Making MPs advisers of upazila parishads is the “mother of all problems” in local government because lawmakers give advices in pursuit of their petty personal and political interests, public representatives and experts said at a seminar yesterday.
They said MPs usually interfered in the activities of upazila administration, taking advantage of law, which made their advices mandatory to follow.
Speaking as chief guest, former caretaker government adviser Sultana Kamal said corruption and lack of accountability were some of the key reasons behind the present sorry state of local government institutions.
She said the influence of political leaders including MPs turned into interference in local government.
Brac Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD) at Brac University organised the seminar on revenue mobilisation and women's representation in the union parishads and state of accountability at upazila parishads.
Mirza M Hassan, adjunct fellow, BIGD, said everyone felt helpless due to interference by MPs.
“It seems everyone including elected upazila chairman and upazila nirbahi officer is loyal to MP,” he added. “Overall we can say MP's interference is the mother of all problems in the upazila parishad.”
Hasan, also a local government expert, said MPs were usually interested to advise on money related projects and activities like healthcare, agriculture, and public health engineering.
Taking part in the discussion, several upazila chairmen supported Hasan's remarks.
Nilima Chakrayarty, a member of Koira Union under Koira Upazila, Khulna, alleged that earlier tube wells were distributed among villagers through UP members but the MP did it now. “In most cases, MPs prefer their own people to distribute tube wells,” she alleged.
Christian Fotsch, Swiss ambassador in Dhaka; Maheen Sultan, visiting fellow, BIGD; Simeen Mahmud, lead researcher, Gender and Social Transformation Cluster, BIGD; Maleka Banu, general secretary, Bangladesh Mahila Parishad; and Badiul Alam Majumdar, secretary, Shushashoner Janney Nagorik (SHUJAN), also spoke at the seminar, while Sultan Hafeez Rahman of BIGD moderated it.