SUST Team’s Nasa Journey
Govt officials to go leaving behind apps developers
Published : Saturday, 13 July, 2019 at 12:00 AM Count : 246
The US rejected the visa applications of the members of the SUST team 'Olik' that won Nasa's 2018 International Space Apps Challenge.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) invited the winners and organizers of six global champions under six categories to Space Apps Challenge to join Falcon-9 Space Shuttle launching programme at Kennedy Space Center on July 21-25.
The team having 16 members including five members of Olik was scheduled to leave Dhaka for the US the next week.
But interestingly while the five members who developed the apps have not been able to collect the visas the other officials of the 16-member team are going to the US to join the programme.
The team Olik from Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST) secured first position beating 1395 teams around the world in the Best Use of Data category.
The team developed a virtual reality application which enables users to experience the NASA lunar landing site virtually.
However, Bangladesh delegation will go to the event without any contestants as the USA Embassy on Thursday rejected visas application of the five principal members due to 'newly imposed restrictions' on non-immigrant visa.
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Division will lead the Bangladesh delegation.
Of the 16 members, the government officials include Deputy Secretaries Salma Siddiqua Mahtab, Mohammad Abul Khayer, Mohammed Didarul Alam, Kazi Hosne Ara, Mohammod Abdul Hai and State Minister's Personal Secretary Ekramul Huq.
However, members of the team Abu Sibiq Mahdi Nipun, Rafee Adnan, Kazi Mainul Islam, Sabbir Hassan, Biswapriyo Chakrabarty were rejected visas.
Besides, Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) officials including Space Apps Challenge Project Director Wasek Sazzad, Secretary Hashim Ahmed and Logistic Manager Muhammad Monirul Hoque were also denied visas.
While contracting, Space Apps Challenge Project Director Wasek Sazzad said the embassy had rejected visas of the team members and some organizers due to some restriction in new immigrant policy of the United States.
"The officials of embassy said the US government had recently imposed restrictions on non-immigrant tourists who don't have visas of four countries and minimum annual income of $ 3000 dollar," Wasek Sazzad told the Daily Observer.
BASIS Public Relations Chief Wasek further said the issue has been forwarded to Foreign State Minister Shahriar Alam through ICT State Minister Zunaid Ahmed Palak to take measures.
Its may mention, Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services(BASIS) is the national organiser of Space App Challenges which held in nine cities - Dhaka, Sylhet, Chattogram, Barisal, Rangpur, Mymensingh, Khulna, Barisal and Cumilla in last year.