Staff Correspondent
In order to continue the ongoing development across the country, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday asked the LGRD and Co-operatives ministry officials to frame an upazila-based master plan to build all upazilas under a specific development design aimed at protecting cropland and checking sporadic construction of buildings, roads and other structures.
“You (high-ups of LGRD ministry) must outline a master plan based on upazila immediately and execute it as early as possible,” she said while addressing the officials of the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Co-operatives as part of her planned visit to every ministry after assuming office this January.
As a master plan is a dynamic long-term planning document that provides a conceptual layout to guide future growth and development, it also should have a complete layout for housing, hospitals, markets, schools, collages, playgrounds, agricultural farms, industries and other facilities, the prime minister asserted.
“The concept will be accepted by the people if we carry out our plans in a proper way,” she said.
Meanwhile, she said her government will formulate annual budget in line with district-based concept and through decentralisation of power.
“The government has a plan to prepare annual budget separately for every district and upazila considering its size, population and geographical aspects to meet the demands of the local people, reach the services to their doorsteps and ensure optimum utilisation of public money,” she said.
Awami League government is taking all projects under a master plan for development of the southern part of the country which was neglected for a long time after 1975, she added.
Sheikh Hasina, also Awami League President, said the country after 1975 was repeatedly pushed to the back by the violators of the Constitution.
She said these Constitution violators came to power only to serve their own purposes, not to better the life of the people.
She said military rulers destroyed the strength of mind of the people as a victorious nation.
“During military rule, the people failed to work for the country from their respective fields. Besides, Bangladesh was repeatedly branded very negatively before the world,” she added.
Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh will be formally elevated to the developing country status from least developed country very soon as Awami League is in power for the third consecutive term.
“To fulfil that dream, you must work hard with dedication and sincerity,” she emphasised.
Sheikh Hasina also asked the officials and employees of the ministry to ensure safe and pure drinking water and public health and develop the roads at remote areas.
“As you are assigned officials you will have to work hard in order to strengthen the local government. The local government will be strengthened through decentralisation of power,” she said.
“As we have come to power, we will bring prosperity for the people as development plans are being implemented,” she said, adding Bangladesh by now has fulfilled all conditions to becoming a developing country taking ‘our dignity one step forward.’
BSS adds: referring to the Bangabandhu’s initiative to constitute 60 districts, the prime minister said Bangabandhu made every district as an administrative unit to carry out development works, adding that “We should also do something like that to ensure development from grassroots level.
Minister for LGRD and Cooperatives Md Tazul Islam gave welcome address while it’s State Minister Swapan Bhattacharjee and Secretary SM Golam Faruk and senior officials of the ministry and Prime Minister Office were present.
Pointing out the importance of the LGRD Ministry for country’s development, the premier said her government wants to decentralize the administration gradually aimed at strengthening the local government bodies, engaging them in their local development initiatives and making all development sustainable.
“We give highest budget allocation for the LGRD ministry. We will be able to alleviate poverty to a larger extent if the LGRD ministry functions properly,” the prime minister said, adding that the country would go ahead as quick as “we can free the country from poverty”.
The prime minister said her government is taking overarching programmes for development of education, healthcare and other sectors. But there should have plan considering the basic needs of the people living in village and town areas, she said.
The premier said the LGRD and Cooperatives Ministry is very important in terms of its size, activities and budget allocation. The tasks of the ministry are multifaceted and most important task of it is to ensure safe drinking water for the people, sanitation, development of rural roads and ways. So, “we have to accomplish many tasks under the ministry with a very specific plan,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said the ‘one house, one homestead’ project had been initiated so that every fallow land comes under cultivation and rural people sell their produces under a cooperative system to help them find a source of income.
Sheikh Hasina said Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman liberated the nation to bring smile on the faces of the millions, but could not complete his dream. “We have to give importance to rural people and development should have to be taken place at grassroots level if we want the country to forward towards prosperity.”
Laying importance on strengthening cooperative movement, the prime minister said her government, as prescribed in the constitution, has given importance on the public and private sector as well as cooperatives.
She said Bangabandhu had envisaged for building every village under a planned way where better housing facilities, playgrounds, hospitals, croplands along with other civic amenities would exist. It’s a very difficult task to meet the demand of huge population on a small land like Bangladesh, she added.
“So, we have to take up our own development programmes considering the geographical aspects, weather, soil condition and demography,” she also said.
The prime minister said many tasks initiated by her government in 1996- 2001 tenure were not completed by the next BNP government. But, it was an immense opportunity for her government to work for the nation for ten years since 2009 and take the nation on the way of a developing country, she continued.
She expressed her firm conviction that Bangladesh would celebrate the golden jubilee of the independence as a hunger and poverty free nation, saying none would neglect Bangladesh in future.
Her government’s plan is to take the country to the rank of developed country by 2041, she added.