Monsoon threat forces Bangladeshis to flood traditional boat market

Boats serve as the only medium of travel for more than one million residents of Manikganj and adjacent districts. (File/AFP)
Updated 12 October 2019

Monsoon threat forces Bangladeshis to flood traditional boat market

  • Bangladesh is surrounded by the Padma, Jamuna, Dhaleswari, Ichhamati and Kaliganga rivers, a resource which becomes problematic during the monsoon season
  • The average length of the boats is between 15 and 20 feet, while the prices varies from $25 to $100, depending on the quality and size of the vessel

DHAKA: A 100-year-old boat market in Bangladesh’s Manikganj district has become the only resort for thousands of villagers looking to purchase a boat ahead of the monsoon season.
The vessels serve as the only medium of travel for more than one million residents of Manikganj and adjacent districts.  
Every Wednesday, hundreds of people from Manikganj, Tangail, Sirajganj, Faridpur and Dhaka fill the market, located along the banks of the Dhaleswari river.
“The boat market remains open for five months during the monsoon season. I have been visiting this market since my early childhood with my father,” Jagadish Chandra Sarker, a 70-year-old tea vendor, told Arab News.
“On market days, the traders remain busy throughout the day,” Sarker added. 
Bangladesh is surrounded by the Padma, Jamuna, Dhaleswari, Ichhamati and Kaliganga rivers, a resource which becomes problematic during the monsoon season when floodwaters inundate the low-lying villages of the country, disrupting life and communication for thousands of villagers. 
Every family is compelled to purchase at least one boat.  
“This boat market has earned a huge goodwill for its craftsmanship. Even traders from some adjacent districts like Tangail, Sirajganj and Saver visit regularly,” Gouranga Kumar Ghosh, the operator of the market, said.
On any given day, traders sell around 100 boats, Ghosh added. 
The average length of the boats is between 15 and 20 feet, while the prices varies from $25 to $100, depending on the quality and size of the vessel.
“On average, our boats last for two seasons. But they serve more if properly coated with coal tar," Abdul Halim, a market trader, told Arab News. 
Like Halim, other traders manufacture boats at stations in their homes, which they then deliver to the market through trucks, rickshaw vans or horse carts.  
It takes a day for a carpenter to make a small boat, Halim said.  
“With this seasonal boat trading, I earn a handsome amount during the monsoons. On an average, I earn around $200 per month from boat trading,” Halim said.
“I bought a new boat for my family for $35. It seemed that the price is little higher than the previous year,” Abdur Rahman, a 47-year-old buyer from Shibpur, Manikganj told said. 
Solaiman Sheikh, 37, another buyer from the Savar district said he was happy with his latest purchase.
“I have been visiting this boat market once a year for the past nine years. Since, during monsoons, I have no other choice for commuting except by boat, I prefer a new boat every year. Safety is the first concern as my little boys also travel with me,” Sheikh said. 


Hackers attempt to take down UK Labour Party’s web services ahead of election

Updated 12 November 2019

Hackers attempt to take down UK Labour Party’s web services ahead of election

  • Britain’s security agencies have warned that Russia and other countries could use cyberattacks messages on social media to attempt to disrupt the election
  • The nature of such attacks often made it difficult to attribute responsibility to any particular group, a NCSC spokesman said

LONDON: Hackers attacked Britain’s opposition Labour Party, bombarding its web services with malicious traffic in an attempt to force them offline just weeks ahead of a national election, party and security officials said on Tuesday,
“We have experienced a sophisticated and large-scale cyberattack on Labour digital platforms,” Labour said in a statement. “We took swift action and these attempts failed due to our robust security systems.
The party was confident data breach occurred, it said.
Britain’s security agencies have warned that Russia and other countries could use cyberattacks or political messages on social media to attempt to disrupt the Dec. 12 election.
Moscow has repeatedly denied Western allegations of election interference and a person with knowledge of the matter said an initial investigation had found nothing to link the Labour Party attack to a foreign state.
Britain’s National Cyber Security Center, part of the GCHQ signals intelligence agency, said the attack was a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack — a technique used by hackers to take down websites by overwhelming them with malicious traffic.
“DDoS attacks are a common form of attack used by a very wide range of attackers. Mitigation techniques are available and worked in this case,” a NCSC spokesman said.
The nature of such attacks often made it difficult to attribute responsibility to any particular group, he said.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the attack was very serious but was successfully repelled by the party’s defense systems when the digital assault began on Monday.
“But if this is a sign of things to come in this election, I feel very nervous about it all,” he said. “Because a cyberattack against a political party in an election is suspicious and something one is very worried about.”
A Labour spokesman said that while the attack had slowed down some campaign activity, they were restored on Tuesday.
The person with knowledge of the matter said any Labour Party web services currently offline were not directly connected to the attack.
Britain goes to the polls on Dec. 12 in an election called by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to try to break the Brexit deadlock in parliament more than three years since the country voted to leave the European Union.
A report by parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee has investigated Russian activity in British politics and reportedly includes charges of spying and interference in polls, including the 2016 Brexit referendum and the 2017 national election.
The government, however, has declined to publish it before the upcoming election.