12:45 AM, July 25, 2013 / LAST MODIFIED: 10:21 AM, July 25, 2013

Prepare for polls without army

Syed Ashraf asks DCs

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Staff Correspondent

The deputy commissioners (DC) have been asked to prepare for the next parliamentary elections in a free, fair and credible manner without the help of the army.
“The government has repeatedly proved that free and fair elections are possible without deployment of army. So, the next national elections will be held in the way the city corporation polls were held,” LGRD Minister Syed Ashraful Islam said.
Talking to reporters after a meeting with the DCs at the Cabinet Division, Syed Ashraf said the government had held Union Parishad, municipality, upazila and city corporation polls without the help of the army so far.
The civil administration had become capable of holding elections in a free and fair manner, he said, adding that the next general elections would also be free and fair with participation of all political parties and without deployment of the army.
Asked to comment on BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia's threat to boycott the elections if not held under a non-party caretaker government, Ashraf said many people could speak many things, but they were hopeful that all parties would take part in the polls.
On feuds between the DCs and the local government representatives, Ashraf, also ruling Awami League's general secretary, said in any new system there might be some complexities.
He said the government was thinking about curbing the tiers of local governments in a bid to strengthen it. He added the local governments in all developed countries including the US had been facing financial crisis.
“Thus, we are considering if we would keep the existing tires of local government or not. I have already discussed the issue with the prime minister,” he said, adding that the local governments would not be strengthened until those became financially self sufficient.
At a meeting with the health ministry officials, several DCs have alleged that doctors and nurses did not stay in rural areas causing immense sufferings to the patients.
The DCs requested the ministry officials to take steps to ensure presence of doctors and nurses at hospitals in rural areas.
Emerging from the meeting, State Minister for Health and Family Welfare Capt (retd) Dr Majibur Rahman Fakir said they would compel the doctors to serve in rural areas for two years after their appointment.
Besides, the government was going to appoint 5,000 doctors and 5,000 nurses within a month or two to cope with the shortage of these professionals, he added.
State Minister for Women and Children Affairs Meher Afroz Chumki yesterday said she had urged the DCs to help the ministry arrange sending women abroad as domestic help without harassment by local manpower brokers.
“The ministry will provide the women 21-day training,” she added.
She asked the DCs to play their due role in ensuring women empowerment that Hefajat was recently trying to hamper.
The DCs were also asked to launch a campaign for introducing helpline No. 10921 so that woman and child victims of violence could seek help instantly, she added.

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