Residents of Dhaka city are being overcharged by the staff at Dhaka City Corporation when they seek copies of birth certificates from its different zonal offices.
The city corporation’s zonal executive directors told New Age they were unaware that this was the case while the local government division’s birth and death registration programme director said it was ‘nothing unusual’ in Bangladesh.
Rahat, a resident of Mirpur section 11, told New Age that he was overcharged when he had visited the corporation zone 7 office to get birth certificates for him and his brother.
‘Some employees took Tk 150 per certificate from me,’ he said, admitting that he had no idea about the actual fee for a birth certificate.
A New Age investigation found that an employee of the zonal office demanded Tk 300 from a resident when she went to the office for birth registration.
‘You can take your birth certificate by paying a fee of Tk 50 but it will take you six months to get it. If you want it in 10-15 days, give me Taka 300,’ he said.
Wahida Rahman, a housewife from Mirpur 14, said that when she had visited the DCC’s zone 8 office to get birth certificates for herself and her cousin, a female employee demanded Tk 200 for each.
‘That woman did not let me go to the officer and instead told me that if I gave her necessary papers and the money, I would get the certificates the next day,’ she said.
Karwan Bazar’s resident Mahmudul Hasan alleged that an employee at the corporation’s zone 6 office demanded extra money for birth certificate.
He said the employee had told him that if he submitted the birth registration form and pay Tk 50 the next day, he would get the certificate after one month but if he wanted it the next day had to pay him Tk 300.
‘I do not know if anyone in my office has asked for extra money for birth certificates,’ said DCC zone 7 executive officer Mohammad Rafiqul Islam on Tuesday.
‘Now that I have received a complaint, I will take action,’ he said.
Amar Chand Banik, regional executive officer of DCC zone 8, also told New Age that he had no knowledge of such practice.
‘We often carry out activities to stop counterfeiting of certificates,’ he said.
He claimed that birth certificates were given within one hour from his office.
The local government division’s birth and death certificate programme director Saiful Islam Chowdhury admitted that the city corporation employees had become ‘extremely corrupt’.
‘In different zone offices, employees are charging extra even for birth certificates of children who are under 18,’ he said.
He said that since July 3, 2008, the corporation has been charging Tk 50 for birth certificates of persons aged over 18 years and no fee for those who are below the age limit.
‘If there is corruption in your mind how can you work transparently,’ he asked.
-With New Age input