Minu Akter used to beg for food and live in a slum at the foot of Batali Hill in Chattogram. But in 2013, the Chattogram City Corporation evicted the visually impaired woman from there to construct a multistoried building on the spot.
The city corporation said the building replacing the shanties will rehabilitate the poor. The corporation even signed deal with Minu after taking Tk10,000 from her.
A 7-storied building now stands on the 12-katha plot of land, but the city corporation has not given any flats to the poor.
Instead the city corporation has shifted its office from the Anderkilla area to the newly constructed building beside Batali Hill. Now, Minu and 32 evicted families categorically accuse the city corporation of 'fraud'.
"They evicted us on the promise of giving us flats, and even took money for the flats. It is fraud because the city corporation clearly violated the contract," Minu told a public hearing on Monday.
The Anti-Corruption Commission organised the mass hearing at the Chattogram Medical College auditorium. A total of 69 complaints were raised against the Chattogram City Corporation.
In response to the blind beggar, city corporation Mayor AJM Nasir Uddin said, "Chattogram hosts nearly 14 lakh slum dwellers. It is not our responsibility to provide them with shelter. I do not understand why my predecessor Mayor Monjurul Alam announced that flats will be given to them."
He further said that the old building of the city corporation at Anderkilla will be demolished to construct a new one. That's why the headquarters have been temporarily shifted to this building that was constructed for low income people.
The Chattogram mayor said, "The project for the construction of the new building for the city corporation's headquarters is awaiting approval. The construction may take two years, and after that we will consider whether the building we are currently using will be allocated to the poor."
On a separate note, two people complained that they were overcharged by the city corporation staffers when they went there to collect divorce papers. Anti-Corruption Commissioner (Investigation) AFM Aminul Islam termed the incident 'inhumane'.
Another person, Abdul Matin Muhi, alleged that revenue circle-5 official Jane Alam took Tk33 lakh from him for the allocation of a plot of land at the Lake City project. But the official neither allocated the land nor returned the money.
Chief Revenue Officer Mofidul Islam replied that the city corporation has temporarily suspended Jane Alam on the charge of fraud, and that the matter is being investigated. Mofidul Islam said that Jane Alam will be sued if the charges brought against him are found to be true.
Another person, Jahir Ahmed, claimed that he had paid Tk1.43 lakh as holding tax, but the city corporation gave him a receipt for Tk55,000. He claimed that revenue officials embezzled the rest of the money.
"Now I get fresh notices from the city corporation to pay the holding tax," Jahir alleged.
The ACC ordered the city corporation to resolve the issues in 15 days.
Other complaints raised against the city corporation include tender manipulation, shop allocation by flouting the rules, and irregularities in waste collection from households.
Additional Divisional Commissioner (Development) Nurul Alam Nizami presided over the hearing while senior officials of the Chattogram City Corporation were also present.