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      OUR WORLD: Bangladesh

      The People’s Republic of Bangladesh is a state located in South Asia. Bangladesh celebrates National Day every year on 26 March, the date of independence from West Pakistan.

      Bangladesh borders India almost entirely except for the south-eastern part, where it is Burma (Union of Myanmar), and the southern part bordering the Bay of Bengal.

      Due to the merger with the Indian state of West Bengal, a region called Bengal was created. Bangladesh is Bengali for ‘State of Bengal’. The total surface area of the country is 143,998 sq km. Administrative divisions: Barisal, Chittagong, Dhaka, Khulna, Rajshahi, Rangpur, Sylhet. The official language is Bengali. The population is around 161 million, with an urban population of 28%. Largest cities: Dhaka (capital) – 14.251 million inhabitants; Chittagong – 4.816 million; Khulna – 1.636 million; Rajshahi – 853,000. Ethnic groups: Bengali – 98%, other groups – 2% (tribal groups, non-Bengali Muslims). The dominant religion is Islam – 89.5%, Hinduism – 9.6%, other religions 0.9%.

      The climate is tropical: mild winter (October-March), hot and humid summer (March-June), wet monsoon (June-October). The relief consists of plains, the highest point being only 305 metres above sea level. The plains are mainly alluvial, with numerous rivers running through them. Bangladesh is also home to the Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta, which forms the largest delta in the world. Its water flow is exceeded only by that of the Amazon. To the east of the delta lies the Chittagong delta country. Floods are a common occurrence, with people adapting their lifestyles to these phenomena. On 12-13 November 1970, Bangladesh was hit by a tropical cyclone that killed about one million people. This cyclone is considered the most destructive in terms of loss of life. In the south-west of the country lies one of the largest mangrove forests in the world, and the area is home to many wild animals, including the Bengal royal tiger, the country’s national animal.

      Although a predominantly agrarian country, Bangladesh fails to produce enough food for its entire population due to monsoon rains that destroy crops and cause flooding. Natural resources: natural gas, arable land, timber, coal.

      The country’s constitution was adopted in 1972, suspended after the coup d’état of 24 March 1982 and restored on 10 November 1986. The President of the country is elected by the National Parliament for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term). Members of the Government are selected by the Prime Minister and appointed by the President. The National Parliament (Jatiya Sangsad) is unicameral with 300 seats, of which 45 are reserved for women.

      In Dhaka, the historic city and capital, you can visit the historic centre. Here are buildings of interest such as the 17th-century Lalbagh Fort, Ashan Manzil Palace and Museum (Pink Palace), Chotta Katra and a large number of mosques.

      To the north of the historic centre there is the European Quarter or British Town, where the Banga Bhavan, the Presidential Palace, several parks and the Dhakeswari Temple are located. The Rajshahi division in the north-west of the country contains a large number of archaeological sites.

      The highlights are at Paharpur, home to the Buddhist monastery of Somapuri Vihara and the Satyapir Vita temple. There are two pre-Mongolian mosques in the south of the country.

      The first, with nine domes, is in the village of Qasba Guarnadi and the other, built in 1464, is near Patuakhali.

      The usual foods of Bengali cuisine are rice, vegetables, grain legumes, fish and meat. However, tastes differ between Muslim and non-Muslim groups. Beef is preferred by Muslims, but is considered forbidden by Hindus. All communities are accustomed to using their hands rather than cutlery at the table. On holidays or formal meals, Muslims often serve pilaf and biriyani (a rice dish with meat and vegetables), kebab (meat skewers) and kormas (meat with various sauces). At these festive meals, ghee, melted butter, is also served. Milk is a very important food, with Bengalis famous for their milk-based desserts – sandesh (which translates as ‘good news’) is a sweet cheese dessert served at celebrations and festivals.

      The present-day territory of Bangladesh was successively part of the Gupta (5th-4th centuries BC) and Maurya (4th-3rd centuries BC) Empires, the Great Mogul Empire (17th-18th centuries) and the British colony of India (18th-20th centuries). In August 1947, the independent state of Pakistan was proclaimed, consisting of two provinces 1,700 kilometres apart, both with a predominantly Muslim population: West Pakistan and East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). Economic, political, ethnic, cultural and religious contradictions divide the two provinces. In 1949, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman forms the Awami League which advocates East Pakistan’s autonomy. After the Awami League party’s election victory (1970) in East Pakistan, it proclaimed independence (March 1971). Pakistani troops try to quell the independence movement. Under the conditions of the civil war and then the Indo-Pak war, East Pakistan becomes an independent state (16 December 1972), taking the name Bangladesh (recognised by Pakistan in 1974).

      Entry and residence conditions in Bangladesh

      Romanian citizens holding tourist and temporary passports need a visa to enter the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. In some cases it is possible to obtain a visa on arrival in Bangladesh, further details can be obtained from the Embassy of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh in Berlin(http://www.bangladeshembassy.de/) which also represents the People’s Republic of Bangladesh in Romania.

      On entry into the People’s Republic of Bangladesh passports must be valid for at least 6 months and contain at least 1 clear page for visa and border stamp application, along with the round-trip ticket.

      Entry to the People’s Republic of Bangladesh may be refused by local immigration if there is insufficient proof of financial means. Leaving the country is only allowed with a valid visa.

      Exceeding the right of residence is punishable by fines, as follows:

      • For overruns up to 15 days: BDT 200/day plus BDT 160 processing fee;
      • For overruns of 16 to 30 days: BDT 500/day plus BDT 160 processing fee;
      • Exceedances of more than 30 days are dealt with by local immigration authorities, which can be lengthy and cost extra.

      There is a charge for leaving the People’s Republic of Bangladesh by air, depending on the destination. Sometimes this fee is included in the airfare.

      When leaving the People’s Republic of Bangladesh by private means of transport, a special permit is required from the local immigration authorities http://www.dip.gov.bd/ A financial guarantee is required for this, the amount of which is determined according to the value of the vehicle you are travelling in.

      Consular assistance

      Romania is represented by the Embassy of Romania in the Republic of India, New Delhi(http://newdelhi.mae.ro/). It is recommended that you register your presence at the diplomatic mission of Romania prior to arrival in the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.

      Romanian citizens can apply for consular services by appointment, details at http://newdelhi.mae.ro/.

      Infrastructure in the People’s Republic of Bangladesh is being expanded, as is the provision of emergency services.

      The theft or loss of the passport must be registered at the police station in the area where the crime took place, and the Romanian citizen must request the police report, on the basis of which an appropriate travel document will subsequently be issued. After obtaining the new travel document (passport, travel document) it is imperative to regulate the right of residence/exit of the foreign citizen at local immigration authorities.


      • Keep travel documents secure at all times, have photocopies of them to hand;
      • Avoiding pedestrian, bicycle, motorcycle, rickshaw, rickshaw or other uncovered transport;
      • Avoiding all means of public transport and using hired cars with a driver.

      The Embassy of Romania in the Republic of India keeps an eye on local events and constantly updates travel advisories and alerts on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website, http://www.mae.ro/.

      Drug-related penalties are very severe and can include lengthy imprisonment, heavy fines or even the death penalty.

      Local authorities reserve the right to investigate citizens who do not present their passport, or those who photograph certain local government targets such as airports, railway stations, ports, police stations, military units, etc.

      Driving under the influence of alcohol is punishable by imprisonment.

      Official documents issued by Romania or the People’s Republic of Bangladesh are subject to the procedures of super-legalisation (attestation by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the issuing country and by the embassy of the destination country, which provides diplomatic representation in the issuing country).

      Romanian citizens travelling to the People’s Republic of Bangladesh must comply with local laws. If you are arrested, it is recommended that you ask the police to immediately notify the Embassy of Romania in the Republic of India, New Delhi.

      General recommendations

      Local time: GMT+6. The People’s Republic of Bangladesh does not apply the scheme Daylight saving time, the time difference with Romania is:

      • winter time +4
      • summer time +3

      Official language: Bengali

      The local currency is  Bengali taka , BDT. It is recommended to exchange this currency into international currency before leaving the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, which can only be done by showing proof of departure (flight ticket, etc.).

      There are many damaged or counterfeit banknotes in circulation on the local market, so it is recommended to exchange currency at banking institutions and to be careful when receiving change.

      The electrical networks supply 230V/50Hz electricity, and adaptors are required. Power outages are very frequent, it is recommended to use alternative systems (auxiliary sources, generators, etc.).

      Mobile telephony – foreign citizens can purchase prepaid phone cards or phone subscriptions only on presentation of the following documents:

      • passport;
      • visa (telephone services will be automatically discontinued when the visa expires);
      • passport photos;
      • proof of local residence.

      Medical system

      For information on the types of vaccines to be given, we recommend that you contact the National Institute of Public Health – National Centre for Surveillance and Control of Communicable Diseases.

      It is recommended to take out travel insurance to cover any medical expenses. It is advisable to request and check the details and address of the correspondent unit in the People’s Republic of Bangladesh when concluding the insurance contract.

      Diseases such as hepatitis A, typhoid fever, hepatitis B, Japanese encephalitis, rabies are common in the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. Study the symptoms of these diseases before arriving in the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, and if you notice any symptoms, seek immediate medical advice from specialised medical facilities.

      Traffic conditions

      Road traffic is on the left side of the road. Traffic is very busy in big cities and in many cases traffic rules are not followed exactly. Minor accidents are very common and are often settled by own resources, due to lack of documents and money of the drivers, late intervention of the traffic police, lack of RCA equivalent insurance, etc. It is recommended to avoid driving and to use rented cars with a driver.

      Public transport. Pedestrian movement and crossing streets is characterised by a lack of priority for pedestrians, increased attention or avoidance of unnecessary pedestrian movement is recommended.

      Customs regulations

      When entering the territory of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, amounts held in excess of USD 5,000 or the equivalent in other currencies must be declared. Exit is not allowed with amounts greater than those declared at the entrance. No cash exceeding BDT 5000 may be taken out of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.

      The Bengali authorities impose bans and restrictions on imports and exports, there are legal provisions that you must obtain specific approvals and permits in advance. For details we recommend contacting the Bengali customs authorities and/or the Embassy of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh in Berlin.

      Terrorist threats

      In the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, there have been reports of terrorist or insurgent groups carrying out actions directly or indirectly targeting foreign nationals in various locations frequented by foreign nationals such as hotels, restaurants, trains, railway stations, markets, cinemas, places of worship, etc.

      Romanian citizens should be aware of the global risks that terrorism can cause anywhere in the world.

      We recommend Romanian citizens travelling to or in the People’s Republic of Bangladesh to regularly consult the information provided by the local authorities and follow their recommendations. We also recommend regular consultation of the website of the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs(www.mae.ro).

      Safety and crime

      The crime rate is high, thefts are frequently recorded and the police response means that some crimes remain unsolved. To avoid criminals it is recommended:

      • Closing doors and windows of houses and cars;
      • Contracting permanent security services;
      • Frequent changes to travel routes and schedules;
      • Keeping luggage secure without displaying it;
      • Travel in organised groups;
      • Hire a Bengali translator for travel outside urban areas;
      • Avoiding a fight in the event of an attack, moving to safe areas and registering the case with the police.

      Petty crime, such as theft, is reported throughout the day, especially on means of transport (buses and trains), in railway stations and crowded markets.

      People who are victims of attacks or crimes should call the Dhaka Police Special Department for Victims of Foreign Nationals (88) 01700700700 and email diplomathelpdesk@gmail.com and contact the nearest police station.

      Emergency phone numbers:

      • Emergency (88) (02) 999 – sometimes operator does not speak English
      • Dhaka Police Special Department for Victims of Foreign Nationals (88) 01700700700 and e-mail diplomathelpdesk@gmail.com
      • Fire brigade – 199 in Dhaka or (88) (02) 199 outside the capital Dhaka; call from mobile phones: (88) 01713-038181, (88) 01713-038182 or (88) 01730-336699
      • Women’s and children’s welfare emergencies 109

      Useful web addresses:

      Source; AGERPRESMAE

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