Courtesy: The daily Star, Dhaka, Sunday, 9 Jan, 2011
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina witnesses the winter exercise of 66 Infantry Division of Bangladesh Army at Uttar Panapukur in Gangachara of Rangpur yesterday. Photo: PID
Bangladesh Army played a sparkling role for the country whenever needed, apart from their professional duties.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has asked the armed forces to gain the trust of the masses, and preserve it in view of its importance.
“Remember, the people are the strength of the country, and you are a part of these people. So it is very important to gain their trust and preserve it,” she said at the Darbar 66 Infantry Division of Bangladesh Army after witnessing their winter exercise.
She said the Bangladesh Army has always played a sparkling role for the country whenever it has been needed, apart from their professional activities and training.
She especially mentioned the role of the Army in preparing photographed voter lists and identity cards. “The Army always remains beside the people of the country during various natural calamities,” she said.
Hasina said the present government is working restlessly to develop the socio-economic conditions of the people along with the development of the Army.
Describing the present government's various initiatives for welfare of the armed forces, she said, “Let me assure you, as in our previous tenure, the present government is implementing various types of projects for the army and their family members.”
In this connection she said this time the government has introduced a new pay scale and increased ration for the army to bring it up to par with the Navy and the Air Force.
She also said the pension rate and medical allowance for the retired dead army soldiers have been increased. “We have also taken steps to mitigate the accommodation problems of armed forces at all levels,” she said.
Hasina reaffirmed her government's commitment to make the army a modern, skilful and time-befitting force.
She said the strategic importance of the areas under the 66 Infantry Division of Bangladesh Army is crucial, considering the national economy and security. “Especially, the presence of huge coal and hard rock mines attaches more importance to this area. It is your prime duty to ensure the security of the area,” she said.
She said she was happy to know that like the previous times the winter exercise of this year also included Ansar and BNCC cadets.
She said just two years ago Rangpur was known as 'Monga area'. “In the last two years we said goodbye to Monga from this area. Several projects are being implemented in this area to create employment, such as the VGD and VGF.”
After her speech, the PM invited two soldiers to speak to them. Speaking on the occasion, the soldiers demanded enhanced risk allowance for their duties in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, and full rations for their infants.
Hasina agreed on the enhanced rationing for the infants of the soldiers, and said the government would provide enhanced risk allowance after improving the economic strength of the country.
Former president and JP Chairman HM Ershad, Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid, Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister GM Quader, Adviser to the PM Tarique Ahmed Siddique, State Minister for Liberation War Affairs AB Tajul Islam, Army chief General Abdul Mubeen and JP leader Rawshan Ershad were present on the occasion.
Earlier, General Abdul Mubeen received the prime minister on her arrival, and she witnessed the winter exercise, at Uttar Panapukur in Gangachara.