Unplanned development of the upazilas should be regulated, says Sheikh Hasina
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has asked the Local Government, Rural Development and Co-operatives Ministry, to sketch out a master plan to build up all upazilas under a specific development design.
The plan will aim to protect croplands and check the sporadic construction of buildings, roads and other structures, she said at a meeting in the ministry at the secretariat in Dhaka during a visit on Sunday.
“Unplanned development of the upazilas should be regulated, and roads of the upazilas have to be made in a planned manner to save croplands as well as public money,” she said.
The master plan should have a complete layout for housing, hospitals, markets, schools, colleges, playgrounds, agricultural farms, industries, and other facilities, she said, adding that people would accept the concept if “we can do this once properly.”
Referring to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s initiative to constitute 60 districts, Hasina said Bangabandhu made every district an administrative unit to carry out development work. “We should also do something like that to ensure development from the grassroots level.”
LGRD Minister Md Tazul Islam gave the welcome address at the meeting where State Minister Swapan Bhattacharjee, LGRD Secretary SM Golam Faruk, Rural Development and Cooperatives Division Secretary Md Kamal Uddin Talukder, and senior officials of the ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office were also present.
The prime minister said the government was contemplating a separate annual budget for every district and upazila, considering its size, population, and geographical aspects to meet the demands of local people, reach the services to the doorsteps of the people, and to ensure optimum utilization of public money.
Pointing out the importance of the LGRD Ministry for the country’s development, she said her government wanted to decentralize the administration gradually, aimed at strengthening local government bodies, engaging them in their local development initiatives, and making all development sustainable.
“We give the highest budget allocation for the LGRD Ministry. We will be able to alleviate poverty to a larger extent if the ministry functions properly,” she said.
Hasina added that her administration was undertaking overarching programs for development of education, healthcare, and other sectors. But there should be plans considering the basic needs of the people living in villages and towns, she said.
She said the LGRD Ministry’s tasks were multifaceted and most important for them was to ensure safe drinking water for the people, sanitation, and the development of rural roads and pathways. “That’s why we need a very specific plan.”
The prime minister said the “One house, one homestead” project had been initiated so that all fallow land comes under cultivation and rural people sell their produce under a cooperative system to help them find a source of income.
She added: “We have to give importance to rural people and development should take place at the grassroots level if we want the country to move forward towards prosperity.”
Laying importance on strengthening a cooperative movement, she said her government, in line with the constitution, has given importance to the public and private sector, as well as cooperatives.
She expressed her firm conviction that Bangladesh would celebrate the golden jubilee of independence as a hunger and poverty free nation, saying none would neglect Bangladesh in the future.