Impacting lives beyond connectivity

Channelling excess energy from edotco sites to improve the quality of life for over 3,500 people 

edotco Group Sdn Bhd (“edotco”), the region’s end-to-end integrated telecommunications infrastructure services company, is improving the lives of over 3,500 people in the rural areas of Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Malaysia through its Tower to Community (T2C) programme. 

Going beyond its core purpose of enabling connectivity, edotco channels excess electricity from its towers to power up homes and services for communities living in nearby areas. This surplus energy is derived from a combination of renewable energy sources and diesel generators equipped at each site.

“edotco believes that it has a purpose beyond being a telecommunications provider. We seek to also improve the lives of communities living close to our towers. We work hand-in-hand with a wide-range of stakeholders as partners in a number of initiatives. The considerable impact from our T2C initiatives are a testament of our commitment to deliver excellence even in areas outside our business priorities. Whether it is to power homes, medical facilities, schools or places of worship, we strive to improve the quality of lives for those living nearby our towers,”

said edotco Group’s Chief Executive Officer, Suresh Sidhu.

While access to electricity for the larger population in Bangladesh and Myanmar have been rising with electrification rates at 88% and 70% respectively in 2017, there are still pockets of communities that are not connected to the national grid. These segments struggle to meet basic needs and comfort as reliable and affordable access to electricity continues to be a challenge. 

Against this backdrop, edotco’s T2C programme was launched in 2016 as one of its key initiatives to address the unmet needs of people living nearby its towers. Today, there are a total of 32 sites across Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Malaysia that are bringing a positive impact in communities.

Since its inception, this initiative has enhanced the lives at home for school children and their families by generating electricity to power 1,020 houses in over 26 locations in Bangladesh.

To improve the living conditions of these communities, edotco has also extended its initiative by installing solar-powered water pumps to ensure over 30 families in villages located in Jadur Haat and Nilphamari have access to clean and safe drinking water. The initiative also powers up one hospital, 30 mosques and 28 schools in Bangladesh. 

Addressing a different need in Myanmar, the T2C initiative tends to the limited healthcare access in remote communities by powering up refrigeration systems to maintain the cold chain to store Hepatitis B, BCG, Measles, and Oral polio vaccination for over 2,000 families in rural hard to reach areas. Similarly, in Malaysia, the T2C project provides a reliable source of energy to power the refrigeration system and bi-monthly operation of an Orang Asli community clinic in the remote areas of Cameron Highlands. 

“We place great emphasis on making a positive impact in the communities in which we operate. At edotco, we believe that you are only as good as what you give back to society. That is why we strive to lead by example and ensure our operations are handled responsibly and sustainably,” added Suresh.

In addition to its community enrichment projects, edotco also focuses on sustainability – a core principle that guides its overall business operations by ensuring its modern-day telecommunications infrastructure solutions are increasingly environmentally friendly. 

About edotco Group

Established in 2012, edotco Group is the first regional and integrated telecommunications infrastructure services company in Asia, providing end-to-end solutions in the tower services sector from tower leasing, co-locations, build-to-suit, energy, transmission and operations and maintenance (O&M).

edotco Group operates and manages a regional portfolio of over 29,300 towers across core markets of Malaysia, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Philippines and Pakistan with 18,800 towers directly operated by edotco and a further 10,500 towers managed through a range of services provided. edotco strives to deliver outstanding performance in telecommunications infrastructure services and solutions. Its state-of-the-art real-time monitoring service, echo, has driven significant improvements in field operations while maximizing operational efficiencies in terms of battery, energy and fuel consumption for telecommunications infrastructure.

edotco Group was recently awarded the Frost & Sullivan 2019 Asia Pacific Telecoms Tower Company of the Year Award for its demonstrated exemplary business growth and performance in Southeast Asia.

The Oxford Student Union has a Bangladeshi president. Meet Anisha Faruk

First of all, I feel weird about this; rejoicing in the success of a person we share little more than ethnicity with. It feels like we’re claiming some credit where none is due. It’s all her, people. She did it because she’s good. Her success is hers.

Anisha Faruk aka Padma; a lady of Bangladeshi origin, has been elected the president of the student union of Oxford University. Her father is Bangladesh Army major Faruk Ahmed(retired).

Padma is completing her undergraduate program as a historian.

She previously occupied the co-chair position of the Oxford University Labour Club. And she was the editor-in-chief of The Oxford Student, the largest student journal of the University. So she’s no stranger to great responsibility and respect.

Ms Anisha beat tough competition from independent candidate Ivy Manning and Ellie Milne-Brown; who represented the reputed Aspire panel. This was a historic election with a 20.3 per cent participation rate. Ms Anisha promoted diversity as the primary strong point of her panel.

With this, the trend of the continued success of our compatriot overseas continues. We can only hope to match and exceed the success our peers are enjoying. And we hope to leave a blazing trail of achievements by Bangladeshis across the world.

Banerjee, Duflo and Kremer: The holy trinity of Development Economics

Announced by the Swedish academy on Monday three economists will share the Economics Nobel Prize for their “experimental approach to alleviating poverty”.

The three economists are Indian Bengali Abhijit Banerjee of the US, his French-American wife Esther Duflo, a former advisor to ex-US president Barack Obama and Michael Kremer, the Gates Professor of Developing Societies at Harvard University.

From field experiments to Nobel Prize

In the 1990s Kremer launched a number of field experiments in the western side of Kenya, in order to improve the educational results of the area.

Banerjee and Duflo developed similar studies relating to the same subject. According to the Nobel committee, their research now “entirely dominates” development studies. The committee further mentions how their effort not only helped more than five million children but also preventive healthcare now subsidies in a number of countries.

Michael Kremer, Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo

The three laureates were among the first to attempt to measure the effects of real poverty alleviation. This includes covering a wide range of areas, access to credit, preventive healthcare, and the adoption of new technologies.

This research showed how to increase vaccination rates, educational standards in schools, creating a positive purpose throughout the globe.

Youngest Nobel winner, a power couple and a triumph for aspiring economists

Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo, two of the three winners of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Economics, speaking at a news conference at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S., October 14, 2019. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Duflo, 46, is the youngest and the second woman ever to receive the award for a prize in Economic Science. Speaking on phone moments after the awards, Duflo also mentions how the field of economics should treat women with more respect, saying

“We are at a time when we are starting to realize in the profession that the way we conduct each other privately and publicly, is not conducive all the time to a very good environment for women. Showing that it is possible for a women to succeed, and to be recognized for success, I hope will inspire many many other women to continue working, and many many other men to give them the respect they deserve, like every single human being.”

On the other hand, Abhijeet Banerjee and Esther Duflo became yet another couple to win the Nobel Prize. The committee released a “Partners in Science” list to mark and commemorate them and other couples who have previously achieved to make the same success together.

“Apart from being the power couple, let us also look at how this trio is basically a trend setter for the rest of the aspiring economists all over the world. They are great researchers, writers and economists and personally I believe its a great initiative to see someone from the developing sector to win it because, they can add more of their perspectives into work. If we notice their work we can see that it is not only about fetching data, rather it is about researching and implementing the subject with a purpose.”

Says Israr Hasan, an Economics student from Brac University.

The researches also conducted an initial study on microcredit programs or giving small loans to underdeveloped households in Hyderabad, India.

Corporiddlerz is back with exciting new challenges and business riddles

Over the years, BUP BCC’s flagship event, Corporiddlerz, has become a celebrated Inter-University business strategy competition among passionate business undergraduates.

This year, Corporiddlerz has returned with far greater challenges and rewards, with a newer face.

What is Corporiddlerz?

As the name suggests, Corporiddlerz is a series of business riddles.

What begins with an online case study later elevates to the point where participants strategize on (re)launching existing or new products and have to go for full-fledged project planning. As the rounds proceed, the riddles become more challenging and far more interesting.

The competition stands to tests the participants to the very limit of their knowledge and capacity to turn analytics into rational business decisions. And their struggle and enthusiasm will hardly go unrewarded.

This year, Corporiddlerz shall award 50K BDT for 2nd Runner-Up, 75K BDT for Runner-Up, and 100K BDT for the mighty champions!

Partners for this year

Corporiddlerz 2019 is powered by NRBC Bank with Independent Television as the media partner, Radio Foorti 88.0 FM as the radio partner, The Financial Express as the print media partner, HiFi Public as youth engagement partner, Moodron as the stationary partner, Wire as the digital media partner, and Narayanganj Dockyard as a strategic partner.

Here’s how to participate

Be a part of the biggest strategy based competition of the nation and gear up for the world of business, and register your team before October 15, 2019. Undergraduate students from the same university (can be from different disciplines) can form teams of four to participate.

Registration portal opens on October 8, 2019.

Keep a keen eye out on the event page: http://bit.ly/Corpo19

To know more about Corporiddlerz, visit: https://www.facebook.com/corporiddlerz.bupbcc

Find out more about BUP BCC at https://www.facebook.com/bupbcc

Types of people you see during puja

It’s that time of the year again when you will have to go through your closet to find sarees and panjabis that shoutout “Amit Ray” and “Labannya” from “Shesher Kobita”. Yes! It’s time for this year’s Durga Puja and all the festivities it brings along with it. During these festivities, it is hard not to jump into the celebrations like everyone else. Any event or occasion in Bangladesh is as hectic as they come, and you will meet a wide spectrum of peoples in these five days. Somehow we all have a particular role to play. So, here are the handful of the different types of people you will probably bump into this puja. So which one of the following types will you fall under?

The ultimate mandap hoppers

Durga Puja-HiFi Public

If you live in Dhaka there are a host of options for you to choose from for your puja hopping adventures. Almost every neighbourhood has little their mandaps set up for the occasion. However, there will be some who won’t be satisfied by going to just one or two mandaps. They will not leave out a single puja mandaps in the vicinity. From Jagannath Hall to Dhakeshwari Temple to Banani to God knows where they will be there battling through Dhaka’s traffic. Where do they get the energy?

The social media fanatics

Durga Puja-HiFi Public

These are the bunch who dedicate their lives to social media. You will see them in the perfect puja attire going to fancy restaurants with the best offers for this holiday. Also, they will not leave out any of the typical puja rituals either. From dressing up like Aishwarya Ray in Devdas to ringing the puja bell to playing with siddur, you name it. They will have done it all as you can see from their Snapchat stories and Instagram feeds. And don’t forget the hashtags #shoptomi, #oshtomi, #nobomi, #doshomi, #PostPujaShenanigans.

The unfortunate hosts

In every circle, there will be one or two unfortunate beings whose homes become the ideal spot for post puja hopping hangouts. Your close one or two Hindu friends will be there as your saviour and accommodate you after a long day of hopping around. They will have to feed all the hungry ones that end up in their doorsteps while also managing to juggle their ongoing family responsibilities as well. But can you really blame us? Luchis are love, luchis are life.

The ones that are never there

Durga Puja-HiFi Public

AKA the getaway groups. These are the individual who always either makes plans or are the most hyped about it. But when it comes to actually appearing they somehow always manage to go out on quick one or two-day getaways out of town. Because no matter what you plan on puja it cannot measure up to their special getaways. Plus they somehow always have the perfect excuse that ends up saving their sorry asses. I must say these people are the smartest and are the ones winning at life.

And last but not the least, the people who never get any puja vacation

Durga Puja-HiFi Public

These are the guys who belong to the institutions (ahem ahem, private medicals students) or workplaces in which they never give any vacation during puja. They are the saddest bunch. They will have to work hard all day and after getting home will have to tolerate the social media fanatics online. If you are one of them take my advice and avoid social media for a few days.

So here’s to all the different type of people we will be meeting during this puja season and শারদীয় শুভেচ্ছা ও ভালোবাসা.

Greta Thunberg: Earth’s safe haven at work

With the heartbreaking Amazon forest loss, melting icebergs in Antarctica and many other disasters, the global crisis is increasing. According to UN demographics, one natural climate crisis is occurring every week around the world. In between all this chaos and loss, one young 16 years old stood out to aid to this endless catastrophe.

Read more: Who is Greta Thunberg and other questions you were too embarrassed to ask

Who is Greta Thunberg?

Born in Sweden, Greta Thunberg is a rising environmental activist who is spreading global awareness to the risk of climate change. She has raised questions against politicians for their lack of action against this crisis which affects the entire world.

Last year, Greta took time off of her school to demonstrate the Swedish parliament about climate loss. Soon, most of the school students, including her classmates joined the protest. They organised a school climate strike movement under the name “Fridays for the Future”. After Thunberg addressed the issues in the 2018 United Nations Climate Change Conference, students all over the world including Bangladesh, UK, Japan, India and Germany joined the protest in their own way.

A real leader’s power of consciousness

Despite being a 16-year-old, Greta Thunberg is known for her blunt and realist responses to questions. But Great herself has her own story. She was diagnosed with Asperger’s, a form of autism four years ago. In an interview with the BBC, she mentions

Being different is a gift. It makes me see things from outside the box. I don’t easily fall for lies, I can see through things. If I would’ve been like everyone else, I wouldn’t have started this school strike for instance. We introverts can make our voices heard”

The Global Climate Strike

The global climate strike we all knew we needed is here. People from all over the world have taken to the street for a better world not for themselves, but for everyone across the world. Thunberg and her community’s voice has reached all over the world and now their demands are just as much as ours. The strike started from September 20th and will continue until 27th of September.

According to the article by The Guardian, trade unions representing hundreds of millions of people around the world mobilized in support, employees left their workplaces, doctors and nurses marched and workers at firms like Amazon, Google and Facebook have now joined the strikes.

In the estimated 185 countries, the protests are different depending upon the challenging crisis that they are having to go through. But at the end of the day, the message and the activists are united for one thing and one thing only. A safe space for nature, animals and humans.

What’s next?

The demand for ending the age of fossil fuels invested by different banks, finding a reasonable solution for a healthier environment is the most essential demands. However, what happens next is up to us. How we see the world and decide to protect it is solely upon our principle.

In a country like Bangladesh were young children still have hope and strike for a positive change, it is time to end our lack of motivation for a better country.

The unhealthy practise of “When in Rome, do as the Romans do” needs to stop.

Educating ourselves with the burning questions of Sundarban, excessive use of plastic materials and polythene bags are just the tip of the iceberg.

By the words of Greta Thunberg herself which left the world in a gasp and sudden rush of epiphany:

“Adults keep saying, ‘We owe it to young people to give them hope.’ But I don’t want your hope. I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day, and then I want you to act. I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if our house is on fire. Because it is.”  

What is happening in Hong Kong? Answers you need to know

It’s been almost eleven weeks since protest erupted in the streets of Chinese controlled Hong Kong. The protest that started over an extradition bill soon turned into a protest demanding the resignation of Hong Kong’s top executive, Carrie Lam, among other demands. As you read this article, thousands of people are taking the streets in protest against their leader, a debated extradition bill and against ongoing police brutality on peaceful protesters.

To understand what’s happening in Hong Kong, we must go back to its founding roots as a special administrative region.

What’s the deal with China and Hong Kong?

What is happening in Hong Kong? Answers you need to know

Hong Kong became a British colony in 1842 after China handed over its ownership to Britain after the end of the first opium war. After almost a century and half of the British rule, Britain handed Hong Kong over to China in 1997 and Hong Kong would become China’s special administrative territory under the “One country two systems” framework.  

Why is Hong Kong Special?

What is happening in Hong Kong? Answers you need to know

One of the pros of 150 years of British rule is the Sino-British Joint Declaration. This treaty signed in 1985 allowed Hong Kong to retain its freedom of speech when its ownership was transferred back to China, something which Chinese nationals of the mainland don’t have the luxury of enjoying. The outcome? Thanks to this catch, residents of Hong Kong can exercise their democratic right of protestation and free speech without brutal government intervention.

How did the protest start?

What is happening in Hong Kong? Answers you need to know

It all started with a murder. In February of 2018, a Hong Kong-based couple went to Taiwan on a weeklong vacation. A week later, the boyfriend, Chang, returned to Hong Kong and confessed to murdering his girlfriend. The Hong Kong government couldn’t prosecute him because the murder happened in Taiwan. And they couldn’t extradite him to Taiwan because Hong Kong does not have an extradition policy with Taiwan, a part of Chinese territory. That’s when Hong Kong lawmakers proposed an extradition bill that would allow the extradition of arrested individuals to Taiwan and other parts of Mainland China.

Hong Kong residents do not trust the Chinese legal system.

This proposal sparked a protest among the civilians against the bill. That is because Hong Kong residents do not trust the Chinese legal system. For the lack of democratic procedure, the Chinese legal system allows the government to prosecute a convict without trial and government fuelled abductions are not uncommon.

Is this the first protest?

What is happening in Hong Kong? Answers you need to know
The 2003 protests

It’s not. There have been major demonstrations in Hong Kong since 2003. In 2003, Hong Kongers took the street and protested against a bill that would allow punishment for those who spoke up against China.

In 2014, the people of Hong Kong Protested against China’s increasing influence over Hong Kong’s election. In 2016, the Chinese government even suppressed a small scale pro-independence movement.

But what sets the 2019 protests apart is the sheer size and demographics of the movement. The scale of the movement is unlike any of the past ones and although the forerunners are the youth, Hong Kong’s older generation and professionals like lawyers, doctors and politicians are also taking the street.

“I have friends… They don’t want their children to grow up in a just another Chinese city with no future for the next generation.”

60-year-old Lau, who holds a foreign passport.

Why is it so difficult for Hong Kong to be pro-democratic?

What is happening in Hong Kong? Answers you need to know

Hong Kong has a peculiar government structure. The top executive, an equivalent to our prime minister, is not elected by the people rather by a small committee and finally approved by China. The parliament, known as LegCo, is essentially divided into two segments, pro-democracy and pro-Chinese. And people get to vote for these seats.

But not all of them. Right of voting for about half of the seats are reserved for big corporations and industries. And the corporations, wanting to keep a good relationship with Beijing, never vote pro-democracy. Meaning, in every election since 1998, the majority people of Hong Kong voted for the pro-democracy legislature and yet the cabinet has stayed pro Chinese.

Where is all these heading to?

Remember when Hong Kong became the special administrative region in 1997? The special status came with an expiration date. Hong Kong will be fully integrated with Mainland China in 2047. That was the deal signed between Britain and China during handover. It would mean every right and freedom Hong Kongers enjoy as a separate region from China would be abolished and Chinese law would be applicable everywhere.

The problem is, China is not waiting for 2047.

Increasing influence and authority over Hong Kong has been the core of the disappointment for the residents for years. And the frustration is culminating in the latest protests.

The protestors are heading to train stations and airports to convey their messages to visitors and citizens from Mainland China. The protestors want increased democratic scopes and at the time of writing this article, updates of Police brutality and protests turning violent have been coming in.


Read more: Everything you need to know about the Amazon forest fire

The new Bajaj Pulsar NS160 launched in Bangladesh

Leading automobile importer, manufacturer, and marketeer Uttara Motors has unveiled ‘Pulsar NS160 FI-ABS’ in Bangladesh, on Sunday, September 29, 2019, at Hotel Intercontinental Dhaka. This latest motorcycle coming from Bajaj Auto is fully loaded with Fuel Injection and Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) technology. The motorcycle will be available at an introductory price of BDT 2,54,900.

The Pulsar NS160 FI-ABS is loaded with class-leading technology like perimeter frame, 4-valve, fuel-injected DTS-i engine, underbelly exhaust, Nitrox Mono Suspension, tubeless tyres and a street fighter naked design making it a true-blue sports bike. The patented DTS-i engine produces 15.02 Ps of power at 8500 rpm and 14.12 Nm of torque at 6000 rpm. The hydraulically operated anti-lock braking system (ABS) has 260mm disc at the front and 230mm disc at the rear. The tank can hold 12 litres of fuel making it an ideal vehicle for a long ride.

Auto Draft 5

Speaking about the launch of Pulsar NS160 FI-ABS, Mr Matiur Rahman, Chairman and Managing Director, Uttara Motors Ltd, said “The demand for high-end motorcycles is rapidly increasing in Bangladesh, as the customers get the best in technology, safety and performance from premium bikes. Uttara Motors offers a varied collection of Bajaj motorcycles in Bangladesh, but the Pulsar NS160 with Fuel Injection & Anti-lock braking system (ABS) will cater to a growing segment of customers who seek a true-blue sports bike.”

Present at the event, Mr Milind Bade, Vice President, Bajaj Auto Ltd, India said “Bangladesh is a very important market for us and in fact one of the fastest-growing Sports Motorcycle market anywhere in the world. Pulsar has always been about democratizing technology. Introduction of these high-tech features, Fuel Injection for quicker throttle response and ABS to prevent wheel lockups and skidding gives an excellent blend of performance & control to the avid sports biker of Bangladesh. Enabled with this technology the rider can take on any journey with confidence, ride fearless”.

Pre-booking, for the Pulsar NS160 FI-ABS, starts today at every showroom of Uttara Motors across the country. Deliveries of pre-booked bikes will start in 2-3 weeks. Uttara Motors also recently introduced the Twin Disc version of NS 160 which received an overwhelming response from the market and is priced at BDT 1,86,900. The motorcycles will be available in four colour combinations: Passion red + Satin Black, Pearl metallic white + Satin black, Glossy pewter grey + Satin black and Sapphire blue + Satin black. 

Mahjabin Haque: Another Bangladeshi woman at NASA

From childhood dreams to the stars, Mahjabin Haque has achieved to pursue her passion for NASA. Mahjabin Haque is going to be a software engineer at NASA’s US space research firm. She is a fresh graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science and Engineering from Wayne State University.

A brave soul with a mission

According to Dhaka Tribune, Bengali communities throughout Michigan and many more are celebrating this success with great pride. While studying at Wayne State University, Mahjabin pursued an internship at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, for two terms. She mentioned that she had worked for two departments in the span of eight months and receive quite a lot of experience. She received offers from different companies across the world including NASA. However, her heart opts for NASA.

Why NASA?

“Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to work at NASA.” mentions Mahjabin Haque herself to HiFi Public.

She participated in many curricular activities like dancing, singing and organizing events for BSA in her university. While working for NASA, she realized that they do not only look for academic success, rather they seek creativity and leadership strengths. She worked hard enough while enjoying her journey to her dreams.

Her advice to the youths who want to pursue their dreams would be not to only focus on grades, rather explore and dwell in different creative options to find what interests them the most.

In the world filled with different options to engage in, it is important for us to find what interests us the most. Instead of sticking to the good old academic books, let us explore our best and worst qualities to find who we can really become.

HiFi Digital’s workshop on Data Journalism held successfully

A wonderful and a much needed workshop on ‘Data Driven Journalism’ was held in the beautiful ambience of Hotel La Vinci on 13th September. The day long workshop was organized jointly by Hifi Digital Limited and Bangladesh Internet Society.

The workshop had two distinct phases. The first phase, conducted by Zyma Islam, focused on how to collect data from authentic sources. Some really useful sources were shared, and questions from the audience made the session quite lively. Zyma poured out her experience by giving some real life case studies. A brief showcasing of some useful tricks of Microsoft Excel made it quite a productive experience for the observers.

The second phase, conducted by Abu Shaer Reaz, focused on data visualization. He focused on some simple tools, which can be quite powerful if we know how to use them.

The most common mistake journalists do in Data visualization, is not knowing when to use which tool.

Some real life case studies from his experiences in Daily Star made his session quite engaging. Shaer wonderfully finished the session by showing the audience a simple yet effective data driven documentary, which helped the session to end on a high note.

“The experience was quite immersive. I learned a lot. The real life experiences and case studies shared by the two experienced instructors made it quite a learning experience.”

Nabila Jalil, one of the attendants, said joyfully

The participants of this workshop had mostly given positive feedback, and their constructive opinions were taken in formal response forms. The complimentary lunch and snacks made it quite a wholesome experience for all the participants. The cherry on the cake was added by the certificate giving ceremony, where all the participants were given certificates for their participation.