‘Cox’s Bazar being announced expensive city might have negative impacts’

Abdul Aziz, Cox’s Bazar
Published : 03:00, Feb 01, 2020 | Updated : 03:00, Feb 01, 2020

A general view of Cox`s Bazar sea beach. FILE PHOTOThe government recently announced the south eastern district of Cox’s Bazar, a famous tourist hub in Bangladesh, as an expensive city.
However, with the announcement, people now fear their living standards to be effected and prices of commodities in the area to rise.
Moreover, since public servants working in the beach town will get allowances on the same scale as those in the metropolitans, the inequalities in pay scale between private and public service employees are expected to rise.
Cox’s Bazar People’s Forum General Secretary Farhad Iqbal said that the announcement will have a negative effect on private service holders and low-income sector.
“Food expenses, transport costs and rent have already increased due to the Rohingya crisis which has exhausted the general public,” he said.
He added that the announcement will increase living expenses even more.
Cox’s Bazar Lawyers Association General Secretary Ayasur Rahman said that people have mixed reactions to the announcement.
“The policymakers should take positive steps to ensure that the announcement does not negatively affect the lives of people,” he said.
Cox’s Bazar Chamber of Industries chief Abu Morshed Chowdhury Khoka said that the opportunists and dishonest businessman might try to capitalise on it and unnecessarily.
He added not only will it increase inequality in pay scale, being able to buy necessities will be out of their budgets.
“If the government took into account the public’s condition while making the announcement, they need to implement a mechanism for it,” he said.
On Jan 27, the Cabinet Division announced the district town and the municipal area as expensive. An official order said that the move came after taking account the living cost, transport cost, food and daily staples.
The latest order will enable the government officials in Cox’s Bazar to receive extra allowances as benefits in the pay structure in public service differ based on the region.
House rents for government officials in Dhaka and Chattogram are higher than in other districts. The allowances for transport, food and clothing also differ.
The government’s order came based on a proposal by Cox’s Bazar Deputy Commissioner Md Kamal Hossain.
Responding to queries on the matter, Kamal said that prices of commodities along with transport costs and rent have increased due to many local and foreign organisations working with the Rohingyas.
“The rent is nearly twice and food and other commodities are becoming expensive. This is creating a pressure on the public servants,” he said before adding that the proposal was made taking all of that into consideration.