Flooding in the streets of Dhaka
We were there during severe flooding in much of the nation. Since Dhaka is higher in elevation than the surrounding area, (by only 50 ft) the population of the city doubled within a few days as people migrated from their homes. Although very crowded, the people remained calm and civil to each other.
Corruption..when will it end?
Citing another example of corruption, another Biman official said, "An amount of $56,000 has been showed as the repair charge of an Inertial Navigation System [INS] whereas it is possible to buy a new system for $12,000-15,000 only." The repaired INS went out of order just a day after being installed, he added.
Biman Managing Director MA Momen admitted that there is corruption in Biman. He claimed that he is trying to reduce it.
"I agree that there is corruption in Biman and it is largely in the store, purchase, marketing and sales departments," Momen told The Daily Star, adding that he found a purchase department bill of $650 while that particular purchase really costs only $150.
Another Biman source pointed to the wrong policies of the airlines' top management in operating domestic flights.
Flights on routes like Dhaka-Barisal and Dhaka-Syedpur are being operated only for political considerations, he said, adding, "Government high-ups including ministers forced the Biman to continue these flights despite huge losses per trip."
A Biman pilot told The Daily Star on condition of anonymity, "I never saw more than 10 passengers on a Barisal-Dhaka flight. I have even flown to Dhaka with only one passenger against the plane's total capacity of 85."
Describing his bitter experience, the pilot said, "I once made a suggestion to one of my bosses to stop the route, but the official rebuked me saying it was not my headache.
"I was threatened with losing my job if I make suggestions like this in future," he said.
13th MARCH 2007
Biman shuts Dubai airport for 8 hours
14 hurt as wheel failure occurs during takeoff
A Dhaka-bound Bangladesh Biman airliner suffered a wheel failure during takeoff, forcing Dubai International Airport, the busiest in the Middle East, to suspend its operations for about eight hours yesterday.
Located at Savar, 35 kilometres from Bangladesh's capital Dhaka. The memorial, designed by architect Moinul Hossain, is dedicated to the sacred memory of the millions of unknown martyrs of the 1971 War of Liberation.
The complex is surrounded by a beautiful landscape and is also well maintained.
Take a boat trip on the Tongi River
We had finished our meetings at 4pm and so had a couple of hours before dusk to get out and explore a bit further afield. Out past Uttara, a northern district of Dhaka, the Tongi river can be accessed from where it's possible to hire a small boat for a short while. There is also a bigger pleasure boat moored on the riverside. There was a small entry fee to get onto the quayside and then the boat hire was about £2 for half an hour which is almost certainly an inflated 'foreigners rate' but still worth it.
We chugged along the ink black river for a short while looking out for birds and waving to the other boats with their merry making passengers. As always in Dhaka human activity was very evident. In the distance we could see the tall chimneys and smoke of the brick factories but on the river side there were men perched on ancient style fishing nets interspersed between flat bottomed pumping boats used to propel water to the neighbouring rice fields. Sadly we didn't see the fisherman haul up the nets. I'd have been interested to see how many fish they catch - surely not much could survive in that water, it looked too dark and murky although it didn't smell.
I enjoyed seeing the short herons which were numerous along the river bank. Their camouflage was amazingly effective - one only noticed them when they took flight because their white wings instantly revealed their whereabouts.
Bangabandhu Memorial Museum
This was the residence of the father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Situated at Dhanmondi Residential Area, it has been turned into a musuem. It houses a rare collection of personal effects and photographs of his lifetime.