Tag: proceeding

Town Council proceeding slowly toward resolution on recreation facility

Presented by its Administration with a number of questions and observations concerning the proposed multi-use Recreation Facility, Town Council, at its most recent meeting, found itself in a position of having as many questions as answers.

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At its core, progress on the project is, and has been, slowed by three main concerns, all of which can be generally classified under the topic of “finances”. They are:

–  lack of a well researched cost estimate for the building.  Presently, as proposed, the facility is to have a footprint of 15,200 sq. ft. and, as of this writing, the latest cost forecast is $1.3 million. There has been mention of a basement but that was described as being negotiable.

– lack of confirmed public and private sector financial supporters/donors who, to this point in time, have not been fully solicited or have been reticent about making financial commitments without being made fully aware of anticipated costs and the resultant potential amount which might be asked of them.    

– and finally, lack of well established estimates of annual operating costs.

Out of deliberations on these concerns, there arose conversations on other matters, however brief some may have been. They include:

–  eligibility of financial contributions for tax receipts. Administration confirmed that cash donations, which should be received by year end, are eligible for tax receipts.

– without cost certainty there is the possibility of having to reduce, postpone  or eliminate future planned projects.

– lack of cost certainty is giving rise to speculation on possible tax increases.

– Administration brought to the attention of Council that Provincial regulations prohibit a Municipality from borrowing for a project that has already commenced; consequently, should borrowing be required for the project, a bylaw which authorizes said borrowing will have to be passed prior to construction.  It must be stated here however that the need for borrowing is not anticipated.

– aesthetics of the building. Given the proposed location of the facility near the Temple at the E..J. Wood property, Council must be credited with concern about the building’s exterior appearance. Exterior material, the cost of which is to be borne through fundraising is yet to be determined.  

– going forward, to provide further resources for the project, members of the previously constituted Recreation Facility Ad Hoc Committee will be asked to become involved.

– once all the pertinent, required information concerning the project has been established, it is the intention of Council to consult the public to determine their level of enthusiasm and acceptance. The manner in which that consultation is to be accomplished is yet to be determined.

This article began with mention of the subject of “finances”. It will end on that same topic.

As mentioned above, the latest cost estimate for the building is $1.3 million. A major portion of that total, $1.0 million has been allocated by the Town Council to its 2020 CY Capital Budget and will be paid for out of that budget. The balance, $300,000, will be

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Hotel Raintree double rape: Trial proceeding at snail’s pace

File Photo: Shafat Ahmed (on the front), one of the main accused in the Banani rape case, son of Dildar Ahmed, one of the owners of Apan Jewellers Dhaka Tribune

All 5 accused out on bail

Three and half years have already elapsed since the rape of two private university students at The Raintree Dhaka hotel in Banani in 2017, but the trial in the case is yet to be completed.

The trial is now pending with Dhaka Women and Children Repression Prevention Tribunal-7 due to non-appearance of witnesses and negligence of officials concerned, court sources said. Only 18 out of 47 prosecution witnesses have testified before the tribunal in the last three and half years.

The 18th prosecution witness Mahmadul Hasan, former Dhaka metropolitan magistrate, testified before the tribunal on October 14. Subsequently, the court adjourned the hearing in the case till November 18.

Special Public Prosecutor Afroza Farhana Ahmed told this correspondent: “This is one of the very important cases but there is not much progress in the case due to absence of witnesses.”

There are allegations that prosecution witnesses are not turning up at the court due to threats against their lives by the families of the accused.

She also alleged that lawyers of the accused are wasting time by giving various excuses.

Denying allegations of negligence, the state lawyer said: “Trial proceedings are now being hampering as the two senior defence lawyers –Mosharraf Hossain Kajol and Mahabub Hossain—have contracted Covid-19.”

All five accused, including prime accused Shafat Ahmed, are currently roaming free life after being released on bail.

It has been reported that around 200,000 cases are pending with Woman and Children Repression Prevention Tribunals in 64 districts of the country. Among these cases, about 40,000 have been pending for more than five years.

Experts said the trials of cases filed under the Woman and Child Repression (Prevention) Act do not end easily, even though the law has a provision for a quick disposal of these cases.

Bangladesh National Women Lawyers Association President Advocate Salma Ali said the law requires such cases to be disposed of within 180 days, but there is no record of any cases being completed within the stipulated time.

Defendants in the cases are often influential and can manipulate the judiciary in many ways, she added.

According to the charge sheet of the Hotel Raintree rape case, the two private university students went to the hotel around 9:00pm after being invited to a birthday party on March 28, 2017. After the party ended around midnight, Shafat Ahmed and Shafat’s friend Nayem Ashraf raped the girls in two rooms.

Shafat’s driver Billal Hossain filmed the rape and bodyguard Rahmat Ali intimidated the girls, while Shadman Sakif refrained from informing the hotel authorities and police about the incident. 

Earlier, on July 13, 2017, the court started the trial through the framing of charges against the five accused. Of the accused, Shafat and Nayem were charged with raping the victims while Billal, Rahmat and Sakif

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