Helaluddin Ahmed, Senior Secretary, Local Government Department The Prothom-aloWho said DCs can now inspect the activities of Union and Upazila Parishad. But DCs no longer have the authority to visit 194 first-class municipalities. If the proposal sent to the cabinet department is passed, DCs will be able to visit the municipality. This will ensure transparency and accountability in the activities of the municipality. He said DCs would not audit municipalities. You will see whether the revenue and expenditure accounts of the municipality are correct or whether their tender evaluation is being done properly.
Various issues of the country’s municipalities were discussed at the ‘Divisional Commissioner Coordination Meeting’ held on April 10 under the chairmanship of the Cabinet Secretary. There was a strong demand to give the power to inspect the municipality to the deputy commissioners. Emphasis was placed on the payment of salaries and other arrears to the municipal workers, provision of proper services to the citizens and expeditious acquisition of land for development projects.
It was discussed at the meeting that due to the ambiguity of the existing municipal law, the elected representatives of many municipalities are still in power even after the expiration of their term. In many municipalities, holding tax (household tax) is not being assessed properly. People are suffering due to collection of extra house tax in some places. A committee was formed to look into the holding tax assessment. The six-member committee is headed by Additional Secretary (Urban Development), Ministry of Local Government.
At present most of the 326 municipalities of the country are in critical condition. Revenue income is low. Of these, more than two hundred municipalities have arrears of salaries and allowances for 2 to 60 months. The amount of arrears is about 75 crore rupees. The number of temporary workers is almost double that of permanent workers in the municipality. The local government department has been asked to stop hiring temporary workers in the municipalities but it is not being complied with.