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Wednesday, March 21, 2018 05:36:18 AM
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More need to be done to restore business environment

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BUSINESSES in the city's Gulshan-Baridhara-Banani areas still bear the brunt of heavy security arrangements introduced after militant attack on the Spanish Café Holey Artisan Bakery even one year after the gruesome mayhem.  .

Particularly, the hotels and restaurants at the diplomatic enclave have been counting loss as both the local and foreign customers are showing less interest to go there. Besides, the law enforcement agencies are putting pressure on the owners to install security apparatus in their business establishments to check further untoward incident.

The scenario is all the same at Uttara Model Town where police closed down at least two posh cafés for not installing security apparatus as per their demand. In some cases, the foreigners have been 'requested' to avoid the restaurants and cafés on security ground.

At the same time, there are several check posts in Gulshan -Baridhara areas where all modes of vehicles are compelled to go under scanners. The police are also not allowing any parking of vehicles on roadside, which has appeared to be a big blow to the owners of small cafés and restaurants.

Apart from the eateries, other businesses—such as shopping malls, departmental stores, grocery shops, fashion houses are also taking the pain of this unusual situation. Several businessmen counting losses told the press that they were thinking of shutting down their trading houses. Officials said there are 350 residential hotels, guest houses and restaurants in Gulshan and Banani areas which are still struggling to return to normal after the setback of last July's terrorist attack. Owner of a pharmacy at Gulshan-2 reported a 80 percent drop in sales after the Holey Artisan Bakery attack.

The only way Bangladesh can regain foreigners confidence is by showing to the world that we have enough counter-intelligence operations to ensure security for everyone. By arresting or killing the major players involved in the attack we have shown the world that we can step up to the plate as regards counter-terrorism. But much more need to be done regarding intelligence gathering and the prevention of  the brainwashing of the youths which  leads to their ultimate derailment.

No amount of counter-intelligence can stop a few misguided youths from sowing terror in the hearts of foreigners. But more detailed intelligence before the killings--and especially the investigations into the killings of our people which preceded the attack must have given the attackers hope that such investigations would not be properly followed. What we need is to improve the efficiency of our security forces by installing idealistic and efficient officers. This is unlikely to happen if they are politically patronized or if most of their duties involve looking after VVIPs and such.

Change can only begin from within the administration.

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