<i>Union info services changing lives</i>
After obtaining diploma in agriculture, Mohammad Alauddin was wondering about his future as his late father left him no source of a livelihood.
His mother was also worried as her husband left her no savings or property.
But Union Information Service Centre (UISC), a key initiative towards digitising government mechanism to ensure public access to basic services, a state initiative, brought Alauddin a bright future.
This resident of Boidya Morich village of a remote part of Chalan Bill area now runs the UISC of Khan Morich union of Banhgura upazila of Pabna district, earning well and employing three others including his mother.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated UISCs from her office in the city on November 11, 2010 by talking through videoconference to UNDP global administrator Helen Clarke in Char Kukri-Mukri union of Char Fashion upazila of Bhola district.
The centres aim at providing people easy access to basic services and information about agriculture, health, education, legal aid, human rights and employment.
Alauddin started off his centre with a Tk 1.5 lakh loan to buy computers, printers and other tools when government supported him with a computer, a laptop, a scanner and a photocopier.
“I earned a few thousand Taka at the beginning, but did not give up hope,” told Alauddin to the news agency, adding that people then were unaware of services available at UISC.
“I earned Tk 40,000 in April and May, which is good enough to meet business costs, living and for savings,” Alauddin said.
He said this income increase was for the union council election, which generated many printing jobs.
Besides internet service, people photocopy their documents, print cards and posters at his centre.
Many people now come regularly to download results and transcripts of different examinations while local staff of several non-government organisations use the internet.
“I could make more business if internet speed was higher in this area,” Aalauddin said.
On contact, Pabna District Commissioner Mustafizur Rahman said the district administration arranged training programmes to help them run the 4,501 UISC across the country efficiently.