Sangsad Live: ,Taking a swipe at those who always raise a question about existence of democracy in Bangladesh, Prime Minister and Leader of the House Sheikh Hasina yesterday said massive development is taking place in the country as democracy is there.
“If democratic environment doesn’t exist in the country, how they talk and criticise the government in this way … the country is witnessing massive uplift as democracy exists here,” she said.
The prime minister made this remarks while participating in a general discussion on the thanksgiving motion of the President’s speech delivered in the Jatiya Sangsad on January 22.
Sheikh Hasina said the Awami League government made massive development in the last eight years. “How such uplift didn’t take place in the country earlier. It’s my question that why those who ruled the country for 21 years have failed to make such development?” she pondered.
“If they want to criticise us, they will have to give its reply,” she said, adding that Awami League always believes in democracy and involves people in every work.
The leader of the house said whatever the Awami League does, it is for the interest and welfare of the people and changing their lot. “I don’t think about changing my own fate … I have no headache whether I get flag or not,” she said.
The prime minister said when the country is advancing towards development and prosperity and it is being recognised as a role model in the world, at that time a quarter is saying that development is not adequate for them, they also need democracy.
“But we listen to that words from those who start licking boots of the military dictators or emergency governments when they grab power illegally,” she said, adding they also consider the military dictators or emergency governments as democratic at that time.
Pointing out her arrest during the last military-backed caretaker government, the Leader of the House said, “This vested quarter considered the rule of that government as a democratic environment when they wanted to send us jail by labelling us corrupts”.
“Their importance will be enhanced if they get an “abnormal power” and for this getting ministership or a flag is their desire,” she said.
In this connection, the premier said if they have such a desire they can join politics and contest the elections.
The Leader of the House said her government made open the television channels and radio stations in the private sector and those who raise question about democracy in the country are getting scopes for making criticism or opposition.
In this connection, she questioned that those who are not satisfied with the country’s massive development want what actually. “It’s their apprehension that business of bringing money from abroad by exposing poverty may be stopped due to our efforts for alleviation of poverty,” she said.
The prime minister the rate of poverty declined rapidly after assuming office by the Awami League government in 1996. “No governments could cut as much rate of the poverty that was reduced in last eight years,” she said.
She said even many NGOs who are working for poverty alleviation by providing microcredit failed to slash down such a rate.
She said some banks disbursed microcredit, but how many people were come out vicious cycle of poverty.
Sheikh Hasina said Brac and Grameen Bank claim that they cut poverty rate by one percent every year. “The Brac started work from 1972 and Grameen Bank from 1985. The poverty rate was supposed to go down to zero percent if their claim is true, but why the poverty still exists in the country,” she said.
“Did they eliminate poverty or nurture?,” she questioned.
The prime minister said the poverty rate declined massively during the tenures of her governments. “The rate now reduced to 22 percent from 57 percent in 1996,” she said, adding five crore people were upgraded to middle class due to various steps of the present government.
The Leader of the House also reiterated her government’s firm stance against terrorism and militancy and said again that there wouldn’t be any place for these social vices in the country.
She said the law enforcement agencies remain alert to eliminate terrorism and militancy and these evils would stamped out at any cost.
In this connection, the prime minister renewed her call to the people of all strata including public representatives, teachers, guardians, student and religious leaders to remain careful so that children don’t go to the wrong path.
The Leader of the House also highlighted her government’s stunning success in various fields including agriculture, health, education, women empowerment and digitization.
While touching on the much-talked about Rampal Power Plant, the prime minister once again ruled out causing harm to the Sundarbans due to its construction.
“The plant is being built 14 kilometres away from the Sundarbans…the plant being constructed at Rampal, not the Sundarbans,” she said, adding that most modern ultra supercritical technology is being used in it.
She said those who are opposing the power plant never went to the site.
Sheikh Hasina said five lakh new trees would be planted in the Sundarbans for protecting the world’s largest mangrove forest and 1.50 lakh trees have already been planted there.
The prime minister also thanked the President for projecting the country’s overall development picture with efficiency through his speech he delivered on the very first day of the current session of parliament.