The government gives us no salary; how can we survive if we do not charge people a little bit, say union parishad entrepreneurs
Mahmudul Hasan, a college student from Rangpur Sadar, obtained a birth certificate from his union parishad on September 28 last. But he had to pay Tk440 for the document.
Not only that, the student, hailing from North Mominpur village under Mominpur union parishad, also had to go to the union parishad several times to get the certificate on hand.
But Aziar Rahman, another college student, was not as lucky as Mahmudul because he was yet to get his birth certificate from the union parishad despite making several visits.
"The officials demanded Tk300 to provide the certificate. I gave them Tk200 in advance but am yet to get it," he said.
These are no standalone cases whatsoever. Rather, many union parishad offices in the district are charging extra fees for the issuance of necessary documents.
According to information on the Office of the Registrar General under the local government division, there is no charges for the issuance of birth or death registrations of children aged up to 45 days.
The registration fee for a child aged up to five years is Tk25, while the amount is Tk50 for an individual of the age above five.
Besides, an applicant has to pay Tk100 for the correction in his or her birth date. The fee for changing the names or address of parents is Tk50.
However, many people alleged they had to pay fees many times higher than the charges fixed by the government.
Even, the officials were charging fees for providing birth certificates for infants, they claimed.
The officials and public representatives concerned however denied the claim.
Arun Kumar Sarkar, secretary of the Mominpur union parishad, declined the allegation of charging extra fees.
Kalpana Akter, chairman of this union, echoed alike, saying "We never charge any extra fees from people. We instead provide birth certificates without any fees to the poor and helpless people."
When asked about the long stretches of time to issue certificates, she said, there is no single example in the union of getting the duration longer for the issuance of birth certificates. If anybody makes any such complaint, they are wrongly doing that.
"If internet service goes well, we provide such certificates within a day," she added.
While visiting Mithapukur upazila, The Business Standard also found the same allegation of charging additional fees.
Manjurul Islam, a wood-trader from Nayarhat Bazar area of Kafrikhal union, said he went to the union parishad office on October 22 to get a birth certificate for his sister, and he had to pay Tk150.
Ramzan Ali, an entrepreneur of the same union parishad's information and service center, said they on average were charging Tk100 for providing this service.
When asked about charging extra than the government fixed rate, he said, "The government does not give us any salary. If we do not charge a little bit, how can we survive?"