The people of the region voiced fears saying that when Dhaka was earlier declared an expensive town, housing allowance for public employees was raised to 50% of basic salary
Cox’s Bazar was declared an “expensive town” by the Cabinet Division on January 27.
Following the declaration, the region went into panic. People of the area think this will cause disparity between government employees and the rest of the local community.
The people of the region voiced fears saying that when Dhaka was earlier declared an expensive town, housing allowance for public employees was raised to 50% of basic salary.
They expect the same to happen in Cox’s Bazar, with government officials getting a 5% bump in their housing allowance, raising it from 45% to 50% of their basic salary.
Locals surmise government employees would end up getting more money as travel allowance (TA) and daily allowance (DA), while the salaries and incomes for the rest of the community would remain the same.
Contacted, Farhad Iqbal, general secretary of Cox's Bazar People’s Forum said: “As a result of the declaration, there will be a huge disparity between government employees and people in lower income brackets.
“Housing allowances and the price of essentials have soared after the Rohingya influx, and now after the declaration, house rent and the cost of essentials will skyrocket.”
Abu Morshed Chowdhury Khoka, president of Cox's Bazar Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: “I am really worried as this is the perfect opportunity for dishonest businessmen and landlords to raise the price of essentials and house rent.
“The government should take action as soon as possible so that dishonest people do not get a chance to make the lives of people in Cox’s Bazar miserable.”
According to local administration sources, the decision to declare Cox’s Bazar an expensive town was taken in the last Deputy Commissioners’ (DC) Conference. Cox’s Bazar DC Mohammad Kamal Hossain, at a conference last July, urged the government to give the declaration.
Questioned, Kamal said he gave the proposal at the conference when he found that house rent and the price of essentials had soared after the Rohingya influx. To deal with that, he made the proposal.
“Government officials are really suffering as the price hike is making their lives really difficult. After the Rohingya influx, lots of foreign and domestic NGO workers started living in the area, which in turn caused a price hike.
“To make life easier for government employees, this declaration was imperative,” added Kamal.