From the Editor-in-Chief: The tasks before our ministers

Enayetullah Khan
Thursday, January 11th, 2018
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The new Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister AKM Shahjahan Kamal has vowed to turn Bangladesh Biman into a profitable organization. That statement of intent is certainly welcome for the particular reason that for years, indeed for decades, the national flag carrier has been in a bind. We have observed the appointment of foreign managing directors for Biman, with at least one of them beginning to make a difference before he was compelled to go away. In other words, there are elements within Biman who have for years done everything possible to keep Biman grounded, in that symbolic sense of the meaning, even as airlines in other countries have occupied the skies. Citizens are routinely informed that Biman is going through losses. Even if it has of late begun to keep to its flight schedules somewhat, there is yet a whole lot to be done. We wish the new minister Godspeed in his endeavour.


We now turn to the role the new Social Welfare Minister, in this case Rashed Khan Menon, can play in turning his ministry into an organization that can truly play the role of a game-changer in the country. There are people, a lot of them, who have kept to the misplaced idea that this ministry is one of little significance. That is far from the truth, if we care to look at the way the BNP-Jamaat government between 2001 and 2006 used it to extend the tentacles of religious radicalism throughout the country. The ministry at the time was led by a war criminal, who was later tried and executed under the law. But the damage this dead war criminal and the government he was part of did must not be lost sight of. Madrasas and other religious organizations were provided support of various kinds under his stewardship, to a point where today we come across reports of many of these religious bodies staying away from such acts as the rendering of the national anthem and according proper respect to the martyrs of the War of Liberation. Minister Menon can make a real difference here.


The recent cabinet reshuffle is appreciable, given that a year remains before the country goes to the next general election. It is in the fitness of things that the ruling party will get its house in order before it faces the electorate again and that means it should shed as much baggage as it can before going out on the hustings. Perhaps the Prime Minister will consider, in the days ahead, some more changes in the cabinet? The reason is simple: the individuals at the helm in these ministries have not performed to citizens’ satisfaction.


In the weeks ahead, we should be seeing more of the positive change that has been wrought by last week’s reshuffle of part of the cabinet.

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