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Cablegate: Country Clearance for Vivek Talvadkar

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

280717Z Nov 05

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 DHAKA 005810

SIPDIS

DIRECT RELAY

E.O. 12958:N/A
TAGS: OTRA BG
SUBJECT: COUNTRY CLEARANCE FOR VIVEK TALVADKAR


TO: Vivek Talvadkar
Executive Vice President
NRECA International, Ltd.
National Rural Electric Cooperative
Association (NRECA)
4301 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, Virginia 22203
Phone: (703) 907-5500
Fax: (703) 907-5532
Email: vivek.talvadkar@nreca.coop

REF: James Ford e-mail dated November 22, 2005

Action Required: See Paragraphs # 2, 4-D and 9.

1. Embassy Dhaka welcomes Mr. Vivek Talvadkar, Executive Vice-
President, NRECA international Ltd. on his December 16 to
December 20, 2005 visit and grants country clearance, contingent
repeat contingent on obtaining a Bangladeshi visa in his
passport prior to arrival in Bangladesh (see Paragraph 4.D. and
4.E. below). Control Officer will be Md. Kamaruzzaman. Contact
information: Phone (Office) 8-02-885-5500 Ext. 2564, (Home) 88-
02-895 7744, (FAX) 88-02-989- 0195, 882-3648, Email address:
mkamaruzzaman@usaid.gov. Mission understands that visitor does
not hold any security clearance. This an annual visit to the
RPPR-II project by NRECA Arlington home office management staff.

2. As of January 1, 2005 direct hire and PSC, (non-State
Department), USG TDY personnel who will be in Bangladesh for 30
days or more, are required to take and pass the SAFE course.
SAFE, Safety Abroad for Families and Employees, is a four day
security training course offered by FSI, Department of State.
Please contact the Office of the Registrar, Room F-2210, SA-42.
Fax: 703-302-7152. The Department strongly recommends that
commercial contract employees and others also take the SAFE
course. (For further information, please contact the Assistant
Director for Training, Diplomatic security, Mr. William Armor at
armorwd@state.gov or Phone: 703-205-2816.) See STATE cable
93760 dated 27 April 2004 and STATE cable 066580 dated 25 March
2004, for details.

3. The Mission's workweek is Sunday-Thursday 0800 hours to 1630
hours. There will not be a (Local/American) holiday during the
visit period.

4. Comments:

A. The traveler is advised to carry a copy of this cable with
him for reference.

B. Hotel reservation has been confirmed by NRECA International
at hotel Lake Castle, House# 1A, Road # 68/A, Gulshan, Dhaka.

C. Embassy expediter and control officer will not meet and
assist the visitor at airport. Please keep the control officer
informed if there is any change in flight information.
Travelers making more than one connecting flight should consider
rechecking their baggage, especially if transferring within the
region. Embassy also advises carrying a change of clothes and
all important documents in your carry-on bags.

D. IMPORTANT - PLEASE NOTE: Personnel entering Bangladesh are
required to possess a valid passport, with a minimum validity of
six months. A valid visa is required prior to arrival. There
are no exceptions. Any traveler arriving without a valid visa
will be returned to the United States or their county of origin
upon the next available flight. Visas are no longer issued upon
arrival. Please ensure that your visa is valid for at least six
months after your scheduled departure date from Dhaka.

E. In special circumstances, Post will arrange for an airport
visa upon arrival for persons originating travel to Bangladesh
from countries where there is no Bangladesh visa-issuing
mission. For an airport visa we require (1) a faxed photocopy
of the traveler's passport bio-data page, sent to 880-2-882-4449
at least 7 calendar days in advance; and (2) a statement from
the losing post that there is no Bangladesh mission in that
country. The Embassy will not, repeat, not provide this service
to persons originating travel in countries that have a
Bangladesh visa-issuing mission. However, we urge all travelers
to attempt to obtain a visa prior to traveling to Post.

5. Departure and onward travel: All departing personnel
(including holders of diplomatic and official passports) are
urged to use the services of the U.S. Mission's travel agent for
reconfirming onward travel and to verify if the departure tax,
approximately Taka 300 (approximately USD 5.17) and the travel
tax (approximately Taka 2500) have been included in the cost of
the ticket. If not included, each traveler will be required to
pay the taxes, in Taka only, at the airport.

6. Action Request: Fiscal Data. Each visitor, regardless of
length of stay, must bring/forward fiscal data to pay for direct
costs of the visit. Each agency, organization or visiting
delegation will be charged for the actual costs attributed to
its visit. Direct charge costs include, but are not limited to:
American and LES overtime (for such services as airport
expediting, cashier accommodation exchange, control room
staffing, representational event support), travel and per diem
costs incurred by post personnel in support of visitor's field
travel, rental of vehicles and other equipment, long distance
telephone calls, office supplies, gasoline and other vehicle
maintenance costs, departure tax and other airport fees as
appropriate. For TDYers remaining at post over 30 days, there
is a charge for ICASS support services. This charge is for the
following ICASS services: Basic Package, CLO and Health
Services. Agencies will not be billed until the accumulated
invoice cost for TDY support exceeds $2,500 for the fiscal year.
If your sponsoring agency is not signed up for ICASS services at
post, please be prepared to sign a Memorandum of Understanding
for ICASS support services upon arrival. The agency should
provide post with a written communication, generated by the
traveler's headquarters, that confirms the agency will pay ICASS
charges for the TDYer, provides the agency ICASS billing code
the TDY support charges should be applied to, and authorizes the
traveler to sign the ICASS invoice generated by the TDY module.
Where travel is urgent, the TDYer should bring this
documentation with him/her to ensure there are no interruptions
in the provision of service. Post will not provide any service
to a TDYer staying in excess of thirty days without provision of
this documentation before day 31 of the TDY.

7. Currency: The local use of U.S. Dollars (USD) is prohibited
by law, except for the payment of a hotel bill. The local
currency, the Taka, must be used for all other local
transactions. Accommodation exchange is available at the
Chancery through the Citibank cashier. The exchange rate
fluctuates and is currently approximately Taka 66 to USD 1.00.
Reverse accommodation exchange is available only at the original
place of exchange with original documents and receipts as proof.
Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) are limited and dispense Taka
only. Travelers checks cannot be used in most establishments
except international hotels. However, the Citibank at the
Chancery will cash traveler checks for Taka only. Most major
credit cards are accepted at international hotels.

8. Club and Commissary:

A. The American Recreation Association (known as ARA or "The
Club") facility is available to U.S. citizen official visitors
for a temporary membership fee of USD 10.00 per week. This can
not be pro-rated for a shorter visit. In addition to the
membership fee, you will be required to purchase a cash card,
USD 10.00 per card or Taka 600.00. A copy of your passport data
page or a passport-sized photograph is necessary to obtain a
cash card. This card will enable you to have meals and use club
facilities (which include tennis court, squash court, swimming
pool, exercise room, and restaurant/bar.)

B. The U.S. Commissary facility is available to U.S. citizen
official visitors who are USG employees. However, payment is
permitted only by USD personal check or traveler checks. Cash
dollars and local currency payments cannot be accepted. Change
will not be provided for transactions using traveler checks.
Therefore, smaller denomination traveler checks would be more
useful.

9. NOTE: Health - Post cannot emphasize strongly enough that
all travelers must have health insurance that will cover medical
evacuations by air ambulance. Travelers should carry with them
the 24/7 contact information for their insurer. Medical care in
Bangladesh is very basic and Post does not recommend that anyone
remain hospitalized here.

MEDICAL UNIT ACCESS WILL BE AVAILABLE IF INDIVIDUALS MEET THE
SPECIFIC CRITERIA ESTABLISHED BY STATE MED AS OUTLINED IN
SECSTATE 2398, 201464, 158215, AND 36783.

Intestinal problems are common in Dhaka. Visitors must exercise
care in what they eat and drink; food-borne diseases are common.
Presume that all tap water is contaminated, even in hotels.
Travelers are advised to drink bottled/boiled water and eat only
fruits and vegetables that have been cooked and peeled.
Undercooked meat should be avoided. Travelers should also avoid
eating uncooked dairy products and food sold on the streets.
Visitors who take medication on a regular basis should bring
enough for the duration of their visit. It is not always
possible to find equivalents for American prescriptions on the
local market. In general, local medical facilities are
substandard. The U.S. Mission has a Medical Unit staffed by a
U.S. Physician and registered nurses. Travelers venturing
outside Dhaka are advised to use standard anti-malaria
prophylaxis, including taking appropriate anti-malarial
medication, using mosquito protection and the use of bed
netting. It is strongly recommended that all visitors bring a
supply of mosquito repellent to Dhaka. There have been cases of
mosquito-borne illnesses, including malaria and dengue fever,
which is transmitted by a day-biting mosquito. The only
effective repellant we are aware of contains DEET (20% DEET is
the maximum that is considered safe for children). Supplies are
usually available in the commissary; however it is a good idea
to have your own supply should you arrive in Dhaka when the
commissary is not open. We also recommend that travelers have
updated immunizations, especially an up-to-date typhoid
immunization (either oral or injectable.)

There are a multitude of potential threats to health in
Bangladesh, and medical resources and facilities are often sub-
standard. All visitors are advised to carefully review their
medical conditions and vaccination status to be sure they are
optimal. Although many medications are available in Bangladesh,
their purity and quality may be poor; visitors should bring
their own supply.

Certain conditions prevalent in Bangladesh deserve special
consideration. Malaria is found in most parts of the country
and malaria prophylaxis is recommended by the Centers for
Disease Control outside of Dhaka. Malaria is not generally a
problem in Dhaka. Rabies is relatively common in Bangladesh and
most dogs are not vaccinated; vaccination against rabies is
recommended. Protection against mosquitoes is important, as they
carry dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, and malaria.
Personal protection against mosquitoes, including such efforts
as mosquito nets, application of DEET repellents, and avoidance
of areas where mosquitoes are known to be prevalent is
recommended.

Access to the American Embassy Health Unit in Dhaka is limited
to medically cleared U.S.G. employees and their eligible family
members. All visitors who desire to access the Health Unit (HU)
must bring copies of their current country-specific health
clearance for Dhaka (Form DS-823) or transmit their clearance
status by cable. U.S.G. employees on official TDY status for
less than 60 days (cumulative, per year) are allowed access to
the HU without a current clearance for Dhaka. Some short-term
contractors with official MED sanction are also allowed access.
All other visitors must obtain their health care from other
sources and are not allowed American Embassy HU access. The HU
maintains a list of health resources and can help with
referrals. Medevac insurance is recommended for persons not
covered under the Department of State system.

10. Security: Bangladesh continues to experience some anti-
American sentiment as the result of U.S. military and other
actions in the war against terrorism, and events in the Middle
East. Anti-American demonstrations throughout Bangladesh, which
generally occur on Friday afternoons, have the potential to take
place any time and to be unruly. In addition, the longstanding
confrontation between the two leading political parties has
prompted general strikes (hartals), public demonstrations and
marches. They can be called on very short notice and can turn
violent. Normal vehicular traffic is discouraged during
hartals. Visitors should strictly avoid all political protests,
demonstrations and marches. They should consider possible
security risks in deciding whether to attend other gatherings.

11. Post policy authorizes travelers visiting post to hand
carry an unclassified laptop into the Controlled Access Area
providing that the laptop is transported under the immediate
personal control of the traveler, or is transported via
diplomatic pouch, with prior approval of the RSO. All travelers
must also maintain continuous, immediate custody of a laptop
while in the CAA. Further instructions will be given during the
security brief upon arrival.

12. The Embassy advises Americans to be aware of their
surroundings at all times, to avoid predictable behavior, and
not to accept packages from unknown individuals. Sensitive or
personal matters should not be discussed over local telephone
lines.

13. The State Department has classified the crime threat in
Dhaka as high. Foreigners are not generally the target of
violent crime. However, pick-pocketing, purse-snatching and
other forms of street crime occur frequently, especially in
areas frequented by foreigners. Visitors should avoid walking
alone after dark, carrying large sums of money, or wearing
expensive jewelry. Valuables should be stored in the hotel
safety deposit box and should not be left unattended in hotel
rooms. Visitors should use the Embassy Motor Pool as the Chief
of Mission has declared public transportation to be unsafe. The
Regional Security Officer strongly discourages the use of
rickshaws, baby taxis, and other public transport. In addition,
you should keep the Embassy's 24-hour emergency telephone number
available at all times (880-02-885-5500); receptionists are on
duty 24 hours a day.

14. Agency specific general information.

15. We look forward to your visit.

GEORGE

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