For the first time, 100 disabled beneficiaries collected their disabled persons' allowance in Naodoba union of Zajira, Shariatpur. Three union parishad (UP) members accompanied them to the bank at the time.
"The first allowance is taken by members," they told the beneficiaries and pocketed the money themselves. They took around Tk 2000 to Tk 8000 from these disabled persons.
The duped beneficiaries later complained in writing to the upazila nirbahi officer (UNO). The social services office looked into the matter and found the allegations to be true.
The three accused members of Naodoba union parishad are Shahin Fakir of Ward 1, and Monowara Begum and Salma Akhter of the reserved wards for women.
According to the Zajira upazila social services office, there are 1,302 beneficiaries of various social safety net programmes of the government in the upazila. In the 2019-20 fiscal, 100 disabled persons were included for the new allowance. This allowance was handed out on 5 and 6 October.
Zajira upazila social services officer ABM Sourav Reza said that the three UP members were present when the money was withdrawn from Sonali Bank. They had no answer when asked why they had gone there. Later, following a complaint, inquiries were made than the allegations were proven.
An inquiry report has been submitted to the UNO, recommending action to be taken against the three UP members in accordance to the rules.
UP member Salma Akhter took Tk 9,000 from the physically disabled Ilyas Talukdar on 5 October. Ilyas submitted a written complaint about the matter to the UNO.
Ilyas Talukdar said that when he insisted, Salma Akhter returned Tk 2000 to him, saying that it was the rule for the members to take the first allowance.
When contacted over cell phone, UP member Salma Akhter refused to comment on the matter.