Local MPs to be made advisers | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 18, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 18, 2009

Upazila Parishad

Local MPs to be made advisers

Elected local govt representatives slam the move

The government has decided to make the local lawmakers adviser to the Upazila Parishad, a move vehemently opposed by newly elected representatives of the parishad.
It also decided not to approve Local Government Commission Ordinance, 2008, even though experts believe the local government will face a set back if the commission is dissolved.
"The government will not place the ordinance as a bill before the House. Rather, we will amend the Upazila Act, 1998, keeping the provision for the post of a vice-chairman and a female vice-chairman," LGRD Minister Syed Ashraful Islam said yesterday while talking to reporters.
During the disposal of a call-attention notice in parliament yesterday, he said lawmakers' authority over local upazila parishads will be restored. MPs welcomed the move thumping their desks.
The minister said MPs always play a role in the development activities all over the world. "The relation between the people and lawmakers cannot be undermined." A fresh bill will be placed before the parliament to amend Upazila Act, 1998, to make the lawmakers advisers of their local upazila councils.
Ashraf strongly criticised the provisions of the ordinances, promulgated by the last caretaker government, on local government institutions that require elected representatives to resign from party posts before taking oath.
Experts said it would be a violation of the constitution if the lawmakers get to influence the upazila council. "The upazila will run under the directions of MPs if the Upazila Act, 1998, is reintroduced," Badiul Alam Majumder, secretary of Shushashoner Janney Nagorik (Shujan), told The Daily Star.
He also said it will be a clear violation of the constitution if MPs are made advisers to their local upazila council.
Salauddin M Aminuzzaman, professor of Public Administration Department of Dhaka University, said the constitution does not allow MPs to play a role in upazila council.
Many elected local government representatives think MPs should resign from their party post before joining the upazila council as the government had asked chairmen, vice-chairmen and female vice-chairmen of upazila councils to resign from their respective party post.
"We have been asked to resign from the party post and that is why MPs also should resign from their party if they want to be involved in upazila council," Noor Alam Sheikh, chairman of Mongla Upazila Parishad said while attending a roundtable discussion at The Daily Star office.
Shamima Shahrier, vice-chairman of Zamalganj Upazila Parishad, feared that conflict will develop between MPs and chairmen over development work.
Gazi Abdul Hadi, chairman of Dumuria Upazila Parishad in Khulna, said the LGRD minister's comment on MPs in upazila councils has inflicted fear among them.
Suraiya Begum, vice-chairman of Betagi Upazila Parishad in Barguna, said interference of MPs in upazila council would be unconstitutional. "The move [MPs involvement] has been made only to misappropriate the funds of upazila councils."
Sunamganj Sadar Upazila Chairman Dewan Zainul Zakerin said stronger upazila council would not be possible due to narrow points of view of MPs.
Khairul Kabir Khokan, chairman of Netrakona Upazila Parishad, said it will be tough for upazila councils to run their activities if the role of MPs in them is ensured by law.

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