Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday asked the local government, rural development and cooperatives ministry to work out a master plan for every upazila for protecting cultivable land and checking the unplanned construction of buildings, roads and houses on croplands.
“We need to design a master plan for every upazila setting aside places for fields, schools and colleges, small industrial estates and cultivable land. If we can do it properly, people will accept it. I think we need to do such work,” she said while visiting the ministry at the secretariat.
“If we go ahead formulating master plans for grassroots levels as well, we'll be able to gain faster development.”
The PM directed the ministry officials to perform their duties properly so that Bangladesh can gain further success in poverty alleviation. “Our country will march forward quickly when we'll get rid of poverty.”
Mentioning that Bangladesh is a very densely populated country, Hasina said it was a big challenge to fulfil all the demands of so many people living in a small area. “But we'll have to do that.”
Bangladesh has now graduated to a developing country from the group of least developed countries as her government has been able to complete a lot of development work in the last 10 years after coming to power in 2009, she said.
“Now, it's our job to build Bangladesh as a developed country. To achieve this goal, all our plans will have to be taken focusing on fulfillment of basic needs of grassroots people and improvement of their living standard. If we can do this, the entire country will be developed gradually.”
Describing the LGRD and cooperatives ministry as the most important ministry to accomplish the goal, she said it receives the highest allocation from the national budget.
Alongside ensuring safe drinking water, sanitation and development of rural roads for the rural people, the ministry has also many tasks, including ensuring drainage and waste management and stopping environment pollution in the urban areas, the PM said.
Hasina asked the ministry officials to finish work speedily in a planned and proper way for the country's development.
She said the government was considering giving responsibility to the district administrations gradually to prepare their own budget focusing on local expectations and demands, which would be reflected in the national budget so that every penny of the public money is utilised in the development of the people.
Noting that her government is giving much importance to strengthening the local government, the PM said the government's future plan was to decentralise the government gradually to make the local government bodies stronger so that those could contribute largely to the development in their areas.
The “one house, one farm” project has been initiated in order that every fallow land is cultivated, and rural people sell their produces under a cooperatives system to help them find a source of income, Hasina added.
LGRD and Cooperatives Minister Md Tajul Islam delivered the welcome speech, while State Minister Swapan Bhattacharya, PM's Principal Secretary Nojibur Rahman, Local Government Division Senior Secretary SM Ghulam Farooque and other high officials of the ministry and the Prime Minister's Office were present.