It pushes for overdue Zila Parishad elections
The rigid control over the local government bodies by MPs and the government officials’ unwillingness to ensure people’s participation in power domains has made the Zila Parishads virtually dysfunctional, says TIB.
“Although the Zila Parishad is an important local government institution, it could not be made effectively functional due to poor power structure and lack of elected representatives,” the TIB (Transparency International Bangladesh) said in its latest study.
TIB deputy programme manager (research and policy) Nahid Sharmin unveiled the findings of the study, ‘Zila Parishad in Local Government System: Challenges of Good Government and Way Forward’, at a press conference at Biam auditorium here on Wednesday.
TIB trustee board member M Hafizuddin Khan, TIB executive director Dr Iftekharuzzaman, deputy executive director Dr Sumaiya Khair and director Rafiqul Hasan were present.
The study says despite commitments by the political parties in their election manifestos to decentralise power, they have not yet taken any effective step to strengthen the Zila Parishad.
Though 14 years have elapsed since the Zila Parisad Act was passed in 2000, the government is yet to decide to hold the Zila Parishad elections.
The Zila Parishad has now become a dysfunctional institution due to the appointment of unelected administrators who are affiliated with political parties, rigid control of the central government and influence of local parliament members, according to the TIB study.
It recommended holding Zila Parishad elections immediately to make the local body functional effectively through proper distribution of works between Zila Parishad chairman and deputy commissioner.
Speaking at the press conference, Iftekharuzzaman said the government has appointed administrators to Zila Parishads which is contrary to the constitution.
“We want Zila Parishad elections so that the local government body could be run through the elected administration,” he said.
Hafizuddin Khan said the local government bodies were more powerful during the British era, but it became weaker these days due to the central government’s influence on them. “We want such local government bodies which are free from the influence of the central government,” he added.
Source: UNB Connect