Nation this week
The Adani Group has started discussions with the government of Bangladesh to resolve the issue of coal pricing in the power purchase agreement (PPA) signed between Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) and Adani Power. The PPA will dictate the terms on which the country can start importing electricity from the 1600MW thermal power plant built for Bangladesh by Adani Power in the Godda district of Jharkhand, the turbulent Indian state.
A 5-member delegation of the Adani Group, including a chief executive and a chief procurement officer arrived in Dhaka and held a meeting with the top officials of BPDB on Thursday. An official from Adani's Dhaka office also joined the meeting, a source told our sister newsagency UNB, without mentioning their names. A number of BPDB officials including the member (company affairs) and the member (finance) were present at the meeting. The meeting started in the afternoon at Bidyut Bhaban and lasted for more than an hour, a top official of the BPDB told UNB.
The government has eased the rule of compulsory fumigation test for import of American cotton, particularly from the United States, clearing the ways for smooth import of the raw material of textile mills, the backward linkage industry for country's main export earning garments. The importers would be able to bring cotton grown in Western Hemisphere or American region furnishing a sanitary and phytosanitary certificate and paper certifying that the imported consignment is free from Boll Weevli, a cotton pest in North America, issued by the competent authorities.
A senior official of the commerce ministry said it withdrew the rule upon suggestion from the Agriculture Ministry. The easing of the rule came several years after the textile millers and the USA had been demanding for it. Bangladesh consumes approximately 85 lakh bales of raw cotton annually against the industry's capacity of 115 lakh bales, said the US Department of Agriculture in a report on Bangladesh's cotton use last December.
Another superintendent of police, Nazmul Karim Khan, was sent into forced retirement this week. Special superintendent of the Criminal Investigation Department, was sent into retirement "for public interest", said a circular issued by Aminul Islam Khan, senior secretary of the Public Security Division of the Home Ministry. The circular invoked Section 45 of Bangladesh Service Rules-2018. The order came into effect immediately.
According to the section, upon the president's approval, the government can send an employee who has completed 25 years of service into retirement in public interest, without showing any specific reason. Earlier, the ministry sent at least seven police officials including two additional deputy inspector generals into retirement. On October 16, the government also sent Mokbul Hossain, information and broadcasting secretary, into retirement on the same grounds. The government has reportedly made a list of bureaucrats and police officials who, it perceives, are not "aligned to the ruling Awami League's ideology", and many of them might be forced into retirement in phases.
The High Court temporarily banned Bollywood movie Faraaz, asking the authorities concerned to stop it streaming over the OTT platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime as the film is based on the 2016 extremist attack on the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka. The court, however, refrained from prohibiting the screening of Faraaz in the cinema halls in Bangladesh, leaving it to the Censor Board. A bench of Justice Md Khasruzzaman and Justice Md Iqbal Kabir issued the directive after hearing a writ petition.
The court also issued a rule asking the secretary to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, the chairman of BTRC, the home secretary and the IGP to explain in four weeks why their failure to permanently prohibit Indian film Faraaz from streaming on online platforms should not be declared illegal. Ruba Ahmed - mother of Abinta Kabir, a victim of the attack - filed the writ petition on February 12 against screening the film in cinema halls, Cineplexes, exhibitions and OTT platforms in Bangladesh.
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