The government is to establish a separate Department of Telecom (DoT) soon, which would operate under the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications (MoPT).
The new body to form and develop policies will assist the government with expert advice about new technologies, ideas and decisions, said ministry sources.
Md Abu Bakar Siddique, secretary of MoPT, told the Dhaka Tribune: “We are in the final stage in establishing a separate telecom department. Our work is almost complete and will soon be ready for cabinet approval.”
“The department will be a resource based organisation that can create significant development opportunities within the sector,” he said.
According to sources, the final proposal for approval will be sent to the cabinet tomorrow and may be placed before the cabinet when it meets next week, on August 5.
A highly placed MoPT official requesting anonymity told the Dhaka Tribune yesterday: “Though we were supposed to send the proposal on Thursday, it was held back as we were informed it would not be placed at the meeting on Monday.”
In July 2008, the government renamed Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board (BTTB) to Bangladesh Telecommunication Company Limited (BTCL), which caused confusion about the status of the telecom bureaucratic cadres. Seeking clarifications they went to the extent of filing a writ petition with the high court.
Officials said when the DoT was finalised telecom cadres’ status issue would be resolved. Those who wanted to be attached with the companies could enjoy all the benefits even though they were not eligible as yet. As per the rules government employees need to be in service for 25 years to enjoy full benefits.
According to the final proposal for DoT there will be a director general (DG) post whose status will be equivalent to an additional secretary’s; two additional DG posts with the same status will also be created.
There would be no section officers and the DoT would be provided with a separate office.
There might be 200-250 permanent posts in the DoT, with posts from BTCL and Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Limited moved to the new telecoms department.
Earlier, when the issue with BTCL cadre officers arose, they demanded a separate department so they could retain their posts as is done in India and Pakistan. The parliamentary standing committee on MoPT also recommended the formation of a telecommunications department on several occasions.
A committee established by the government under the State Minister of Labour and Employment visited the DoT in India to learn from their experiences and recommended Bangladesh should have a separate telecom department.