After a hiatus of two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) arranged a public hearing in the port city of Chattogram on Wednesday, in which people mostly brought complaints against the Chattogram Development Authority and the passport office there.
Some 100 complaints against 42 government agencies operating in Chattogram district were heard at the event at the Chattogram Medical College, attended by some 1,000 people.
ACC Commissioner Md Mozammel Haque Khan, Chattogram Divisional Commissioner Md Ashraf Uddin, Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Mominur Rahman, and Chattogram Metropolitan Police Commissioner Krishnapad Roy, among others, were present.
Victims complained about government officials for their poor service, irritating delays, and taking bribes to serve the people.
Representatives of the accused agencies promised to resolve the issues raised at the earliest, in some cases, within one to seven days.
Take Ripon Barua, a resident of Rangunia upazila, for example. He complained he applied for a passport for his mother in 2019 to take her abroad for treatment.
"But we did not get the passport due to a mistake of the passport office, which has caused us a great deal of suffering. My mother was unable to receive advanced treatment, as a result," he told the hearing.
"We went to the office several times in the last three years and talked to officials concerned, but no one addressed the problem."
In reply, Assistant Director of the Chattogram passport office, Enayet Ullah, promised to resolve the issue within the next working day.
A resident of Double Mooring, Md Mainul Islam, complained that an influential person has illegally occupied a hundred-year-old graveyard – where his child was also buried – and constructed a building there.
But the Chattogram Development Authority did not take any action against the influential person in the last three and a half years, despite a court order.
In reply to the ACC commissioner's query in this regard, the CDA representative Md Hasan said he had no knowledge of the matter.
However, in the face of the immediate protest of the victim, he said they have already started working on resolving the issue. For such contradictory statements, the CDA official was criticised.
Another victim, Syed Muhammad Abul Hashem, complained that 98 customers of Chittagong City Corporation's Lake City Housing Project have not received plots despite paying money 17 years ago.
In response, the representative of the corporation, Md Jasim Uddin, informed the event that they are unable to give the victims land or money for now.
On the issue, ACC Commissioner Md Mozammel Haque said the corporation must give the land to the beneficiaries by any means, or return the money along with compensation.
In the concluding speech, ACC Commissioner Mohammad Mozammel Haque said the ACC is gradually growing stronger with its growing capacity and workforce.
"We have been able to punish offenders in 70% of the cases. The corrupt are now in fear," he added.