TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2015

    ANALYSIS

    Merkels refugee U-turn: blunder or pressure tactic?n AFP, BerlinJust two weeks ago, Chancellor Angela Merkel won praise from Washington to Wellington for her bold decision to throw open Germanys doors to refugees eeing Syrias brutal civil war.

    But just as suddenly, Berlin announced a complete U-turn, saying Sunday it was reinstat-ing border controls and reintroducing asylum rules that it had essentially waived for Syrians.

    The authorities, admitting that capacity had been stretched to the limit by the tens of thousands of new arrivals, called for a return to a more orderly situation.

    Analysts on Monday derided the abrupt move, with the left-leaning Tageszeitung calling it an absurd about-turn, and con-servative Die Welt questioning whether the German refugee policy had really been well thought through.

    Angela Merkel risks undoing the very im-pression she has been basking in for the past few days of an unbureaucratic, caring Ger-many, showing up the restrictive policies of other EU countries, Tageszeitung wrote.

    For about two weeks, Merkel and her allies had boldly insisted that they could keep the crisis under control.

    Riding on a wave of euphoria that also helped mobilise thousands of volunteers to join in the countrys biggest post-war refugee relief

    e ort, cabinet ministers sang the same tune.But reality on the ground soon caught up.Local authorities particularly in the pros-

    perous and conservative southern region of Bavaria have been complaining for months that they were struggling to handle the record in ow of migrants.

    When the steady in ux suddenly turned into a huge wave of 20,000 people arriv-ing over a weekend in the regional capital Munich, an open rebellion erupted within Merkels own conservative camp, with her Bavarian allies at the CSU calling her policy a monumental disaster.

    MiscalculationThe head of the CSU, Bavarian state premier Horst Seehofer, said opening German borders to unprecedented numbers of migrants was a mistake that will occupy us for a long time.

    We are getting ourselves into an emer-gency situation we soon wont be able to con-trol, he told news weekly Der Spiegel.

    Questions also arose over the identities of migrants owing into the country, with the CSUs vice president Hans-Peter Friedrich saying it was completely irresponsible to allow thousands of people to enter without checking and registering them, and one cant really estimate how many IS ghters or Isla-mists are among them.

    Faced with the mounting backlash, Merkel despatched her interior minister to announce the dramatic U-turn on Sunday.

    No one can fault Germany with regards to its welcoming culture, said Interior Min-ster Thomas de Maiziere hours after he an-nounced the reinstated passport controls.

    But we cannot have the situation where someone who is supposed to be taken in by a neighbouring state of Germany says, I prefer to go to Germany.

    Sharing means sharing. And that must be implemented, the minister said in an inter-view with public television ARD.

    The Berliner Zeitung however was more forgiving, saying that even Merkels oppo-nents had no solution for the refugee crisis.

    Lets use the time gained to better organ-ise the reception of refugees, and to de ne Germanys humanitarian possibilities and limits and not for a pointless I told you so debate, it said.

    Seen from the outside, however, the change appeared to be a tactic to pressure other European allies to share the refugee burden fairly.

    Switzerlands TagesAnzeiger said in its ed-itorial that it is a signal for the EU... to come to a fair distribution of refugees.

    Germany will not and cannot solve the refugee crisis alone. l

    WB: Gujarat best Indian state for businessn Reuters, New DelhiGujarat, the state Prime Minister Narendra Modi ran for more than a decade, is Indias best place for conducting business, the World Bank said on Monday, in a report that ranks the countrys states in an e ort to encourage them to cut red tape.

    The report, prepared with support from KPMG on the request of the Modi govern-ment, gains importance by coming before the World Banks annual Doing Business report, which ranks nations and is expected to be re-leased next month.

    Last year, India slipped two spots in the re-port, and was ranked lower than Brazil, Rus-sia, China and South Africa - mainly because of delays in approvals for starting a business, tax payments, getting bank loans and proper-ty registration.

    The growth of business in India requires concerted action on several fronts - infra-structure, capital markets, trade facilitation and skills, said Onno Ruhl, the World Banks India director. The stark reality is that India remains a di cult place to do business.

    Mondays report suggested that such steps as o ering single-window clearances for administrative approvals, if followed by all states, could improve Indias global ranking. l

    Britains Labour to campaign to stay in EUn Reuters, LondonBritains main opposition Labour Party will campaign to stay in the European Union no matter what the circumstances, the partys new foreign a airs spokesman Hilary Benn said on Monday, potentially putting him at odds with his new leader.

    The election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader has raised fears among some pro-EU campaigners that he could scupper hopes of getting Labour voters to support staying in the bloc at a referendum due by the end of 2017.

    Corbyn has been ambiguous about his views, saying he wants to wait to see what reforms Prime Minister Cameron can achieve.

    ....We will stay to ght together for a bet-ter Europe. It is absolutely clear our policy has not changed, Benn told BBC radio.

    We will be campaigning to remain in the European Union.

    When asked whether Labour would cam-paign to stay in under all circumstances, Benn said: Under all circumstances.

    Britains allies say leaving the worlds biggest trading bloc would be foolhardy, ex-posing Londons nancial powerhouse to EU rules it would no longer in uence and torpe-doeing Britains remaining global clout.

    Corbyn has criticised EU leaders for fail-ing to protect workers rights, opposed the blocs planned trade pact with the US and ac-cused the EU of allowing nanciers to destroy Greeces economy.

    During the leadership campaign he told Reuters that if Cameron failed to deliver such reforms, the party would have to have a dis-cussion about its position, possibly at a spe-cial conference. l

    Sri Lanka outlines justice, reparations plan for Tamil war victimsUN set to publish Sri Lanka war crimes report on Wednesdayn Reuters, GenevaSri Lankas new government on Monday said it was setting up a South Africa-style truth and reconciliation commission to look into atrocities during its long civil war, as it came under renewed pressure to prosecute perpe-trators.

    South Africa, which confronted its own apartheid-era crimes through such a body, would advice the island nation on how to use the commission to help victims and to track down missing people, Foreign Minister Man-gala Samaraweera said.

    He broadly outlined the plan, and other proposals to set up a criminal justice mech-anism and compensate victims, at a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council, hours after the world body announced it would release a long-delayed report on Wednesday calling for accountability for Sri Lankan war crimes.

    Successive governments have promised to look into crimes committed by both sides dur-ing the 26-year con ict between government forces and separatist Tamil Tiger rebels.

    According to an earlier UN report, around 40,000 ethnic minority Tamils were killed in a nal o ensive ordered by former president Mahinda Rajapaksa in 2009.

    But world bodies have been frustrated by a string of failed plans and a lack of criminal indictments.

    Samaraweera told a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva that the

    government planned an independent and credible Commission for Truth, Justice, Rec-onciliation and Non-recurrence.

    The reputation of the vast majority of armed forces was tarnished because of the system and culture created by a few people in positions of responsibility, he added without elaboration.

    Human rights groups say that Sri Lanka has failed to address continuing incidents of tor-ture by the police and military against minori-ty Tamils, whose leaders call for an interna-tional investigation.

    Compassionate councilWithin the new reconciliation commission, leaders from the islands main religions would form a Compassionate Council to help victims discover the truth, understand what happened and help remedy any sense of injustice.

    The United Nations originally meant to

    release its report on Sri Lanka in March, but agreed to hold o for six months to let the new government look into why suspects had not been prosecuted.

    UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Raad Al-Hussein praised the new gov-ernments e orts, but told the meeting it was time to press on with publishing the report by investigators led by former Finnish president and Nobel laureate Martti Ahtisaari.

    Its ndings are of the most serious na-ture, Zeid said.

    This council owes it to Sri Lankans - and to its own credibility - to ensure an accounta-bility process that produces results, decisive-ly moves beyond the failures of the past and bring the deep institutional changes needed to guarantee non-recurrence, he said.

    President Maithripala Sirisena, who de-feated Rajapaksas unprecedented bid for a third presidential term in January, has made tentative steps towards reconciliation at the head of a broad reform coalition.

    With a majority now assured after last months general election, the new Sri Lankan government is now better able to pass the ju-dicial and administrative reforms that would make it possible to prosecute those responsi-ble for war crimes.

    Samaraweera, speaking in Geneva, also said a new constitution would be drafted as part of a broader political settlement that would properly address the grievances of the Tamil people. l

    The Commission for Truth, Justice, Reconciliation and Non-recurrence will look into atrocities during the long civil war

    WORLD 9DT

  • TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2015WORLD10DT

    Opinion poll: Trump leads Republican race, support drops for Clintonn AFP, Washington, DCDonald Trump and Ben Carson lead the Re-publican race for the US presidential nomina-tion, with the two non-politicians together ac-counting for more than half the support from potential voters, a new poll showed Monday.

    The Washington Post-ABC News poll also found that Hillary Rodham Clinton, dogged by a controversy over her use of a private email server while serving as secretary of state, has steadily lost support over the past two months.

    Though she still leads the Democratic eld, potential voters gave her less than 50% support for the rst time in Post-ABC surveys, with her popularity dropping most among white women.

    Trump was favored by 33% of registered Republican and Republican-leaning inde-pendent voters.

    That marked a nine-point increase since mid-July and a 29-point jump since late May, before he announced he was running.

    Trump got the most support in this survey from potential voters without a college de-gree and those with incomes below $50,000.

    He was followed by Carson, with 20% 14 points more than in July. Other national polls have also shown him gaining more support since the rst Republican debate last month.

    The Republican candidates next face o at a debate late Wednesday at the Ronald Rea-gan Library in Simi Valley, California.

    Only the top 11 contenders will participate

    in the event, hosted by CNN. Another debate preceding it will feature those candidates who did not make the cut.

    Former Florida governor Jeb Bush, who pre-viously appeared the lead the Republican eld, now only has 8% support the lowest level in a Post-ABC poll for the 2016 race.

    Senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Ru-bio of Florida are next, at 7%.

    The others were below 5% support Sen-ator Rand Paul of Kentucky, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, Wisconsin Gover-nor Scott Walker and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

    Walker had a precipitous drop from 13% in July to 2% in the latest poll.

    Clinton loses groundClinton was backed by 42% of Democrats or Democratic-leaning independents a 21-point drop since July followed by Senator Bernie Sanders with 24%, a 10-point increase since July.

    Vice President Joe Biden, who is weighing a potential run but has warned he is still deal-ing with the death of his son Beau earlier this year, sat in third with 21%. That marked a gain of nine points for Biden.

    If Biden decides against a run, Clintons support jumps 14 points to 56%, while Sand-ers only gains four points to 28%, according to the poll.

    The survey, conducted by telephone Sep-tember 7-10, 2015 among a random sample of 1,003 adults nationwide, has a sampling error of plus or minus 3.5%. l

    CHRONICLE

    Missteps and backlash: Tony Abbotts two years as Aussie PMTony Abbott, ousted as Australian Prime Minister by challenger Malcolm Turnbull on Monday, had a tumul-tuous two years in o ce.

    Here is a timeline of incidents since Abbott won the federal election in September 2013:

    2015: September 11: Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton o ends Paci c island leaders with remarks about water lapping at your door fol-lowing regional talks involving climate change. Abbott is criticised for laughing at the comments. August 2: Australian parliamentary speaker Bron-wyn Bishop resigns amid mounting public anger over her travel expenses, with Abbott criticised for allowing his political mentor to remain in the role for more than three weeks after the rst re-ports of her extravagant trips. May 12: Abbott and Treasurer Hockey unveil a budget to woo voters after the 2014 backlash, while promising to tackle slumping government revenue and a large de cit. March 11: Abbott criticised for describing living in remote Aboriginal communities as a lifestyle choice.February 9: Abbott survives a leadership spill and calls for an end to disunity and uncertainty, after the motion is rejected 61 to 39 in a secret ballot.January 26: Abbott decides to knight Britains Prince Philip, attracting ridicule, with some con-servative supporters questioning his leadership.

    2014:October 13: Abbott vows to shirtfront, or con-front, Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit later in the year over the loss of Austra-lian lives in the Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash over Ukraine. July 17: The government successfully pushes through another election promise the repeal of the carbon tax imposed by the previous Labor administration on major polluters to try to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.May 13: Abbott and Hockey introduce a tough rst budget with massive cuts to health and edu-cation spending to slash the countrys de cit, but the unpopular move sparks street protests. March 25: A staunch monarchist, Abbott an-nounces that knights and dames titles will be reintroduced to recognise distinguished members of Australian society.

    2013:November 18: Documents leaked by NSA whis-tleblower Edward Snowden allege that Australia tried to tap the phones of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, his wife and several top o cials in 2009. September 18: Abbott introduces a military-led e ort to turn back asylum-seeker boats and send those that do arrive to remote Paci c island de-tention camps. l

    Source: AFP

  • 11DTEDITORIAL

    TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2015

    INSIDE

    We applaud the decision by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to withdraw the VAT charge imposed on private universities.It reverses the controversial budget move to impose 7.5% VAT, originally proposed as 10%, on private universities, medical and engineering colleges.

    Following the PMs directive to Mondays cabinet meeting, the Finance Ministry and National Bureau of Revenue have con rmed that this levy will now be withdrawn.

    It brings to a close the prospect of private universities having to increase tuition fees or cut services to pay VAT. The additional burden this threatened to impose on the 450,000 students of private universities and their parents, would have been highly discriminatory.

    By taxing the resources available to private universities, it would have severely undermined their ability to perform the core public service function of expanding education which is the basis of their status as not-for-pro t trusts.

    The prime minister demonstrates true leadership by showing her ability to listen and respond to the wide-spread public objections to the VAT proposal. It shows sound judgment and common sense on her part to change a government policy, even after several months of senior ministers striving to justify the controversial levy.

    Credit should also be given to the private university students who have been peacefully demonstrating on this issue over the past week. It is heartening to see their e orts rewarded.

    Ultimately, this is a vindication of the overwhelming arguments against imposing VAT on education. The strong case against this has received support from many quarters including from the BCL president Saifur Rahman Sohag speaking at Dhaka University on Monday.

    We hope the leadership shown by the prime minister will lead to a closer relationship between the government and private universities in working to improve access to and quality within the nations higher education system.

    It shows good judgment and leadership to respond to public concerns and remove the threat VAT posed to private universities

    PM shows real leadership on VAT

    A victorious end

    Not the hero we need right nowThe VATman has imposed himself on the city, and all the students could say was: Nana nana nana na, VATman

    Be heardWrite to Dhaka Tribune

    FR Tower, 8/C Panthapath, Shukrabad, Dhaka-1207

    Email [email protected]

    Send us your Op-Ed articles:[email protected]

    com www.dhakatribune.com

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    PAGE 13

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    Quality education should be a ordablePrivate universities, by law, are non-pro t institutions. No one is asking the question as to why non-pro ts, which ideally have purely developmental agendas, are charging such high prices for education that our students, and their parents, are su ering

    The story of the No VAT movement could not have ended on a victorious note without the government. By retracting the faulty policy, the government has shown that they can take responsibility for bad decisions and change the course of events for the better, and that it is acceptable to do so

  • OPINION12DTTUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2015

    n SN Rasul

    So the VATman strikes again. He, actu-ally, struck sometime in June but only now has the citys university-going youth taken to the streets to protest, just as the new semester begins. For the un-initiated: Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, aka AMA Muhith, or, a ectionately, the VATman, has levied a 7.5% VAT on private university education. And if you were out on Thursday or Sunday, the students reacted with wide-spread protests, though, perhaps, at a slight delay.

    These protests, as far as has been heard, were peaceful. There has been no violence and no sign of vandalism -- apart from random vehicles carrying the No VAT on ed-ucation slogans which, one presumes, were not done by the owners of the said vehicles. The metaphorical feces hit the fan when the police red on the initial protest in front of East West University in Rampura. Some say this was disproportionate use of violence against the protesters, whose right to protest was protected legally under the Bangladeshi constitution. One is inclined to agree.

    Other universities joined in soon enough, with the entire city coming to a stand-still be-cause of the blockade that the protesters had brought upon various crucial intersections of the city, in front of their respective campus-es: Rampura, of course, Bashundhara, Mo-hakhali, Airport Road, parts of Mirpur Road, among others.

    As neither an economist nor a partial observer, my opinions are derived from the vantage point of a neutral observer, and hence, I am more inclined to try and see -- try being the operative word -- Muhiths side. Perhaps, like the Dark Knight, Muhith is to Dhaka what Batman is to Gotham (I apolo-gise to the ctional city of Gotham for the

    comparison). Maybe there is method in his madness; maybe the VATman is the hero we need, not the one we want right now. Though why exactly we need him remains shrouded in stupendous mystery, especially with the rhetoric he has utilised.

    But, for now, it seems, the VATman has imposed himself on the city, and all the students could say was: Nana nana nana na, VATman. The DC comics analogies end there, I promise.

    Trying to gure out, however, the rea-soning behind this supposed VAT has led to interesting discussions. And the eventual cop-out that the government has since then used as an excuse was the ultimate cherry on top of this clustermuck sundae.

    First, a little bit of math. These are my as-sumed facts: 1) A 7.5% VAT on all private edu-cation. 2) Top private universities in Bangla-desh charge about Tk6,000 for each credit. Courses are usually three credits. 3) There are 450,000 private university students currently in Bangladesh. Let us, for the sake of making a point, assume all of these students went to the elite private institutions.

    The imposed VAT would increase the cost of each credit by Tk450. The government, as a result, would be raking in a grand total of Tk20.25cr per credit. Per course? Tk60.75cr. That is about $7.8m. And if we take the entirety of a four-year degree, the govern-ment will have the privilege of juicing out close to Tk255.1cr, or $327m, from the already depleted sources of most private university students.

    Depleted because -- this is nothing new -- these are not wealthy families. Due to limited number of seats in public institutions -- also not new -- even the middle class and the lower-middle classes have been forced to enroll their kids into private universities. This has come at the cost of land, savings,

    gold, anything they could get their hands on. Theres a reason this city is bursting with private universities that never go out of busi-ness; one cannot walk on a street without running into a depressingly boxy building with a signboard advertising as such.

    Finance Minister Muhith thinks oth-erwise. Apparently, these students are spending Tk1,000 a day. Even single people with jobs with a loaded daddy dont spend that kind of money. People who do, tend to go abroad. Why would anyone in their right minds -- not considering sel ess, charitable people in their right minds -- choose to stay here if they could a ord to hightail out of here? They wouldnt.

    And then to say that the universities would be the ones paying the VAT and not the students themselves? There arent enough synonyms for inane to retort back with. As a consumer tax, and this has been said again and again, VAT is paid by the con-sumer. If, by some miracle, the government were able to cap private university tuition fees, the students would still pay in the form of lost out on resources, since these institu-tions are non-pro t -- in theory. Nothing new there either.

    But, maybe the students wouldnt be so protest-happy if the government had a good track record of using our hard-earned tax money for good. All we see are yovers under construction which cause more tra c jams than they save, and are really a short-term solution to an immensely long-term prob-lem. All they can claim to be are obsequious motifs to an already collapsing city. Where would this $327m dollar go, exactly? If they had better roads to protest on and a compe-tent government to protest against, maybe there wouldnt be a protest to begin with.

    Some have also taken issue with the fact that the city has been brought to its knees as a result. Having just travelled from Bashun-dhara to Panthapath, utilising a mixture of walking, rickshaw-ing, and CNG-ing, through the little backward alleyways of Norda, Ba-nani, and Farmgate, I am inclined to sympa-thise with this sentiment. And it doesnt help to see these protests turn into hang-outs, with some of the participants taking sel es and dancing in the ensuing rain.

    But these are desperate times. And, for a lot of these students, this is perhaps the only way they can be heard. If we werent inconvenienced, would we notice? Would any of us really care if we saw these proceedings without being stuck for hours on end in mindlessly numbing tra c jams, forced to get out of air-conditioned cars to live, for one day, in the shoes of one of these students?

    Probably not. Who knows? But dont listen to a defeatist. Because, eventually, thats what made us, and the government, listen. In a country where change is merely a fairy-tale, this is the extent to which you need to go. I guess in some forgotten crevice within some godforsaken slum, theres maybe still some hope left. l

    SN Rasul is a writer. Follow him on Twitter @snrasul.

    Not the hero we need right now

    The VATman has imposed himself on the city, and all the students could say was: Nana nana nana na, VATman

    Would anyone really have cared if the students had protested in some other fashion?

    Do our leaders know what its like to be in the shoes of these students? DHAKA TRIBUNE

  • OPINION 13DT

    TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2015

    n Mohammad Saif Noman Khan

    Education is our birth right. The government is entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring this seem-ingly small, but extremely signi -cant, right of ours. And the government, in its way to ful ll this promise, had allowed private universities to commence operation. The intention was surely noble, providing access to quality and market-focused higher education for many. And then came the VAT.

    The known world suddenly had come to an end. Stability had been disrupted. Tranquility had been disturbed. Seemingly, a signi cant blow had been dealt to the private university sector. Especially the students. All students studying in those universities were on the streets, paralysing Dhaka, though peacefully.

    The government was once again at the gallows, facing criticism, especially our hon-ourable nance minister. Once again, every-one had been screaming at the government to withdraw the VAT so that we all could go

    back to our normal lives. Maybe they were right. We have, too many times, settled for quick xes and let the bigger problem go unresolved. Too many times. No wonder our children have learned well and are also seemingly going the same way, though in a non-violent way -- its just paralysing a city. Non-violent indeed.

    Now, lets take a di erent perspective and see what the students were really protesting. They were protesting the VAT on tuition fees. Well, actually, no. It was not the VAT that bothered them. It was the a ordability of the tuition fees at private universities.

    They were disturbed as this VAT would have made the already high tuition fees at their universities even higher and disrupted their academic pursuits. I think there is an obvious point here which we are losing sight of. Actually, someday, we might also thank our honourable nance minister for bringing this real issue in the forefront, albeit uninten-tionally.

    He had imposed a VAT on private univer-sity tuition with the assumption that, since the tuition is already so high, why cant they impose a VAT on an expensive product? He is right from an economic theorist standpoint, but there is a problem: This is education we are talking about. No one is raising the ques-tion: Why is private university so expensive

    in the rst place? Is the existing tuition fee rational? I repeat: Education is our birth-right.

    Private universities, by law, are non-pro t institutions. No one is asking questions as to why non-pro ts, which ideally have purely developmental agendas, are charging such high fees for education that our students, and their parents, are su ering. I have seen placards, videos, stories of hardships of students who are struggling terribly to a ord these institutions. Why the hardship? Why the struggle?

    Why arent these universities setting a tuition structure so that we dont have to sell our land, our mothers ornaments, use up our fathers retirement funds, and borrow money at high interest to study in these places of education?

    Now that the VAT has been withdrawn, as demanded, does it really solve the core prob-lem? Will quality higher education in the pri-vate universities suddenly become a ordable to our meritorious masses? I think not. No one is talking about this. I see no placards asking to rationalise the existing tuition fees considering our current socio-economic standards. That, I believe, should be the main thing to ask for.

    As far as I know, there is not much public knowledge about the surplus of private

    universities. Though, from time to time, we hear stories of hundreds of crores of taka being accrued in pro ts. I cannot verify such stories myself. I sincerely hope that is not the case. But if they are true, to some extent, we must now wonder why non-pro ts need to accumulate such huge amounts of surplus. Is there any accountability? And before we lose sight, lets just remind ourselves that these surpluses are generated from one single source: The tuition of the students.

    These institutions were set up to ensure access to quality higher education and have it be a ordable. Mind it. A ordable. Lets pub-lish the accounts of the private universities publicly, let us review where all the tuition is going. They are educational institutions. They are non-pro ts. They are entrusted with the holy task of spreading the light of education. Let the truth be told.

    Show us the private universities are charging a price which is adequate to cover only their operational expenses. Not to make pro ts (irrational surplus). I am hopeful they will be able to satisfy us, and win our hearts as noble and society-focused non-pro t insti-tutions. But lets have a look rst.

    As far as the government goes, if they really believe private universities are making good money and are pursuing a business agenda, just go and tax them. Tax the pro ts. But also, at the same time, remember your promise of making quality higher education a ordable for the deserving ones. Deserving based on merit. Go and ensure that rst. Ed-ucation is our birth-right, and you are man-dated to ensure that for citizens. Revenue maximisation, at least in this case, should not be rst priority.

    What about the quality of the education that is being delivered in private universities? Do they re ect the price being charged? If yes, fantastic! If not, who is protesting that? Is there anyone asking this question? We are too busy with super cial and immediate concerns. The government should imme-diately form a strong committee, with both

    public and private representation, to review the quality of education of all the private uni-versities. After all, the government gave them the license to operate, and it is their moral obligation to make sure licensed institutions are ful lling the promise.

    Coming back to the popular issue: VAT or no VAT, we must ensure higher education remains a ordable to our students who deserve it. I urge the government to take steps to review the existing tuition of all the private universities, and make sure they are a ordable to our people. Yes, I stro


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