Controversy over Tk 381 crore vehicle of DC, UNOs

Controversy over Tk 381 crore vehicle of DC, UNOs

Controversy over Tk 381 crore vehicle of DC, UNOs

The recent proposal to purchase 261 vehicles for District Commissioners (DCs) and Upazila Nirbahi Officers (UNOs) at a cost of Tk 381 crore has sparked widespread discussions and criticisms. In the context of Bangladesh's current economic challenges, including inflation, rising dollar rates, and pressures on reserves, the initiative to buy luxury sports utility vehicles (SUVs) has been questioned by various stakeholders.

The proposal, passed by Public Administration Secretary Mohammad Mesbah Uddin Chowdhury, involves purchasing 2047 cc Mitsubishi Pajero Jeeps, model Mitsubishi Pajero Sports QX, in pearl white or maroon colors. The plan includes 61 vehicles for DCs and 200 for UNOs, with each vehicle costing approximately Tk 1 crore 46 lakh. The initiative aims to "speed up administrative work" by providing these vehicles quickly through outright purchase.

Initially, the Ministry of Public Administration proposed purchasing 461 SUVs for district and upazila administrations in June of the previous year. However, after the Ministry of Finance suggested reducing the number, a revised proposal for 261 vehicles was submitted in October. Although the proposal was postponed last November due to the economic situation, it has since been approved by the Prime Minister's Office and is awaiting further approval from the cabinet committee on government procurement.

Currently, DCs and UNOs use Mitsubishi Pajero sports cars, which are reportedly in good condition. There has been no formal demand from field-level officials for new vehicles, and no comprehensive report on the condition of existing vehicles has been conducted. Additionally, there are no clear plans for the use of the old vehicles once the new ones are acquired.

Dr. Iftekharuzzaman criticized the proposal, labeling it as unnecessary "car luxury." He emphasized that public tax money should not be used for luxury cars, especially during economic austerity. He questioned the need for new cars when existing ones are still functional and highlighted the potential negative impact on the foreign currency reserves due to the dollar crisis.

Hafiz Uddin Khan also opposed the proposal, arguing that the current economic conditions do not justify such an expense. He pointed out that the existing cars are in good condition and that this purchase represents an unnecessary luxury. He noted that government officials in neighboring countries do not use such expensive vehicles.

MA Mannan MP, Former Planning Minister and President of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Planning Ministry:
MA Mannan emphasized the need for frugality at both personal and national levels. He acknowledged that while expensive cars might offer better service, the necessity of such purchases should be the primary consideration. He advocated for replacing only those vehicles that are genuinely unusable.

The proposal to purchase 261 luxury SUVs for DCs and UNOs has generated significant debate due to its timing amidst economic austerity and the perceived lack of necessity. Various stakeholders have called for a reassessment of the proposal, emphasizing the need for fiscal prudence and the efficient use of public funds. Given the current economic challenges, it is imperative to balance administrative efficiency with responsible financial management.


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