Thirty-four people died as a launch capsized on the Sitalakkhya River in Narayanganj

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Thirty-four people died as a launch capsized on the Sitalakkhya River in Narayanganj, after it was hit by a cargo vessel owned by a member of parliament. The cargo vessel was eventually seized in Munshiganj on Thursday.  The Coast Guard seized the cargo vessel SKL-3 which reportedly hit the launch and fled away on Sunday evening killing at least 34 people. Rafiqul Islam, BIWTA director for marine safety and traffic management, said that the employees had changed the colour of the vessel to avoid seizure. Thunderstorm started a few minutes after the accident, but the vessel did not stop, rather it continued moving far away from the accident spot, the Coast Guard officials said.

Department of Shipping’s engineer and surveyor in Dhaka Md Mahbub Rashid said that the SKL-3 cargo vessel had no permission to ply the route. The launch, heading towards Munshiganj from Narayanganj, was carrying over 50 passengers, the police said.

 

Sales of goods through electronic platforms grew 70 per cent year-on-year in 2020 thanks to a surge in online shopping amid the pandemic, according to the e-Commerce Association of Bangladesh (e-CAB). Some segments, especially commodities and food business, have seen a massive 300 per cent growth in the last one year, it said. The association that has around 1,500 members shared the data in a virtual press conference on April 8.

However, the association did not share the online sales figure of 2020. In the last eight months of 2020, consumers bought Tk 3,000 crore worth of commodities for their daily necessities, it said. "The growth of e-commerce had been significant last year as the government had taken quick decisions and allowed e-commerce platforms to operate by following health guidelines," said e-CAB President Shomi Kaiser.

 

Around 79 per cent of marginalised households in Bangladesh are exposed to financial hardship due to COVID-19 pandemic as their current income is not sufficient to manage current expenditure, according to a latest survey report. Of them, only 21.5 per cent household have managed to recover from the situation and the recovery took on an average five months. The remaining 78.5 per cent household could not recover yet from the hardships and the average expected recovery time is 13 months, the survey titled Marginalised Communities in Bangladesh: Dealing with Pandemic Fallouts found.

Citizen’s Platform for SDGs, Bangladesh on Thursday released the findings of the survey at a media briefing. The platform conducted the face-to-face survey of 1,600 households across the country in February and the survey covered 10 marginalised groups, including households from char, haor and coastal areas, slum, dalit, indigenous, persons with disabilities, migrant, micro, small and medium enterprises.

 

In the face of recent violence by Hefazot-e-Islam, the police have beefed up security in different districts, including Dhaka. Security posts have been set up at six police stations and six outposts of Sylhet Metropolitan Police. Policemen armed with light machine gun (LMG) have been deployed there. Sylhet district police has also taken steps to build such security posts in 12 police stations of the district, said officials.

Meanwhile, several hundred additional policemen were sent to Brahmanbaria district police and security posts were set up at nine police stations of the district to avoid any untoward incident. Besides, instructions were given to the police stations under Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) to step up vigilance and strengthen security measures, officials added. Haider Ali Khan, deputy inspector general at Police Headquarters, said police always remain alert and take actions against those involved in anti-state activities, violence and destruction of government property. According to sources, security posts were set up with sandbags at police stations and outposts of Sylhet Metropolitan Police.

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