Wednesday, February 20, 2019

MPs demand probe into transfer of UNO for pregnancy, secretary defends it

  • Parliament Correspondent, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2019-02-12 01:02:11 BdST

bdnews24

Two MPs have demanded an investigation into the transfer of an Upazila Nirbahee Officer or UNO over her pregnancy.

Hosne Ara Begum Bina, the executive officer of Narayanganj Sadar Upazila, was made an officer on special duty or OSD at the public administration ministry in Dhaka on Feb 4.

She took to Facebook on Saturday to say that the news of her transfer had made her depressed, triggered her asthma problems and caused shortage of oxygen for the unborn baby.

It eventually led her to give birth to a premature baby on the same day of the transfer when she was 31 weeks into pregnancy, according to Bina.

The baby was “fighting for its life” at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of the Square Hospital, she wrote. 

A “certain officer” had tried to get her transferred by showing her “incompetent” due to her pregnancy, Bina, a 30th batch administration cadre officer of the Bangladesh Civil Service alleged.

Her social media post has triggered a debate among government officials and politicians, but Public Administration Secretary Faiz Ahmed has defended the decision taken by the ministry.

He says it was “justified and proper” to make Bina OSD “to give her time for rest considering her pregnancy”.

The Facebook post could not be seen on Monday, but its screenshots already went viral on the social networking platform.

The Facebook post could not be seen on Monday, but its screenshots already went viral on the social networking platform.

Former state minister for woman and children’s affairs Meher Afroze Chumki MP, however, does not want to jump to any conclusion.

In an unscheduled debate in parliament on Monday, she was also supported by AKM Shamim Osman MP from Narayanganj Sadar seat.

“A UNO’s duty is very important and why has she been made OSD if she had fulfilled her duties properly?” Chumki asked, referring to the Dec 30 parliamentary elections, in which Bina worked as an assistant returning officer.

“Society is yet to understand how to behave with a pregnant woman. They should not be behaved with in any manner that can cause harm to them or their babies. The birth of an unhealthy baby risks making it a burden on the mother, the family and the country,” she added.

Chumki demanded that the public administration minister order a departmental investigation into the allegations raised by Bina.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is also the public administration minister now. Farhad Hossain MP is the state minister for public administration of the newly formed government.

Deputy Speaker Md Fazle Rabbi Miah expressed hope that the public administration minister would take steps following the demand raised by Chumki.

Narayanganj MP Shamim Osman said what happened to an “honest and hardworking” officer like Bina “pained and shamed” him.

He demanded that the government check who had ordered the transfer of Bina.

“I won’t be able forgive myself if something bad happens (to them) over this incident,” he said.

Meher Afroze Chumki. File Photo

Meher Afroze Chumki. File Photo

AKM Shamim Osman. File Photo

AKM Shamim Osman. File Photo

Speaking to bdnews24.com, Secretary Faiz said: “I think the order issued by one of my departments was justified.”

“No injustice has been done here. The action was appropriate,” he added.

The Upazila council elections will start soon, Faiz pointed out. “She has been made OSD and kept in Dhaka given the fact that the pressure of the challenging job could worsen her health.”  

“Is it possible to keep an Upazila empty during the polls? And if she is enthusiastic, I will send her to the same duty after her maternal leave,” he added.

The order making Hosne Ara Bina OSD

The order making Hosne Ara Bina OSD

The secretary also questioned Bina’s intentions behind raising the allegations on Facebook.

“She could have come to me, or the cabinet secretary or the principal secretary if she thought what the ministry was doing was not fair.

“I doubt whether she had done it (wrote the post) herself. Can’t it be that someone has misled her?” he asked.

The Facebook post could not be seen on Monday, but its screenshots already went viral on the social networking platform.

bdnews24.com tried to contact Bina but she was unreachable on mobile phone .

[Additional reporting by Shahidul Islam]