Trying but Need More Time: PM
Friday, 07 January 2011


Prime minister Sheikh Hasina has claimed success in two years of her government and asked the people of more time, saying her administration is trying.

"I request the people to please bear with us and assist us. (God willing), we will fulfil our promises," she said in her address to the nation as the ruling coalition headed by her Awami League party stepped into third year on Thursday.

In her half-hour speech beginning at 7.30pm, Hasina slammed the opposition for 'completely failing' to play the role expected of them in the parliament.

The prime minister said her government had achieved success in communications, law and order, education, information technology, agriculture, healthcare, diplomatic relations and economy.

Hasina expressed her government's determination to try the war criminals despite repeated hindrances from 'an identified quarter'.

"The International Crimes Tribunal was created under the International Crimes Tribunal Act 1973. Some of the marked war criminals have been captured as per the expectations of the people and they will be tried as quickly as possible."

She claimed the Election Commission, Anticorruption Commission and the National Human Rights Commission were working independently.

"The judiciary is also working independently to establish the rule of law," she said.


Prime minister Hasina was critical of the low presence of Bangladesh Nationalist Party and its allies in the national assembly.

"Although they have no bar on speaking at the parliament, the opposition was present in the parliament on only 44 workdays out of 174.

"The opposition leader was present five days," she said.

Hasina said the parliament had passed 130 laws in seven sessions while only four ordinances were promulgated.

"The parliamentary committees are meeting regularly," she said.

She said the parliament sessions had held elaborate general discussions on such important issues as climate change, atomic energy power plants, national education policy, Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP), and inclusion of Bengali among the official languages of the United Nations (UN).


Hasina said her government was investigating the high price of essential commodities.

She pointed out that the prices of essentials were sky-high when her government was installed, Hasina said: "But, we have been able to bring down the prices significantly — rice price has been brought down to Tk 18-20 from Tk 45.

"But, later we had to increase the price to Tk 28 to ensure fair price."

"We are investigating why the price has risen so high at the height of the season and taking proper measures." But, she voiced concern at the price hike on the global market.

"It has also affected our country." She stressed on increasing production and urged all to utilise every inch of land, for which she promised government assistance.


She claimed 'radical change' in the country's communications system over the last two years, the prime minister has said.

"And the construction work on the much-awaited Padma Multipurpose Bridge, with approach roads on both ends, will start soon," Hasina said.

She also mentioned her government's plan to construct several flyovers and elevated expressway, and introduce commuter train and water bus services to reduce Dhaka city's traffic gridlock.


Hasina said her government will set up a vocational school in every Upazila and modernise the madrasa education.

"University will be set up in each district across the country to bring higher education to people's doorsteps. Besides, religious education has been made compulsory in secondary schools."

The prime minister said a total of 1,624 educational institutions have been brought under the monthly pay order (MPO).

"The process of setting up six specialised universities has already started."

"We've already set up 31 Model Madrasas. Vocational courses have been introduced in 100 madrasas while honours courses in 31 across the country."


Hasina once again blamed the previous BNP government for the persisting energy and power crises.

She listed her government's successes and efforts in boosting power production.

"Power production was increased to 4,300 megawatts from 1,600 megawatts during Awami League government's previous term," she said.

"But when the BNP–Jamaat alliance government took office in 2001, it shelved our ongoing projects and scrapped many approved ones out of vengeance."

Hasina added that the failure, loot and corruption during the BNP-led alliance government were the reasons behind the present energy crisis.

"Not a single megawatt of electricity was added in those five years, but millions of taka was plundered."


The prime minister observed that the greatest success in this sector was the discovery of genome sequence of jute. "This will enable us to invent improved species of jute and create diverse uses of the fibre."

Hasina said her government had revived the jute industry and the jute price now ranges from Tk 2,000 to 2,500 per maund.


Hasina said her government was determined to ensure health for all.

"We've recruited 13,500 'healthcare providers', 4,500 doctors, 2,000 nurses and 6,500 health assistants. A total of 223 new ambulances have been distributed across the country."

She said the government had opened 10,000 new community clinics. "Our government has also raised the maternity leave to six months."


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