Hidden Hunger!!!

Hidden Hunger-This refers not to the overt and obvious hunger of poor people who are unable to afford enough to eat, but to a more insidious type caused by eating food that is cheap and filling but deficient in essential vitamins and micronutrients. A World Health Organisation report pointed out recently that this problem is widespread, in particular in the Third World, where families may fill themselves with cheap rice, say, but be unable to afford the fruit, vegetables and meat needed to provide a balanced diet. A related cause is that some of the “green revolution” crops of the 1960s and 1970s that were created specifically to reduce starvation are often short of nutrients such as zinc, iron and vitamin A.
The term hidden hunger is not often found outside specialist journals and is more common in news agency copy than in newspapers and magazines: at some point along the road to publication the phrase is blue-pencilled by sub-editors who regard it as jargon. It is sometimes also employed as a general term for the extreme poverty that can exist undetected or unacknowledged in developed countries; it has appeared in this sense in the USA and New Zealand in recent years.

According to Gautam, apart from absolute hunger stemming from lack of food, there are at least three more types of hunger, for instance, “hidden hunger” for micronutrients such as minerals and vitamins.

[Xinhua News Agency, Jun. 2002]

Hidden hunger persists in country, not famine, says Adviser Dr A. M. M. Sawkat Ali.

Disagreeing with the recent observation by an economist that a ‘silent famine’ has been prevailing in the country, the Food and Disaster Management Adviser Dr AMM Sawkat Ali yesterday categorically said a ‘hidden hunger’ is now persisting in the country rather than famine.

“When people die on a large scale due to starvation for scarcity of food then it can be termed as ‘famine’,” he said while speaking at a press briefing at the conference room of the Food and Disaster Management Ministry.

Listing the government initiatives for providing food to the marginalized people at affordable price, the Adviser, who is also in charge of the ministries of Health and Family Welfare said so far 137 metric tons of rice have been distributed under the Open Market Sale (OMS) of rice throughout the country. A total of 47 trucks have been engaged for selling of OMS rice throughout the country from the beginning of this month, he added.

He said that 40 more OMS rice trucks have added to the existing 15 in the capital city form yesterday.

He informed that 3 lakk 91 thousand and 228 people would get food under VGF programme up to the month of June as against 2 lakh 30 thousand and 328 people in the last year.

“Besides the VGF programme 44 thousand 5 hundred and 63 metric tons of rice would be provided to the distressed people under Gracious Relief (GR) programme” the Adviser said while mentioning different initiatives for the providing food to the poor of low income group.

Replying to a query he said rice has started arriving from India.

“The government has signed a contact with a private firm of India for importing 50 thousand metric tons of rice at a price of $ 397 per metric ton” he mentioned

He further said that USAID would provide 90 thousand metic tons of rice and ‘Care’ would supply it to the poor people.

He hoped that with the arrival of new harvest ‘Boro’ there would be no food crisis in the country.

Highlighting the importance of employment for the marginalized people Dr Sawkat Ali said Tk 100 crore has already been distributed to the District Commissioners (DC’s) for creating employment and income generating projects for the poor people.

He said that per person will get Tk 150 as wage per day labour under Food for Work Programme, repairing roads and embankments, canal digging, tree plantation and nurturing.

“Local Government and Engineering Department (LGED) is also working with different programmes at 118 upazilas of the country for employment of the poor people,” the Adviser added.

Secretary and high officials of the Food and Disaster Management ministry among others, were present on the occasion.

Dr. Akbar Ali Khan-The Man of Courage.

Dr. Akbar Ali Khan is one of my favorite character and I respect him a lot. So I am featuring this legend to you.

He is an economist and educationist. He was born in 1944 in Nabinagar in Brahamanbaria district. He studied History in Dhaka University and secured first place in first class in both B.A. (Hons.) and M.A. Examinations. He studied Economics in Queen’s University Canada and obtained M.A. and PhD. in Economics.

He joined the Civil Service of Pakistan (CSP) in 1967 and was posted as SDO Habiganj in 1971when the liberation war started. He actively participated in the liberation war and was sentenced to fourteen years rigorous imprisonment in absentia by a military court of the Occupation Forces. He joined the Provisional Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh as Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Defense and actively assisted
the war efforts.

After independence of Bangladsh in the December of 1971, Akbar Ali Khan was appointed in the Establishment Ministry of the government of Bangladesh. He worked there for six months and helped in the rehabilitation of the freedom fighters and also people who came back from Pakistan. From there he was transferred to the Education Ministry. In 1973 he decided to retire to take up teaching again as the profession. Although he submitted his resignation, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the then prime minister of the couসটপচ, did not accept it. Instead he was granted leave of absence with lien to teach in a university. He taught at the Jahangirnagar University until receiving the Commonwealth scholarship to pursue higher education. He studied at the Queen’s University, Canada for Ph.D in Economics. Upon his return to Bangladesh in 1979, he was shortly promoted as [Associate Professor] of the Jahangirnagar University. However, eventually he left teaching and returned to Bangladesh Civil Service.

He worked in the Environmental Ministry before his promotion as a permanent secretary to the government in 1993. In the capacity of Secretary, Internal Resources Division, he worked as the Chairman of the Natioanl Board of Revenue until 1995. Between 1995 and 2001, he worked as the Finance Secretary of the country. As he retired, government chose to nominate him as Alternative Executive Director of the World Bank, Washington where he served till 2005.

Retiring from World Bank he established Centre for Government Studies at the BRAC University. Currently he is working there as a visiting professor. Recently he has become a public face as he appears in deferent TV Talk Shows to explain the current political and economic situation of the country. Besides, he is researching the historic and economic process of the country. On 30 October 2007, Khan became the chairman of the Regulatory Reform Commission to modernize old and ineffective laws.

I came to know him only when he became the Adviser of the last Caretaker Government in November 2006. From his resume, we are informed that he was secretary of different important ministries including finance and cabinet.

Only few weeks after joining, he resigned from his post of adviser along with three of his colleagues on policy difference as he explained it. It would have been better if he predicted the inevitable before joining. Though he resigned, he attained a public image by that time. He turned himself as an expert to the public eye on present political issues and in short time he became a media personality. He almost always is a guest of honour in discussion of different forums.

Because of his experience and authority, he is taken up by the present Caretaker Government and is made the chairman of the Reform Commission. The Reform Commission is formed to rectify the age old regulations that hinders the business, service and governance as a whole.

In a meeting with Chief Adviser of the CTG recently, he suggested to publish the recommendations in the website so that people and experts can participate in the process.I personally liked the idea very much but the government didn’t materialize it so far.Dr. Akbar Ali Khan recently threatened that if the government does not publish it, he will publish it by himself.

I never heard whether a Commission can publish its recommendations without permission of the government by whom it was appointed.

He cares little for his bosses. He is the boss himself.

He recently said that the tenure of CTG is only of three months according to our constitution(which may embarrass the government) which is in contradiction to the opinion of other legal experts including Dr. Kamal Hussain. He also suggested that the CTG is a non elected government; they should not stay in power for longer period and they should hand over the power to the political government as soon as possible.

Is he a left or right or in between? A man of his stature should not be judged by this simple labeling.

He has published seven books and a. number of articles on economics, public
administration and Water resources in various national and international journals.

Five new advisors take oath

Five new advisers to the caretaker government were sworn in yesterday evening at Bangabhaban to replace the advisers who resigned in the last few days.

The new advisers are AMM Shawkat Ali, former agriculture secretary, AF Hassan Ariff, former attorney general, Hossain Zillur Rahman, executive chairman of Power and Participation Research Centre, Major General (retd) Ghulam Quader, former director general of National Security Intelligence, and Rasheda K Choudhury, chief executive officer of Campaign for Popular Education.

Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed is likely to distribute today the portfolios of over 16 ministries among the newly appointed advisers, sources in the cabinet division said.

Four advisers to Bangladesh’s government resigned

Four advisers to Bangladesh’s interim government resigned Tuesday, local television reports said.Mainul Hosein, Geetiyara Safia Chowdhury, Tapan Chowdhury and Matiur Rahman, who have been in charge of various ministries since the interim government took over in January last year, sent their resignation letters to President Iajuddin Ahmed.

Mainul and Tapan told reporters that they tendered their resignation from the Council of Advisors, as the government desired.

Earlier on December 26, Education Adviser Ayub Quadri resigned in the wake of Paris-bound artefact scandal.

The resignations came on the eve of Fakhruddin Ahmed’s caretaker government’s completion of one year in office on January 12.

Official confirmation of the resignations was not immediately available.

Chief Adviser’s Press Secretary Syed Fahim Munaim told reporters that the four had resigned on personal grounds. He said the Chief Adviser’s Office sent the resignation letters to the president’s office yesterday.

Their replacements are to be sworn in today at the Bangabhaban, the chief adviser’s press secretary said.

Meanwhile, policymakers of the caretaker government were searching for persons to fill in for the five in the remaining months of the interim regime supposed to hand over power to an elected government by December this year.

After the caretaker government system was introduced in 1996, this is the second instance of a group of advisers leaving their office before completion of job.

Sources close to the caretaker government’s policymakers said Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed might address the nation on January 12. In his speech, he would seek to assure people that his government is committed to mitigate their sufferings and resignations of the advisers would only help him avoid his words being perceived as empty rhetoric, added the sources.

Political analysts and politicians however observed that it would be difficult for the interim regime to improve the overall situation by only brining changes in the council of advisers.

Broken pieces of stolen artefacts recovered.

(Original News From The Daily Star)

Investigators yesterday retrieved some broken pieces of the two stolen Vishnu statuettes from a dump on the city outskirts and the National Museum authorities confirmed that those belong to the 1,500-year-old relics.

So far, the law enforcers have managed to gather 27 pieces of the Gupta era idols–‘Vishnu’ and ‘Bust of Vishnu’–at Baliarpur of Aminbazar.

Of the fragments salvaged, 20 make up about 25% of the black terracotta statuette of Vishnu where the Hindu god stands with goddesses Saraswati and Laxmi on either side. The remainder pieces comprise a little over 10% of the bust, Swapan Kumar Biswas, acting keeper of the National Museum, told The Daily Star last evening.

Sub-inspector Monu Sohel Imtiaz, investigation officer of the case filed for the theft, said the retrieved pieces form 80% of the goddess portion and only a fraction of the hand [one hand was already missing] and legs of Lord Vishnu.

They make up upper part of the biscuit colour bust including most of its crown, he added.

The investigators, meanwhile, have yet to know the motive for the theft and destruction of the age-old objects that were stolen from the Zia International Airport (ZIA) last weekend. The two along with 143 others had been awaiting shipment to Paris for an exhibition at the Guimet Museum.

“We are now concentrating on further interrogation of the arrestees and efforts to hunt down Abbas,” Additional Director General of Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) Colonel Gulzar Uddin Ahmed told The Daily Star yesterday.

Earlier, a number of the arrestees have confessed to having a role in stealing the seventh century images and tearing those to shreds. They have named Abbas to be the mastermind.

The Rab official also said that the chips that have been recovered so far would be handed over to the investigation officer and used as evidence in trial.

Though they were confirmed to be of the stolen relics, if the authorities want, reconfirmation can be done. Besides, there could always be a scientific test in this regard, Swapan Kumar said.

He added that they identified the pieces primarily by matching them with photographs of the statues. In cases of those too tiny to match the photographs, they were depending on their experience.

“It would have felt great had the artefacts been recovered intact. It really hurts to see them smashed into pieces as they can neither be remade nor be restored to their previous condition,” said the stand-in keeper.

Captain Mahbubul Haider of Rab, one of those involved in the recovery drive, said “The pieces that are being retrieved are very small and I’m afraid we won’t be able to get back every part of the relics.”

Talking to The Daily Star, he also described the sequence of events leading to the retrieval.

He said as it took six days for them to obtain the confessions, the Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) cleaners by that time had taken remains of the broken statuettes collected as garbage from Uttara to a vast 300-acre dump at Baliarpur.

Unable to trace the broken off parts in Uttara, the investigators contacted the DCC staff who had collected the garbage of December 22. With help of the DCC staffers, the law enforcers marked the area at Baliarpur where garbage from Uttara is usually dumped.

They began search through the trash spread over 200 by 200 yards Thursday but did not find anything that day.

They continued scavenging through the waste piled up over the days since disposal of the artefacts and at around 11:00am yesterday they struck the leg of Vishnu.

Most of the pieces were recovered late in the afternoon. Working throughout the day, some 200 Rab personnel and 25 DCC teams rounded up around 200 pieces. Later, two National Museum officials including Swapan Kumar identified 27 pieces as parts of the stolen idols.

Shafiqul Alam, the other member of the identification team, is a conservator (wood and paper).

Observers said instead of someone specialising in wood and paper, terracotta experts should have been involved in the job to ensure the identification is accurate and flawless.


A Rab official seeking anonymity said Abbas of the ‘Abbas-Nasir’ group, a ZIA-based gang accused of committing the theft, is known as a smuggler in Uttara. His passport seized by the law enforcers identifies him as a businessman.

The elite crime-buster added that Abbas, who has numerous allegations of smuggling against him, had travelled to many countries. Besides smuggling, his group has long been involved in stealing from the cargo terminal.

The Rab was raiding different places in the city and elsewhere to arrest six to seven members of the ring.

The motive for the heist could become clear once Abbas is captured, said a Rab official.

Bangladesh adviser quits over artefact theft.

The adviser to Bangladesh’s army-backed interim government for education and cultural affairs, Ayub Quadri, resigned on Wednesday amid an inquiry into the theft of two rare archaeological artefacts, his family and friends said.

They said Quadri tendered his resignation citing unexplained personal grounds but government officials said it was linked to the theft of two statues of Hindu Lord Vishnu on Saturday.

The antiques were lost while being boarded in a Paris-bound plane at the Dhaka airport, which was waiting to fly a consignment of antiques from Bangladesh for an exhibition at the Guimet museum in Paris.

Officials at the Dhaka National Museum said the Vishnu antiques were sculptured about 1,500 years ago and were among the rarest archaeological objects in Bnagladesh.

Quadri later told reporters he would share responsibility for the loss of the artefacts and might consider quitting his government post.

The first consignment of artefacts was already flown to Paris by a French aircraft before authorities stopped the second shipment following detection of the theft.

“The government has decided to regret to the Guimet Museum in Paris that it would not be possible to go ahead … as planned,” said a statement from the office of the head of the interim government on Tuesday.

The decision was made as opposition from art lovers and conservers against the shipment of the rare artefacts to France had intensified following theft of two Vishnu statues.

Police detained 15 suspects and were interrogating them.The art lovers had earlier protested against the shipment as they were worried artefacts might be stolen during shipment.