by Nadeem Qadir in Dhaka
In a country where corruption and inefficiency are key words in most government services, one man stands out to set new standards wherever he is posted. He is Belal Chowdhury, the Commissioner for Customs Excise and Vat Department in Cumilla district.
A standard idea is that the Department is a money-making machine, where money flies in the air in terms of illegal transactions.
But it has changed in Cumilla since Belal Chowdhury took charge.
Asked how he is overcoming all the obstacles that has become parctices over the decades, Chowdhury told newsnext that “I want to help Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in achieving Bangabandhu’s Golden Bengal. Myself and my colleagues remain alert to the fact that bad elements will always be around, but we will never bow our head to them.”
“We want to contribute to the national economy,” he added confidently.
Indeed, Cumilla under his leadership has been recognised as the best in revenue collection in 2020 despite COVID-19 pandemic.
Chowdhury said he changed a few things with a tough hand soon after joining the Cumilla office and the achievement is a team work.
A career civil servant, Belal Chowdhury has made news headlines many times in the past.
During his time in Benapole Customs Excise and Vat office in 2019, he has been credited for the seizure of Asia’s largest Viagra shipment worth weighing 250 kilograms worth Taka 12 crore.
Then in 2011, he was responsible for the seizure of banned Indian cough syrup “Phensydyl.” Nearly 600 bottles of the contraband was being carried on a truck and on secret information the drug did not reach the youth community in Bangladesh, helping, even in a small way, to save the nation from drug addiction.
He said “Even during the current pandemic, the Preventive Team, under him has been regularly checking vehicles which they suspect are carrying contrabands.”
“As a result at least 30 trucks and covered vans carrying contrabands have been seized and 18 cases have been lodged against those responsible … this is possibly the largest so far,” Chowdhury, said adding that “the success came due to the hard work of Assistant Commissioner Mohammad Salauddin Ripon and hour colleague Ahmed Salauddin.”
His office was awarded for extraordinary record setting revenue earnings last October despite COVID-19.
Chowdhury concluded “Our honest and hard work will be the best gift to the memory of Bangabandhu in his birth centenary.”
Indeed, Belal Chowdhury is an icon for all his colleagues for his courage to fight the drug mafias and corrupt elements for the sake of his motherland — Bangladesh.
Such people are rare these days where everyone one is running after money, legally or illegally, forgetting their duties under oath and patriotism.
We can only hope that he continues to serve the nation and uproots the wrongs in his area of work.