India has been erecting the barbed wire fence along its 4,095-km border with Bangladesh passing through West Bengal, Tripura, Assam, Meghalaya and Mizoram to check trans-border movement of militants, prevent infiltration and prevent border crimes. As per international norms, the barbed wire fencing has to be built 150-yards inside India from the zero line of the international border.
“For erecting the fence (at 150-yards from the border line) along the 841-km of the 856-km India-Bangladesh border with Tripura, over 8,730 Indian families’ homes, paddy fields, lands, farms and other assets had fallen outside the fence (making them) vulnerable,” Tripura revenue and finance minister Badal Choudhury said.
He said: “Due to stipulated distance for putting up the fence, over 19,359 acres of land, including farmland, have fallen outside the fencing in Tripura alone.”
“Following Tripura government’s persistent demand, New Delhi appraised Dhaka about the problems in erecting the fencing at the 150-yards from the boundary and the Bangladesh government has allowed India to erect the fencing at the zero line’ in certain stretches to save Indian properties and congested human habitations.”
DHAKA: Indian telecom major Bharti Airtel has an “unfair market advantage” over its competitors in Bangladesh, a report said here Sunday.
The draft Cellular Mobile Telecommunication Operators Licence Renewal Guidelines 2011, prepared by the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) on behalf of the posts and telecommunications ministry, allows unfair market advantage to Airtel, the latest operator to enter the market, “telecom industry insiders” were quoted as saying in New Age.
Right from Airtel’s 70 percent stake in Warid Telecom for $100,000 to allowing Airtel to exchange spectrum band access free of charge, “the government and the commission have displayed a bias towards Airtel in their treatment of the telecom industry”.
Four leading operators – Grameenphone, Orascom (Banglalink), Axiata (Robi) and Pacific Bangladesh Telecom Ltd (Citycell) – are up for licence renewal in November, after the expiry of the 15-year term of their licences.
Airtel, which acquired the licence in December 2005 for $50 million, is not up for renewal until 2020. It gets a window of nine years in which it will be providing services for much lower rates, the report says.
According to the draft, operators will need to pay application fee, licence renewal fee, annual licence fee, revenue sharing, social obligation fund as well as separate licence fees and charge for spectrum use.
The spectrum fees have been set at Tk 1.5 billion ($20 million) per MHz of GSM 1,800MHz band frequency and Tk 3 billion ($40 million) per MHz of GSM 900MHz band to be multiplied with the utilisation factor of each of the operators.
In total, Grameenphone would have to pay Tk 55 billion ($755 million), Banglalink Tk 29 billion ($410 million), Robi Tk 30 billion ($400 million) and Citycell Tk 6.2 billion ($85 million).
Top officials of the four leading operators say the proposed fee is too high and will force the operators to increase prices for services.
“Outside of Grameenphone, the three other operators still operate on losses and, therefore, we do not understand the justification of this staggering fee,” a top official of Banglalink said.
An official said Airtel’s promotional offer of dinner with Indian actors Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor was against BTRC regulations. On complaints from other mobile operators, BTRC just issued a letter to all operators to not flout rules, foregoing any punitive action against Airtel.
[ P.S. These news items were missing from main pages of main stream print and electronic media in Bangladesh. May be someone can find some mention of the above news in a one column 2 inch news on the 17th page. Both the news mentioned above deserved high value treatment and lack of such trreatment means the news was missing in Bangladesh media.]