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27 February, 2020 12:14:53 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 27 February, 2020 04:05:07 PM

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Delay in power transfer stymies smooth running

Dhaka mayors take oath today, but assume office in May
Harun Ur Rashid, Dhaka
Delay in power transfer stymies smooth running

The elected mayors of Dhaka North City Corpo­ration (DNCC) and Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) will have to wait until May to assume office until the tenure of their predecessors ends. Even though the oath, as per law, will take place within 30 days of publication of the gazette, transfer of power to the newly elected mayors and councillors will not take place due to legal constraints, say sources in the Local Government Division. The division admitted that this delay in taking office by the elected mayor would hamper smooth functioning of the city corporations to provide services to the taxpayers.

The incumbent mayors and councillors of the city corporations cannot take any new decision and will be carrying out routine work of the two civic bodies. Till the arrival of the new set of mayors and councillors, the incumbent mayor of the DSCC and the panel mayor of the DNCC, along with councillors, will be virtually looking into the old files. Sources in the Local Government Division say an incumbent mayor has to resign if he/she again wants to contest for the same post. In parliamentary polls, a lawmaker does not have to resign to contest elections again.

On the other hand, a councillor does not have to resign to contest the polls again, he added. However, the government is planning to amend the Local Government (City Corporation) Act 2009 by removing the provisions that delay power transfer to elected mayors. The government wants to make changes in certain provisions of the law so that elected mayors need not have to wait to assume office after being elected. The elected DNCC and DSCC mayors will have to wait until May to assume office as the tenure of their predecessors would end at that time.

Although the DNCC and DSCC elections were held on February 1 and the Election Commission (EC) published the names of the elected mayors and councillors in the gazette on February 4, oath-taking of the mayors has not yet taken place. However, Local Government Division Senior Secretary Helal Uddin Ahmed informed The Independent that the two mayors would take oath on February 27.

“Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina would administer the oath to the elected mayors on February 27. It’s not too late because oath-taking has to take place within 30 days of publication of the gazette for the elected mayors. Even if the oath is taken soon after the gazette publication, the mayors will have to wait till the expiry of the tenure of their predecessors,” he said.

As per the Provision 7(2) of the Local Government (City Corporation) Act 2009, the government, or any designated authority, would administer the oath to mayors and councillors within 30 days of publication of the names of the mayors or councillors in the gazette. Helal Uddin Ahmed, however, admitted that the smooth functioning of the city corporation is being hampered due to the delay in assuming office by the elected mayors.

“The Prime Minister has directed us to work on certain provisions of the local government law so that smooth functioning of the corporations can be ensured. We have the provision to hold parliamentary polls within 90 days before the tenure of Parliament ends. But this period is 180 days in the case of city corporation polls. We are thinking of making it a 90-day period”, he explained.

As per the Local Government (City Corporation) Act 2009, the tenure of the city corporation is five years after the first meeting of the corporation. The DNCC and DSCC elections were held on April 28, 2015, and the first meeting of the two city corporations was held on May 14 and 17, respectively.

So, DNCC mayor-elect Atiqul Islam will have to wait till May 14, while the DSCC mayor-elect, Fazle Noor Taposh, will have to wait till May 17 to take office. Until that period, outgoing DNCC panel mayor and DSCC mayor Mohammad Sayeed Khokon will carry out the routine work.

Atiqul Islam had to resign to be a candidate to contest the DNCC mayoral post. During the vacancy of the DNCC mayoral post, a panel mayor has been conducting the functioning of the corporation till the appointment of new mayor.

The EC, after being shown the green light by the government, has the legal obligation to hold the city corporation elections within the last six months of its five-year tenure. However, the commission said it holds civic polls after taking into consideration factors like exams, religious festivals, political party activities and many others.

Election Commissioner Brig. Gen. (retd) Shahadat Hossain Chowdhury said: “Our duty is to hold polls. We do it at our suitable time following the laws. Holding of polls is a huge task. We need to consider various factors like public exams, religious festivals, political party activities, availability of halls. Besides, at least 40-45 days are needed to hold the polls after announcement of the schedule.”

LGRD Secretary Helal Uddin Ahmed said the government wants to streamline the legal constraints to hold the civic polls within a short period. “If we can shorten the period, it will hasten transfer of power to the newly elected mayors. We have taken a decision to amend the local government law in the near future to remove such barriers. The proper functioning of the corporation is hampered and people don’t get optimum services due to delay in transfer of power. We need to amend the law,” he added.

JG

 

 

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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