My Village My Town scheme set to roll out

The Tk800 crore pilot scheme, developed after surveys for months by government agencies, will be placed at the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) meeting on Tuesday, Planning Commission officials have said.

The Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) and the Department of Public Health Engineering will implement the pilot project in the next three years as part of the mega plan that will extend civic amenities and growth centres in rural areas across the country..

If the project is successfully implemented, economic activities in villages will speed up, AKM Fazlul Haque, member of the Agriculture, Water Resources and Rural Institutions Division of the Planning Commission, told the Business Standard.

“To become a developed country by 2041, village-centric development must be done,” he added.

He also said the upazila master plan that will be prepared for the project will have guidelines on the basis of which long-term development plans will be prepared in the future.

The pilot plan

According to the proposal, 616 housing units will be built at a cost of Tk110 crore. Additionally, the construction of village defence dams, canals, and ponds comes under the plan.

The proposal also includes the development of roads in the pilot villages along with the construction of bridges and culverts. A total of Tk181 crore has been proposed for these works.

Furthermore, 23 haat bazaars, growth centres, and agricultural product collection centres will be constructed in pilot villages to make economic activities more dynamic.

Piped water supply, mini piped water supply and submersible-tube wells will be installed for clean water. At the same time, ring wells, rainwater harvesting systems, water treatment plants and ponds will be dug.

Installation of twin pit latrines in sewage system development will be undertaken and single pit latrines will be converted into twin pits.

Waste management plants will be set up in each pilot village and their commercial areas.

The proposal also includes multi-purpose sports and cultural centres, playgrounds, watersheds, green premises, Eidgah, cremation grounds, and cemeteries.

Villagers will be provided with 53,000  “Bondhu Chula” (clean stoves). There will also be biogas plants and street lights.

Besides, an upazila masterplan will be formulated and developed for the pilot villages that are located in upazilas.


The villages

Eight of the villages have been picked from eight upazilas in eight divisions. Six others are in haor, coastal, hilly, char, barind and beel areas, while another is beside an economic zone, according to the project proposal.

The villages are Bil Chanda in Gopalganj, Hafizpur in Narsingdi, Demura in Netrokona, Shikchail in Cumilla, Char Sharat in Chattogram, Chota Harina in Rangamati, Bagaiya in Sylhet, Shimulbak in Sumamganj, Khordo Chompa in Naogaon, Sondanga in Rajshahi, Pathardubi in Kurigram, Phulchari in Gaibandha, Datinakhali in Satkhira, Tipna in Khulna, and Induria in Barishal.

Calling the project a “commendable initiative”, Selim Raihan, executive director of the South Asian Network on Economic Modeling (Sanem), said the rural economy should be diversified with the modernisation of the agricultural sector.

He also said that if there is no job opportunity or economic activity in villages, the trend of villagers flocking to cities will continue.

Therefore, employment, education and health facilities should also be available in rural areas to make village life attractive, he added.


The selection process

The particulars of the proposal have been finalised after two years of extensive study.

A technical assistance project was taken up in 2021 to assess the feasibility of extending urban facilities to the country’s villages, LGED officials said.

Eight matters related to local government were surveyed under the technical assistance scheme.

The surveys were in communication, growth centre and haat bazar, rural water supply and sanitation, waste management, community space and recreation, rural housing, upazila master plan and capacity building of local government institutions.

Officials said these eight issues are complementary to each other, such as waste management, rural market, and rural housing.

Likewise, good governance at the local level can ensure waste management.

The “My Village My Town” mega plan will gradually include other government agencies to provide modern urban facilities in every village, officials have said.



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