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Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) and Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE) are jointly implementing the project that will end in February 2022.

Under the project, the government will appoint 13 consultants for overseeing the formulation of guidelines or policies as well as survey work.

Outlining the plan for turning villages into towns, Md Tajul Islam told BSS in an interview that 15 villages are being taken up under the pilot project to expand the modern city facilities to each village and those services will gradually be expanded to all other villages.

He said the project was approved in February and appointment of consultants and preparation of pilot village project proposal are in progress.

Tajul Islam also said as per the AL’s electoral manifesto to turn villages into towns, the government is formulating different plans and boosting up previous ones to strengthen local government bodies to ensure transparency, accountability and raising people’s participation in every development step.

With a view to attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and alleviating poverty, the government is boosting up the cooperatives at villages and in remote areas across the country, he said.

“The LGRD and cooperatives ministry has been implementing different projects to reach urban facilities including health services, education, information and communication technology (ICT), recreation centres and other public services at the doorsteps of rural people,” Tajul Islam said.

He said prime minister Sheikh Hasina’s 10 initiatives – One House One Farm and Rural Saving Bank, Sheltering (Asroyon) Project, Education Assistance Programme, Women Empowerment, Electricity to Every House, Community Clinic and Mental Health Social Safety Net Programme, Investment and Environment Protection – are being implemented to turn Bangladesh into a developed country by 2041.

Tajul Islam said works are underway to set up 100 economic zones and different mega projects are being implemented to create employment opportunities and achieve the Vision-2041.

He further said megaprojects including Payra port in Patuakhali, Matarbari deep sea port, Rampal power plant and Matarbari power plant projects are under implementation.

The rural problems are multifarious in nature but the solutions are very less, he said, adding that technological advancements along with increase in literacy in rural areas are the best tools to get rid of the prevailing problems.

The minister said the government is working to mitigate the problems and ensure all facilities in rural areas like in the urban areas.

Project director of the ‘My Village My Town Technical Assistance’ project Abul Monzur M Sadeque said they will prepare the pilot project ‘Detailed Project Plan (DPP)’ within five months as per the proposed technical assistance project.

Eight villages from low-lying areas of the eight divisions will be selected while five villages will be taken from delta plan hotspots like haor, char, hill, coast, barind, midland beels and two villages from adjoining areas of the economic zones.

Under the project, Sadeque said, villages are being selected according to geographical location, poverty situation and indicators of backwardness.

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