Friday 24 May, 2024

Campaign on Strengthening Local Government

16 Apr 2024 | 1: 53 pm

Local government in Bangladesh is on paper but not much like that in reality. A primary school teacher has no option but to go to Dhaka for transfer. District Council, Upazila Parishad, Union Parishad are said to be local governments, but here the influence of government bureaucrats is much greater than the control of representatives elected by the local government. The roads of Chittagong city are broken, the drains are not clean, the whole of Chittagong is covered in dust, the city corporation is not able to take any effective measures. Because any project requires the approval of their ministry. Again the rule of local MPs is going on in upazila and union parishads. Upazila and Union Parishad policies and destiny are determined in the drawing room of local MPs. Due to the lack of democratic decentralization, the problematic structure of the government has become capital-centric. As a result, true governance and accountability have become boxed in. MPs, mayors, chairmen, after taking the vote, no longer focus on voters and become capital and power focused. On the other hand, the current government has talked about administrative decentralization but has not taken any effective initiative in this regard in the last 4 years. Various speakers made the above comments at the public gathering and human bandh on the initiative of Governance Advocacy Forum, Chittagong Social Development Forum-CSDF and District Social Entrepreneurship Parishad, Chittagong on January 12, 2013 at the Chittagong Press Club premises in the city to demand the formulation of democratic decentralization policy with the aim of establishing self-governing local government system.

Speakers in the public gathering said that the electoral manifesto of Bangladesh Awami League clearly stated that “Union, Upazila and District Councils will be strengthened by decentralizing power and establishing a strong local government system.” Zilla Parishad will be developed as a center for implementation of education, health, law and order and all kinds of developmental action plans. Each union headquarters will be the focal point of local development and administrative activities, planned rural townships and upazila headquarters and small industrial centers will be developed as urban-suburban.” It was also said, “Radical changes will be made in the political structure with priority given to local government. The local government will play a controlling role in the development activities. For this purpose, district and upazila local governments will be developed as self-reliant and self-governing institutions. But the government has not taken any effective initiative in this regard in the last 4 years. Hon’ble Chief Minister’s speech at Ganakalak had no direction. On the other hand, the administrator of the Zilla Parishad formed by the Zilla Parishad has no activities like OSD. Punang District and Upazila Parishads have not been formed yet. The debate between bureaucrats and public representatives is still going on with the coordination of various departments at the district and upazila levels.

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