DHAKA: It is possible to build Padma Bridge without World Bank (WB) loan, if the government is sincere.
President of Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB) Manjurul Ahsan Khan made the opinion at CPB central office recently in an exclusive interview with banglanews.
CPB chief said, “If we can earn our independence defeating the US imperialism then why we cannot be able to defend the pressure of WB. We can do it if the government is at all sincere.
Besides, the corruption of World Bank in Padma Bridge project, this aged Left politician also demanded an enquiry into exerting undue influence in this matter.
He also asked the government to draw a policy guideline for forming an interim government after discussion with the opposition political parties to hold the next general election fair and acceptable. Simultaneously he projected the failures of the incumbent government in this deal.
Manjurul Ahsan Khan also talked about constitutional amendments, law-and-order situation, prices of essentials, communication problems, including some contemporary issues.
Commenting on present interrelation of alliance-grand alliance, he opined that “it is difficult to make alliance with Awami League rather it is alliance under Awami League”.
Regarding the government decision of building Padma Bridge with its own resources, he said, “We will welcome the government if it really wants to cut off the debt trap of World Bank.”
He also put a question that “if we can achieve our liberation ignoring the US imperialistic power, then why we will be not able to build the bridge along with building an independent national economy defending the undue pressure of WB”.
“But the government must be sincere and transparent,” he said adding, “The government must take hard measures against corruption because we cannot bow our head for the corruption of few.”
CPB leader said, “The government stand is very much non-transparent and weak against the action of WB when it cancelled the loan agreement on ground of corruption. The government could suspend those people against whom there was allegation of corruption.”
It is urgent to conduct an impartial and transparent enquiry about the corruption allegation, he opined.
He said, “We know that the WB take back most of its loan amount through exerting influence in the selection process of consultants, contractors and in the appointment of experts.”
Former officials of WB have informed the world regarding the corrupt practices of the global lending organization, he said.
He called upon the concerned to investigate the Padma Bridge corruption episode along with the corruptions of WB and its undue pressure, lobbying and illegal influence activities.
He commented that we must come out of the unholy trap WB, IMF and other colonial bondage if we want to build an independent national economy.
Regarding the demand of caretaker government he said that at the back drop of long experience the system was incorporated in the constitution on the basis of national consensus.
But, Awami League without consulting any one has annulled the provision of care taker government. It could retain the system following the court order.
Manjurul Ahsan Khan commented that now question has aroused that under the present system whether there will be acceptable and fair election with the participation of all.
To avoid this crisis Awami League should hold discussion with the opposition to draw a clear picture of the interim government.
He told, we must remember that in the past due to this sort crisis there was 1/11 and the two leaders of the major parties were landed to jail.
Due to sudden and hurried amendment done to the constitution serious irregularities has crept in as it has incorporated that existing parliament member will contest the election as ‘sitting member’. So, there will be no level playing field among the contestants and these irregularities must be amended, he said.
He also complained that Shaikh Hasina and Awami League have hurt the basic principles of the 1972 constitution.
The senior politician told that they have incorporated the amendments of Ziaur Rahman and Ershad defying the basic principles of ’72 constitution which had denied communalism and banning of anti-liberation political parties.
He said they have amended the good articles of the ’72 constitution but retained many controversial things, including the section of indigenous and small ethnic groups where they have been termed as Bangalee. “We must keep in mind that nationality or religion can be changed but ethnicity can never be changed,” he said.
CPB president evaluating three and half-year rule of the present government led by AL said that frustration and resentments of the people have increased against the present government for its failure to check price hike.
The government declared that it will not allow price hiking of essentials during the month of Ramadhan but it has failed because the prices of consumer goods which are sold most have become sky-rocketing.
He told that poverty and unemployment have increased. The corrupt leaders and the village touts of Awami League are plundering relief goods of flood stricken people, river erosion affected people, 40 days employment generation project fund , VGD fund and widow pension scheme money.
The government is criticizing the corruptions of the past government when corruption was done through one ‘Haowa Bhavan’. But now corruption is going on through several Bhavans.
The government has failed to contain the law and order. Incidents of cross-fire, abduction, murder, abduction for extorting ransom, killing, terrorist activities, snatching, theft and dacoity have increased manifold, he told.
Regarding the miseries of the public life the CPB boss said that at the advice of WB, government has denationalized water, power problem is still unsolved. The gas price has gone up. Tarrifs of gas and electricity have been enhanced several times and another increase is in the offing, he retorted.
Bangabandhu drove out the foreign gas and oil explorers. But the successive governments have invited them with ulterior motive and signed non-transparent Production Sharing Contracts (PSC) assuring the foreign companies all profit and a little for own country but major for individual powerful nexus, the seasoned politician said.
The sea dispute with Myanmar is a success no doubt but the gas and oil blocks of that zone have been given to the American and other foreign companies from whom we are purchasing those at a very high rate, he lamented.
Commenting on the present communication system of the country he said that due to the adoption of rich oriented transport policy private transports are creating traffic jam in the city as the buses and other mass transports are ignored. The railway system has broken down and the river management is very much poor in our country, he added.
He continued that in the communication sector mega projects have been taken for mega plunder ing which he explained that flyover, elevated expressway, four-lane highway, metro rail, monorail and so on.
The government is making big talks about these ‘high voltage’ projects instead of doing regular maintenance of the existing roads, he commented.
About the ruling grand alliance he said that the present shape of grand alliance indicates that it is difficult to make alliance with them because it is nothing but alliance under them not with them.
He said, when we did not go with 14 party conglomerate, we were criticized but now those critics are saying that our decision was correct for not joining the alliance.
‘I also think that our decision was correct. The history of Bnagladesh has proved that to face the serious political crises prevailing in the country we must create a left leaning circle coming out from the present two party political circle and with that objectives CPM is carrying out its movement and struggle.’ he said.
He observed that Bangladesh must turn towards left. So far Bangladesh has nourished right leaning rich oriented capitalist, imperialist policy causing untold miseries to the people. Now we will have to proceed towards leftist, people oriented and socialist policy which was goal of our liberation war.
Speaking about the war crimes trial which is one of the election pledges of the government he said the speed of the trial is very slow which is a matter of regret. There is lack of professionalism and also due to the partisan attitude internationally reputed lawyers could not be involved.
He further said that the post hartal cases filed against the BNP leaders were not delayed so in this context delay in war crimes trials have created much confusion among the people.
Besides, he also mentioned some failures on the part of the government due to its poor handling of Teesta pact, Tipai Mukh dam, Inter-river connectivity project, border killings etc.
BDST: 2040 HRS, JUL 25, 2012
Translated & edited by shahjahan
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