3.b) The new rural administration scheme
Traditionally, the role pf the Government was centred an
the maintenance pf law and order and the collection of revenue.
Economic and welfare activities played a minor role. The structure
of the administration reflected this conception of the role
of Government. The lowest level with the full fledged administration
was a district, a unit far away from the villages and the
people, with about 3.5 million inhabitants and about 6,000
villages. Below, at the Thana level, only police and revenue
departments were existing. As this does net meet the requirements
of a rapid economic development, a new model for rural administration
has been set up in Comilla as an experiment.
First. the Thana, a unit with about 200,000 inhabitants.
has been considered close enough to the rural population and
large enough for the organization of developmental activities.
A new full fledged tier of administration has been developed
at the Thana level with
- The Thana Cpuncil as a local government council consisting
of IB to 20 elected and appointed members and government
officers. This council is the planning, coordinating and
supervisory authority for the developmental activities of
- The Circle Officer (Dev.) as chief and coordinator of
all government officers with tasks related to development.
- The Thana development team consisting of the government
officers in charge of agriculture, animal husbandry, veterinary
medicine, forestry, fisheries, plant protection, cooperatives,
education, etc. The officers of all these departments have
been concentrated at the Thana headquarters to allow a close
This new administrative organization proved very successfu7.
The closeness to the village caused realistic planning and
awareness of the real needs. The integration of the Thana
Council and of the Union Council part of the Thana council
members are chairmen of Union Councils provided for an uninterrupted
line of communication and information. The new administrative
tier at Thana level became especial1y effective when the rural
works programme brought funds into its hands. This programme
provided for the construction of roads, drains, sma11 irrigation
schemes and public buildings and was planned and executed
at the Union Council's level. The Thana Council acted as sanctioning
agency, provided the funds and controlled the execution. Projects
involving larger expenses or areas with several Union Councils
were planned by the Thana Council, This rural works programme
not only improved the infrastructure, gave employment and
income, but also showed to people that something could be
dome by the local government to improve the living conditions
of the population,