Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA), the prime institution for practicing, preserving and disseminating country's culture at home and abroad is suffering from manpower shortage for the last one year.
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman established BSA (National Academy of Fine and Performing Arts) on July 4 in 1974. The BSA has brought about a revolution in the nation's cultural practices since its establishment. With the opening of 486 branches at the Upazila level, the preservation of folk culture, ensuring culture for all, introducing Bangladeshi culture to the international community and finally organizing the Liberation War-based cultural events has been ensured.
Most of the cultural officers of BSA opt for voluntary transfer as district cultural officers at the Upazila Shilpakala academies. "These cultural officers recruited by the ministry are posted at the district level leaving the headquarters perpetually in want of officers," an academy source said. Out of the 6 cultural officers posted as deputy directors, seven years ago in Dhaka, four of them are on leave preparatory to retirement.
An official of BSA, wishing anonymity told The Daily Observer on Tuesday, "Some Class II officers of the institution have been promoted to Class I and Class III staff to Class II violating the BSA rules and regulations. Also many Class III employees are acting as Class I officers. Many of these hold only SSC certificates."
Many of them were recruited for Dhaka BSA in technical posts but later promoted or deputed on acting duty to administrative posts. Mohammad Nasiruddin recruited as Accountant has now been promoted to Assistant Director (Budget), Mohammad Yasin Ali Hawlader, a Lower Division Assistant is now promoted to Public Relations Officer, Nurul Haq has been promoted to Set Designer from a Stenographer, Ali Ahmed Mukul is now an Assistant Director (Drama), he was a Set Designer, Purnalak Chakma was recruited as an Instructor, she has been promoted to a Set Designer, Jashim Uddin, a Light Designer has been made an Assistant Director (Publication and Sales), Mohammad Shajahan, a Lower Division Assistant has been promoted to Assistant Director (research).
The 63th general assembly of the BSA took a decision that cultural officers' post should be made transferable and the Director General (DG) of the BSA should be the authority to transfer, BSA sources said.
Liaquat Ali Lucky, Director General of the BSA and a prominent cultural personality of Bangladesh, told this correspondent on Tuesday that BSA has gained tremendous success and should upgrade its rules and regulations for smooth functioning of the institution. Adequate manpower for BSA will be provided very soon, he assured.
However, there are frustrations among district cultural officers because deprived of promotions and transfers these officers have to pass entire service life remaining in the same post beginning from the first day of joining. This problem lies in the service rule Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy.
If a provision is made to promote and post efficient, experienced, highly educated and meritorious officers in different vacant posts in the central office their interest in work will increase, it is believed.
There is dearth of necessary manpower in the academy. A few years ago six district cultural officers were transferred and posted as Deputy Directors (current charge) and Assistant Directors the head office of the academy. By now three of them are on LPR (leave preparatory to retirement) and one will go for LPR next month.
In this situation it is essential to promote and post district cultural officers to the main office for its smooth functioning. At the moment Class III officials are officiating as Class II officials (current charge) and Class II officials are serving as Class I official (current charge). There are audit objections regarding this. But authorities remain silent on the issue.
Member of Shilpakala Academy operation council Ramendu Majumder told the Daily Observer "Because of legal complexities some problems come in the forefront. We have taken a move to solve these problems." In the 63rd council meeting it was decided that to bring speed in the activities of the academy the post of district cultural officer would be fit for promotion and transfer. Side by side with that it was decided that the Director General and the member secretary of the council would be entitled to promote or transfer officials of all level.
This proposal is at the moment at the information and cultural ministry. From the ministry it will be sent to the public administration ministry. Public administration ministry will make final decision. But it will have to be pursued. Otherwise, it will not be possible to implement it, he said.