Sylhet Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) has selected 1,000 acres of land for setting up an special economic zone in order to attract investment especially from the non-resident Sylheties. The special economic zone, adjacent to Fenchuganj-Tamabil Bypass Road Link, will provide land and other infrastructural facilities to the entrepreneurs to set up manufacturing and other industrial units. "We will submit the proposal to the government for acquiring the land,' said SCCI President Junnun Mahmud Khan. He said the chamber has completed a feasibility study on setting up a special economic zone or an industrial park in Sylhet division from where a large number of expatriates are living mainly in the UK and USA. The SCCI has also signed a memorandum of understanding with the British-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BBCCI) in 2006. Under the deal, the BBCCI will bring together the non-resident Sylheties to invest in the economic zone. It is expected that 65 percent land of the zone will be provided to the expatriates. According to the feasibility study, Sylhet has available land, abundant natural and forest resources to set up an economic zone or industrial park. There is an ample scope to increase production of various agricultural commodities. In Sylhet division, there is also scope to increase fish production through undertaking aggressive programmes and activities. Sylhet has economically significant storage of minerals for industrialisation. Natural gas, limestone, sand stone and sand, glass sand and coal are available in this region. Some supports should be provided to the non-resident Sylheties to encourage investment. The supports include investment security, one-stop services cell for registration, licensing and regulatory formalities, prompt and easy access to physical infrastructure like plots and utility connections, access to institutional support for identification of the reliable and good local partners, strong access to business support services such as banks, insurance and shipping, easy access to reliable expert and consulting services, access to amenities and recreation facilities, and cargo shed and jet fueling station in Sylhet airport, the study said. In the economic zone, there will be scope for establishing power plants, agro processing units, re-rolling mills and steel casting mills, said Nasim Hussain, senior vice-president of SCCI. As the seven sister states of India are very near from Sylhet, the entrepreneurs or the investors will have an easy access to the seven sisters to export their products, he said. "We are hoping to get a huge response from the Sylheti expatriates,' he added. Sarwar@thedailystar.net

A seven-day training programme titled 'Regional learning by doing VCA (vulnerable capacity assessment) exercise' started at a city hotel yesterday, says a press release. Bangladesh Red Crescent Society together with International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent organised the training. Bangladesh Red Crescent Society Chairman Prof Dr Mohammed Abdur Rabb inaugurated the training programme. Through this training we could assist better the most vulnerable people during natural disaster, Abdur Rabb said in his speech. Members of the sister national societies from Canada, Mexico, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Nepal are attending the training. Bangladesh Red Crescent Society secretary general and Head of Delegation of the Federation Selvaratnam Sinnaduarai were also present in the inaugural ceremony.

Bird flu has caused an estimated loss of Tk 4,165 crore to the poultry sector in the country, said a report of the poultry industry coordination committee on Wednesday. The government formed the committee comprising leaders of poultry related sectors and government officials, and assigned it to assess the loss of the poultry sector caused by the bird flu.

With two million children under the age of five dying every year, India has a dismal record in child mortality. Now, a new study conducted by Save the Children, which compares child mortality in a country to its national income per person, shows that India lags behind poorer neighbours like Bangladesh and Nepal when it comes to cutting child deaths. This, even despite its impressive rate of economic growth as compared to the other South Asian nations.

Bangladesh Anti-Tobacco Alliance (BATA) yesterday urged the government to increase taxes on the tobacco products in the coming budget to check the massive use of tobacco in the country. "Taxes on all tobacco products including dried tobacco leaves, 'gul' and 'zarda' have to be increased for effectively controlling the use of tobacco,' said Consumer's Association of Bangladesh (CAB) General Secretary Kazi Faruk at a press conference at Jatiya Press Club.

Bangladesh Resident Mission of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) yesterday awarded three best performing project teams implementing projects in Bangladesh. The 2007 award-winning project teams are the Northwest Crop Diversification Project (NCDP) implemented by the Department of Agriculture Extension and Bangladesh Bank, and the Urban Governance and Infrastructure Improvement (Sector) Project (UGIIP) and the Rural Infrastructure Improvement Project (RIIP), both implemented by the Local Government Engineering Department (LGED).

New Delhi has proposed that India will provide a village in Bangladesh with solar electric supply as part of the energy cooperation initiative in the SAARC region. The Indian High Commission in Dhaka on Sunday sent a letter to the foreign ministry proposing that Delhi wanted to install solar power systems in one of the villages in Bangladesh for electric supply to 300 home-lights and 50 streetlights. The foreign ministry forwarded the letter to the Power Division on Monday, sources in the division said. In the letter, Delhi suggested that Dhaka should send in the names of 2 or 3 villages to choose one from among. A team of experts of India will select the village after visiting the proposed sites. The letter said Delhi had made the proposal to provide one village with solar power in keeping with the decision on energy cooperation made at the 14th SAARC Summit in April 2007. Sources in the Power Division said the Rural Electrification Board was no Monday advised to send in the names of three remote villages, especially in coastal areas, where it would not be possible for the government to supply power from the national grid.

BMDA to supply drinking water to remote areas Rural people in 25 upazilas to be benefited Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha . Rajshahi THE Barind Multipurpose Development Authority has undertaken a project to supply arsenic-free drinking water among the rural people through pipeline. According to officials concerned, the main objective of the project is to supply round-the-year drinking water to every household of the rural people in the targeted area. The Tk 99.40 crore project titled

Speakers at a view exchange meeting yesterday called on the authorities to evict land grabbers from about 300 bighas of land at Rajpur in Lalmonirhat and return them to the genuine owners. They also called for stern action against the illegal encroachers. Rajpur Char Land Recover Committee organised the meeting at Cirdap auditorium in the capital, with Shudhir Chandra Mohonto, convenor of the committee and a former union parishad chairman, in the chair. A booklet titled 'Roktakto Rajpur' was also launched at the programme. Eminent economist Prof Muzaffer Ahmad, former adviser to the caretaker government Sultana Kamal, University Grants Commission Member Prof AHM Zihadul Karim, Assistant Professor Abdur Rob of Jahangirnagar University, FEMA President Munira Khan, ActionAid Country Director Farah Kabir and representatives of Rajpur char dwellers spoke at the programme, moderated by Bidhan Chandra Pal of The Hunger Project. Expressing their shock at the land grabbing incident during this government, the speakers criticised the local administration for their inaction and demanded withdrawal of false cases filed against the real owner of the char lands. They also urged all to unite to launch a social movement to protect the char dwellers across the country. Representatives of the char dwellers alleged that a well-connected political leader in collusion with the local police administration has grabbed at least 300 bighas of char land in Rajpur. His men also tortured the real owners of the land when they refused to hand over their land to him, they added.

The International Energy Agency on Friday called on the United States to do more to curb energy use and fight global warming, saying pricing was the best way to curb demand. The world's biggest economy and energy consumer has made progress toward a more sustainable energy system but is lagging behind other industrialized countries and even developing countries such as China in some areas, the IEA said in a report.

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