Department of Education Engineering
Golam Mostafa Jibon: Arbitrary use of luxurious cars by the unauthorized officers of Education Engineering Department (EED)is going on unabated under the tip of nose of the higher authorities, but there is no headache of anyone. Therefore, the government is incurring huge amount of money day after day for it.
According to the sources, at least 30 vehicles of the Department of Education Engineering are being used illegally by some of its powerful officials and their cohorts, who do not have right to use such vehicles without legal approval of the authorities concerned.
A per example, the name of Bulbul Akhtar, former Chief Engineer of the Department of Education Engineering (EED) comes to forward. Hewent to retirement on November 19 in 2020. As per the rules, the car, which he had been used, should be handed over to the transport unit of the concerned department on his last working day. But, he did not return the Pajero Sport luxury car at that time. Not only that the fuel and other expenses of the vehicle weresupplied to him regularly from the concerned branch of the EED due to unknown reasons.
When the matter came to discussion, the former officer finally handed the car over to the concerned department on April 28, also a year and five months later of his retirement.
While this correspondent tried to contact with Bulbul Akhtar more than once about his comment over cell phone, he did not respond.
Not only the former Chief Engineer, but also the incumbentChief Engineer (current duties) Arifur Rahman has been using more than one car illegally. As per rule, he is entitled to use a car as Chief Engineer. But he is using two luxury cars. One of the cars is used in his daily official work. Another is used by his family members.
The Department of Education Engineering deals with the development of physical infrastructure, construction of new buildings, expansion and maintenance of existing buildings, repairing of furniture in educational institutions across the country. They also set up multimedia classrooms, ICT labs, internet connections and ICT facilities.
According to the investigation, there are 30 vehicles being used in the head office of the EED.
According to the EED’s rules on transportation and use of office equipment, the Chief Engineer, three Supervising Engineers and six Executive Engineers are authorized to use a total of 10 government vehicles. Most of the remaining 20 vehicles are being used illegally by a few of powerful officials of the EED and several officials close to the top bosses of the education administration, who do not have the right to use those vehicles, insiders said.
In addition, some vehicles are being used in other departments outside the education administration, which is also being used after office hours violating the provision. And a few cars are kept on standby for all time for some influential officials of the education administration, so that the cars can be supplied for them instantly on demand.
Seeking anonymity several drivers of the Department of Education Engineering told The Daily Industry that, “Even though the office hours are from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, the officials still force them to drive the cars for their personal works.”
People involved in education engineering said, influential officials of EED and education administration don’t care of any rules regarding the use of expensive luxury cars purchased by the government funds.
A senior engineer on condition of anonymity said, many senior and authorized engineers can’t visit sitesas per rule for want of vehicles as most of the vehicles are now under possession of influential officials. As a result, most of the time, they are forced to use public transports for their official duties.”
He further said, “Abusingof cars is going on in the Department of Education Engineering. The officers, who have illegal power even after without being authorized, are using the carsas per their willing showing thumbs to the rule.
Who are using the cars?
The number of Mitsubishi Pajero Sport QX and Nissan X-Trail model SUVs cars are higher than the 30 vehicles in the head office of the EED. Of them, 10 officials are authorized to use government vehicles, while the rest are being used after violating the rules by some powerful officials of the EED, Ministry of Education and other departments of the Education Administration.
While contacted, U Rahman, Assistant Engineer of Transport Branch, and also in charge of all the Transport Supervision of Education Engineering declined to make any comment in this regard saying that Chief Engineer knows everything.
Yunus Ali, Accounting Officer of EED is also not far behind. He is also using a Pajero car violating rules. When asked about the illegal use of vehicles, Yunus Ali said, “I am not bound to make any comment on it. If you need, you can talk to the Chief Engineer.”
Asaduzzaman, Deputy Director (Administration) of EED,is discharging two responsibilities in the Department. Apart from this, he is performing additional duties of Deputy Director (Finance). He is also using a car without authorization.
When contacted, he said, “I am not using the car forcibly. Office arranged the car for me. If the office doesn’t approve, I won’t use it.”
Sirajul Islam,President of the Diploma Engineers Association of the Department of Education Engineering admitted that they use a car together for different purposes.
Why is the car facility given to the officials of other departments?
Officials of the department said, the vehicles purchased under various projects of education engineering were given the opportunity to be used by the officials of other departments to get unethical benefits at different times. An official in the Chief Engineer’s office, speaking on condition of anonymity, said,”Apart from this, there is a threat of punitive transfer and obstruction of promotion. In addition, they (the powerful officials of the ministry) need cooperation to pass various projects. Therefore, the facility to use the car illegally is given.”
When contacted,Chief Engineer of EED (current responsibility) Md. Arifur Rahman declined to make any comment about it.
Iftekharuzzaman, Executive Director of Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB), has termed the use of vehicles without authorization and giving benefits to officials of other departments to use their vehicles unethically as heinous corruption. It’s a clear violation of government rules. It is horrible fraud and corruption. Those who are abusing such power must be brought to justice through proper investigation. Those, who are using the cars and those, who are giving such unethical benefits be held accountable. Besides, those who are using these vehicles illegally are committing the same crime, while those who are giving them such unethical benefits are also guilty of the same crime. So, both sides have to be held accountable.
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