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Whose joy and whose culture found expression!

By Special Correspondent
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The Bangladesh Cricket Board's Celebration Concert held at the Bangabandhu National Stadium on Thursday, has provoked reactions and criticisms from different quarters.The reasons behind their reactions can be attributed to projection of alien culture on one hand and   also sufferings of those who attended the much talked about "grand event", organized spending a hefty amount of money on the other.  There are also claims that the huge fund raised offered a great opportunity for money laundering.Not only the fact that money was lavishly used for the concert, the main criticism coming from cricket lovers is that the show did not represent Bangladesh. The event represented a different culture and a different kind of joy. Bangladeshi artistes had little participation at a time when general public find life unsafe, nearly everyday they are becoming victims of violence and violent crimes. They suffer much discussed financial hardship and harassment of various kinds. Money appeared no consideration. Not initially a part of the ICC's plans for the forthcoming global cricket T20 competition, the governing body of the country's cricket arranged the event. It is seen as most unusual to have such gala function before the event. The government people have every reason to be over joyed for being able to continue in power through a voterless election. But that is a different question. Although Oscar winning composer A R Rahman and Senegalese-American R&B and hip hop singer Akon were hired to perform together with a group of local artistes, the price of tickets was a subject of criticism.  The cost of tickets ranged from Tk 2,000 to Tk 5,000 while the highest price of ticket was Tk 75,000.  There are allegations that some people had to procure tickets at even higher price from   black markets when tickets were not available through normal channel.'It seemed like the people who had bought tickets had no intention to see the concert but to sell them for huge profits,' said a person who bought ticket from black market. He said, 'I had to buy a Tk 3,000 ticket for Tk  15,000.' Another spectator, attending the event was critical of the function as it projected alien culture more than the local culture.Security was tight in and around the stadium as Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, attended the concert as chief guest.     People had to stand in queues before entering the venue and some of them claimed they were checked couple of times which was described as excesses in the name of security. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina received cheques   of financial assistance from different banks and insurance institutions on Friday   for hosting the ICC T20 World Cup and staging the "Lakho Kantho" on March 26 at the National Parade Square. They responded to the fund raising initiative of finance Minister AMA Muhith, who has publicly said that his target is to raise about Tk. 100 crore centering the cricket event. The finance minister's fund raising move has however, provoked sharp criticism from civil society bodies including Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) and some political parties. They went to the extent of terming the move as against the country's Constitution.  Those who handed over cheques to the Prime Minister on Friday included representatives of 24   corporate houses, eight telecom operators, 23 power entrepreneurs, 10 state owned banks and insurance companies and 28 private banks.  Meanwhile, the governing body of Bangladesh cricket was subject of criticism also in 2011 centering the   expenditure of the opening function. President of the then BCB had to swallow criticism from different quarters including his party men for alleged irregularities in expenditures of the function, it should be recalled.  It is hoped that the concerned authorities would make public the entire amount so raised and still being raised. Transparency should also be ensured the way the money is spent.

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