Image by Rezwan

Overcrowded passenger ferry capsized in the Padma River in Munshiganj, Bangladesh

The World Cup Goal-E Project

This street in Bangladesh has a colorful world cup celebration

New Chum Hill Ruins

Remnants of Kiandra gold mine at New Chum Hill, #nsw #australia

March 31, 2012

Halum Halum at Sisimpur Fair in Shishu Academy, Dhaka, Bangladesh

South Asia: Every Day Is Earth Hour for Us

This post was first published in Global Voices Online

Earth Hour is a worldwide awareness event organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and it is held on the last Saturday of March annually. On this day households and businesses are requested to turn off their non-essential lights for one hour to raise awareness about climate change. More than 5,200 cities and towns in 135 countries worldwide switched off their lights for Earth Hour 2011 and this year many more cities like Dhaka, Bangladesh, will be joining.

South Asia is a region with many developing countries hungry for power. Millions of people in the Indian sub-continent have no access to electricity, and the power sector is plagued by corruption and inefficiency. The demand is much bigger than supply so many countries use load shedding (planned rolling blackouts) to manage the electricity distribution.

In countries like Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh daily there are 4-12 hours of load shedding varying on the situation everyday. Netizens are vocal on the issue of observing earth hour in the social media. While some are requesting others to observe Earth Hour, some are thinking that this is not more than a joke. The following tweets from the region reflect what they have in mind.


@KaziAhadKader (Kazi A. Kader): “@dailystarnews Bangladesh for the first time tonight will observe Earth Hour…” We were doing that long before it had such a fancy name.
@shuvo666 (Shuvo Rashid): No wonder #Bangladesh is one of the most environment conscious countries in the world. We celebrate Earth Hour every day, 12 times! #Blackout
@irteja (Irteja Ali)‏ Today Power Development Board (PDB) is going to celebrate Earth Hour 2012 by giving 12 hours of load shedding of electricity in Bangladesh.
@AumChang (Aum Chang): i had an Earth Hour today. and also yesterday. and day before yesterday. thanks to BPC power cuts, i enjoy an #EarthHour every day! #Bhutan
A view of an Earth Hour in Dimapur, Northeastern State of India. Power Department of Nagaland, shut down power supplies to celebrate Earth Hour. Image by Sorei Mahong. Copyright Demotix (27/3/2010))
A view of an Earth Hour in Dimapur, Northeastern State of India. Power Department of Nagaland, shut down power supplies to celebrate Earth Hour. Image by Sorei Mahong. Copyright Demotix (27/3/2010)

@suyogg (Suyog Gaidhani): Earth Hour in India is a cruel joke.
@MalluJat (Ramesh Menon) 72% of India with no power connection celebrate earth hour. 1% from the rest switch off their lights, and issue PR and congratulatory msgs
@RealBharatkumar (Bharat Kumar): In india especially where I am we have earth hour everyday. So all you people who are switching their light off an hour we do it everyday.
@virenb (Viren Bhandari): People of the world should not worry about the earth hour, India has got it all covered!! #nobizlii here.
@ayushbista (Aron): Please Switch off your lights for the Earth Hour !! Oh wait !! Don't bother ! We've got Loadshedding anyway. Nepal, (Earth Hour Forever) !!
@hardfire (Avinash Kundaliya): every day, we celebrate earth hour in Nepal .. :-P
@cinderellaman23 (SumanK Rajbhandari ): #Nepal may be the greatest Earth Hour Supporter because of loadshedding :)
@nazushrestha (Sujan Shrestha): In case you don't have loadshedding 2nite, switch off your lights for one hour from 8:30pm-9:30pm to support Earth Hr. #Nepal @tfcNepal #fb
People participate in a programme on 60+Earth Hour in Kathmandu, Nepal. Image by Sunil Sharma. Demotix (26/3/2011))
People participate in a programme on 60+Earth Hour in Kathmandu, Nepal. Image by Sunil Sharma. Demotix (26/3/2011)

@adnanrasool (Adnan Rasool): I have to say this… Y r certain corporations spending tons of money to celebrate earth hour.. we have it every other hour.. #Pakistan
@AzeemUhassan (Azeemullah Hassan ): So the Earth Hour would be celebrated from 8:30pm to 9:30pm in #Pakistan Thankfully there's no light in my area in #Karachi at that time :P
@Mahamali05 (Maham Ali)‏ Is Pakistan also supposed to observe Earth Hour? We already observe Earth Hour at least 6-8 hours a day everyday.
Speak For Change writes in a blog post:
Earth Hour is a serious issue and one must not write against it. Is it a bigger issue than load-shedding that we experience daily in all parts of the country? Is it a bigger problem than the losses in millions we attain due to the absence of electricity to the industries? Is it more serious an issue than the non-availability of electricity in a local hospital where patients are operated upon under standby generators because the electricity doesn’t show up? I don’t think it is more serious than countless scenarios like these, because it is not for us, people living in third world countries.

March 26, 2012

In Radio Aha (online radio -google it) preparing for our show on genocidebangladesh.org from 12 noon today

March 18, 2012

The famous seven layered tea from Sreemangal

Lauwachara national forest, Sreemangal

March 12, 2012

Rights Of Disabled Persons and the Bangladesh Aviation Industry

In Bangladesh a number of local airlines sprung up in the past decade. They are not to be compared with the budget airlines of other countries because they are not cheap. They are just balancing the supply side of a growing demand of local aviation industry. The state carrier Biman's inability to cater the market has further strengthen their position.
But that does not mean that there is enough competition to stress on making the service better. One such example is that how they treat the disabled passengers. A paraplegic and a wheelchair user wanted to book a flight in Regent Airways from Chittagong to Dhaka. They refused the booking saying that they do not have lifts to carry a wheelchair passenger to the Dash -8 aircraft, he/she has to climb the stairs. This is a direct turnaround from what they advertise on their web page:
At every airport REGENT airways may provide wheelchair facilities for the disabled passengers or customers who cannot climb stairs.
A mechanical lift. Image courtesy Adaptive Engineering
The international law says carriers are required to provide boarding assistance to passengers with disabilities by providing a mechanical lift or other device. The citizen charter of CAAB also ensures the rights of the disabled people.
The sister of the passenger posted the complaint in Regent's Facebook page and she got a reply with an apology. The message also says that they were unable to provide the service as as they don't have the required mechanical lift. Biman, the major Ground Support Equipment [GSE] provider at all Bangladeshi Airports, also does not have any passenger lift car suitable for small aircraft such as the Dash-8.
Now my question is there are other airlines like United Airways who use Dash - 8 aircrafts in Bangladesh airports. Was it too hard or expensive to buy mechanical lifts for all the airports. And how did they get the license without securing these basic requirements in the first place? I think its time somebody should sue them all to get the basic rights.

March 10, 2012

Sath Gao Tea Resort, Sreemangal

Good Morning Sreemangal. Listening to the stream.

March 03, 2012

Dr. Philip Kotler, Marketing Guru, on the podium of World Marketing Summit Dhaka, 2012.

March 02, 2012

The concrete landscape called Dhaka on a sunny afternoon