BKMEA, Ctg businesses urge BNP to call off strike

BKMEA, Ctg businesses urge BNP to call off strike (November 28, 2009)

Staff Correspondent

Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association and businesses in Chittagong have urged main opposition BNP to withdraw the nationwide general strike called for November 30 for the sake of the economy.
‘General strike violates the rights of the people in many ways as it hampers their movement and economic activities,’ said acting BKMEA president Habibur Rahman at a press meet in the capital on Saturday.
Rahman urged the main opposition BNP to call off their Tuesday’s countrywide dawn-to-dusk general strike in the greater interests of the national economy.
He also requested the ruling alliance to adopt a policy that they would avoid calling hartal even when they would be out of power.
‘The political parties need to reach an understanding and find out an alternative programme to hartal to realise their demands and vent their angers,’ he told reporters.
Rahman said the knitwear industry experienced a staggering growth of over 37 per cent in the first four months of the current fiscal year and the general strike would deal a big blow to it.
He said Bangladesh managed to gain the confidence of foreign buyers over the last couple of years, as there was virtually no general strike during the period, but the hartal culture has staged a comeback and it would seriously jeopardise this business-friendly environment.
‘Give us a chance to accelerate the economic growth and create employment opportunities for our people by avoiding general strike. People want to see a ‘hartal-free Bangladesh’.’
In Chittagong, one of the key trade organisations of the city, the Chittagong Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industries on Saturday in a press briefing at its office in Agrabad urged the BNP to call off the strike.
President of the organisation Abdus Salam claimed that the shutdown had been planned at a time when the government had started boosting the sick economy.
He argued that a destructive programme like general strike will affect the economy and discourage investment from home and abroad, apart from staining the image of the country.
Salam recommended finding an alternative to general strike which should be used only when no other ways are left since it causes immense public suffering.
CCCI director Mizanur Rahman alleged that the arrogance of political leaders was not allowing the economy to flourish to its full potential.
He urged the government to fulfil the opposition’s demand of seats in the first row in the parliament.