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  • PM trashes post-75 rulers for their inaction about maritime boundary
    PM trashes post-75 rulers for their inaction about maritime boundary Frontier
    Frontier on Sunday, July 13, 2014
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    Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today blasted the post-75 rulers for their inaction about the maritime boundary, saying that Bangladesh could have established its rights in the continental shelf had they taken initiative.

    "Those who ruled the country for 21 years after the August 15 massacre in 1975 did not raise any claim about Bangladesh's rights in the sea. Bangladesh could have established its just rights in the continental shelf had they taken initiative," she said.

    Sheikh Hasina also said Bangladesh would have lost its rights in the sea, had the Awami League government not lodged its claim with the international tribunal.

    The Prime Minister said this while addressing officials of the Post and Telecommunication and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Ministry during her visit to the ministry at Bangladesh Secretariat here this morning.

    Post and Telecommunication and ICT Minister Abdul Latif Siddiqui and State Minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak also spoke on the occasion.

    Secretary of Post and Telecommunication Division Abu Bakar Siddique, Secretary of ICT Division Nazrul Islam Khan and PM's Press Secretary AKM Shamim Chowdhury were present, among others.

    Highlighting the background of Bangladesh's maritime victory against Myanmar and India, the Prime Minister said it was not an easy task to win against the two neighbours by filing cases with the international court.

    "India and Myanmar are our two friendly neighbours. So it was not an easy task to win against them by lodging cases with the international courts," she said.

    Posing a question that why the post-75 rulers did not take any initiatives for establishing Bangladesh's just rights in the sea, the Prime Minister said, in fact, they had no thinking about the betterment and future of the country. "Their main job was to grab and enjoy power," she said.

    Sheikh Hasina said Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman enacted the maritime law in 1974 to ensure Bangladesh's just rights in the sea. "Even the United Nations did not frame any law to this end at that time," she said.

    The Prime Minister said Bangladesh has been able to establish its just rights in the sea by wining the cases against Myanmar and India thanks to farsightedness of Bangabandhu.

    Bangladesh won its maritime dispute with India as the Hague- based International Arbitral Tribunal delivered its verdict on July 7 awarding Bangladesh 19,467 square kilometers area out of the disputed 25,602 square kilometers in the Bay of Bengal.

    "The Arbitral Tribunal in the Hague . , . sustained Bangladesh's claims of equitable solution to a full 200 nautical mile (NM) exclusive economic zone in Bay of Bengal and to a substantial share of the extended continental shelf beyond 200 NM," Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali announced in a crowded press conference at his office on July 8.

    He said the five-member tribunal agreed with Bangladesh that the "equidistance" method proposed for dividing the disputed waters between the two neighboring States was not equitable to Bangladesh.

    According to the verdict, Ali said, Bangladesh finally won more than 1,18,813 square kilometers of waters comprising territorial sea, exclusive economic zone extending out to 200 NM across sizable area.

    Reminding the officials of the Post and Telecommunication and ICT Ministry that there are four years and five months remaining of the present government, the Prime Minister asked them to work with more responsibility to change the lot of the people by completing the ongoing projects of the ministry.

    She said the present government has been able to maintain the continuity of its previous development programmes following its reelection through the January 5 parliamentary polls.

    "Now we are hopeful that that we could take the "Digital Bangladesh" programme forward and turn Bangladesh into a middle-income country much before 2021 if we work together," she added.

    Referring to the atrocities unleashed by BNP-Jamaat nexus before the January 5 polls, the Prime Minister said the Awami League government had executed 96 percent annual development progamme which was the first in the country's history despite the atrocities.

    "Despite killing and rampage of BNP-Jamaat clique in the name of the movement, Awami League could implement the 96 percent ADP. No other government in the past did such a work," she said

    Sheikh Hasina said before the 2008 elections, Bangladesh Awami League had projected a specific work plan for building a technology- based "Digital Bangladesh" before the countrymen.

    "We embarked on building Digital Bangladesh after formation of the government in 2009 through overwhelming support of the people. At that time many had described our plan as unrealistic," she said.

    But after five years, she said, the Digital Bangladesh is no more unrealistic as the people of the remote areas are getting its benefit. The Prime Minister said under the leadership of Bangabandhu, Bangladesh got the membership of International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in 1973.

    Sheikh Hasina said in order to accomplish the telecom and ICT activities in a coordinated manner, the Post and Telecommunication Ministry and Information and Communication Technology Ministry have been reorganized by merging the two ministries.

    "I hope that the activities of the ministry have been more dynamic due to the merger of the two ministries," she said.

    The Prime Minister said her government during the 1996-2001 tenure broke the monopoly in mobile phone initiating a trend of massive change in the telecom sector.

    "There was only one mobile phone company at that time. But there are now six mobile phone operators in the country and 11.62 crore SIM cards are being used which is about 78 percent of the population," she said.

    Sheikh Hasina said due to creation of congenial and competitive atmosphere, she said, the per minute mobile phone charge has been cut to 83 paisa now from Taka 9.60 in 2001.

    The Prime Minister said there are 7,000 information service centres across the country and 104 radio and television broadcasting centres. "The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) has given 1,881 licences in different categories," she said.

    She said the government awarded long-awaited 3G licences to five mobile phone operators, and the activities of the 4G will begin soon.

    She said Bangladesh has recently signed an agreement for linking another cable with the existing submarine cable to make international communication uninterrupted and speedy.

    Sheikh Hasina said the work on setting up a landing station at Kuakata in Patuakhali has already begun and as a result the bandwidth capacity will increase to 1300 gbps.

    The Prime Minister said six private companies have been given the international terrestrial licences side by side with the government company in order to meet the increased bandwidth demand in the country.

    Talking about the launching of country's first satellite, Sheikh Hasina also asked the officials to take more prompt actions to launch the Bangabandhu Satellite on the orbit by March 2017.

    She said the work on installing the optical fiber network up to all union parishads is going on at faster pace. Initiatives have been taken to produce smart phones in the country, she said.

    The Prime Minister said the world's largest web portal "The National Web Portal" with 25,000 websites has been introduced recently and 75 percent infrastructure work on setting up a high- tech park on 232 acre land at Kaliakoir in Gazipur has already been completed.

    Besides, she said, a software technology park is being implemented in Jessore side by side with turning Janata Tower at Karwan Bazar in the capital into a software park.

    Sheikh Hasina said steps have been undertaken to set up ICT Village at Mohakhali in Dhaka and Rajshahi, Chittagong and Barisal. "Besides, we have taken a plan to one IT Village/ Software Technology Park in every district of the country," she said.

    The Prime Minister said Bangladesh has been placed in third position in outsourcing through use of IT and Bangladesh is fetching US $ 125 million dollars annually by exporting software and IT services.

    She said "Bari Bose Baro Lok Project" (project for becoming rich in sitting house) has been undertaken for creating employment and empowerment of women through outsourcing.

    Under this programme, she said, training would be provided to 12,420 women in 276 upazilas. "As many as 6,275 females have already been provided training to this end," she added.

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