Who will draw a line on luxury cars of DCC officials?

Although the officials of Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) and Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) often fail to provide proper service to Dhaka residents, it is transpired that they are very enthusiastic about their own comforts, according to a report published in Prothom Alo on Sunday. Those who are not eligible for government cars also have been using official cars. Also those who are eligible, use more fuels than that allocated for them. Even family members of many officials use the government cars purchased with people’s money.

The report of Prothom Alo revealed Dhaka North and South City Corporation officials have been using government assigned cars unethically. As many as 86 officials of the two city corporations are using the cars without being authorised. Of these, 45 are in South City Corporation and 41 in North City Corporation.

Family members of several officials are also using the corporation's vehicles. Corporation ambulances are also used for personal transportation. When a top official was asked about the legal provisions regarding the use of corporation's car by family members, he replied arrogantly, "Will the secretary's wife ride in a rickshaw?"

The Prothom Alo report further said, the two city corporations bribed the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives for cars so that the ministry does not raise any questions regarding use of cars by the officials who are not entitled to use government cars. They have been trying to cover up one misdeed with another. The arguments put forward by the city corporation for the need to use extra vehicles to serve the city dwellers do not stand a trial.

The undivided city corporation had a list on which levels of officials would get transportation benefits in the city corporation. The list is called Table of Organograms and Equipment (TO&E). After the two cities were divided in 2011, there was no separate TO&E. There is an obligation to get approval from the government for making such list.

According to the TO&E, there will be one for the mobile court, one for the health and mosquito control department, one SUV (sport utility vehicle) in the emergency pool and three pickup vans for the street light maintenance and property department. The allocation of vehicles is the lowest where public service is most needed.

Most of the senior officials of the city corporation are on deputation from the public administration, some of whom have received interest-free loans to buy cars as per the government order of 2017.

But on deputation, these officers are also using the cars of the city corporation, even though they are not entitled for official cars.

Not only city corporations, but also many government agencies are running this way. Where the officials of the supervising agency take the car as bribe, who will stop the irregularities of the city corporation? It remains to be seen what action the two city mayors and local government ministers will take in this regard.