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Monday, April 30, 2007

GrameenPhone becomes GrameenPhan

GrameenPhone's change of logo could be an ideal case study for the business schools in the country. The motives behind this change, its potential effects on consumers and the brand, the process by which all the banners, billboards, danglers were changed overnight could be a case to learn from. I personally do not like the new logo, I have heard that even employees of GP have renamed themselves as 'GrameenPhan' as the blue-propeller logo resembles a fan. GP management is heard to have produced logo-shaped blue-colored biscuits and have fed them to its employees. What a way to integrate the new logo! 'Khaiben to chatben, na khaiben to postaiben'.

StanChart shakes hands with DBBL

Standard Chartered is a leading bank of the country well-known for its huge array of...hidden costs. Keeping in view the principle 'if you cannot beat them, join them', they have recently tied up with Dutch-Bangla Bank Ltd. to share the latter's ATM network across the country which by far is the largest network in Bangladesh. Good move by SCB, though the credit goes to DBBL, they have surely gained a competitive advantage through their wide network of ATMs.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Warid's Ad Attempts

The recent TVCs by Warid Telecom seem to reinforce the concept of 'commoditizing patriotism'. India has successfully applied the nationalistic elements in its commercial promotion which has served many purposes. Bangladeshi telecom companies seem to have aligned their advertising strategies well in line, by highlighting 'the pride of Bangladesh' in their television ads. However, Warid's ad seem to have fallen short in terms of creating any uniqueness, it appears to be vague until the end when Warid's logo appears. Although ads of GrameenPhone and BanglaLink are more or less similar in content, they have successfully grabbed the mind's share as far as advertisements are concerned.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

No Bag Entry at Indian HC

Some feedback regarding the services at the Indian High Commission Visa Application Center in Dhaka.

Firstly, I should sincerely appreciate the fact that after the introduction of a separate visa processing center, things have become noticeably smoother and easier. No more long queues, no more confusions. The staff are also doing a good job, they are friendly and helpful.

However I have a few observations regarding the entrance at the premises. When I went to collect my passport on 10th April, 2007, around 1700 hours, I was told by the security at the gates that I am not allowed to take my bag inside the premises. I told him since his job is to ensure security he was welcome to check thoroughly inside my bag. He denied and repeated his instructions. I offered him another solution by saying that since there is a counter with boxed shelves, I could leave my bag there. He again responded in the negative and kept on repeating that neither I can take my bag inside, nor I can leave it at the counter. Then I offered him my third solution, by saying that I would be waiting outside WITH my bag and requested him to collect my passport on my behalf instead. He was totally confused and forwarded me to his superior who allowed me to keep my bag at the counter 'for that instance only' and told me not to repeat this in future.

I went to collect my passport on my way back from office and I don't drive a car and I was alone. I wonder how would I collect my passport in such occasions in future.

I hope the Indian HC come up with a realistic and visitor-friendly solution.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Solutions provided by DataSoft

Rumour has it that DataSoft finds itself in troubled waters these days. Many founding members have already left the company and the existing ones are contemplating time and plan to quit. Sources say that it had something to do with internal bureaucracies, favoritism by management and irregular payment of salaries. I wonder if this is how it is in a leading IT company of the country, how other software companies are doing. Have we become so big to become so bureaucratic? Or we still have not got over our 'being small' tendencies? So we keep on behaving miserly? I hope the IT solution provider provides solution to its own problems first.

Monday, April 9, 2007

People's Republic of GrameenPhone

That day is not far away when GrameenPhone will become a state within a state. No wonder they have successfully integrated their services in every walk of their consumers' lives. Value added services such as BillPay, HealthLine etc. are just a few to name. It will become a part and parcel of a GrameenPhone user's life, making life difficult to imagine without the omnipresence of GrameenPhone, on the roads, on the banners, billboards and ofcourse in the hands and minds.

Awful Experience of an Indian at AIUB, Dhaka

February 22, 2006
Begum Khaleda Zia
Honorable Prime Minister of
The Peoples Republic of Bangladesh
Respected Madam,
This is to introduce myself as an internationally respected Academician and Academic administrator and to draw your kind attention towards my awful experience in Bangladesh as a fellow Bengali and a citizen of neighboring India with a hope receiving your kind attention and justice. Since early - 2004, I was offered to take up a Professorship at American International University - Bangladesh (AIUB), a private university in Dhaka, Bangladesh which I finally accepted in May, 2005.
As per the understanding, American International University - Bangladesh (AIUB) was suppose to pay me a monthly salary that is equivalent to US$ 2,000.00 plus a fully furnished independent apartment, car and two (2) return air tickets to Kolkata/ year. However, I was asked to sign two (2) different employment contracts one stating a monthly salary of Bangladeshi Taka 80,000 and another 118,000. The first contract was submitted at the Deputy High Commission for the People's Republic of Bangladesh, Calcutta in June, 2004 with my visa application and the other was submitted to the Board of Investment, Dhaka in July, 2005 with my work permit application. During my tenure at American International University - Bangladesh (AIUB), Dhaka, Bangladesh from 25th May, 2005 to 29th December, 2005, I was neither paid a monthly salary of US$ 2,000 nor I was offered with a fully furnished independent apartment, car and two (2) return air tickets, as promised. Furthermore, every month, I was paid different amounts between Bangladeshi Taka 72,000 and 118,000 with strange and unknown deductions towards leave, income tax, etc. The academic and administrative job responsibilities that were stated in the contract were never given to me while I was highly frustrated to see less educated, inexperienced and incompetent foreign nationals from academically and intellectually inferior countries were spoiling the standards of education which is already far below the Indian or global standards.
Since I was teaching a large number of senior MBA students at American International University - Bangladesh (AIUB), was popular as the best Professor among them and they were extremely dependent on my teaching for their final grades, I could not leave them and the university earlier and got exploited for over 7 months just for the sake of the Bangladeshi students. I left the Directorship of one of the India’s leading B-schools to join American International University - Bangladesh (AIUB) for being a Bengali and to contribute towards the benefits of Bangladeshi students. I was neither given the due professional respect at AIUB nor the financial commitments were kept by them ! I was handed over with my final settlements on 29th December, 2005 less than two (2) hours before my return flight to India and I discovered that nearly Bangladeshi Taka 83,000 less were paid to me. This amount is consisting of the earlier leave salary deductions and cost of return air tickets which is still unpaid. It is surprising to note that organizations like American International University - Bangladesh (AIUB) and its management are enjoying the status of “respected people” among the Bangladeshi society while they mislead and cheat foreign Academicians like me and the Bangladeshi labor law does not have a provision to protect a large number of foreign professionals ! In past 25 years, I have lived and worked in 16 countries across 3 continents but my experience of Bangladeshi education & teaching standards, governance of an academic institution and finally the exploitation of highly educated and accomplished foreign nationals like me was a real eye opener.
Although I am Indian by birth but being a Bengali always felt proud of the name “Bangladesh” but today after my awful experience in Bangladesh and its one of the best known private university “American International University - Bangladesh (AIUB) “, I will certainly carry a very unpleasant memory and poor image of the nation like people from rest of the world. After following up my unpaid dues at AIUB, Dhaka, yesterday (21.02.2006), I have received a legal notice from their legal consultant with false and baseless allegations in which they also tried to point finger at my family life and personal character ! Last night, I have received a "life threat" call on my cell no from an unknown person threatening me to forget about my dues at AIUB, Dhaka and to keep quiet, otherwise, I will get killed ! This has already been reported to the Kolkata Police and an FIR has been lodged. Being an academician, I will also talk about my terrible experience at American International University - Bangladesh (AIUB) in various academic meets and international conferences. Furthermore, I will be writing to a large number of respectable personalities, ministries and media in Bangladesh, India and to various American and western universities, UNESCO and other international development bodies from other nations which will surely not add to Bangladesh's image ! If educated and well accomplished academicians like me can get exploited in Bangladesh and can be the victim of framed charges to escape from making payments for unpaid dues of foreign nationals then the all human rights bodies can well imagine the situation of the local uneducated and poor class. It’s the time for all who are concerned about the exploitations in 3rd world countries to come forward to support my efforts to fight against the exploitation and injustice. Madam, if you are really concerned about the image of your own nation and truly looking ahead to a better Bangladesh, I hope you will take a strong action against the management of American International University - Bangladesh (AIUB) for their unethical, unprofessional and unfair actions. I also hope that you will instruct University Grants Commission of Bangladesh to take necessary actions. However, Bangladesh and its public administration system is being globally known for mammoth corruptions, I have my own doubts of any action. Looking forward to a favorable response from you.
Kind regards,
Dr. Sudhi Ranjan Dey