Recruitment tests of 8 state-run banks cancelled

8 State Bank Recruitment examinations

A section of the examinees, who took part in the recruitment tests of the eight state-run banks on Friday, is staging demonstration in Dhaka on Sunday, January 14, 2018 demanding cancellation of the written tests. Photo: Courtesy: Prothom Alo

 

Amid protest of the candidates, Bankers’ Selection Committee today cancelled the recruitment tests for eight state-run banks.

The decision came after an emergency meeting between Bangladesh Bank Governor Fazle Kabir and the committee members, Bangladesh Bank General Manager GM Abul Kalam Azad told reporters today at the Central Bank.

The candidates have been protesting demanding cancellation of the “controversial” recruitment tests of January 12. They also demanded holding fresh exams for all the candidates.

A five-member committee have been formed to investigate the mismanagement took place during the recruitment tests, the BB spokesperson said.

The Bankers Selection Committee is comprised of chief executives of 14 state-run banks and financial institutions, including Sonali, Rupali and Janata banks.

The 100-mark MCQ test, held at 61 exam centres in Dhaka to fill up 1,663 posts, was mired in mismanagement, including no seat plans, shortage of seats, use of mobile phones by examinees and question paper leaks.

 

The Bankers' Selection Committee following the demonstrations had declared that the recruitment tests would be held on January 20 but only for the 5,600 candidates who could not take the exams at Government Bangla College and Hazrat Shah Ali Mohila College in Mirpur due to seat shortage and mismanagement. However, more than 2,13,000 who sat for the exams would not have to retake it.

Madrasa teachers end hunger strike upon assurance

18 more teachers of Ebtedayee madrasas fall sick on the fourth day of their ongoing indefinite hunger strike in front of the Jatiya Press Club in Dhaka. Photo courtesy of Prothom Alo

 

Eight days into waging a hunger strike demanding nationalisation, madrasa teachers today called it an end following assurance that their demand will be placed to the prime minister.

Technical and Madrasa Board Secretary Md Alamgir today conveyed to the demonstrating madrasa teachers that he will convey their message to the premier within three days.

Following the instructions of the prime minister and the finance minister, the Ministry of Education will take an initiative, he told the madrasa teachers.

Then, the secretary ended their hunger strike by feeding them juice.

Bangladesh Independent Ebtedayee Madrasa Teachers' Association President Kazi Ruhul Amin Chowdhury, however, told The Daily Star, they want an announcement before the next budget.

 

Prior to this, a representative team of the demonstrating madrasa teachers met Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid. Insiders say, Nahid conveyed his sympathy to their demand.

The teachers had been on a sit-in programme as part of their ultimatum since January 1.

Mobile court: Govt allowed to move leave to appeal petitions

Mobile court operation in Bangladesh

Executive magistrates can conduct mobile courts as the Supreme Court on Tuesday, January 16, 2018, extends its stay order on a High Court verdict until it disposes of the three leave to appeal petitions filed by the government. Star file photo of a mobile court

 

Executive magistrates can conduct mobile courts as the Supreme Court today extended its stay order on a High Court verdict until it disposes of the three leave to appeal petitions filed by the government.

The appeals were lodged against a HC verdict that last year declared unconstitutional the rules under which the executive magistrates conduct mobile courts.

The SC today allowed the government to move the three appeals before it and fixed February 13 for hearing the appeals.

A five-member bench of the Appellate Division headed by acting Chief Justice Md Abdul Wahhab Miah passed the order after granting three separate leave to appeal petitions filed by the government challenging the HC.

Following three separate writ petitions, the HC on May 11 last year declared unconstitutional the rules under which executive magistrates run the mobile courts.

The Appellate Division today asked the government to submit the concise statement of the appeals in next three weeks.

The writ petitioners have also been asked to submit their concise statements of the appeals in a week after the government submits their concise statements.

A concise statement contains the point on which the counsels place their arguments before the court.

The writ petitioners’ counsel Barrister Hassan MH Azim told The Daily Star that executive magistrates can run mobile courts till disposal of the appeals by the apex court following its today’s order. 

The apex court on January 9 said its stay order on the HC verdict would remain valid until the three government petitions are disposed of.

After the HC verdict, the government challenged the judgement.

The SC then stayed the verdict, allowing executive magistrates to conduct mobile courts for the time being.

Since then, the apex court has extended the stay order several times.

Cold spell to pursue through Jan: Met office

Winter spell

Thick morning fog across Dhanmondi, a residential area in Dhaka, on the morning of January 15, 2017. Photo: Farhana Ahmed

 

The biting cold wave from a week ago has stifled into a mild-to-moderate one and is prevailing through Bangladesh, what is likely to pursue throughout January.

Bangladesh Meteorological Department, in its forecast, says the current cold wave condition is likely to abate from some more places of the country.

Currently, the mild to moderate cold wave is sweeping over Rangpur & Rajshahi divisions and the regions of Tangail, Madaripur, Gopalgonj, Satkhira, Jessore, Chuadanga and Kushtia.

“We expect, this spell of cold wave will continue. It is likely to spend the rest of the month growing bigger and smaller across Bangladesh,” Met Officer Hafizur Rahman said.

Today’s minimum temperature was recorded at Kurigram – 7.8 degrees Celsius.

In Dhaka, the sweeping cold is likely to continue with minimum forecast at 11 degrees Celsius, which is likely to be intensified by a windspeed of 8-10kmph.

 

Forecast says, moderate to thick fog may occur over the country during mid night to morning and it may continue at places during day time.

Ride-apps to get govt nod

The road authorities open the door to app-based transport service providers like Uber and Pathao but on two key conditions -- fares cannot be more than that of taxi services and security cannot be compromised.

The government will fix or re-fix the fares if there is any discontent among passengers over those, according to the proposed guideline for the ride-hailing services.

The apps used by the service providers must have facilities so that both passengers and drivers can send signal to the police control room in case of emergency, it mentioned.

Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) has prepared a draft of the “Ride-sharing Service Guidelines 2017” and sent it to the Cabinet Division, said ministry sources.

It is likely to be placed before the cabinet today for approval, they said.

 

With 10 sections and 45 sub-sections, the draft has been prepared when around a dozen app-based services, including Uber, Pathao, Cholo, Amarbike, Ezzyr and taxiwala, are already in operation in the capital.

The app-based service providers have welcomed the government move, saying it would benefit all the stakeholders.

The services have been well received by the city dwellers largely due to convenience, easy availability and reasonable fares, they said.

FARE AND SECURITY ISSUES

As per the draft, cars cannot charge more than the fare fixed under the Taxicab Service Guidelines 2010.

At present, the government-fixed fare for taxis is Tk 85 for the first two kilometres and Tk 34 for each subsequent km. Passengers have to pay waiting charge of Tk 8.50 every two minutes and Tk 20 extra for booking a taxi over the phone.

The app-based service providers, however, said the fares they charge are already less than that of taxi services.

Sayeda Nabila Mahbub, marketing manager of Pathao that provides both car and motorbike services, said a car passenger pays Pathao Tk 50 as base fare and Tk 20 for a kilometre with Tk 2.5 as waiting charge for each minute.

The minimum fare is Tk 100, she said, adding that it offers 30 to 40 percent discount on fares to its clients every week.

According to the draft, the apps used by the service providers must have SOS (Save Our Souls) option for ensuring security of passengers and drivers.

In case of emergency, the SOS option will allow passengers or drivers to send information on their location and other details to a dedicated number.

The apps must have options for a passenger to know possible fares. It also has to offer facilities to both the passenger and the driver to share their experience of a ride and lodge complaints, if any, with the BRTA and the service provider, it said.

Service providers will preserve details of the trips, including fare, distance and time for three months, but they must not share those with others.

However, if necessary, law enforcers, the BRTA and other authorities may be given access to those, the draft said.

The apps must be approved by the BRTA or the other authorities concerned.

Besides, all service providers must have a system to allow the police control room, if necessary, to keep watch on a trip, the draft mentioned.

OTHER SECTIONS

Private motorbikes, cars, sport utility vehicles, microbuses and ambulances can be included under the services, and both the company and the driver have to obtain certificates from the BRTA.

A company must have 100 vehicles for providing services in the capital, 50 in Chittagong and 20 in any other area.

Documents on the vehicles must be up-to-date and drivers will not be allowed to wait at places, other than the designated ones, to pick up passengers.

A person can register only one vehicle under the service and that can be done a year after the vehicle's registration with the BRTA, it said.

A company has to pay Tk 1 lakh and submit other relevant documents, including trade licence, to get “enlistment certificate”. 

A car driver has to pay Tk 1,000 and a biker Tk 500 as yearly enlistment fee and renew the “enlistment certificates” after three years.

The draft noted that cars, motorbikes, sport utility vehicles and microbuses used by individuals or families are on the rise, leading to traffic jam. Through the ride-hailing services, an individual will be able to rent out his private vehicle after meeting the requirements.

Once the ride-sharing service is introduced, it will help ease traffic jam, improve transport service and above all, owners of private vehicles will be benefited economically, mentioned the draft.

In May 2015, the USA-based Datavoxel Ltd launched the first app-based motorbike service -- Share a Motorcycle (SAM) -- in Dhaka city.

Later, the BRTA issued a notice saying that such services were illegal as motorbikes were registered privately, and that there was no scope for using those for commercial purposes.

When Uber, a popular app-based ride-hailing service, launched operation in Dhaka city in November, 2015, the BRTA said the service was run in violation of the country's motor vehicle regulations.

Later, Uber and other firms urged the government to formulate a guideline for app-based services.

WHAT STAKEHOLDERS SAY

Kamrul Hasan Emon, a director of the recently-launched transport service provider Ezzyr, welcomed the government move.

“We want to give service to people in line with all the rules and the law of the land,” he said.

Hussain Md Elius, chief executive officer of Pathao, said, “It is very good that there will be a guideline. It will give legitimacy to our service.”

On the security measures to be taken by the service providers, he said, “It will be helpful for all... We are often asked about the security measures. Now those will be laid down in the guideline. We will comply with those.”

In reply to an email from The Daily Star, Uber's Dhaka office said, “We are working with the government and the policymakers to help bring innovation to our cities through constructive dialogue and engagement. We are thankful for all the cooperation and support that we have received from the government of Bangladesh.

“We admire the government's intent and vision for redefining the urban mobility landscape in Dhaka [city] and beyond. We are hoping to see something beneficial for our riders, driver partners and the industry at large,” it mentioned.

Talking to The Daily Star, Sajal Ahmed, who works at a private company in the city's Karwan Bazar area, said he has been using app-based transport services for the last one year.

“These services are hassle-free and cheaper than taxi services,” he added.

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