The National Local Government Day will be observed for the first time in the country today (Thursday, September 14) with the presence of over 8,000 elected local government representatives.
The day will be observed in a befitting manner with the theme ‘Efficient Architect of Service and Improvement, Local Government in Development-Innovation’.
With an aim to make local government bodies more vibrant and effective, the government will celebrate the National Local Government Day by holding various programmes, including the national level programme which will be held at Gono Bhaban. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will address the event as the chief guest.
Many elected local government representatives have already arrived in the capital to join the event. “We have already reached Dhaka to attend the event of National Local Government Day,” a UP chairman said on Wednesday afternoon.
Md Lukman Uddin, chairman of No. 7 Dakshin Banigram Union Parishad of Kanaighat upazila in Sylhet; told the Bangladesh Post that not only him, other UP chairmen of Kanaighat upazila arrived in Dhaka on Wednesday to join the event at Gono Bhaban.
It was known that three elected representatives from each division will speak at the programme to describe their achievements and problems.
Mayors of the city corporations and municipalities, district council chairmen and members, chairmen of upazila and union parishads and councillors of two Dhaka city corporations were invited to the event.
Currently, there are 5,474 local government bodies across the country, including 4,577 union parishads, 329 municipalities, 495 upazila parisads, 61 district councils and 12 city corporations.
Three day-long development fairs will also be held at upazila level, starting from September 16, where government’s achievements and future plans will be showcased. Upazila administrations were asked to take initiatives to make the fair attractive and participatory.
Two city corporations of Dhaka will carry out special cleaning and anti-mosquito drives to mark the day.
President Mohammed Shahabuddin and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina issued separate message to mark the day. They wished all the successes of the programmes taken in connection with the observance of the National Local Government Day.
In his message, the President said that there are five levels of local government system starting from city corporation, district, upazila, municipality and union.
Elected local representatives and officials of the local government institutions are working tirelessly to provide better civic services and to build Sonar Bangla as dreamt by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the head of the state added.
He hoped that by observing the day, the bond between the local government and mass people will be strengthened and service delivery will become easy and hassle-free.
In her message, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said, “I am very happy to know that September 14 is being celebrated this year for the first time as the National Local Government Day.”
On this auspicious occasion, the Prime Minister extended her best wishes and congratulations to all the members of local government division and local government institutions and the people of this country.
She firmly believed that this day will open new doors to get closer to the land and people, apart from serving the people in the country in days to come. The foundation of local government was laid in the country through the development philosophy of the greatest Bangalee of all time and Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, she said.
The local government was clarified in Articles 59 and 60 of the country's constitution as well as the First Five Year Plan, she added.
One of the plans of the First Five Year Plan was - 'The new local government institutions will be responsible for the construction and maintenance of road, drain and irrigation infrastructure, public health, sanitation, education and provision of social welfare services', she continued.
In continuation of that, all local government institutions across the country are active and dedicated to multi-dimensional welfare activities, she said.
Following the footsteps of the Father of the Nation, the Awami League-led government has developed the country's rural sector in the last 14.5 years by improving 75,825 kilometers (km) of roads and construction/reconstruction of 4,35,307 meters of new bridges/culverts.
The government developed and rehabilitated 1, 21, 623 km paved roads and 1, 58, 579 bridge meters / culvert, she said, adding that construction/expansion of 1, 767 Union Parishad Complex Buildings and 406 Upazila Parishad Complex Buildings have been made.
"Our greatest asset is the people of the country," she said, adding that people should be more involved in the development activities of the government.
She also emphasised listening to people's demands and problems to ensure development in future.
By 2041, the local government should be made smart and service-oriented to build a developed and prosperous Smart Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina hoped.
"With the combined efforts of all, we will be able to build a hunger-poverty-free and developed Sonar Bangladesh as dreamt by the Father of the Nation, Insha Allah," she continued.