Bangladesh is now stirred up with pillow controversy. Discussion going on in every level of society including in social media over the actual price of a pillow. Pillows from Tk 200 to 20,000 are available in Dhaka. Middle-class people generally fulfill their demand with pillow worth Tk 200 to Tk 400. A good quality cotton pillow is worth Tk 500 to 700. Aristocratic pillows with feather cost approximately Tk 10,000 to 20,000 and are available in some posh shops of Gulshan. These are generally imported from abroad. Van Der Hilst produces the most expensive pillows in the world. The ordinary pillows made by this company are worth USD 4,995 (Tk 4 lac 25 thousand). The company recently introduced the `Gold Edition` in hand made pillow, which costs USD 56,995 (Tk 48 lac 50 thousand).
Begum Khaleda Zia sets record in purchasing pillows regardless of their prices. When she came to power for the first time in 1991, she bought 6 pillows worth 78 thousand taka. The Public Works Department document shows that on March 29, 1991, it was decided to renovate and decorate Begum Zia`s Moinul Road residence. A circular issued from Prime Minister Office said, "Since the Honorable Prime Minister will not use her official residence, therefore, the renovation and reconstruction of her number 6 Shaheed Moinul Hossain Road’s residence is necessary. Furniture according to the following list is necessary to furnish the PM`s residence." There was a total of 121 items in the list that included cushions, pillows, mattress, sheets, and beds. Some letters were circulated between the Prime Minister`s Office and the Public Works Ministry about buying these products. Finally, 6 pillows were purchased from Paris at the cost of Tk 78 thousand for each. The price of 6 pillows was Tk 4 lac 68 thousand. Money worth 1 lac 15 thousand was spent to bring them from Paris. Audit objected to this in 1992. In response to the objection, it was said that due to the urgent necessity of the Prime Minister, cargo plane had to be used to bring the pillows. Begum Zia, however, broke the previous record after assuming office for the second time. It is found in the document that, in 2002, six cushion pillows were bought from Italy for Begum Khaleda Zia through the Foreign Ministry. Each of which was worth Tk 1 lac 32 thousand. That means Tk 8 lac was spent for 6 pillows.
Ershad even did not fall behind in pillow purchase. Even after being president Ershad used to live in cantonment. But all his shopping was conducted from Bangabhaban. Ershad bought the pillows in July 1988. These pillows were brought from India`s Jaipur. At that time each pillow was worth 15 thousand taka. The price of 12 pillars stood at Tk 1 lac 80 thousand.
Comparing them, the running Prime Minister has no pillow luxury even after being elected for four terms. After assuming office in 1996, the Public Works Department renovated the Ganabhaban. At the time, four pillars worth Tk 175 were given to the Prime Minister. In 2009, six pillows were purchased again for Ganabhaban, which cost Tk 210 each.
Most probably, officials related to Begum Zia and HM Ershad purchased the pillows of Rooppur Nuclear Project. That is why every pillow costs Tk 5,957. For them, this amount is very little.
Bangla Insider/ SM