• Wednesday, Jun 16, 2021
  • Last Update : 04:26 pm

OP-ED: Those squandering officials

  • Published at 07:03 pm September 18th, 2020

We don’t need to go abroad to learn to make khichuri

The Directorate of Primary Education has proposed that 1,000 officials should travel abroad in order to learn how to cook khichuri, and distribute the food among school children.

This is part of our school-feeding program. The project says we will feed the khichuri to children. So, the officials want to know about the entire procedure -- how to procure the food items, how to cook the items, and how to distribute the khichuri to the children.

Initially, they proposed an amount of Tk5 crore to travel abroad.

And again, the media reports say, there’s been another proposal from the Directorate of Public Libraries that 30 officials should travel abroad in order to learn how to build an HQ -- a building.

Our -- comprised of us, the common aam-janata -- wits beat us as to why our servers would go abroad to learn how to prepare khichuri on a mass scale and distribute the food among the students.

I believe we haven’t had a proper look at our badam-wallahs, phuchka-wallahs, vendors on pavements, chanachur-wallahs, the beggar boys and girls, and many others. 

The magic-management of the entire supply chain that these street vendors learn in a very short time -- it takes years for all those students of business administration departments and faculty members and our officials to learn those strategies.

We have also seen how the officials wanted to travel abroad in order to learn cattle-farming, pond-digging, fruit-growing, tengra fish farming, and so on. Doesn’t it sound funny when they stage these dramas in order to go abroad in the name of learning? 

Who in their right mind would want to go abroad to learn how to cook khichuri -- a recipe that has been here for centuries?

Now, we don’t know if the authorities have some silent nod which allows public officials to go on such trips as a perk. It’s possible that the authorities want the officials to travel in such a manner.

Still, it is questionable. The tax-paying people will question such actions. Each and every one of the tax-payers in this country has the right to question the actions taken by public officials. They also have the right to criticize if any mistake is made while spending the national budget. No one should forget that.

Our authorities as well as the people at large are worried about how to recover from the economic losses due to the pandemic. Our top executive has already advised all officials to become cost-efficient while spending national wealth. 

During the lockdown, many such officials sat at home and drew their salaries while an enormous number of people went jobless and unfed.

The people look to these officials for help, to create opportunities for them, to help the authorities implement projects ensuring quality and at minimum cost.

However, that’s not at all that the reality is. These officials abuse their positions in order to squander public funds for their own benefit. They love to consider the people as their servants. 

Listen, man -- it’s time for you to consider yourselves as colonial babus; you’re not the masters of the people. Rather, kindly inject the thought in your brain that the people are your customers and you are here to ensure services and facilities for them.

Millions of us are employed in the private sector which has millions of customers. We all address our customers as “sir” or “madam” and try to ensure the best possible services for them. Dear officials: You should also address the people similarly -- you are meant to serve them at the end of the day.

People aren’t fools. They all understand your so-called learning pursuits are clever ways to travel abroad and get some shopping done with public money. Now, it’s time to come to your senses, brothers and sisters. It’s time to come out of your shells and work for the nation.

Many of your actions are considered to be dragging the nation behind. The people take one step forward while your actions take them two steps backwards. 

You are the fund manager working in the field on behalf of the people, with your primary purpose being how to utilize their money in the best possible ways.

But it’s pathetic to watch that you’re far from fulfilling people’s expectations. 

Ekram Kabir is a yogi, a story-teller, and a communications professional. His other works can be found on ekramkabir.com.

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