Friday, October 20, 2017 EDITORIAL

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 EDITORIAL

Rohingya crisis: Opt for multilateral negotiation

Interminable influx into Bangladesh of thousands of Rohingya Muslims—-whose number is approaching 600,000—-seems not to stop as Myanmar’s trigger-happy military in tandem with 87.9 per cent Therav?da Buddhist slaughterers are hell-bent on exterminating and hounding out the entire minority Muslims. The UN, the EU, the OIC, Malaysia are ardently active to combine forces with Dhaka; but our Government and Foreign Ministry appear to be inconspicuous and diffident and are acting rather  slowly, sporadically and in fits and starts.
Common sense dictates that our diplomatic machinery needs a shot in the arm and stimulus to mobilise world opinion for which PM Hasina should personally meet heads of governments of Russia, China, the US, UK, France i.e. all the UNSC permanent members so that they take steps with due seriousness and urgency.
Home Minister is leaving for Yangon on October 23, but it is hard to say if it would be useful. If our Foreign Minister Mahmood Ali thinks the crisis can be solved bilaterally then it may perhaps be a pipe dream. We do not think he will cut any ice in dealing with a neighbour where the rulers are bloodthirsty hook, line, and sinker regarding Muslims. We see no wisdom in pursuing bilateral approach to such a colossal behemoth of a crisis, so we wish to reiterate that involvement of the UN, Mr. Kofi Annan, the EU and the OIC is a must.
Suu Kyi has opened the way for people like Wirathu to act with absolute impunity. Ashin Wirathu, the monk who dubs himself the “Burmese bin Laden” and leads the viciously anti-Muslim 1969 Movement.  Wirathu had recently visited Rakhine State, giving hate-filled anti-Muslim speeches to crowds of thousands in which he calls for expelling the Muslims from the country. [Vide The Rohingya and Myanmar’s ‘Buddhist Bin Laden’  by Alex Preston, 12 February 2015 gq-magazine.co.uk/ article/myanmar-rohingya-muslim-burma]
Although the rulers of Myanmar misrepresent the history, to set the record straight, the Rohingyas have had a well established presence in Burma since the twelfth century. The Rohingya were once counted as a part of the Mrauk-U (Mrohaung) kingdom in Arakan which stood independent of both the Burman kingdoms in the Irrawaddy delta and central Burma as well as Bengal and the Moguls to the west. Muslim traders came to the area in the eighth century when the local dynasty was seated at Wesali, not far from contemporary Mrauk-U and some of the traders settled along the shores. More Muslim sailors made their way to the Arakan region during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.
In the 1400s, when Mrauk-U was invaded by forces of the Burman kingdom at Ava, King Narmeikhla sought help from Bengaland expelled the invaders with the help of a Muslim army. The link between Bengal and Mrauk-U from this point solidified, to the extent that the Mrauk-U king began to use Muslim court titles along with traditional ones.  Buddhist kings ruled Mrauk-U but Muslim officials often played a significant role in the court. Indeed, the inclusion of a variety of ethnic minority and religious officers in courts was a common practice throughout the mainland Southeast Asian sub-region. [Vide hrw.org/reports/2000/burma/burm005-01.htm]
Meanwhile, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs has viewed dozens of burned and destroyed villages in northern Rakhine during his recent tour by air, and called on Myanmar to investigate allegations of human rights abuses by security forces.
The final report of the Advisory Commission chaired by Kofi Annan dated 23 August puts forward recommendations to surmount the political, socio-economic and humanitarian challenges that currently face Rakhine State. It builds on the Commission’s interim report released in March of this year. [Vide rakhinecommission.org/the-final-report/]
The Commission members have travelled extensively throughout Rakhine State, and held meetings in Yangon and Naypyitaw, Indonesia, Thailand, Bangladesh, and Geneva. The final report—-the outcome of over 150 consultations and meetings held by the Advisory Commission since its launch in September 2016—- addresses in depth a broad range of structural issues that are impediments to the peace and prosperity of Rakhine State. Several recommendations focus specifically on citizenship verification, rights and equality before the law, documentation, the situation of the internally displaced and freedom of movement, which affect the Muslim population disproportionally.  Kofi Annan believes the recommendations, along with the interim report, can trace a path to lasting peace and respect for the rule of law in Rakhine State.
Whether or not a coincidence, a twist of fate or an adverse turn of events, Rohingya crisis intensified as Indian PM Modi arrived in Burma for talks. [Vide Max Bearak’s report, 2017 September 5, washington post .com /…/wp/ rohingya-crisis -intensifies- as-indias-modi-arrives -in-burma-for-talks]. Again, in Susma Swaraj’s “very short meeting” with Sheikh Hasina in New York “the Rohingya crisis did not come up for discussion”. Why on earth the best friend and closest neighbour looks the other way while Dhaka is literally in dire straits?
What is more, India is pushing Rohingya Muslims into Bangladesh. “Our directions are very clear, and that is to push all Rohingyas into Bangladesh”, said an Indian border guard in West Bengal [Vide dailymail.co.uk/ indiahome/ India news/ article -4981898/ Bangladesh-steps- security-India-border-Rohingya-fears.html, dated 15 October 2017].
Given that two of the five permanent members in the UN Security Council refused to adopt any motion to take decisive action against Myanmar’s ethnic cleansing of Rohingyas, the world community is yet to reach a consensus. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s five-point plan deserves to be mulled over with due seriousness by the UN. Besides, the Kofi Annan Commission’s recommendations made earlier have to be implemented in letter and spirit.

Comment

Interminable influx into Bangladesh of thousands of Rohingya Muslims—-whose number is approaching 600,000—-seems not to stop as Myanmar’s trigger-happy military in tandem with 87.9 per cent Therav?da Buddhist slaughterers are hell-bent on exterminating and hounding out the entire minority Muslims. The UN, the EU, the OIC, Malaysia are ardently active to combine forces with Dhaka; but our Government and Foreign Ministry appear to be inconspicuous and diffident and are acting rather  slowly, sporadically and in fits and starts.
Common sense dictates that our diplomatic machinery needs a shot in the arm and stimulus to mobilise world opinion for which PM Hasina should personally meet heads of governments of Russia, China, the US, UK, France i.e. all the UNSC permanent members so that they take steps with due seriousness and urgency.
Home Minister is leaving for Yangon on October 23, but it is hard to say if it would be useful. If our Foreign Minister Mahmood Ali thinks the crisis can be solved bilaterally then it may perhaps be a pipe dream. We do not think he will cut any ice in dealing with a neighbour where the rulers are bloodthirsty hook, line, and sinker regarding Muslims. We see no wisdom in pursuing bilateral approach to such a colossal behemoth of a crisis, so we wish to reiterate that involvement of the UN, Mr. Kofi Annan, the EU and the OIC is a must.
Suu Kyi has opened the way for people like Wirathu to act with absolute impunity. Ashin Wirathu, the monk who dubs himself the “Burmese bin Laden” and leads the viciously anti-Muslim 1969 Movement.  Wirathu had recently visited Rakhine State, giving hate-filled anti-Muslim speeches to crowds of thousands in which he calls for expelling the Muslims from the country. [Vide The Rohingya and Myanmar’s ‘Buddhist Bin Laden’  by Alex Preston, 12 February 2015 gq-magazine.co.uk/ article/myanmar-rohingya-muslim-burma]
Although the rulers of Myanmar misrepresent the history, to set the record straight, the Rohingyas have had a well established presence in Burma since the twelfth century. The Rohingya were once counted as a part of the Mrauk-U (Mrohaung) kingdom in Arakan which stood independent of both the Burman kingdoms in the Irrawaddy delta and central Burma as well as Bengal and the Moguls to the west. Muslim traders came to the area in the eighth century when the local dynasty was seated at Wesali, not far from contemporary Mrauk-U and some of the traders settled along the shores. More Muslim sailors made their way to the Arakan region during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.
In the 1400s, when Mrauk-U was invaded by forces of the Burman kingdom at Ava, King Narmeikhla sought help from Bengaland expelled the invaders with the help of a Muslim army. The link between Bengal and Mrauk-U from this point solidified, to the extent that the Mrauk-U king began to use Muslim court titles along with traditional ones.  Buddhist kings ruled Mrauk-U but Muslim officials often played a significant role in the court. Indeed, the inclusion of a variety of ethnic minority and religious officers in courts was a common practice throughout the mainland Southeast Asian sub-region. [Vide hrw.org/reports/2000/burma/burm005-01.htm]
Meanwhile, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs has viewed dozens of burned and destroyed villages in northern Rakhine during his recent tour by air, and called on Myanmar to investigate allegations of human rights abuses by security forces.
The final report of the Advisory Commission chaired by Kofi Annan dated 23 August puts forward recommendations to surmount the political, socio-economic and humanitarian challenges that currently face Rakhine State. It builds on the Commission’s interim report released in March of this year. [Vide rakhinecommission.org/the-final-report/]
The Commission members have travelled extensively throughout Rakhine State, and held meetings in Yangon and Naypyitaw, Indonesia, Thailand, Bangladesh, and Geneva. The final report—-the outcome of over 150 consultations and meetings held by the Advisory Commission since its launch in September 2016—- addresses in depth a broad range of structural issues that are impediments to the peace and prosperity of Rakhine State. Several recommendations focus specifically on citizenship verification, rights and equality before the law, documentation, the situation of the internally displaced and freedom of movement, which affect the Muslim population disproportionally.  Kofi Annan believes the recommendations, along with the interim report, can trace a path to lasting peace and respect for the rule of law in Rakhine State.
Whether or not a coincidence, a twist of fate or an adverse turn of events, Rohingya crisis intensified as Indian PM Modi arrived in Burma for talks. [Vide Max Bearak’s report, 2017 September 5, washington post .com /…/wp/ rohingya-crisis -intensifies- as-indias-modi-arrives -in-burma-for-talks]. Again, in Susma Swaraj’s “very short meeting” with Sheikh Hasina in New York “the Rohingya crisis did not come up for discussion”. Why on earth the best friend and closest neighbour looks the other way while Dhaka is literally in dire straits?
What is more, India is pushing Rohingya Muslims into Bangladesh. “Our directions are very clear, and that is to push all Rohingyas into Bangladesh”, said an Indian border guard in West Bengal [Vide dailymail.co.uk/ indiahome/ India news/ article -4981898/ Bangladesh-steps- security-India-border-Rohingya-fears.html, dated 15 October 2017].
Given that two of the five permanent members in the UN Security Council refused to adopt any motion to take decisive action against Myanmar’s ethnic cleansing of Rohingyas, the world community is yet to reach a consensus. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s five-point plan deserves to be mulled over with due seriousness by the UN. Besides, the Kofi Annan Commission’s recommendations made earlier have to be implemented in letter and spirit.


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The minister is not the CEO, he is the government

F R Chowdhury in London

I understand that recently the Government in Bangladesh has decided that the minister in charge of a ministry shall act as the chief executive officer (CEO). This appears wrong. The minister is a member of the cabinet and represents the government in that ministry. The minister is elected by the people and the rest are all civil servants.
In a parliamentary system of democracy, the head of the state invites the leader of the majority party to form a government. The party or coalition leader forms a government in the shape of the cabinet with himself/ herself as the prime minister and runs the country as its chief executive on behalf of the head of the state. It is customary for the king/queen or the president to grant an audience to the prime minister once every alternate week to brief the head of the state about the state of affairs.

Functioning of parliamentary system
The civil servants continue to remain in their position. Their services are automatically placed at the disposal of the new government. They perform their duties in the same manner as before out of any political influence. Civil service is not part of the political government. They provide the support to the government to implement its plans, projects and objectives. Government is elected by people. They come and go. Civil servants are supposed to be immune to party politics. They provide the necessary link to the continuity.
Normally once a week there is a cabinet meeting chaired by the prime minister. It is in the cabinet meeting that the government discusses all its plans and programs; and reviews development activities. Each minister presents his/ her case and the prime minister gives final decisions after listening to pros and cons. The cabinet secretary (the senior most civil servant) attends the meeting and acts as the coordinator amongst the ministries.
The minister in charge of the ministry then becomes the government so far the operation of his/her ministry is concerned to implement the decision of the cabinet/ government. The civil servants in the ministry according to their own ranks and responsibility provide the support. The secretary to the government in any ministry is the senior most civil servant within the ministry and acts as the chief coordinator and may be considered to be the chief executive officer reporting to the minister in charge.
Once the budget is passed, various departments and agencies get their share of financial resources and it is the secretary to the government to ensure that those are utilised properly. The office of the auditor general inspects the records to ensure that there is no un-authorised expenditure and that documented procedures have been followed.

Minister’s responsibility
The secretary to the government remains the chief accounting officer for the respective ministries and advises the concerned ministers accordingly. The minister is neither the chief executive officer nor the chief accounting officer. S/he is above that.
I think things will become clearer when we talk in terms of a specific ministry. Take for example the ministry of shipping. It has a number of departments/ organizations/ agencies such as – Chittagong Port Authority (CPA), Mongla Port Authority (MPA), Department of Shipping (DoS), BIWTA, BIWTC, BSC, Marine Academy (MA) and Seamen’s Training Centre (STC). Each one is headed by a chairman or director general or managing director or chief executive. Each of them enjoys the status of a head of the department though their personal rank and status may vary. According to government’s rules of business, during the second half of the financial year, the head of the department may make relocation/readjustment of the remaining financial resources for better utilization.
I would like to draw attention the role of the government and civil servants in a democratic society. Let us talk about the Merchant Shipping Act (MSA). It will be evidently written – “the government shall appoint a director general who shall ensure proper compliance of the provisions of this act and shall remain accountable and answerable to the government”. As soon as the law comes into force, all operational powers vested in the government is transferred to the director general. The government should make sure that a competent and capable person is appointed because he has to carry out all the delegated functions of the government.
This is why such position must be filled up by meeting the criteria outlined in the recruitment rules. The government (minister) may only supervise and monitor the director general’s performance. He may be questioned but he cannot be told what to do. Civil service must work out of political influence. This is essence of democracy.

Civil administration’s functions
Let us take another example. There must be a law relating to nationality, passport, immigration and visa. I am sure the law would state –“the government shall appoint a director general to ensure proper compliance of the provisions of this act who shall remain accountable and answerable to the government (relevant minister).” –
As soon as the law comes into force all routine procedures and functions outlined in the act shall be vested in the director general. The government (relevant minister) will ensure that all such functions are carried out as per provisions of the law.
In this context the director general may be asked by the government to justify some of his actions. A director general may have to face disciplinary proceedings if found guilty of an offence. But the director general cannot be told by a minister as to what he should or should not do. Any such action would mean interference.
It should be clearly understood from both examples that an aggrieved person may seek administrative appeal with the minister or even go to court against a decision. But the department and agencies (administrative units) must be allowed to do their work properly otherwise they would prove redundant. Effective decentralization can never be achieved if all powers remain in the minister’s hands.
The discussion on the government and civil service will not be complete unless we talk about officials acting beyond their powers. In Bangladesh we come across over enthusiastic civil servants who are very eager to curry favour from political dispensation. The security officials in the airport have no powers not to allow someone to travel abroad unless there is a court order restricting his/ her travel. Yet, so many times people have been turned back from airport. Normally the reason is given as an instruction from higher authorities. Nobody has the legal power to give any such instruction. The victim then goes to court to get an order for hindrance free travel. In a civilized democratic country such unlawful behaviour of responsible officers is not acceptable.

Differences in systems
In the presidential type of system, the president is both head of the
state as well as head of the government. The executive president has to be directly elected by the people. S/he is the chief executive for the operation of the government. In parliamentary system it is the prime minister who is the chief executive and the head of the government. S/he is never referred to as chief executive officer. S/he is the first among equals. This must be understood.
In the United Kingdom the local government is a Borough or Council elected by the people. The Council is headed by a Mayor or Chairman. The cabinet consists of a number of councillors being allocated various responsibilities. The Council evidently appoints a chief executive officer as the head of the local government civil servants. The CEO attends the Council meetings and ensures that decisions are implemented as per rules and procedures.
In the United Kingdom there are several government agencies that are headed by a chief executive. In the civil service structure, the position of an executive officer is above that of an administrative officer but well below a grade-7 officer.
The Bangladesh minister is a cabinet member. S/he is what we call in this country (UK) a secretary of state. S/he is not an ordinary salaried employee of the state, not a civil servant. S/he is an elected MP and a member of the cabinet. Let us not refer to him/her as a chief executive officer.

fazlu.chowdhury@btinternet.com

Comment

F R Chowdhury in London

I understand that recently the Government in Bangladesh has decided that the minister in charge of a ministry shall act as the chief executive officer (CEO). This appears wrong. The minister is a member of the cabinet and represents the government in that ministry. The minister is elected by the people and the rest are all civil servants.
In a parliamentary system of democracy, the head of the state invites the leader of the majority party to form a government. The party or coalition leader forms a government in the shape of the cabinet with himself/ herself as the prime minister and runs the country as its chief executive on behalf of the head of the state. It is customary for the king/queen or the president to grant an audience to the prime minister once every alternate week to brief the head of the state about the state of affairs.

Functioning of parliamentary system
The civil servants continue to remain in their position. Their services are automatically placed at the disposal of the new government. They perform their duties in the same manner as before out of any political influence. Civil service is not part of the political government. They provide the support to the government to implement its plans, projects and objectives. Government is elected by people. They come and go. Civil servants are supposed to be immune to party politics. They provide the necessary link to the continuity.
Normally once a week there is a cabinet meeting chaired by the prime minister. It is in the cabinet meeting that the government discusses all its plans and programs; and reviews development activities. Each minister presents his/ her case and the prime minister gives final decisions after listening to pros and cons. The cabinet secretary (the senior most civil servant) attends the meeting and acts as the coordinator amongst the ministries.
The minister in charge of the ministry then becomes the government so far the operation of his/her ministry is concerned to implement the decision of the cabinet/ government. The civil servants in the ministry according to their own ranks and responsibility provide the support. The secretary to the government in any ministry is the senior most civil servant within the ministry and acts as the chief coordinator and may be considered to be the chief executive officer reporting to the minister in charge.
Once the budget is passed, various departments and agencies get their share of financial resources and it is the secretary to the government to ensure that those are utilised properly. The office of the auditor general inspects the records to ensure that there is no un-authorised expenditure and that documented procedures have been followed.

Minister’s responsibility
The secretary to the government remains the chief accounting officer for the respective ministries and advises the concerned ministers accordingly. The minister is neither the chief executive officer nor the chief accounting officer. S/he is above that.
I think things will become clearer when we talk in terms of a specific ministry. Take for example the ministry of shipping. It has a number of departments/ organizations/ agencies such as – Chittagong Port Authority (CPA), Mongla Port Authority (MPA), Department of Shipping (DoS), BIWTA, BIWTC, BSC, Marine Academy (MA) and Seamen’s Training Centre (STC). Each one is headed by a chairman or director general or managing director or chief executive. Each of them enjoys the status of a head of the department though their personal rank and status may vary. According to government’s rules of business, during the second half of the financial year, the head of the department may make relocation/readjustment of the remaining financial resources for better utilization.
I would like to draw attention the role of the government and civil servants in a democratic society. Let us talk about the Merchant Shipping Act (MSA). It will be evidently written – “the government shall appoint a director general who shall ensure proper compliance of the provisions of this act and shall remain accountable and answerable to the government”. As soon as the law comes into force, all operational powers vested in the government is transferred to the director general. The government should make sure that a competent and capable person is appointed because he has to carry out all the delegated functions of the government.
This is why such position must be filled up by meeting the criteria outlined in the recruitment rules. The government (minister) may only supervise and monitor the director general’s performance. He may be questioned but he cannot be told what to do. Civil service must work out of political influence. This is essence of democracy.

Civil administration’s functions
Let us take another example. There must be a law relating to nationality, passport, immigration and visa. I am sure the law would state –“the government shall appoint a director general to ensure proper compliance of the provisions of this act who shall remain accountable and answerable to the government (relevant minister).” –
As soon as the law comes into force all routine procedures and functions outlined in the act shall be vested in the director general. The government (relevant minister) will ensure that all such functions are carried out as per provisions of the law.
In this context the director general may be asked by the government to justify some of his actions. A director general may have to face disciplinary proceedings if found guilty of an offence. But the director general cannot be told by a minister as to what he should or should not do. Any such action would mean interference.
It should be clearly understood from both examples that an aggrieved person may seek administrative appeal with the minister or even go to court against a decision. But the department and agencies (administrative units) must be allowed to do their work properly otherwise they would prove redundant. Effective decentralization can never be achieved if all powers remain in the minister’s hands.
The discussion on the government and civil service will not be complete unless we talk about officials acting beyond their powers. In Bangladesh we come across over enthusiastic civil servants who are very eager to curry favour from political dispensation. The security officials in the airport have no powers not to allow someone to travel abroad unless there is a court order restricting his/ her travel. Yet, so many times people have been turned back from airport. Normally the reason is given as an instruction from higher authorities. Nobody has the legal power to give any such instruction. The victim then goes to court to get an order for hindrance free travel. In a civilized democratic country such unlawful behaviour of responsible officers is not acceptable.

Differences in systems
In the presidential type of system, the president is both head of the
state as well as head of the government. The executive president has to be directly elected by the people. S/he is the chief executive for the operation of the government. In parliamentary system it is the prime minister who is the chief executive and the head of the government. S/he is never referred to as chief executive officer. S/he is the first among equals. This must be understood.
In the United Kingdom the local government is a Borough or Council elected by the people. The Council is headed by a Mayor or Chairman. The cabinet consists of a number of councillors being allocated various responsibilities. The Council evidently appoints a chief executive officer as the head of the local government civil servants. The CEO attends the Council meetings and ensures that decisions are implemented as per rules and procedures.
In the United Kingdom there are several government agencies that are headed by a chief executive. In the civil service structure, the position of an executive officer is above that of an administrative officer but well below a grade-7 officer.
The Bangladesh minister is a cabinet member. S/he is what we call in this country (UK) a secretary of state. S/he is not an ordinary salaried employee of the state, not a civil servant. S/he is an elected MP and a member of the cabinet. Let us not refer to him/her as a chief executive officer.

fazlu.chowdhury@btinternet.com


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 VIEW POINT

Shrimp cultivation deserves greater attention

A M K Chowdhury

At present shrimps are being cultivated on around 2.75 lakh hectares of land mainly in the saline-prone Southwestern coastal region, according to the Department of Fisheries. As yield is low in the traditional method, export-oriented processing industries can utilise only one-fifth of their processing capacities of nearly 3.5 lakh tonnes.
Frozen food export is the second largest export item of Bangladesh, earning about $400 million of foreign currency annually which is about 3pc of total export and contributing 3.78 pc in GDP. Shrimp contains more than 80pc of frozen food items. A significant area of southern part of the country is under shrimp culture.
Shrimp requires less production cost but has greater monetary gain. It contributes not only more than half a billion US dollar in a year but also provides livelihood to more than 1.0 million shrimp farmers who are employed in the country’s 130 shrimp processing plants and tens of thousands of farms.
According to a newspaper report Bangladesh’s frozen food export have been declining for the last two and a half years due to short supply of shrimp. Currently exporters can supply only 15 per cent of raw materials against the capacity of their processing plants as there is a scarcity of raw materials in the local market. Production costs are therefore increasing and exporters are facing tough competition in the international market.
It said the export earnings from frozen food sector dropped by 1.89 per cent during the last five months of the 2016-17 financial year, while the earnings fell by 5.68 per cent and 11 per cent in FY 2015-16 and 2014-15 respectively. (The Daily Observer, dated July 4,2017)
In the year 2012 cultivation of shrimps faced a serious setback as bacterial infection wreaked havoc in the shrimp enclosures in coastal districts. Production of shrimp popularly known as ‘white gold’ was drastically reduced due to spread of the disease called ‘White Spot Virus’ in Khulna, Bagerhat and Satkhira districts that was nearly half of the country’s total shrimp production.
Khulna Division is known as a shrimp cultivation area of the country. This season about 23,720 enclosures that covering 36,427.52 hectares of land for ‘Bagda’ farming and a total of 34,680 enclosures on 14,121.38 hectares of land were brought for ‘Lobster” farming in Khulna.
The outbreak was particularly severe in Paikgacha and Damuria upazila of Khulna, Ashashuni and Kaliganj upazilas of Satkhira and Rampal and Sadar upazilas of Bagerhat.
Khulna District Fisheries Officer said, “It is a bacterial infection. Shrimps are dying due to severe heat, lack of adequate water during the ongoing dry season and environmental hazards in the shrimp enclosures. Farmers did not dry the mud properly and use lime proportionately to kill the bacteria during preparation of their enclosures to start the farming”. He suggested that the farmers should apply proper method including supply of formulated feed, change of the water and circulate the wind regularly in the shrimp enclosures and not to reserve additional shrimp fry there. (The Independent, dated May 14, 2012).

Unscrupulous traders
A newspaper report said a group of unscrupulous traders has allegedly been injecting various harmful substances into shrimps to earn extra profit. Substances like water, jelly, glue, marbles, magic balls and lead etc., are injected to add extra weight to the consignment.
Despite regular drives by the Department of Fisheries (DoF) such malpractice are rampant at various depots. This year the DoF of Khulna conducted nine drives and seized about 8,000 kg of adulterated shrimps. They also collected Tk.2 lakh 40,000 as fine and punished one depot owner. Deputy Director (DD) of Khulna DoF said such malpractice could not be stopped fully as local administration and law enforcers do not always cooperate. Depot owners employ labourers to inject substances into the shrimp. They usually work at night and pay Tk. 10 for one kilogramme of shrimp. Thus a labourer can earn Tk.1,000 per night making this lucrative part time work.(The Dhaka Tribune, dated April 6,201
According to Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), shrimps worth Tk.2,525 crore were exported in six months from July to December 2015, which was 2.3 per cent less than that of the same period of 2014 and it fetched an amount of Tk. 2,584 crore in 2014-15 FY. (The Daily Observer, dated February 12,2015)

Potential of fish wastes
The country is yet to reap the benefits from million of tonnes of fish wastes, which can provide a range of byproducts after being processed commercially for export diversification. Specialists and experts at a policy dialogue on “Creating Value for Waste: How to Reduce and Utilize Fish/ Shrimp Wastes” held in the city recently suggested that instead of discarding the heads, frames, skin, scales, fins, liver, viscera, tails, guts, shells legs etc. of fish and shrimps as wastes should be handled as food grades for use as raw materials for different by-products like fish meal, fish oil, pet feed, cytosine, or chitin etc, (the Daily Observer, dated May 12, 2016)
Another newspaper report said one piece of one kg.150 grams of shrimp was sold at Tk.1,000 (one thousand) only at Char bhadrasan hat of Faridpur. A luxurious buyer Motaleb Hossain Mollah, Asstt. Publicity secretary of upazila Awami League (AL) purchased it as it was rare to have such a big shrimp, he said. (The Daily Naya Diganta, dated December 18, 2016)
A newspaper report said that Bangladesh exported 212 million pound of frozen shrimps worth $580 million in FY 2011-12, 204 million pound worth $544 million in 2o12-13, 170 million pound worth $638 million in 2013-14, 184 million pound worth $568 million in 2014-15, 166 million pound worth $ 536 million in 2015-16 and 150 million pound worth $ 526 million in 2016-17. It appears from the above report that export earnings were decreased for the last three years as compared to previous years.
It is needless to say proper application of scientific methods of cultivation has the potential to improve productivity and lower cost of production causing less harm to the environment.
Improved Bagda fish farming technology may raise shrimp production to 1.5 lakh metric tonnes in the country and export to US $1.3 billion by 2017. Expanding galda farms from existing 50,000 hectares to 1.2 lakh hectares, galda production may increase to 80,000 metric tonnes. (The Daily Observer, dated April 9, 2016)
Necessary steps should be taken to increase shrimp cultivation which involves country’s foreign currency. Malpractice of injecting various substances into shrimps to earn extra profit by unscrupulous traders should be stopped by conducting regular drives.
At present the world market demand for shrimp is increasing day by day, so greater drive to boost this sector is indispensable.

Comment

A M K Chowdhury

At present shrimps are being cultivated on around 2.75 lakh hectares of land mainly in the saline-prone Southwestern coastal region, according to the Department of Fisheries. As yield is low in the traditional method, export-oriented processing industries can utilise only one-fifth of their processing capacities of nearly 3.5 lakh tonnes.
Frozen food export is the second largest export item of Bangladesh, earning about $400 million of foreign currency annually which is about 3pc of total export and contributing 3.78 pc in GDP. Shrimp contains more than 80pc of frozen food items. A significant area of southern part of the country is under shrimp culture.
Shrimp requires less production cost but has greater monetary gain. It contributes not only more than half a billion US dollar in a year but also provides livelihood to more than 1.0 million shrimp farmers who are employed in the country’s 130 shrimp processing plants and tens of thousands of farms.
According to a newspaper report Bangladesh’s frozen food export have been declining for the last two and a half years due to short supply of shrimp. Currently exporters can supply only 15 per cent of raw materials against the capacity of their processing plants as there is a scarcity of raw materials in the local market. Production costs are therefore increasing and exporters are facing tough competition in the international market.
It said the export earnings from frozen food sector dropped by 1.89 per cent during the last five months of the 2016-17 financial year, while the earnings fell by 5.68 per cent and 11 per cent in FY 2015-16 and 2014-15 respectively. (The Daily Observer, dated July 4,2017)
In the year 2012 cultivation of shrimps faced a serious setback as bacterial infection wreaked havoc in the shrimp enclosures in coastal districts. Production of shrimp popularly known as ‘white gold’ was drastically reduced due to spread of the disease called ‘White Spot Virus’ in Khulna, Bagerhat and Satkhira districts that was nearly half of the country’s total shrimp production.
Khulna Division is known as a shrimp cultivation area of the country. This season about 23,720 enclosures that covering 36,427.52 hectares of land for ‘Bagda’ farming and a total of 34,680 enclosures on 14,121.38 hectares of land were brought for ‘Lobster” farming in Khulna.
The outbreak was particularly severe in Paikgacha and Damuria upazila of Khulna, Ashashuni and Kaliganj upazilas of Satkhira and Rampal and Sadar upazilas of Bagerhat.
Khulna District Fisheries Officer said, “It is a bacterial infection. Shrimps are dying due to severe heat, lack of adequate water during the ongoing dry season and environmental hazards in the shrimp enclosures. Farmers did not dry the mud properly and use lime proportionately to kill the bacteria during preparation of their enclosures to start the farming”. He suggested that the farmers should apply proper method including supply of formulated feed, change of the water and circulate the wind regularly in the shrimp enclosures and not to reserve additional shrimp fry there. (The Independent, dated May 14, 2012).

Unscrupulous traders
A newspaper report said a group of unscrupulous traders has allegedly been injecting various harmful substances into shrimps to earn extra profit. Substances like water, jelly, glue, marbles, magic balls and lead etc., are injected to add extra weight to the consignment.
Despite regular drives by the Department of Fisheries (DoF) such malpractice are rampant at various depots. This year the DoF of Khulna conducted nine drives and seized about 8,000 kg of adulterated shrimps. They also collected Tk.2 lakh 40,000 as fine and punished one depot owner. Deputy Director (DD) of Khulna DoF said such malpractice could not be stopped fully as local administration and law enforcers do not always cooperate. Depot owners employ labourers to inject substances into the shrimp. They usually work at night and pay Tk. 10 for one kilogramme of shrimp. Thus a labourer can earn Tk.1,000 per night making this lucrative part time work.(The Dhaka Tribune, dated April 6,201
According to Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), shrimps worth Tk.2,525 crore were exported in six months from July to December 2015, which was 2.3 per cent less than that of the same period of 2014 and it fetched an amount of Tk. 2,584 crore in 2014-15 FY. (The Daily Observer, dated February 12,2015)

Potential of fish wastes
The country is yet to reap the benefits from million of tonnes of fish wastes, which can provide a range of byproducts after being processed commercially for export diversification. Specialists and experts at a policy dialogue on “Creating Value for Waste: How to Reduce and Utilize Fish/ Shrimp Wastes” held in the city recently suggested that instead of discarding the heads, frames, skin, scales, fins, liver, viscera, tails, guts, shells legs etc. of fish and shrimps as wastes should be handled as food grades for use as raw materials for different by-products like fish meal, fish oil, pet feed, cytosine, or chitin etc, (the Daily Observer, dated May 12, 2016)
Another newspaper report said one piece of one kg.150 grams of shrimp was sold at Tk.1,000 (one thousand) only at Char bhadrasan hat of Faridpur. A luxurious buyer Motaleb Hossain Mollah, Asstt. Publicity secretary of upazila Awami League (AL) purchased it as it was rare to have such a big shrimp, he said. (The Daily Naya Diganta, dated December 18, 2016)
A newspaper report said that Bangladesh exported 212 million pound of frozen shrimps worth $580 million in FY 2011-12, 204 million pound worth $544 million in 2o12-13, 170 million pound worth $638 million in 2013-14, 184 million pound worth $568 million in 2014-15, 166 million pound worth $ 536 million in 2015-16 and 150 million pound worth $ 526 million in 2016-17. It appears from the above report that export earnings were decreased for the last three years as compared to previous years.
It is needless to say proper application of scientific methods of cultivation has the potential to improve productivity and lower cost of production causing less harm to the environment.
Improved Bagda fish farming technology may raise shrimp production to 1.5 lakh metric tonnes in the country and export to US $1.3 billion by 2017. Expanding galda farms from existing 50,000 hectares to 1.2 lakh hectares, galda production may increase to 80,000 metric tonnes. (The Daily Observer, dated April 9, 2016)
Necessary steps should be taken to increase shrimp cultivation which involves country’s foreign currency. Malpractice of injecting various substances into shrimps to earn extra profit by unscrupulous traders should be stopped by conducting regular drives.
At present the world market demand for shrimp is increasing day by day, so greater drive to boost this sector is indispensable.


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