Savers chase golden deer as GPO men pass on certificates sans bribe

| Updated: October 24, 2017 18:14:14

Savers chase golden deer as GPO  men pass on certificates sans bribe

Savers face harassment and hassles at the General Post Office (GPO) of Dhaka while purchasing the government's savings instruments, according to savers and insiders.


Without references or greasing the palms of officials and staffers, clients cannot get such certificates. They deliberately delay their works so that people suffer and are forced to give bribes, according to the victims.


Talking to the FE, a large number of savers complained that they had to stand for a long time to purchase savings certificates at the GPO.


Instead of receiving their applications, the staff members at the respective counters were seen busy with the people who gave bribes or went there through references.


Some of them said although the Department of National Savings (DNS) supplies application forms of savings certificates free of cost for distribution among savers, a section of staffers at the post office is selling the forms, especially the Family Savings Certificate (FSC) because of its high demand.


Wishing to be unnamed, a woman said she went to the GPO at 9.00 am to buy a FSC. But she was refused instruments at her counter showing excuse of non-availability of savings certificate worth Tk 1.0 million.


"I got frustrated and returned home. But my husband contacted a high official of the post office and the designated staff received my application form," she said.


He also issued the certificate within half an hour, the saver added.


Jamila Habib, another saver from Shantinagar area, said that she has been trying to buy a family savings certificate for the last two months. But they said there was no savings certificates of small amount of money at the post office.


"I have been waiting in the queue since morning. Still they have not received my form." Ms Jamila said.


A group of women, who went to GPO to receive profit and encash savings tools, said they grew tired as they were waiting for a long time in front of counters. The officials were busy with other people who gave them money, they said.


"I gave Tk 200 to an official for a document regarding interest payment," said a saver. "Without money, they did not move my files," he added.


Such malpractices are common at every government offices, said a beneficiary of pensioner savings certificate.


"We are now familiar about such malpractices," he said adding that many people willingly give bribes to officials to get prompt services.


When contacted, Zahida Sattar, additional director general of the Bangladesh Post Office (BPO) said that she is yet to receive any formal complaint from clients about harassment and bribes.


"If we get such complaints, we will take action against the corrupt staffers or officials," she said.


The BPO official, however, said due to manpower shortage, they were unable to provide proper services to their clients. They have already taken an initiative to recruit manpower.


There is a scarcity of application forms of savings certificates at the GPO. So savers face trouble sometimes. They have communicated with the DNS, Ms Sattar added.


But the DNS officials said that there is no reason for the shortage of the forms at the post offices as they supply as per their requirements. They will also investigate the matter whether it is an "artificial crisis" or not.


There are 9,886 post offices in the country. Of the total, nearly 8,500 are selling savings certificates, according to the BPO.


Of the total sales of savings certificates, some 47 per cent takes place through post offices while 36 per cent through Bangladesh Bank and authorised scheduled banks and 17 per cent at the DNS outlets, according to the DNS.


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