The election of the Association of Travel Agencies of Bangladesh (ATAB), an apex body of the country’s travel agencies, has got momentum with the mass campaign of the candidates of two electoral panels. The election will be held on March 16 (Wednesday) in the Police Convention Center at Eskaton in Dhaka.
Around 2,300 voters out of its 3,500 members will exercise their voting rights to elect their representatives for its 29-member executive committee for its two years tenure. Of the 29 members, 17 will be elected from Dhaka region while six from Chattogram and six from Sylhet region.
In the election, two panels have been contesting under the banner of ATAB Sammilito Forum led by its senior member Taufiq Uddin Ahmed and ATAB Ganatantrik Oikyafront led by its former president SM Manzur Morshed Mahbub.
This year Taufiq Uddin Ahmed led ATAB Sammilito Forum has been contesting the election with the commitment to ensure rights of the travel agencies and bringing transparency in the activities of the while SM Manzur Morshed Mahbub led ATAB Ganatantrik Oikyafront has given commitment of reducing plane fare for the travelers and restoration of the rights of the agencies.
Though Taufiq Uddin Ahmed is a senior, he’s contesting the election for the first time. ATAB’s incumbent President Mansur Ahmed Kalam, Hajj Agencies Association of Bangladesh (HAAB) President Shahadat Hossain Taslim and former HAAB Vice President Farid Uddin Ahmed Majumder have extended their supports to Taufiq Uddin.
According to the general members of the apex body, there are allegations of irregularities and corruptions against Manzur Morshed Mahbub. Due to the allegations, the panel of Mahbub failed to resume in the power in the last elections. Some of his former teammates are with him.
According to the documents available to this correspondent, Mahbub failed to reduce air ticket prices during his previous periods saying that ATAB has nothing to do on the issue as the airlines fix the plane fare. The plane fare usually increases due to increasing demands of the air tickets.
During his last tenure in the office, Mahbub tried to establish a new travel agency with the name of ATAB as ‘ATAB Online Limited’. In the name of the agency, he collected more than Tk 3 crore from around 100 shareholders. But, he failed register the agency as the government regretted his proposal to establish an agency with the name of an association. But, the shareholders hadn’t yet got the money back.