Dhaka city sliced into two

November 30, 2011

JS passes bill in a hurry
Parliament on Tuesday passed the Local Government (City Corporation) (Amendment) Bill 2011 dividing Dhaka City Corporation into two entities.
The passage of the bill empowered the government to remove the mayor and councillors and appoint two administrators from civil servants or people it deems competent for the two corporations and they would run the two corporations until elections are held in 90 days.
The bill was passed in one of the shortest sittings of parliament amid absence of leftist members of the ruling alliance and the opposition.
Resuming the session at around 4:30pm, speaker Abdul Hamid, postponed question- answer session and discussion on public importance notices and asked the minister for local government and rural development, Syed Ashraful Islam, to move the bill for passage.
After the bill was passed, Ashraf said the government shortly after gazette notification would appoint administrators for DCC North and DCC South. He also said that the government would also request the Election Commission to take steps to hold polls to the two city corporations in 90 days.
The bill was passed by voice vote without discussion on the amendment proposals brought by Workers Party lawmaker Rashed Khan Menon, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal’s Hasanul Huq Inu, JSD’s Mainuddin Khan Badal and Shah Zikrul Hasan, Jamaat-e-Islami lawmaker Hamidur Rahman Azad and independent member Fazlul Azim for their absence.
Before the passage of the bill, Syed Ashraf said he had come with preparations to defend the rationale for splitting Dhaka City Corporation. ‘There are many hard talks in media and talk-shows. I would have spoken on the issue if the members, who brought amendment proposals, had been present. There is no tradition that a minister speaks when the members bringing amendment proposals are absent,’ he said and sought the speaker’s permission to speak a few words. But the speaker asked him to table the bill for passage.
According to the bill, the DCC will be divided into
Dhaka (North) City Corporation and Dhaka (South) City Corporation. The Dhaka (North) city would be comprised of wards 1-55and Dhaka (South) city would get wards 56-92.
The government will appoint any civil servants or persons it deems competent as administrators of the corporations for 90 days.
It would empower the government to create two new city corporations and formulate the rules for running them.
The bill stipulates dividing the assets and liabilities, the records, documents and other materials of Dhaka City Corporation between the two new city corporations.
The standing committee on local government and rural development ministry on Monday returned the bill to the house after scrutiny.
The state minister for LGRD Jahangir Kabir Nanak had introduced the bill in the house on November 23. On October 31, the cabinet approved the bill to divide the city of Dhaka.
The amendment to the law has empowered the government to remove the elected mayor of Dhaka, Sadeque Hossain Khoka as well as the 123 elected councillors of the city.
After the passage of the bill, the speaker adjourned the session till 4:15pm today.
After adjournment of the session, the speaker said it was probably the shortest session. ‘It is very rare,’ he said.
‘I had postponed the question-answer and discussion notices to give time to the discussion on amendment proposals, but the members who submitted them did not turn up. So, the sitting was shortened,’ he said.
Rashed Khan Menon resented the passage of the bill in an ‘unusual hurry’.
‘I wanted to move a proposal for an assessment of public opinions before passage of the bill to split the city and I took preparations as well for that. But the bill was passed much before it was scheduled to be passed in parliament on Tuesday,’ Menon said.
‘When I entered parliament I found the bill passed,’ he added.
‘This is unwarranted. Such an important bill should not have been passed in a hurry,’ Menon said.
He said, ‘Opinions should have been taken from the people and their representatives and other stakeholders before the passage of the bill.’

-With New Age input

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