Friday, April 28, 2017 EDITORIAL

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 EDITORIAL 
“TRUTH IS INCONTROVERTIBLE”
Alleged mass arrest drive against opposition BNP
In a country where truth is not elusive and facts are disseminated for public consumption, which are indispensable in democratic dispensation, then there is optimism for the populace; but lack of this engender pessimism, stir up negativity, and provoke doom and gloom.
Notwithstanding the crucial significance of veracity, insensitive politicking, to the chagrin of the body politic, take incongruous wrong steps, oblivious of the fact that the outcome would certainly be counterproductive having the opposite of the desired effect.
The Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) has earned the notoriety of “death squad” and hence condemned by human rights group. [Vide theguardian.com/world/2011/jan/26/bangladesh-death-squad-killings, and New York-based Human Rights Watch].
In Bangladesh, security forces have killed an estimated 150 protestors since January and detained the prominent human rights defender Adilur Rahman Khan, who was documenting the cases of 61 people allegedly killed by security forces in May 2013. [freedomhouse.org/article quoted CNN dated September 20, 2013]
Not surprisingly, in 2009 shipping minister Shahjahan Khan, in a BBC programme said: “There are incidents of trials that are not possible under the laws of the land. The government will need to continue with extrajudicial killings, commonly called crossfire.”
With extrajudicial killings galore, enforced disappearances of mostly opposition BNP leaders and activists taking place frequently over the last seven years, miserable governance characterised by financial scams of gargantuan proportions in state-owned financial institutions and unbridled corruption as admitted by the finance minister himself, attempts to muzzle the media, the country is in a state of flux as the basic foundation of democracy—-free and fair election—-has been tainted by the ruling Awami League (AL) government.
Broadly speaking, perhaps more than 60 per cent of the electorate support Khaleda, which fact can be proved if a non-party election-time administration holds a general election [not like the 2008 polls held under Army Chief Gen. Moeen U Ahmed; and the totally farcical 5 January 2014 polls [thanks to former Indian foreign secretary Sujatha Singh] under PM Hasina in which 153 lawmakers did not contest and yet could become chosen, unelected Prime Minister, ministers and MPs.].
Previously taken into custody in November 2013 and released after some months, the BNP Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi—-who was again arrested by RAB at Baridhara in February 2015 and then grilled by police in 36 cases for over 30 consecutive days and released on bail after 10 months —- alleged that the ruling Awami League government has launched a mass arrest drive against its leaders and activists in the name of a countrywide ‘special drive’, reported the Prothom Alo on 24  April 2017.
“Law enforcers are carrying out a wholesale arrest of the leaders and activists of BNP and other parties across the country in the name of a special drive without any ground. The police and detectives are also raiding the houses of our leaders and activists and harassing their family members, including children,” said BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi adding that several hundred leaders and activists of his party were arrested.
There is cogent reason why Rizvi’s apprehension should be taken seriously. It may seem incredible but true that in March 2015 as many as 69,000 members of Bangladesh opposition parties were accused in 70 cases in Gaibandha—-which is one of the 64 districts in the country.
[Vide progress bangladesh. com/ 69000-members of-bangladesh-opposition and Dhakar News dated 8 March 2015.] BNP senior leader Hannan Shah on 11 November 2015 alleged that the country was heading towards chaos again as law enforcers could not arrest terrorists; rather they were engaged in suppressing the opposition but “not against the terrorists”.[Vide daily asian age. com/ news/ 2169/country -heading dated11 November 2015].
Repression and persecution were happening to the opposition BNP in  November 2015, every day “nearly a thousand opposition leaders” were allegedly taken into police custody ahead of the local body polls, while many BNP leaders—including its affable Secretary General ailing Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir—-were rotting in jail.
The Comilla City Corporation (CCC) Mayor Monirul Haque Sakku, a BNP leader, recently won mayoral polls with a margin of 11,085 votes defeating Awami League candidate Ms Anjum Sultana Sima. As were the predictable as well as inevitable fate of all the other opposition BNP leaders who were elected Mayors across the country, a Dhaka court issued on 17 April 2017 arrest warrant against the CCC Mayor Sakku in a corruption case filed by the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC).
Given the usual pattern of brutal political repression towards the main opposition BNP leaders and activists, such coercive suppression is simply unsurprising the Local Government Division under the LGRD ministry has all along been strict only while enforcing the act in cases involving elected representatives backed by the BNP. In recent years, several mayors, upazila chairmen and vice chairmen loyal to the BNP and the Jamaat were suspended after they had been indicted in similar criminal cases.
Taking advantage of the law, the government has recently suspended two pro-BNP mayors of Rajshahi and Sylhet city corporations, Mosaddek Hossain Bulbul and Ariful Huq Chowdhury, twice. Pro-BNP city mayors of Gazipur M A Mannan and Moniruzzaman Moni of Khulna too were suspended. However, all of them regained their mayoral posts as court stayed their suspension orders. [Vide thedailystar.net dated April 19, 2017]
Distinguished British statesman Winston Churchill was of the view that “Truth is incontrovertible, ignorance can deride it, panic may resent it, malice may destroy it, but there it is.” Junior to him by 60 years, a most remarkable inspiring cultural symbol of the last century, rock ‘n’ roll King Elvis Presley regarded truth as identical to the sun and added, “You can shut it out for a time, but it ain’t goin’ away.

Comment

In a country where truth is not elusive and facts are disseminated for public consumption, which are indispensable in democratic dispensation, then there is optimism for the populace; but lack of this engender pessimism, stir up negativity, and provoke doom and gloom.
Notwithstanding the crucial significance of veracity, insensitive politicking, to the chagrin of the body politic, take incongruous wrong steps, oblivious of the fact that the outcome would certainly be counterproductive having the opposite of the desired effect.
The Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) has earned the notoriety of “death squad” and hence condemned by human rights group. [Vide theguardian.com/world/2011/jan/26/bangladesh-death-squad-killings, and New York-based Human Rights Watch].
In Bangladesh, security forces have killed an estimated 150 protestors since January and detained the prominent human rights defender Adilur Rahman Khan, who was documenting the cases of 61 people allegedly killed by security forces in May 2013. [freedomhouse.org/article quoted CNN dated September 20, 2013]
Not surprisingly, in 2009 shipping minister Shahjahan Khan, in a BBC programme said: “There are incidents of trials that are not possible under the laws of the land. The government will need to continue with extrajudicial killings, commonly called crossfire.”
With extrajudicial killings galore, enforced disappearances of mostly opposition BNP leaders and activists taking place frequently over the last seven years, miserable governance characterised by financial scams of gargantuan proportions in state-owned financial institutions and unbridled corruption as admitted by the finance minister himself, attempts to muzzle the media, the country is in a state of flux as the basic foundation of democracy—-free and fair election—-has been tainted by the ruling Awami League (AL) government.
Broadly speaking, perhaps more than 60 per cent of the electorate support Khaleda, which fact can be proved if a non-party election-time administration holds a general election [not like the 2008 polls held under Army Chief Gen. Moeen U Ahmed; and the totally farcical 5 January 2014 polls [thanks to former Indian foreign secretary Sujatha Singh] under PM Hasina in which 153 lawmakers did not contest and yet could become chosen, unelected Prime Minister, ministers and MPs.].
Previously taken into custody in November 2013 and released after some months, the BNP Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi—-who was again arrested by RAB at Baridhara in February 2015 and then grilled by police in 36 cases for over 30 consecutive days and released on bail after 10 months —- alleged that the ruling Awami League government has launched a mass arrest drive against its leaders and activists in the name of a countrywide ‘special drive’, reported the Prothom Alo on 24  April 2017.
“Law enforcers are carrying out a wholesale arrest of the leaders and activists of BNP and other parties across the country in the name of a special drive without any ground. The police and detectives are also raiding the houses of our leaders and activists and harassing their family members, including children,” said BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi adding that several hundred leaders and activists of his party were arrested.
There is cogent reason why Rizvi’s apprehension should be taken seriously. It may seem incredible but true that in March 2015 as many as 69,000 members of Bangladesh opposition parties were accused in 70 cases in Gaibandha—-which is one of the 64 districts in the country.
[Vide progress bangladesh. com/ 69000-members of-bangladesh-opposition and Dhakar News dated 8 March 2015.] BNP senior leader Hannan Shah on 11 November 2015 alleged that the country was heading towards chaos again as law enforcers could not arrest terrorists; rather they were engaged in suppressing the opposition but “not against the terrorists”.[Vide daily asian age. com/ news/ 2169/country -heading dated11 November 2015].
Repression and persecution were happening to the opposition BNP in  November 2015, every day “nearly a thousand opposition leaders” were allegedly taken into police custody ahead of the local body polls, while many BNP leaders—including its affable Secretary General ailing Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir—-were rotting in jail.
The Comilla City Corporation (CCC) Mayor Monirul Haque Sakku, a BNP leader, recently won mayoral polls with a margin of 11,085 votes defeating Awami League candidate Ms Anjum Sultana Sima. As were the predictable as well as inevitable fate of all the other opposition BNP leaders who were elected Mayors across the country, a Dhaka court issued on 17 April 2017 arrest warrant against the CCC Mayor Sakku in a corruption case filed by the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC).
Given the usual pattern of brutal political repression towards the main opposition BNP leaders and activists, such coercive suppression is simply unsurprising the Local Government Division under the LGRD ministry has all along been strict only while enforcing the act in cases involving elected representatives backed by the BNP. In recent years, several mayors, upazila chairmen and vice chairmen loyal to the BNP and the Jamaat were suspended after they had been indicted in similar criminal cases.
Taking advantage of the law, the government has recently suspended two pro-BNP mayors of Rajshahi and Sylhet city corporations, Mosaddek Hossain Bulbul and Ariful Huq Chowdhury, twice. Pro-BNP city mayors of Gazipur M A Mannan and Moniruzzaman Moni of Khulna too were suspended. However, all of them regained their mayoral posts as court stayed their suspension orders. [Vide thedailystar.net dated April 19, 2017]
Distinguished British statesman Winston Churchill was of the view that “Truth is incontrovertible, ignorance can deride it, panic may resent it, malice may destroy it, but there it is.” Junior to him by 60 years, a most remarkable inspiring cultural symbol of the last century, rock ‘n’ roll King Elvis Presley regarded truth as identical to the sun and added, “You can shut it out for a time, but it ain’t goin’ away.

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The conspiracy behind Babri Mosque demolition

Ram Puniyani
 
After the long wait, the Supreme Court Chief Justice J.S. Khehar opined that long pending dispute of Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid should be settled out of court (March 2017). He even offered to mediate himself in the matter.
Uniformly most of the spokesperson from RSS Combine welcomed the move, while large number of Muslims and other elements have been surprised as the Court was approached for justice and not or compromise formula.
 
The genesis
This is in the backdrop of the judgment of Lukhnow branch of Allahabad Court (2010). As per this, the three judge bench had said that the land should be divided into three parts. As such the judgment was an exercise of sorts trying to do a balancing act between all the parties involved, Ram Lalla Virajman, Nirmohi Akhada and Sunni wakf board.
The title of the land has been divided into three; each sharing one part. Also court had declared since Hindus believe that the ‘birth place’ of Lord Ram to be below the place where the central dome of the mosque stood, that place should be allotted to Hindus. In response RSS chief in a jubilant mood had proclaimed that now the path for a grand Ram temple has been opened at the site and all the parties should cooperate in this “national” work.
For larger sections this judgment came as a matter of dismay. The Babri Mosque has been there from last nearly five hundred years and it was in possession of Sunni Waqf Board. The dispute was created in nineteen century. In 1885 even the court denied Hindus to build shed on the platform outside the mosque. It is after the forcible installation of Ram Lalla idols (1949) that the matters went in an adverse way. Through a conspiracy; the idols were installed and despite the insistence of Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru, the then Prime Minister of India, the UP administration did not comply.  The gates of the Masjid were sealed. It was in 1986 that Rajiv Gandhi, the then Prime Minister, got the doors of the Masjid opened under the intense pressure of Hindu Right wing forces.
 
Masjid’s planned demolition
Lal Krishna Advani took up the issue from VHP, which was agitating for Ram Temple so far. With Advani, the President of BJP, taking up the issue its political impact started deepening and widening at the same time. It was made the major polarizing issue around which consolidation of Hindu vote bank began. The mobilization for Rath yatra planned for the temple movement became much more in the aftermath of Mandal Commission implementation. Those who opposed reservation for OBCs came forward in large numbers in the mobilization for Ram Temple.
While BJP did not show direct opposition to Mandal commission, it converted the opposition in to the Ram Temple issue. Mandal versus Kamandal (Holy water pot, Religiosity), is how some framed it.
This issue came up to torment the delicate thread of peace prevailing in the society. The culmination this campaign was in the form of demolition of the Babri Masjid. In the demolition RSS combine mobilized large section of people and (former prime minister) Narsimha Rao colluded. While local administration collapsed, Kalyan Singh of BJP, who was then Chief Minister of UP, facilitated the assembly of kar sevaks, which was to demolish the mosque. He did this despite his promise to Supreme Court that he will protect the mosque. Narsimha Rao who locked himself in his Puja room as the mosque was being demolished later promised that it will be built precisely at the same spot.
The matters took the turn for the worse as BJP led team of ‘archeologists-Kar Sevaks’ tried to prove that there are remnants of Ram Temple below the mosque. Archeologically this is not tenable. That there was no convincing proof of Ram Temple underneath becomes clear from the fact the High Court Bench had to resort to ‘faith of Hindus’ to allot 2/3 of the land to Hindu groups. The demolition of Mosque might have been the biggest crime in India and that was well planned.  Despite that the leaders of demolition squad have not been punished so far.
 
Muslims are threatened
Liberhan Commission did point out the nature of underlying conspiracy but unfortunately the Commission took long to submit its report. To add salt to the injury Advani and company became stronger after this crime against the nation. The demolition also unleashed massive violence against Muslims, particularly in Mumbai, Bhopal and Surat along with other places. The guilty of this violence have also been let off totally or with minor reprimand.
In the matter of this dispute the ownership of the title has been the real issue. The High Court based itself more on ‘Faith’ than the records of ownership of the land. The Supreme Court as the highest legal body needs to see the total issue from legal angle and needs to set right the wrongs done so far. Only concrete legal aspects should determine the outcome of the case. Instead to call for compromise out of Court in present circumstances is overlooking the aspect of justice. In out of Court settlement already the Hindu groups have said that Muslims should leave the place for Ram Temple and another suitable land will be given to them for mosque. The two sides are not evenly balanced as far as their strength on negotiating table is concerned.
There are threats from the likes of Subramanian Swami, BJP MP, and others that if Muslims don’t give up their claim, the bill will be brought through Parliament once BJP has bigger strength. The threats of this type are immoral. Already there are claims on so many Mosques to convert them into temples! In the out of Court settlement, the Hindu nationalists are more assertive and dominant while the representatives of Muslims are being pushed into a corner that does not augur well for the health of our democracy. Effort to revive issue of other mosques is unwarranted and intimidating to minorities. That needs to be stopped.
 
Ram Puniyani was a professor in biomedical engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, and took voluntary retirement in December 2004 to work full time for communal harmony in India. He is involved with human rights activities from last two decades. He is associated with various secular and democratic initiatives like All India Secular Forum, Center for Study of Society and Secularism and ANHAD. Response only to ram.puniyani@gmail.com

Comment

Ram Puniyani
 
After the long wait, the Supreme Court Chief Justice J.S. Khehar opined that long pending dispute of Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid should be settled out of court (March 2017). He even offered to mediate himself in the matter.
Uniformly most of the spokesperson from RSS Combine welcomed the move, while large number of Muslims and other elements have been surprised as the Court was approached for justice and not or compromise formula.
 
The genesis
This is in the backdrop of the judgment of Lukhnow branch of Allahabad Court (2010). As per this, the three judge bench had said that the land should be divided into three parts. As such the judgment was an exercise of sorts trying to do a balancing act between all the parties involved, Ram Lalla Virajman, Nirmohi Akhada and Sunni wakf board.
The title of the land has been divided into three; each sharing one part. Also court had declared since Hindus believe that the ‘birth place’ of Lord Ram to be below the place where the central dome of the mosque stood, that place should be allotted to Hindus. In response RSS chief in a jubilant mood had proclaimed that now the path for a grand Ram temple has been opened at the site and all the parties should cooperate in this “national” work.
For larger sections this judgment came as a matter of dismay. The Babri Mosque has been there from last nearly five hundred years and it was in possession of Sunni Waqf Board. The dispute was created in nineteen century. In 1885 even the court denied Hindus to build shed on the platform outside the mosque. It is after the forcible installation of Ram Lalla idols (1949) that the matters went in an adverse way. Through a conspiracy; the idols were installed and despite the insistence of Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru, the then Prime Minister of India, the UP administration did not comply.  The gates of the Masjid were sealed. It was in 1986 that Rajiv Gandhi, the then Prime Minister, got the doors of the Masjid opened under the intense pressure of Hindu Right wing forces.
 
Masjid’s planned demolition
Lal Krishna Advani took up the issue from VHP, which was agitating for Ram Temple so far. With Advani, the President of BJP, taking up the issue its political impact started deepening and widening at the same time. It was made the major polarizing issue around which consolidation of Hindu vote bank began. The mobilization for Rath yatra planned for the temple movement became much more in the aftermath of Mandal Commission implementation. Those who opposed reservation for OBCs came forward in large numbers in the mobilization for Ram Temple.
While BJP did not show direct opposition to Mandal commission, it converted the opposition in to the Ram Temple issue. Mandal versus Kamandal (Holy water pot, Religiosity), is how some framed it.
This issue came up to torment the delicate thread of peace prevailing in the society. The culmination this campaign was in the form of demolition of the Babri Masjid. In the demolition RSS combine mobilized large section of people and (former prime minister) Narsimha Rao colluded. While local administration collapsed, Kalyan Singh of BJP, who was then Chief Minister of UP, facilitated the assembly of kar sevaks, which was to demolish the mosque. He did this despite his promise to Supreme Court that he will protect the mosque. Narsimha Rao who locked himself in his Puja room as the mosque was being demolished later promised that it will be built precisely at the same spot.
The matters took the turn for the worse as BJP led team of ‘archeologists-Kar Sevaks’ tried to prove that there are remnants of Ram Temple below the mosque. Archeologically this is not tenable. That there was no convincing proof of Ram Temple underneath becomes clear from the fact the High Court Bench had to resort to ‘faith of Hindus’ to allot 2/3 of the land to Hindu groups. The demolition of Mosque might have been the biggest crime in India and that was well planned.  Despite that the leaders of demolition squad have not been punished so far.
 
Muslims are threatened
Liberhan Commission did point out the nature of underlying conspiracy but unfortunately the Commission took long to submit its report. To add salt to the injury Advani and company became stronger after this crime against the nation. The demolition also unleashed massive violence against Muslims, particularly in Mumbai, Bhopal and Surat along with other places. The guilty of this violence have also been let off totally or with minor reprimand.
In the matter of this dispute the ownership of the title has been the real issue. The High Court based itself more on ‘Faith’ than the records of ownership of the land. The Supreme Court as the highest legal body needs to see the total issue from legal angle and needs to set right the wrongs done so far. Only concrete legal aspects should determine the outcome of the case. Instead to call for compromise out of Court in present circumstances is overlooking the aspect of justice. In out of Court settlement already the Hindu groups have said that Muslims should leave the place for Ram Temple and another suitable land will be given to them for mosque. The two sides are not evenly balanced as far as their strength on negotiating table is concerned.
There are threats from the likes of Subramanian Swami, BJP MP, and others that if Muslims don’t give up their claim, the bill will be brought through Parliament once BJP has bigger strength. The threats of this type are immoral. Already there are claims on so many Mosques to convert them into temples! In the out of Court settlement, the Hindu nationalists are more assertive and dominant while the representatives of Muslims are being pushed into a corner that does not augur well for the health of our democracy. Effort to revive issue of other mosques is unwarranted and intimidating to minorities. That needs to be stopped.
 
Ram Puniyani was a professor in biomedical engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, and took voluntary retirement in December 2004 to work full time for communal harmony in India. He is involved with human rights activities from last two decades. He is associated with various secular and democratic initiatives like All India Secular Forum, Center for Study of Society and Secularism and ANHAD. Response only to ram.puniyani@gmail.com

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 VIEW POINT 

Services of Teletalk, BTCL land phone are deplorable

A M K Chowdhury
 
It will be a serious understatement to say that the land phone service of the Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Limited (BTCL) has long been unsatisfactory because of corruption among its so-called line-men and probably other fourth class and third class employees. Unless a subscriber greases their (line-men’s) palms on a regular basis his telephone will remain out of order and will not work. 
Many subscribers told me about this problem caused by these thoroughly corrupt line-men who are often found cutting off wire of the phone line with a pair of pliers (a small tool with two handles for pulling small things like nails, or for cutting wire). When approached they demand Taka 1200 (twelve hundred) for wire. And this happens at least once a year. For this reason many private subscribers have abandoned their land phones out of disgust and frustration. 
The BTCL authority should do well to rectify the problem.
 
Teletalk’s smallest subscriber base
Teletalk Bangladesh Limited, whose brand name is ‘Teletalk’ is the only public sector GSM and 3G-based mobile phone operator in Bangladesh that started operating in 2004. As on August 31 2016, Teletalk has a subscriber base of 2.925 million—-the smallest number of subscribers—-as against 54.5 million subscriber base of Grameen Phone. 
The call centre number of Teletalk is 121 redirected to 2. Its attendants are not attentive. When you lodge a complaint the person on the other end says that the problem will be solves in 24 hours; but problem remains. Then you call again and seek redress at which point she\he will answer in the same manner. Even after 48 hours they cannot solve the problem.
 
Teletalk recharge problem
Even in Dhaka city you will not find recharge facility in 50% of the shops where the Teletalk recharge agents give Teletalk flexiload in a very irregular manner.
Compare this base with Grameenphone, widely abbreviated as GP, is the leading telecommunications service provider in Bangladesh. 
According to a news report, the government wants state owned mobile operator Teletalk to merge with an appropriate foreign company so that it can survive in a competitive market and provide better services to subscribers. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina gave such an order to officials concerned at a meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) at the NEC conference room at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar in the capital. 
Briefing reporters after the meeting, Planning Minister AHM  Mustafa Kamal said, “The prime minister gave an order to them ( Teletalk) to search for an appropriate foreign company to merge with to become a competitive player in the market and provide better services to their customers.” Contacted, State Minister of the Post and Telecommunications Division Tarana Halim refused to make any comment on the issue.
Teletalk is looking for funds to develop the fourth generation mobile network, although the planning commission has suggested going for a public-private partnership.
 
The project will cost about Tk 2,500 crore, according
With more than 54.5 million subscribers and 46.3% subscriber market share as of August 2016, Grameenphone is the largest mobile phone operator in the country. It is a joint venture between Telenor and Grameen Telecom Corporation, a non-profit sister concern of the microfinance organisation and community development bank Grameen Bank.
Robi Axiata Limited, DBA Robi is the second largest mobile network operator of Bangladesh. It is a joint venture between Axiata Group Berhad, of Malaysia, Bharti Airtel Limited, of India and NTT DoCoMo Inc., of Japan. Axiata holds 68.7% controlling stake in the entity, Bharti holds 25% while the remaining 6.3% is held by NTT DOCOMO of Japan.
It has been reported that the government has urged Indian businesses, including Tata Communications, to invest in Bangladesh’s telecom sector, especially in state-owned mobile operator Teletalk. State Minister for Telecom Tarana Halim placed her proposals before the Indian telecom giant and other Indian investors in several meetings held in Kolkata.
The Indian entrepreneurs were urged to invest in any Bangladeshi telecom company they want, officials who attended the meetings said. Tata showed its interest to invest in Bangladesh’s telecom sector and discussed related regulatory issues. Tarana, who is now on a four-day visit to Kolkata at the invitation of the West Bengal government, shed light on the potential of Bangladesh’s telecom sector at the meetings.
As we are aware, Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Limited (BTCL)is the largest telecommunications company in Bangladesh which was earlier known as the Bangladesh Telegraph & Telephone Board (BTTB). On July 1, 2008 the BTTB became a public limited company and was renamed as BTCL which provides land-line telephone services in Bangladesh’s urban areas, including domestic long-distance call and internet services. 
BTCL provides dial-up Internet access in all 64 districts of the country, making it the most-accessible Internet service provider in the country. As of January 2009 its total dial-up subscriber is 32,433.[citation needed] Since the beginning of 2007 BTCL have improved its Dial-up Internet service for better customer satisfaction. It also handles the .bd domain.
 
Revenue loss
Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Limited (BTCL) suffered revenue loss of at least Tk2,000 crore in last six years due to corruption, revealed a TIB study April 31, 2014. Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) identified tampering with the BTCL’s international call records as one of its major corrupted areas.
Bangladesh’s state-owned telecommunications company is refusing to reconnect a British firm to the country’s network despite having been ordered to do so by the courts. London-based Zamir Telecom has been cut off from the Bangladesh network since March, causing it significant financial damage.”Tk 2,000cr lost for graft in 6 years”. The Daily Star. 1 May 2014.
The last decade has brought the first wave of the truly mobile generation which is built around mobile phones, short messaging service (SMS), and portable electronic assistants, says ASA University Review, Vol. 5 No. 2, July–December, 2011. The mobile communications industry has been one of the most flourishing sectors within the ICT industry
and, in general, within the economy. Grameenphone and Robi are the biggest mobile phone operators in our country and their contribution is very great to our economy. 
The research has provided insights like what are positive and negative aspects of both of the operators. For instance, the total number of customers of Grameenphone are very high than Robi. Grameenphone Company spent a large amount of money in the establishment year for the tower purpose and is doing better for the network facilities. 
On the other hand, Robi is doing better in case of call rate, low price SIM card, friends and family number facilities, bonus system etc. 
Robi needs to improve its poor network coverage, problem related to SIM eplacement, insufficiency of the scratch card and easy load facilities, lack of convenient location of the service center and discount facilities etc.
On the other hand Grameenphone is in a better position in comparison to Robi. It is doing better in case of following services like network coverage, effectiveness of network, solution of the problem related to SIM replacement, reconnection and migration, availability of the scratch card and flexi load facilities, location of the service center etc. But it can not be said that its services is much attractive to the customers. It has some other problems like lack of limited friends and family (FnF) number facilities and lack of bonus system (Free talk time, SMS), high call rate, lack of special offers to the customers, lack of pulse facilities etc. If GP takes initiative to remove or reduce these drawbacks, then it will be more successful in the telecommunications industry of Bangladesh.

Comment

A M K Chowdhury
 
It will be a serious understatement to say that the land phone service of the Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Limited (BTCL) has long been unsatisfactory because of corruption among its so-called line-men and probably other fourth class and third class employees. Unless a subscriber greases their (line-men’s) palms on a regular basis his telephone will remain out of order and will not work. 
Many subscribers told me about this problem caused by these thoroughly corrupt line-men who are often found cutting off wire of the phone line with a pair of pliers (a small tool with two handles for pulling small things like nails, or for cutting wire). When approached they demand Taka 1200 (twelve hundred) for wire. And this happens at least once a year. For this reason many private subscribers have abandoned their land phones out of disgust and frustration. 
The BTCL authority should do well to rectify the problem.
 
Teletalk’s smallest subscriber base
Teletalk Bangladesh Limited, whose brand name is ‘Teletalk’ is the only public sector GSM and 3G-based mobile phone operator in Bangladesh that started operating in 2004. As on August 31 2016, Teletalk has a subscriber base of 2.925 million—-the smallest number of subscribers—-as against 54.5 million subscriber base of Grameen Phone. 
The call centre number of Teletalk is 121 redirected to 2. Its attendants are not attentive. When you lodge a complaint the person on the other end says that the problem will be solves in 24 hours; but problem remains. Then you call again and seek redress at which point she\he will answer in the same manner. Even after 48 hours they cannot solve the problem.
 
Teletalk recharge problem
Even in Dhaka city you will not find recharge facility in 50% of the shops where the Teletalk recharge agents give Teletalk flexiload in a very irregular manner.
Compare this base with Grameenphone, widely abbreviated as GP, is the leading telecommunications service provider in Bangladesh. 
According to a news report, the government wants state owned mobile operator Teletalk to merge with an appropriate foreign company so that it can survive in a competitive market and provide better services to subscribers. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina gave such an order to officials concerned at a meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) at the NEC conference room at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar in the capital. 
Briefing reporters after the meeting, Planning Minister AHM  Mustafa Kamal said, “The prime minister gave an order to them ( Teletalk) to search for an appropriate foreign company to merge with to become a competitive player in the market and provide better services to their customers.” Contacted, State Minister of the Post and Telecommunications Division Tarana Halim refused to make any comment on the issue.
Teletalk is looking for funds to develop the fourth generation mobile network, although the planning commission has suggested going for a public-private partnership.
 
The project will cost about Tk 2,500 crore, according
With more than 54.5 million subscribers and 46.3% subscriber market share as of August 2016, Grameenphone is the largest mobile phone operator in the country. It is a joint venture between Telenor and Grameen Telecom Corporation, a non-profit sister concern of the microfinance organisation and community development bank Grameen Bank.
Robi Axiata Limited, DBA Robi is the second largest mobile network operator of Bangladesh. It is a joint venture between Axiata Group Berhad, of Malaysia, Bharti Airtel Limited, of India and NTT DoCoMo Inc., of Japan. Axiata holds 68.7% controlling stake in the entity, Bharti holds 25% while the remaining 6.3% is held by NTT DOCOMO of Japan.
It has been reported that the government has urged Indian businesses, including Tata Communications, to invest in Bangladesh’s telecom sector, especially in state-owned mobile operator Teletalk. State Minister for Telecom Tarana Halim placed her proposals before the Indian telecom giant and other Indian investors in several meetings held in Kolkata.
The Indian entrepreneurs were urged to invest in any Bangladeshi telecom company they want, officials who attended the meetings said. Tata showed its interest to invest in Bangladesh’s telecom sector and discussed related regulatory issues. Tarana, who is now on a four-day visit to Kolkata at the invitation of the West Bengal government, shed light on the potential of Bangladesh’s telecom sector at the meetings.
As we are aware, Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Limited (BTCL)is the largest telecommunications company in Bangladesh which was earlier known as the Bangladesh Telegraph & Telephone Board (BTTB). On July 1, 2008 the BTTB became a public limited company and was renamed as BTCL which provides land-line telephone services in Bangladesh’s urban areas, including domestic long-distance call and internet services. 
BTCL provides dial-up Internet access in all 64 districts of the country, making it the most-accessible Internet service provider in the country. As of January 2009 its total dial-up subscriber is 32,433.[citation needed] Since the beginning of 2007 BTCL have improved its Dial-up Internet service for better customer satisfaction. It also handles the .bd domain.
 
Revenue loss
Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Limited (BTCL) suffered revenue loss of at least Tk2,000 crore in last six years due to corruption, revealed a TIB study April 31, 2014. Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) identified tampering with the BTCL’s international call records as one of its major corrupted areas.
Bangladesh’s state-owned telecommunications company is refusing to reconnect a British firm to the country’s network despite having been ordered to do so by the courts. London-based Zamir Telecom has been cut off from the Bangladesh network since March, causing it significant financial damage.”Tk 2,000cr lost for graft in 6 years”. The Daily Star. 1 May 2014.
The last decade has brought the first wave of the truly mobile generation which is built around mobile phones, short messaging service (SMS), and portable electronic assistants, says ASA University Review, Vol. 5 No. 2, July–December, 2011. The mobile communications industry has been one of the most flourishing sectors within the ICT industry
and, in general, within the economy. Grameenphone and Robi are the biggest mobile phone operators in our country and their contribution is very great to our economy. 
The research has provided insights like what are positive and negative aspects of both of the operators. For instance, the total number of customers of Grameenphone are very high than Robi. Grameenphone Company spent a large amount of money in the establishment year for the tower purpose and is doing better for the network facilities. 
On the other hand, Robi is doing better in case of call rate, low price SIM card, friends and family number facilities, bonus system etc. 
Robi needs to improve its poor network coverage, problem related to SIM eplacement, insufficiency of the scratch card and easy load facilities, lack of convenient location of the service center and discount facilities etc.
On the other hand Grameenphone is in a better position in comparison to Robi. It is doing better in case of following services like network coverage, effectiveness of network, solution of the problem related to SIM replacement, reconnection and migration, availability of the scratch card and flexi load facilities, location of the service center etc. But it can not be said that its services is much attractive to the customers. It has some other problems like lack of limited friends and family (FnF) number facilities and lack of bonus system (Free talk time, SMS), high call rate, lack of special offers to the customers, lack of pulse facilities etc. If GP takes initiative to remove or reduce these drawbacks, then it will be more successful in the telecommunications industry of Bangladesh.

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