Upazila Parishads kept in neglect | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 10, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, April 10, 2012

Upazila Parishads kept in neglect

Lawmakers accuse govt of interference

BNP MP Nilufar Chowdhury Moni, Governance Advocacy Forum (GAF) Chairperson Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, GAF Coordinator Mohsin Ali and Prof MM Akash at a meeting, “Decentralisation and local government in the national budget”, organised by GAF at Cirdap auditorium in the capital.Photo: STAR

Lawmakers and upazila parishad chairmen yesterday slammed the government for putting obstacles in the way of strengthening the upazila parishads.
In the last three years, the local government units could not play their rightful role due to the government's interference, complained both the ruling and opposition party MPs.
They were addressing a view-exchange meeting titled “Decentralisation and Local Government in the National Budget” in the capital's Cirdap auditorium.
The MPs also accused the government of its non-cooperation in implementing upazila parishad act since its passage in parliament last year.
“We had passed the law in parliament but it was not implemented which is tantamount to slapping on MPs' face,” said AKM Mozammel Haq, an Awami League MP.
What the government has been doing to limit the activities of upazila parishad is a violation of the law, he added.
Parliament on November 29 last year had passed the bill vesting the executive powers of the upazila parishad in the chairman instead of the parishad.
Besides, lawmakers have been made advisers to the parishads and empowered to interfere in their activities.
“The upazila parishad act of our country is one of the best laws as far as strengthening the local government is concerned. But the government itself has been acting against the spirit of the law,” mentioned Mozammel, also chief of the parliamentary body on land ministry.
Although the AL in its electoral manifesto had promised to strengthen the local government bodies, it has acted in quite the opposite way, he observed.
While in opposition, the AL had raised its voice on strengthening the local government, but being in power now it does not back its earlier stance, maintained the lawmaker.
BNP MP Nilufar Chowdhury Moni said in our country the opposition always talks in favour of local government bodies. But the same party act just the opposite while in power.
Hasanul Haq Inu, legislator of Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal, said the government has tied up the arms and legs of the local government bodies so that they cannot run independently and strongly.
Speakers at the meeting organised by Governance Advocacy Forum (GAF), a platform of 35 non-governmental organisations, also demanded the government allocate more money in the next budget for the local government bodies.
Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, chairperson of GAF, economist Prof MM Akash, Faizur Rahman Fakir, president of Upazila Parishad Association of Bangladesh, Mahbubur Rahman Tulu, president of Bangladesh Union Parishad Forum, spoke, among others.

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