Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam told reporters the amendment has been approved to stop pouroshova chairmen from staying in office for more than 5 years
The Cabinet on Monday gave final approval to the Local Government (Pourosova) (Amendment) Bill, 2021, aiming to strictly follow the system of holding local government polls every five years.
The PM joined the meeting from her official residence Ganabhaban. Other Cabinet members attended at the Bangladesh Secretariat.
Briefing reporters after the meeting, Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam said it has been seen that some pourosova chairmen go to court at the end of their tenure and restrict the holding of the next election.
He added that some chairmen had stayed in office for more than five years, up to even 15-16 years, taking the scope of a clause in the existing law that stated that the present chairman will remain in chair till the next election.
“To stop this practice, the government has made this amendment to the 2009 law,” he said.
The proposed law said that after the five-year term, the government would be able to appoint an administrator either from the government services, with administrative experience, or any other eligible person.
“The appointed administrator will remain in the post for a maximum of six months and elections have to be held by this time,” the cabinet secretary said.
The meeting also decided to make the eligibility for enlistment of any new pourosova 1,500 people per square kilometre from 2000.
It also changed the name of pourosova member to pouro executive officer.
Furthermore, it was decided that the proposed law would include another clause that if any pourosova fails to pay the salaries and other wages of its officers and employees for 12 months, then the government may abolish its status as a pourosova.
The Cabinet meeting gave approval of the draft of Essential Services Act, 2021 integrating Essential Services Maintenance Act, 1952 and The Essential Services (Second Ordinance), 1958.
After passage of this proposed law, the cabinet secretary said the government will be able to declare any service essential, when it will be necessary.
He said that the essential services will include post, telecommunications, internet service, ICT, digital services, mobile financial services, digital financial services, power generation and distribution-related services, railways, passenger and goods transportation through water, road and airways.
Khandker Anwarul said that the government can declare this essential status for a maximum of six months.
After the declaration, there will be no strike, shut off and lay off in that service.
Any breach of this law will be punishable by fines from Tk25,000 to Tk50,000, six months imprisonment or both for workers.
For the business owners, the punishment is Tk100,000 maximum or one year imprisonment or both.
For illegal strikes, the punishment will be expulsion from the job, six months imprisonment or Tk25,000 fine or both.
If anyone instigates a breach of the law, that person will be fined Tk50,000 or one year imprisonment or both.
The Cabinet also approved the Chittagong Division Development Board Ordinance, 1976 (repeal) Act, 2021 which will abolish the existing law as per the directives of the court that said all laws enacted during military regimes will be scrapped.
The cabinet secretary said that the meeting also discussed the offers from some African countries, including South Sudan, to take leases of agricultural land and produce agricultural products.
Prime Minister Sheijh Hasina asked the Foreign Ministry, Agriculture Ministry and Commerce Ministry to look after the matter quickly and explore the opportunity.
She also asked to find more markets for the country’s agricultural products.
In this connection, she mentioned that Scandinavian countries welcome Bangladesh’s vegetables.
The government has allotted two acres of land in Purbachal to Agriculture Ministry to establish an international standard laboratory to test and give certificates to the outgoing products of the country for expediting export.
The meeting also discussed the delay of resuming classes of universities of the country.
The Cabinet secretary said that the Education Minister informed the meeting that resumption of class in any university depends on the decision of its syndicate.
She also said that the delay in reopening academic activities in the universities might have occurred due to the bad condition of student dormitories as those were under lock and key for more than one and a half years.
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She also said that the government has already announced two public examinations and those will be held at the right time if the situation goes like the present condition or improves further.
“There will be no problem in holding examinations if there is no sudden deterioration in the situation,” the cabinet secretary said.
The PM also asked the Health Ministry to explore the technical side to give vaccine to people aged under-18.
The Cabinet also gave approval to ratify article 29 of the forceful labour related ILO convention 1930.
This ratification will ease the country's export in the European countries as they gave condition to ratify it for sending products to their countries.