Boats are nothing new on the submerged roads of Chittagong.
It rains and it rains when monsoon comes, the water keeps rising up as the drainage system fails.
But things have never been as bad to compel offices to buy a boat to facilitate their employees.
The Chittagong Taxes Zone-4 office in Agrabad recently procured the boat to ferry its employees.
The tax office generally uses a bus to transport the staff. However, the waterlogging has prevented buses among other vehicles to operate.
Desperately seeking a way out of this mess, the office purchased a bright red and blue-striped boat. It cost a mere Tk26,000 from a ship-breaking yard in Kumira, Chittagong.
In a surprisingly pleasant turn of events, the boat is not only transporting tax officials, it is also helping out citizens coming to the tax office.
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The famous boat of the Chittagong tax office carries taxpayers and tax collectors alike Collected
The boatman? Why, it is but a security guard moonlighting. Although it remains to be known if being a boatman is a more lucrative career than a security guard.
The CDA residential area in Agrabad where the tax office is located finds itself inundated up to the waist when high tide and heavy rain strike together.
Ahammad Ullah, commissioner of Chittagong Taxes Zone-4, told the Dhaka Tribune that the boat was purchased to eliminate sufferings of the service-seekers and employees.
He said: “Every day, the entire area is at least knee-deep in water. An employee of the tax office has to pay at least Tk300 per day as rickshaw fare to cross the waterlogged road. This waterlogging has been hampering our productivity for quite some time. This boat should solve that crisis.”
Commissioner Ahammad revealed that other tax offices in the area are contemplating procuring boats to ease their transportation.
Agrabad is home to the offices of Chittagong Taxes Zone-1, Taxes Zone-2, Taxes Zone-3, Taxes Zone-4, Taxes Appellate Zone and Taxes Appellate Tribunal.
Narrating the daily ordeal for getting to work, Samina Islam, Additional Commissioner, Taxes Zone-2, Chittagong told the Dhaka Tribune that the tax officials and employees have to face immense problems due to perennial inundation in the area.
Wishing anonymity, an assistant commissioner of Taxes Zone-2, Chittagong said, “The tax offices witness low turnout of tax payers due to the chronic problem of waterlogging. The problem should be addressed without delay. How can tax payers pay their taxes if they cannot come to the tax office?”