Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday stressed the need for undertaking a master plan in each upazila to ensure planned urbanisation and thus render better services to people.
“My directives are already there to render much better services to people through ensuring arable lands, schools, colleges in the upazilas alongside industries, mills and factories,” she said.
The prime minister was addressing the officials of the LGRD ministry during her visit to the ministry at the Bangladesh Secretariat in the capital in the morning.
She also focused on strengthening the local government institutions through decentralisation and directed the local government bodies to take necessary steps to boost their income to provide people with better amenities.
"We believe local government bodies need to be strengthened …the more the local government bodies will be strengthened, the more the people will get improved services," said Hasina.
The prime minister also said the government has a plan to delegate health, education, law and order, infrastructure development and social safety and other development programmes to local government bodies gradually.
She directed the authorities concerned to ensure transparency and accountability in the activities of local government institutions. "The country's face, including that of rural areas, will get changed if whatever allocations we're making are spent properly."
The prime minister stressed coordination in each development work as well as integrated plan before taking any step, saying Bangladesh was geographically a small country, but its population was huge, and it was a tough task to render services to people. "We'll have to accomplish that difficult task."
Noting that the LGRD ministry usually gets higher allocations in the national budget, Hasina said the local government institutions like upazilas, municipalities and union parishads will have to take steps to raise their own income to render better services to people.
Pointing out her Awami League's election manifesto of 2014, the prime minister also pledged for planned urbanisation and increasing civic amenities across the country. “Arsenic-free safe water for all and sanitation in every house would be ensured,” she said.
Hasina said the government also had a commitment to link village, union and upazila headquarters with the road network.
The prime minister said the local government division would have to work with more integrity to execute these commitments of the government.
She mentioned that the local government organisations had an important role in alleviating poverty and establishing good governance in the country.
“I hope the elected representatives and the government servants would perform this responsibility together and ensure happiness, peace and prosperity of people.”
The prime minister mentioned that the government as per its capability was allocating money to the local government bodies. “But this allocation is not enough for running the service progarmmes,” she said.
She directed the LGRD ministry to find out a way for maintaining the navigability of river routes as the height of the bridges constructed by the ministry often halts the movement of river vessels.
Sheikh Hasina said 90 percent rural people and 99 percent urban people had been brought under safe water supply. “I hope all people will be brought under the safe water coverage by 2016-17,” she said.
She also expressed her belief to turn the country into a mid-income one well before 2021 through implementing the development works as the present government would stay in power till 2019.
She said the Union Information and Service Centers would be renamed as Digital Centers in the future.
LGRD and Cooperatives Minister Syed Ashraful Islam also spoke on the occasion.