Saturday, June 22, 2024

Absence of elected reps cause distress to city residents

Dhaka is probably the only city in the world where the residents don’t know who to approach for the documents or certificates they need.
They have been confronting the crisis since November 2011, when the historic city was split into Dhaka North City and Dhaka South City and two city corporations replaced one with no elected mayor and the ward commissioners.
In the absence of the elected local representatives the residents cannot approach anyone for documents and certificates or lodging complaints regarding the failures of the two new city corporations.
A Dhanmondi resident, seeking anonymity, told New Age that she did not know who to approach to get her marriage certificate certified by the ward commissioner as the German Embassy in Dhaka asked her to attach it with her application for spousal visa.
‘At first the zone officials said that it was not possible for them to provide such a certificate as there is no ward commissioner now,’ she said, ‘Then they demanded Tk 2,000 from me and two weeks later I got the certificate.’
A Rampura resident said that when her younger son applied for a character certificate the zonal office wanted a copy of his national identity card or passport.
‘In 2010, my elder daughter got the certificate in one hour from the former ward commissioner,’ she said.
‘This time it took us five days to get the certificate,’ she said.
When there was one Dhaka City Corporation the residents could easily collect these certificates from the local ward office.
And all the 90 ward commissioners offices fell vacant since the city was split.
Former ward commissioner of Sewrapara, now defunct ward No 14, Hazi Abdul Qader, told New Age on Thursday that even after two city corporation were created following the split of Dhaka city, everyday up to 30 persons approached him for various certificates.
He said that obviously he could not help them.
The common complaint he receives, he said, is that it takes people three to four days to get a certificate now which they got from his office in just one hour.
Kazi Hazrat Ali, former ward commissioner of Badda said that the difficulties faced by Dhaka residents increased manifold following the split of the city.
Now zonal officials of the two city corporations ask the residents needing certificates to come with many documents in support of their identity,’ he said.
MA Samad, former ward commissioner of Sadarghat said that the residents have to go through a lengthy process leading to delays even for getting the certificates as the unelected ward officials ask for certified primary documents for processing by the zonal offices.
Former commissioners, Sajjad Hossain Siddique, Mohammad Mir Hossian and Mohammad Mozammel Hossain of Gopibagh, Zurain and Shampur had no reason to differ with him.
Absence of elected local representatives creates a host of other problems also for the beleaguered residents.
Resident Mohammad Abrar Hossain recalled that the potholed Dhanmondi road number 3 remained unrepaired since early this year.
City corporation started the repairs in July only to abandon the work before Eid-ul-Fitr.
An elected ward commissioner would listen to complaints and repair the road long back, he added.
Now there is none to turn to, he said.
Many residents said it took elected ward commissioners less than two days to clean up the city after Eid-ul-Azha.
Now none knows who would do it, they said.
Jahangir Chowdhury, a resident of Azimpur, said elected ward commissioners would have ensured instant waste removal.
The bureaucrats running the two city corporations lack the sense of responsibility of the elected ward commissioners, he added.
DSCC administrator Mohammad Nazrul Islam told New Age on Thursday that now the south city’s 57 wards are looked after not by ward commissioners but by regional executives.
‘Obviously it will take time to address all these issues.’
DNCC administrator Akter Hossain Bhuiyan said that currently the five regional executive officials were handling the work of 36 ward commissioners.
The government of prime minister, Sheikh Hasina split the city and created two city corporations for providing better services to its residents.
And none knows when the city would get its elected mayors and ward commissioners.

-With New Age input

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