The promise of convenience that the new Electronic Finance Transfer (EFT) system brought for freedom fighters has turned sour within two months of its introduction. Due to an indexing issue, around 15,000 freedom fighters living in five metropolitan areas are yet to receive their allowances for the first month of the new year.
In the past, the allowances were manually distributed through the Deputy Commissioner's office. However, the new system was introduced under which allowances would be issued digitally and go straight into the recipient's account.
But as metropolitan areas are not categorised in the payroll software, 14,958 freedom fighters living in the five cities of Barishal, Gazipur, Narayanganj, Rangpur, and Mymensingh have been left out from getting their allowances for January, and look set to miss February's as well.
Contacted, authorities concerned could not confirm when this issue will be fixed.
"We have come to see that the table (in the payroll software) is setup on an upazila-based system, meaning that there's no mention of metropolitan areas. We have notified those in charge of the software of this issue, and hopefully they will resolve it soon, but we don't know when," said Executive Magistrate Abdul Hai, Barishal Zila Muktijoddha Sangsad's in-charge for distributing the allowances.
In December under the manual system, 1,71,080 freedom fighters had received the payments, according to the Ministry of Liberation War Affairs' website. Under the new system, 1,56,122 Freedom Fighters have already received allowances for January.
Of the 14,958 who didn't get their allowances, 394 live in Barishal city.
Contacted, Barishal DC and Commander of District Muktijoddha Sangsad Jasimuddin Haider said they are working to fix it.
"We sent a list of freedom fighters elligible for the allowance through a Management Information System to the deputy commissioner's office on Feb 14. Whatever the issue is from their side now," said Hafizur Rahman, office assistant of the social service office in Barishal District.
Putul Ghosh, general secretary of Sector Commanders Forum, Barishal unit, said many freedom fighters do not even know why they're not getting the allowances, but are passing a miserable time because of it.