Khoka says unofficial bye

Dhaka mayor vows to continue protest
After completing his term as the Dhaka City Corporation Mayor, Sadeque Hossain Khoka yesterday said he “as a dweller” will continue his movement against its splitting into two.
“If the parliament passes the bill on the split today (Tuesday) it will be the last day for me as a mayor. Then I will continue my movement against the split as a citizen of Dhaka,” Khoka said at a meeting with the officials of the corporation and its zonal offices.
DCC sources said the meeting was held apparently as a farewell since the bill on the issue was awaiting passage in parliament.
The meeting was attended among others by DCC Chief Executive Officer Abul Kalam Azad, Secretary Samsuzzaman and heads of all departments under the DCC.
Khoka also criticised the government decision of ‘stand release’ of the convener of DCC Karmakarta-Karmachari Samonnay Parishad Mesbahul Karim yesterday. “Mesbahul will remain in the post as long as I am a mayor.”
Meanwhile, Shahbagh police yesterday filed a case against 11 DCC officials and employees of Nagar Bhaban and 300 others unnamed for assaulting police on Sunday during a demonstration by the officials protesting the split.
Officer-in-Charge of Shahbagh Police Station Rezaul Karim said they lodged the case as the employees and officials obstructed police in carrying out their duties at Nagar Bhaban. Police are yet to arrest anyone following the filing of the case.
Following the cabinet nod in October, the bill was placed in the House on November 23 and the standing committee on LGRD ministry, which was given a week to scrutinise it, submitted it in parliament yesterday. Khoka and a number of DCC officials as well as civil society members have been protesting the government move since the beginning.
“Government fearing my popularity is splitting up the city,” said Khoka, who took charge as mayor in May 2002, adding that the government already made him the winner by the move.
The tenure of the current DCC expired in 2007.
He said the movement of officials and employees of DCC against the split is lawful and he supports the movement.
Khoka said though he was elected for five years, he served the city for nine years, which he said is a memorable time of his life.
The outgoing mayor claimed while in office he tried to perform his duties neutrally and always tried not to be rude with the corporation’s officials and employees.
Khoka also said the DCC has now a fund of Tk 300 crore 78 lakh, whereas it was only Tk 2.58 crore when he took the charge. DCC’s monthly expenditure was Tk 4 crore at that time.
“I have tried my best to develop the city with improved service and the situation is better than earlier,” Khoka said.
He said he first started applying PPP (public private partnership) which the government later adopted.
The Communist Party of Bangladesh and 11 parties of the ruling grand alliance yesterday strongly protested the government decision. In separate press statements, they termed it nothing but a suicidal decision for the 400-year old city.
Splitting of the city would invite administrative complexities and create annoyance to its dwellers as bureaucracy-based governing system would be established instead of an elected one. It would inspire other cities to be divided too, said the 11 parties.
CPB President Manjurul Ahsan Khan and General Secretary Mujahidul Islam Selim in another statement urged the government to turn back from its decision. “Splitting Dhaka into two units is an unrealistic and unnecessary initiative to provide better service to its citizens,” the CPB statement said.

-With The Daily Star input

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