Wednesday, February 29, 2012
A visitor could easily mistake it to be a road blockade programme aimed at pressing for some demands as a huge crowd gathered in front of Agrani Bank in Sadullapur upazila under the district, causing traffic jam on Sadullapur–Gaibandha road.
But the crowd comprise elderly men and women eagerly waiting for their turn to withdraw the money under old-age allowance.
The elderly people, most of them showing all signs of malnutrition and many having difficulty in movement and other problems including hearing and visual impairment, are there to maintain banking formalities to get a meagre Tk 300 per person as monthly allowance.
During a visit to the area on Monday, this correspondent saw the scene as the space inside the bank premise is too small for the large number of people coming from far-flung remote areas to draw the allowance.
Besides interruption in traffic movement, the situation increases the chance of accidents, said a few locals.
Earlier, authorities arranged giving cash to the beneficiaries on holidays at a specific school ground.
Following allegations of huge mismanagement in disbursement of the allowance for the elderly people and widows, the authority enforced payment system through bank accounts to ensure reaching the full amount to the beneficiaries, said Saifur Rahman, manager of Agrani Bank Sadullapur branch.
There are 5,809 beneficiaries of old-age allowance in Sadullapur upazila and so, covering all of them takes much time to due to lack of manpower at the bank branch, he added.
“The system for payment through bank has been enforced to avoid corruption and irregularities in disbursement of allowances for elderly people and widows. The process ensures full payment of allowances to the beneficiaries although it needs longer time,” said Golam Mowla, Sadullapur upazila nirbahi officer.