Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Cabinet talk law and order, agri-subsidy on first day

Nazrul Islam

Sheikh Hasina joins office on Wednesday a day after she was sworn in as prime minister. — PID photo
Sheikh Hasina joins office on Wednesday a day after she was sworn in as prime minister. — PID photo

The council of ministers headed by prime minister Sheikh Hasina, at its maiden meeting Wednesday night, resolved not to let law and order deteriorate and to tackle any trouble with an iron hand, a minister told New Age.
‘The meeting reviewed the country’s overall situation, particularly a few violent incidents, and asked for maintaining peace and stability at any cost,’ the commerce minister Faruk Khan said after the meeting held at the Prime Minister’s Office.
At the same time the meeting ordered the intelligence agencies to intensify their vigilance.
Presided over by the prime minister, the meeting also decided to give subsidy to agricultural inputs including fertiliser, seeds and fuel, to help boost farm products to make Bangladesh self-reliant in food production.
The cabinet has also decided to lower the price of diesel, a major farm input.
Attended by all the ministers of the newly formed cabinet, the meeting focused on improvement of agrarian economy. It referred to agricultural sector management during the Awami League’s 1996-2001 regime, when food prices remained comparatively stable.
The meeting also decided to provide state security to the immediate-past chief adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed, for a year.
Fakhruddin had assumed office on January 12, 2007, a day after the promulgation of a state of emergency by president Iajuddin Ahmed against the backdrop of political turmoil, and left the office on Tuesday after a new government was installed through the December 29 parliamentary elections.
Hasina, who was sworn in as prime minister on Tuesday, began her second term in office Wednesday by paying homage to her slain father, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and martyrs of the country’s War of Independence.
After assuming office, the ministers and state ministers in the 32-member council exchanged greetings with the officials of the ministries concerned and discussed the priorities and agenda of the new government.
Before she arrived at the Prime Minister’s Office, Hasina and her new Cabinet laid floral tributes before the portrait of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founder of Bangladesh who was assassinated along with his family by disgruntled army officers in 1975, at the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum.
The new premier spent a few minutes there and then drove to the National Mausoleum in Savar to pay her respects to the martyrs of the liberation war in 1971. She was accompanied by her new Cabinet colleagues and senior party leaders.
Hasina was sworn in as head of government on Tuesday after an alliance led by her Awami League won a landslide victory in the December 29 general elections which ended almost two years of rule by a military-backed administration.
The officials at the PMO greeted Hasina, who had previously served as premier between 1996 and 2001, with flowers at around 10.30am.
Top civil bureaucrats and chiefs of the three services made courtesy calls on her at her office after she had gone through a few priority files.
The first meeting of the Cabinet was called at 7pm.
At the secretariat, the main hub of the administration, the officials and employees were agog to welcome the new ministers to their offices. Many of them were seen waiting eagerly for hours; they showered flower petals on the new ministers when they arrived.
The ministers spent a busy day being introduced to the officials concerned and talking to the media about the government’s plans.
The finance minister, Abul Maal Abdul Muhit, said that the government would shatter the syndicates, allegedly formed by various business groups, to reduce the prices of essential commodities.
The commerce minister, Faruk Khan, echoed Muhit, saying that the businessmen too have a responsibility to the people.
Sahara Khatun, the first ever woman to become home affairs minister of the country, said she would try to root out extremism and violence.
Dipu Moni, the first-ever woman foreign minister of the country, talked about a balanced foreign policy and maintaining close relations with neighbours and cooperating in the anti-terrorism drive.
The minister of local government and rural development and cooperatives, Syed Ashraful Islam, said that the government must bring the 1971 war criminals to justice in accordance with the Awami League’s election manifesto.
The minister of planning, AK Khandaker, who was the deputy chief of the Bangladesh forces during the 1971 liberation war, also assured reporters that the trial of the war criminals would take place.
The minister of law, justice and parliamentary affairs, Shafiq Ahmed, talked about the ways to ratify the interim government’s ordinances in Parliament.
The agriculture minister, Matia Chowdhury, talked about the problems faced by the farmers. She hinted that the price of diesel would be lowered, and assured the media of the availability of agriculture inputs in the market at affordable prices.
The food and disaster management minister, Abdur Razzak, was optimistic that his government would make the country self-reliant with regard to food.

Courtesy: newagebd.com

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