Thursday, October 21, 2004

Bangladesh: Need RAB for my kitchen


I happen to be one of those people very critical of the way the Rapid Action Battalion has been dealing with the people it takes prisoners because some of those prisoners have ended up dead. But, believe me, when I heard that RAB had gone into a Chittagong market and forced traders to sell onions at taka fifteen a kilogram, I was happy. Later, on television, the traders complained about such high-handedness. It did not bother me at all. All I know is that if agencies like RAB can deal with such dishonest businessmen in such a way, that is, instilling fear into the hearts of these bad people, they will surely be appreciated by people. I think it should be for RAB to make a tour of markets in all urban areas, in cyclic order, to check that items of daily use, such as aubergines, onions, green chilli, et cetera, are sold at the proper price. Moreover, RAB should go into action against hoarders.


The place where we need RAB

I wish we had some educated, wise leaders to administer the country. As my friend Mongrel keeps saying, as long as we have our politics conducted around political dynasties, nothing will change for us. He has a point

As a housewife, I am appalled at the way things have been going on in the market. It is one of those times when I feel that strict government control is in order. Free market? What free market? When you have so many dishonest traders always waiting to take advantage of you, to take away all the money that you have in the name of economic considerations, you know very well that it is actually all a farce. I have been to quite a few countries around the world and I have seen that especially during times of religious festivals the prices of items are actually reduced. They have all those big sales so that people of all classes can afford to buy the goods they need. But it is only here that every businessman gives you the feeling that he is after your money. Maybe there are a few truly honest ones, but I am yet to come by them.

What is extremely bad for the nerves is the sight of all these traders wearing skullcaps in the holy month of Ramadan, pretending to be religious and yet doing everything they can to reap profits for themselves. It is plain hypocrisy at work. The other day, when the commerce minister made a trip to a market, these dishonest traders gave him a litany of false prices out of fear that a revelation of the real prices they were charging from people would lead to punishment for them. I am sure the minister knew about it. But how is it that he took no action? A newspaper report says that when he was asked about this trick on the part of the traders, he merely smiled and went away. Is that the way our public functionaries work? But then, why should we be complaining when we know that the process of corruption begins at the top of the social and political scale? How many politicians and bureaucrats suffer because of these rising prices in the market?

I happen to be one of those people very critical of the way the Rapid Action Battalion has been dealing with the people it takes prisoners because some of those prisoners have ended up dead. But, believe me, when I heard that RAB had gone into a Chittagong market and forced traders to sell onions at taka fifteen a kilogram, I was happy. Later, on television, the traders complained about such high-handedness. It did not bother me at all. All I know is that if agencies like RAB can deal with such dishonest businessmen in such a way, that is, instilling fear into the hearts of these bad people, they will surely be appreciated by people. I think it should be for RAB to make a tour of markets in all urban areas, in cyclic order, to check that items of daily use, such as aubergines, onions, green chilli, et cetera, are sold at the proper price. Moreover, RAB should go into action against hoarders. A good example of such evil people should be made and no amount of political interference should be allowed to come into such operations.

It is a pity that we have come to such a pass that we need specially trained forces to instil in some sections of the population the idea that they cannot take the country for a ride. In the last couple of weeks, I have been visiting the kutcha bazaar in my area. I have come away horrified at the prices. It seems the traders’ community is outside the bounds of the law. Things only get worse when I see some ruling party politicians trying to justify, in cheeky fashion, the rise in prices. On what planet are these people living? Or do they think they will forever be in power and so anything that happens in real life cannot touch them?

I wish we had some educated, wise leaders to administer the country. As my friend Mongrel keeps saying, as long as we have our politics conducted around political dynasties, nothing will change for us. He has a point.

New Age 21/10/2004