2015: MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS, ACHIEVEMENTS
The country experienced a number of achievements as well as developments in the year of 2015 although the year had started with disappointments generated by political deadlock, violence, killings of general people by arson attacks, deadly attacks on bloggers and writers as well as foreigners and ended with bomb attacks on mosques and historical establishment.
Below are the highlights of developments:
IMPLEMENTATION OF LAND BOUNDARY AGREEMENT
In the outgoing year, Bangladesh settled a 41-year-old border dispute with India through implementation of their landmark Land Boundary Agreement (LBA).
Ending more than four decades of wait, India and Bangladesh exchanged 162 enclaves under the agreement.
Bangladesh handed over 51 enclaves, comprising 7,110 acres to India while India gave Bangladesh 111 enclaves comprising around 17,160 acres.
Bangladesh and India have implemented the LBA of 1974 and the enabling Protocol of September, 2011, in a phased manner over the next 11 months.
BANGLADESH UPGRADED TO LOWER-MIDDLE INCOME COUNTRY
Bangladesh has now joined the league of the lower-middle income countries, with the Gross National Income (GNI) per capita between USD 1,046 to 4,125.
The World Bank (WB) has upgraded Bangladesh, Kenya, Myanmar, and Tajikistan — to a lower middle-income country from a lower-income country, joining those with annual incomes from $1,046 to $4,125, according to the latest data published on July 1.
On the other hand, according to data made public by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) on May 14, the per capita income in Bangladesh rose from USD 1,190 to 1,314 in 2014-15.
MAIN PADMA BRIDGE CONSTRUCTION STARTS
Making all confusion false and overcoming multifaceted challenges, the construction of the nation’s most ambitious and dreaming project Padma Multipurpose Bridge entered the final phase.
The works on main bridge and river training by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated much-awaited 6.15-km Padma Multipurpose Bridge on December 12.
About a quarter of the country’s population living in the southwest region will directly be benefited from the 6.15-km bridge as the travel time to and from Dhaka city will be cut short to about one-fourth of what it is now.
Apart from shortening travel time, it will help give a major boost to trade and economic activities in the country. The work on the Padma Bridge is broadly divided into five parts — the main bridge, river training, two link roads and infrastructure (service area) construction.
DEAL SIGNED FOR 1ST NUCLEAR POWER PLANT
Bangladesh’s first nuclear power plant agreement was signed between Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission and Russia’s nuclear power equipment and service export company, JSC Atomstroyexport on December 25.
Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission chairman Engineer Md Monirul Islam and Atomstroyexport senior vice president Suvashking signed the agreement on behalf of their respective sides.
The nuclear power plant will be built at Rooppur in Pabna district.
Work is expected to start at Rooppur early next year. The first unit is to start operations by 2022 and the second by 2023.
Rosatom will maintain the plant for the first year of its commercial operation before handing over to the Bangladesh authorities, and will bear fuel costs for the first year of operation, according to the report.
DEAL SIGNED FOR LAUNCHING BANGABANDHU SATELLITE
On November 11, Bangladesh Telecommunication and Regulatory Commission (BTRC) signed a Tk 1951.75-cr deal with French company ThalesAlenia Space to procure equipment for the country’s first-ever satellite project Bangabandhu-1.
As per the agreement, the ThalesAlenia Space will manufacture, launch and maintain the satellite for providing communication and broadcast services.
The firm will get 24 months time to launch the satellite.
The government has a plan to launch the satellite on December 16 on the occasion of the 45th anniversary of the country’s victory in the Liberation War. Manufacturing and other necessary works will start on December 16 next.
BBIN MOTOR VEHICLE AGREEMENT SIGNED, BBIN FRIENDSHIP RALLY
Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) on June 15 signed a Motor Vehicles Agreement for seamless movement of people and cargo among the neighboring countries.
The Motor Vehicle Agreement (MVA) within the sub-grouping of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) nations would increase economic benefits for the region.
This pact was the first stage of the $8-billion road connectivity project set to begin in October.
Myanmar and Thailand have agreed to develop a motor vehicle pact on lines of the draft Saarc motor vehicle agreement, to pave the way for greater economic cooperation in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) region.
From November 14 to December 2, the BBIN Friendship Motor Rally was held, covering 4,500-km in a span of 20 days.
It started from Bhubaneswar of India and then the vehicles traversed through Ranchi, Patna, Siliguri, Gangtok, Phuentosholing, Timphu, Guwahati, Silchar, Agartala, Chittagong and Dhaka and ended in Kolkata.
The rally was following the ratification of the Motor Vehicle Agreement for the Regulation of Passenger, Personal, and Cargo Vehicular Traffic with Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal to help smoothen cross-border vehicle movement.
PM WIN AWARDS
On September 27, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina received “ICT Sustainable Development Award” from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao formally handed over the award to the Prime Minister at a gala dinner program at UN headquarters.
The Prime Minister also won a top UN award — Champions of the Earth (Policy Leadership category) — for 2015.
“This is in recognition of Bangladesh’s far-reaching initiatives to address climate change,” the UNEP media release said.
BANGLADESH WINS FAO AWARD
On June 16, Bangladesh has won a UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) award in recognition for its outstanding progress in fighting hunger and ensuring food security and removing malnutrition.
“Bangladesh honourd, at the 38th FAO conference held its headquarters, in recognition to achieve the success for eradicating hunger from country by 2012 within the stipulated time,” said an official familiar to the process.
ACHIEVEMENT IN CRICKET
1. Quarterfinal Cricket World Cup
Bangladesh secured a place for the quarterfinal against India at MCG. The match which India won could be more competitive if at least four 50-50 decisions could go in favor of Bangladesh.
However the contest was spoiled through some controversial umpiring decisions all of which went against Bangladesh.
2. Tigers Whitewashed Pakistan, Zimbabwe,
Bangladesh won both T20 matches and whitewashed Pakistan in the three matches ODI series. Bangladesh even drew attention for creating the Chittagong Test a history.
Rejuvenated new Bangladesh appeared too strong for struggling Zimbabweans in the hurriedly arranged bilateral series. The ODI was easily won 3-0.
3. Series win against India, South Africa
Winning the series 2-1 Bangladesh brightened its prospect for playing in the ICC Champions trophy. Bangladesh won its first bilateral ODI series against India. Mashrafe marshaled his resources wonderfully well.
Mashrafe inspired tigers’ squad turned around in ODI. Again magician Mustafiz caused tremor among protean. His slow cutter mystery could not be decoded. Bangladesh won the series 2-1.
4. Secure spot at ICC Champions trophy
Bangladesh have qualified for the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 in England.
Bangladesh Cricket Team made its place in this tournament for the first time in cricket history as they beat Pakistan by 6 points.
With 96 points, Bangladesh made their place at the number 7 spot in the ICC ODI rankings.
DSCC, DNCC ELECTIONS
After 13 years, elections in Dhaka City Corporations (north and south) were held on April 28 amid BNP-endorsed candidates’ boycotted the election midway on allegation of intimidation, booth capture.
Ruling Awami League (AL)-backed candidates won city corporation elections.
IMPORTANT PERSONALITIES’ VISIT TO DHAKA
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Dhaka on a three-day visit, accepting an invitation from his Bangladesh counterpart.
On February 29, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee arrived in Dhaka on a three-day visit, which both the neighbors view as a visit to strengthen ties between the two neighboring countries.
Mamata Banerjee also visited Dhaka on June 5, hours before the arrival of Indian Prime Minister.
November 17, Queen of the Netherlands Máxima Zorreguieta Cerruti arrived on a three-day visit to support global efforts to reduce poverty, achieve economic development and empowering women.
DECEMBER 31, 2015