Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday stressed the need for forging a collective resistance of all against extremism as it had become a common problem of the world which hindering peace, prosperity and development.
‘I call upon all to take collective measures of resistance if any tendency of extremism and terrorism is seen among any children, teenagers, youths, students, teachers and commoners as well,’ she said.
She was opening the first-ever environment friendly and nonstop intercity train Bonolota Express on Dhaka-Rajshahi route through video conference from her official residence Ganobhaban in Dhaka.
The prime minister urged all people including guardians, teachers, public representatives, imam and moazzin of mosques, religious teachers and people of other religions to stay alert against the terrorism and extremism.
Referring to the recent gun and bomb attacks in New Zealand and Sri Lanka, she said, ‘Attempts are being made to carry out such heinous acts in Bangladesh. Our intelligence and law enforcement agencies have remained alert to avert such attempts.’
The PM requested the imams and moazzins to give sermon against the adverse impact of the extremism in the khutbas during Jumma prayers as the Islam likewise the other religion doesn’t allow it in the name of religion, saying that the Islam is the best religion in the world in view of keeping peace and maintaining humanity.
She also requested to pray for the peace of the departed souls of the people killed in shootings in New Zealand and bomb blasts in Sri Lanka in which many Muslims including Bangladeshis were killed.
The most unfortunate matter is that many children including Zayan Chowdury, grandson of Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim, was killed in the bomb attacks in Sri Lanka, she said, adding, ‘I want that no such incidents will take place in future.’
She reiterated her appeal to the people involved in extremism and terrorism to the heinous acts to stay away as it brings no welfare for the mankind.
The train will run with some modern facilities like bio-toilet, recliner chair, Wi-Fi, LED display, and save at least one and a half hour journey time than those of the existing three express trains.
According to the schedule, the train will start from Rajshahi at 7:00am and reach Kamalapur Railway Station by 11:40am. It will leave at 1:15pm and reach Rajshahi at 6:00pm.
PM’s political affairs adviser HT Imam, state minister for foreign affairs Shahriar Alam, state minister for civil aviation and tourism Md Mahbub Ali, and state minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak were present on the dais.
Principal secretary to the PM Md Nojibur Rahman moderated the function while Railways ministry secretary Md Mofazzal Hossain gave a brief presentation on the overall development of in railway sector.
Railways minister Md Nurul Islam Sujan and Rajshahi city mayor AHM Khairuzzman Liton accompanied by many other dignitaries attended the inaugural ceremony from Rajshahi Railway station through video conference.
Ministers, PM’s advisers, parliament members, representatives from development partners, high civil and military officials were present on the occasion.
The PM later opened seven institutes and establishment in Gopalganj, Sirajganj, Kishoreganj and Chattogram under the fisheries and livestock ministry through video conference from her official residence Ganobhaban in Dhaka.
While addressing the programme, the PM stressed the need for establishing more food processing industries considering its growing demand in home and abroad.
‘As many as 100 economic zones are now being set up across the country and I have already directed to establish food processing industries in the possible places of the zones,’ she said.
The PM said, ‘Once the food processing industries are set up, the country can export those items after meeting the local demand.’
‘Around 90 lakh Bangladeshi expatriates are now living in different countries. They appreciate Bangladeshi foods such as fish, meat, fruits and vegetables despite availability of delicious foreign foods. Many of them are doing business to this respect,’ she added.
She put emphasise to increase the production of fish, meat, egg, and milk to meet the growing demand of protein for building a healthy nation, adding that protein is necessary for keeping the health a sound one.
Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh would no longer remain poor if it could create markets of its products in home and abroad.
Highlighting her government’s initiatives to build Bangladesh as a prosperous and developed country, she said her government had been carrying out huge development works to this end following the ideology of the country’s founding president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
The poverty rate had been reduced to 21 per cent from 40 and Bangladesh had also been made self reliant in food production due to the initiatives taken by the Awami League government, she added.
Stressing the need for generating employment she said, ‘We have been creating employment and for this reason the private sector is being made open for all.’
‘Appropriate training is necessary to generate employment alongside conducting research,’ she observed.
The prime minister sharply criticised the Bangladesh Nationalist Party-Jamaat for patronising the extremists, saying, ‘Due to patronisation of the BNP and Jamaat, extremism and terrorism spread out across the country while they were in power.’
Countrywide serial blasts and grenade attacks were carried out at the patronisation of the BNP-Jamaat government, she said, adding, ‘Bangladesh was considered as a militant state when they were in power.’
They also killed people and burnt down bogies of trains, buses, cars, and trucks through arson attacks in the name of movement.
‘We purchased rail bogies, and BRTC buses and the BNP-Jamaat burnt those to ashes,’ she said, adding that they did nothing for changing the fate of the people apart from making their own fortune.
She said the Awami League came to power in 1996 after long 21 years and started working to change the fate of the people. ‘Now Bangladesh has become a middle income country due to huge development works carried out by her government,’ she added.
Her government had been implementing different projects for development of roads, naval ways, railways and airways, the prime minister said, adding that the government had also taken different projects for further improvement of the railway communications for making transportation easier and cheaper.
Referring to the World Bank’s opposition to setting railways on the Bangabandhu Bridge over the Jamuna river terming it non-profitable, she said, ‘I have established rail link on the Bangabandhu Bridge despite facing criticisms from the World Bank and it became useful during the 1998 flood for transportation of food from the North Bengal.’
‘It is our country, we know better what will suit us,’ she said, adding that the World Bank had given proposal to establish a rail link over the Jamuna river alongside the existing one.
So, the Awami League government had been working to bring the entire country under the rail link, she continued.
‘Rail journey is the most comfortable journey,’ she said, adding that the introduction of the nonstop intercity train Bonolota Express would save one hour from of the existing time.
The prime minister has named the train Bonolota Express.
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