Around 30 lakh people in Chattogram city deserve relief, but there is no database for them, says CAB
Abdul Kader, 60, and his wife live in Burma Colony – which is only 100 yards from the edge of Chattogram city. The family lives on begging. They have not yet received any relief material even though the government, wealthy people and many organisations are trying to help the poor in the area. Shaila Rani from the same area complained of the same thing.
Not only Kader and Shaila Rani, but many homeless and low-income people living in slum areas in the city, including the densely populated Railway Colony, are yet to receive any relief even though as many as 50 government and private organisations have claimed that they have distributed relief among 50,000 families in the city.
Motaleb Hossain from the Railway Colony said, "The Chattogram Metropolitan Police have made a list, and some of us have received relief. However, I have not received anything yet."
Manjura Begum from the colony, who works in a shoe factory, said, "Our factory is closed. I am struggling to run my family but I have not received any relief yet."
Experts blame the lack of coordination in relief distribution as the main problem.
SM Nazer Hossain, vice-president of the Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB), said around 30 lakh people in Chattogram city deserve relief, but we do not have any related database. As a result, many people receive relief several times while others are deprived.
The city corporation has to ensure that no one is left out while distributing relief, he added.
The CEO of Chittagong City Corporation, Md Shamsuddoha, said that they had asked the local councillors to make a list of low-income people.
"It will be better if the relief distribution is coordinated. If any organisation works jointly with us it would be easy to ensure relief for all," he added.
According to the Chattogram City Corporation (CCC), there are 14.5 lakh slum dwellers in the city. The corporation has so far distributed 40 tonnes of rice, 4,000 kg of lentil and Tk2 lakh cash among 8,000 families.
The district administration earlier distributed relief among 17,000 families in the first phase.
Besides, the Chattogram Metropolitan Police, the district police, and RAB-7 have distributed food among 4,000 families, 2,000 families, and 1,500 families respectively.
"Initially, we provided relief to 17,000 families. We are preparing more lists to distribute more relief among low-income people," said Chattogram District Relief and Rehabilitation Officer Sajib Kumar Chakrabarti.
He added that he has not received any directive for coordinated work.
Meanwhile, a group of people gathered in front of Bandor Police Station around noon on Thursday blocking traffic in the area to demand relief.
However, Sukanta Chakraborty, the officer-in-charge of the police station, said, "There was no such crowd. General people gathered in front of the police station and the police have dispersed them."