Dhaka city corporations fail to prepare list despite time extension

With prices spiralling in the open market, people wait for fair-price commodities at the TCB trucks in Mohammedpur in the capital city on 12 March 2022File photo

Despite time extension, the two city corporations of Dhaka could not finalise the list of the beneficiaries of the family card yet. Wednesday was the last day to finalise the list of Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC). The Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) is scheduled to finalise the list by 28 May.

The list is being prepared for selling products of Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) at a subsidised prices to low income people. However, the decision regarding the date of starting sales was yet to be taken, said TCB spokesperson Humayun Kabir.

According to the circular of the commerce ministry, the lists of family cards were supposed to be prepared by 30 April. The family cards were supposed to reach the ward level by 15 May after its submission to the coordination and monitoring committee of the city corporation and further verification. However, the time was later extended as the list could not be prepared on time.

The officials in the two city corporations say the list could not be prepared on time due to holidays and lack of adequate list of beneficiaries.

TCB started selling products through family cards to 10 million families on 20 March at the initiative of the commerce ministry. Initially, the low income people in the two cities of Dhaka were exempted from this list. Later on 27 March, the ministry decided to sell products through family cards to 1.3 million families of the two cities.

Mohammad Mamun-Ul-Hasan, chief social welfare and slum development officer at DNCC, told Prothom Alo, “A total of 600,000 family cards have been allotted for DNCC. The list could not be prepared due to holidays. Therefore, the time-limit has been extended till 28 May.

Farid Ahmad, chief executive officer (CEO) of DSCC, said, “Although a total of 750,000 family cards were allotted for DSCC, we got a list of 350,000 beneficiaries initially. The councillors have been asked to resend the list. Wednesday was the last day for that. The list will be finalised by 30 May and the family cards will be distributed after that.

Speaking to at least 12 ward councillors, ward secretaries and staff in charge of preparing the list, it was learnt that there were not enough names against the allotted allocation. This was the case in seven wards of DNCC and five in DSCC.

Hasibur Rahman, councillor of ward no. 26 of DSCC, said they had asked the imams of local mosques to submit the names of the beneficiaries. They also conduct a campaign regarding this.

Masudur Rahman, secretary of ward no. 52 of DNCC, said, “A list was prepared with national identity cards to provide Tk 2,500 to the beneficiaries under the government's 'cash financial assistance' programme during the coronavirus pandemic. However, due to various complications, many did not get the cash assistance. People now laugh when they are asked to submit their national identity cards for family cards.

Some 7,000 family cards have been allotted for ward no. 52. As of yesterday, there were only 2,109 names of beneficiaries in the list. Similarly, only 1,200 people have been listed till yesterday against the 14,000 family cards allotted in ward no. 19.

However, residents of several wards of the two city corporations have something different to say. Mizanur Rahman, a resident of Jurain area under the DSCC, there was no campaign regarding the family cards. They say the people are in the dark as to where to apply, what needs to be done to get this card and its benefits?

Speaking to Prothom Alo, Mohammad Mamun-Ul-Hasan, chief social welfare and slum development officer of the DNCC, said, “It was the responsibility of the ward councillors to conduct campaigns in this regard. No decision was made regarding the publicity campaign at the meeting of the corporation."