Most of the beneficiaries of the government's allowance meant for insolvent cultural activists in the district have hardly any relation with cultural affairs, thanks to the alleged corruption of a staff of Pirojpur deputy commissioner's (DC) office.
As per the list sent from Pirojpur district, the Ministry of Cultural Affairs in fiscal year 2013-2014 gave each of the 41 insolvent cultural activists Tk 9,600 to Tk 14,400, according to category.
Interestingly, 31 of the 41 beneficiaries are from Nazirpur upazila alone.
Of the 31 people, only five were on the list prepared by the upazila nirbahi officer (UNO) of Nazirpur, while 26 others got listed as insolvent cultural activists by giving Tk 2,000 to 2,500 each to Gobindo Lal Saha, office assistant cum computer operator at Pirojpur DC office, alleged sources.
The list includes one Jalal Sheikh (Muslim) although his father's name is mentioned as late Gurudas Mondal (Hindu).
Gurudas Mondal's another son is also getting the similar benefit.
Ashit Gharami, who got the benefit the previous year, died before release of the fund this year but his wife was given the money, violating rules.
“We informed Nazirpur UNO office of Ashit's death and they conveyed the message to the DC office before release of the ration money,” said Gouri Rani, a clerk of social welfare office in Nazirpur, who compiled the list of insolvent cultural activists in the upazila.
The beneficiaries include some tea stall owners and farmers who have no relation with any cultural activities and a few solvent people including a high school teacher, sources said.
Contacted, Gobindo said, “We gave letter to UNOs for sending list of insolvent cultural activists to us and we sent it to the Ministry of Culture. I have no power to influence the matter."
He, however, failed to give any satisfactory answer when asked why the list of beneficiaries in Nazirpur upazila included 31 names although the UNO office sent five names.
“According to the list given from the Ministry of Culture, ration-money was distributed among the insolvent cultural activists. I am not aware of any incident of bribery regarding the matter. I will investigate the matter if there was any irregularity," said AKM Shamimul Huq Siddique, DC of Pirojpur.