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Hope for local governments fades away in Bangladesh April 8, 2009

Posted by bdoza in BANGLADESH, GOVERNANCE, JUDICIARY, local government, POLITICS.
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A strong opinion for local governments election was created during the caretaker government. Though the upazilla parishad election could not be completed during the tenure of the caretaker government, but election of 4 city corporations and 11 municipalities was held under EC during the last CTG.

Due to pressure from the political parties, EC had to set the upazilla election on 22nd January, 2009 after the parliamentary election on 29th December, 2008. Amid much speculation, AL led government held the upazilla election as scheduled.

After the election people thought that local governments will be strengthen in Bangladesh after a long time. But when the law is passed, people find the local government ordinance passed by the CTG is molded to such an extent that the power and independence of the upazilla chairman is curtailed and the advice of the MPs has been made mandatory for the upazilla parishads, even the upazilla chairman could not directly contact the government without MPs’ recommendation.

In the parliament, MPs from both the GOP and opposition unanimously supported the move. The Minister for local government himself proposed the truncated law as suggested by the parliamentary committee on the local government.

The upazilla chairmen all over the country criticized the power delegated to the MPs over them. The citizen groups raised their concern and expressed their frustration on the subjugating them to the authority of the MPs. Dr. Shahdin Malik, a Jurist said that the Upazilla law that is enacted by the present parliament is contradictory to the constitution and the amendment in the law will be challenged in the High Court. He argued that the same reason for which a upazilla chairman cannot make law, an MP also can’t hold the executive authority at the upazilla level.

Many urge the government to review the law and to set the law in the true spirit to strengthen the local government in Bangladesh.

A writer and blogger from Philippines came to visit Bangladesh few months back. He commented that there is little difference between the central governments between two countries but the they feel proud for their local governments which are much stronger in Philippines than in Bangladesh.

We also want to see our local governments stronger.

An ordinary citizen

Linked news:

MPs advisory toll to create chaos: Daily Star

Upazilla bill goes against AL manifesto: Daily Star

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