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BIP: Mayors have enough power but are unable to explore, exercise

  • Published at 08:07 pm January 23rd, 2020
Election Campaign
Election campaign posters Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

'They [mayors and councillors] mostly love to claim that they have limited authority to do something for the betterment of citizens'

Mayors have enough power to make a city livable, but they are confused over their ability, capacity and willingness to explore and exercise that power, according to Bangladesh Institute of Planners (BIP).

BIP published a “citizen manifesto” yesterday with regard to the upcoming Dhaka city elections – set for February 1 –from the point of view of planners.

BIP Secretary Dr Adil Mohammad Khan said the Local Government Act (city corporation) 2009 has clearly defined the duties of mayor and councillors but most of the elected representatives “did not take a look at it.” 

“They [mayors and councillors] mostly love to claim that they have limited authority to do something for the betterment of citizens,” he said.

He made the statement during the unveiling of “citizen manifesto” at a press conference at BIP office in Dhaka.

According to the citizen manifesto, development plan should take place from the bottom up from the councillor level, but a plan is mostly imposed from the top by the central authority. But each ward should have an individual plan to make a city comfortable.

The manifesto suggested building a ward complex by integrating all civic services that would become a main hub for the people of each ward to get the necessary services concerned.

Similarly, budget should be allocated prioritizing local demand instead of the existing sector based allocation process.

“Ward complex or councillor’s office should become the main hub of the people of the community, as the locals can become part of the development and solve crisis in terms of water-logging, mosquito menace, waste disposal, and so on,” said Adil.

“We cannot make a clean and green city without emphasizing ward-based development,” said BIP President Prof Akter Mahmood. 

The manifesto suggested building a development monitoring team for each ward, installing online system for collecting taxes and fees, upgrading the status of establishments, functionalizing the steering committees, developing parks and playgrounds.