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Meherpur passport office earns bad name for public harassment, bribery

Meherpur passport office earns bad name for public harassment, bribery

Country Today Desk

Meherpur passport office has earned bad name by harassing service-seekers and taking bribes.

From cleaner to high-up—many officials crave for money taken from people who apply for issuance of new passports and renewal.

According to various aggrieved people, cleaner Md Biplab Hossain controls the activities providing passport oriented services in exchange for money.
For doing service in Meherpur for long nine years, Biplab has become a king without a crown at the important office of the government.

Zakir Hossain, AD of Meherpur passport office, is allegedly hand in glove.

As the journalists went to the passport office, Zakir Hossain avoided them on the plea of an emergency meeting with his superior boss.

He made a pretentious call to a senior official at the sight of reporters that said “ADC Sir” asked him to meet and left the office.

Sources said Meherpur office received 1,618 applications in July and 847 from August 1 to 10. About 30 percent of the applications are relating to renewal of passports.

Hailing from Ashrafpur village under Sadar upazila, Dulu Hossain said “I submitted application for passport of my son this morning. I handed over the application to Biplab sir. I entered into a deal of Tk 1,500 bribe. My son will be able to give fingerprint today.”
Similar statement was made by Sohan of Amjhupi village. “The people gave higher amount of bribes to Biplab would be able to give fingerprint on priority basis,” he said.

It is alleged that files are shelved for long time in absence of green signal of Biplab.

Zakir Hossain allegedly does not sign any file if it is not okayed by Biplab.

The amount of bribe varies from Tk 1,500 to 10,000 to 80,000 to 1,00,000.

It is known that Biplab charges Tk 1,500-5,000 for new passports; Tk 10,000-15,000 for renewal; Tk 40,000-80,000 for amendment to name and date of birth.

Miarul Islam, an inhabitant of Sadar upazila, alleged that he applied for renewal in April and is yet to get the work done.

Talking to journalists, Miarul said “I am an easy bike driver. When I met an officer, he advised me to contact Biplab. Accordingly, Biplab received my application. After some days, Biplab demanded Tk 40,000 in bribe. He said there are some problems with my application. I refused to pay such big amount of extra money. Now, Biplab sir is not giving me any updates.”

Mostaq Hossain, coming from Shishirpara village of Gangni, claimed “Biplab demanded Tk 80,000 and harassed me in absence of the bribe. Cleaner Biplab cautioned if he does not take necessary steps, even Prime Minister would not be able to issue the passport.”

Mostaq also said he received work permit from Qatar and went to the passport office in this regard.

“I applied for renewal of passport and amendment to name and date of birth on April 11 this year. I requested Biplab to expedite my passport correction and renewal. Replying to a query, I told Biplab that I paid Tk 1.5 lakh for Qatar work permit. At this stage, Biplab demanded bribe worth Tk 80,000. I informed him of a possible complaint to the SP and press conference against him. Biplab threatened me over phone.”

An investigation shows that Biplab joined as a cleaner on May 28, 2013. He draws Tk 16,000 per month but lives in a posh house. For doing longstanding service, he has taken service-seekers in Meherpur passport office hostage.

There are 4-5 computer and photocopy shops near the passport office. Service-seekers have turned into clients of a syndicate comprising brokers and passport officials.

However, Biplab said he has to send a share of this money to the head office of passport in Dhaka.

Nargis Khatun, a lawyer of district court, was present at the passport office. She told journalists that people are being harassed indiscriminately.

Zakir Hossain requested journalists to overlook the mistakes of cleaner Biplab and give a second chance. He said initiative will be taken to transfer Biplab.

 

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