d) Integration of administration, cooperatives and training
at the Thana Training and Development Centre
One of the most important features of the Comilla model
is the integration of the new institutions at the Thana Training
and Development Centre. This Centre comprises
- The Thana Council, the local government council, where
government officers sit together with representatives of
the people for planning, coordination and Supervision of
development activities, including such programmes as the
Rural Works Programme and the Thana Irrigation Programme.
- The Government Thana Development Team, consisting of
the Thana level officers of various technical departmentsm
under the chairmanship of the Circle Officer (Dev.). They
provide the technical services of the government departments
at local level, alive departmental support to activities
and participate extensively in the training courses.
- The Thana Central Cooperative Association, with its units,
supports, with the assistance of the village cooperatives,
the economic activities of its members by means such as
supervised credit, supply of machines, organizing supply.
marketing and processing and by extensive training and extension
- The Thana Training Centre which enlisting the services
of the departmental officers organizes and supplies the
continuous training for the representatives of the peasants
who are supposed to pass an their fresh knowledge to their
The fact that these institutions are housed in one building
as well as the involvement of officers of one section in the
activities of other sections, especially in the training process,
contribute much towards the integration of the modern public
administration, the government efforts in rural development
and the private efforts of the people within the framework
of the cooperatives.
The model thus described underwent some changes in the course
of time but, basically, has been operating for about ten years.
In principle, it has proved to be very successful and the
Comilla Academy has been a meeting place for professionals
in rural development from all over the world. In recent years,
efforts have been made to enlarge the scheme and implement
it in some other Thanas. These activities are still in Progress.
Parts of the concepts have been taken over by other parties
in their efforts towards rural development.
It seems that the most important features of the Comilla
approach can be summarized under four points:
- A modern type of rural administration which is able to
tope with the comprehensive task of rural development involving
all government departments, the local self-government units
and private efforts for development is a constitutive factor.
Without proper coordination and an administrative unit small
enough to understand the local problems, but Tarne enough
to permit economic activities of some scale, the efforts
made with the best intentions will only be piecemeal.
- In view of the limited possibilities of the individual
small peasants, a cooperative system has been developed
with a strong centre for the business and training activities
and village societies to provide for organized groups who
facilitate the work of the central cooperative. To organize
these village cooperatives, local persons are elected to
serve as change agents instead of trained Outsiders. The
cooperative system enforces strict discipline and assigns
tasks and duties.
- Rural development is understood in terms of investment.
In view of the high amount of capital needed, not only public
capital is supplied, but efforts are made to form private
capital by a system of regular, compulsory saving.
- The provision of credit and supplies is matched by a
regular training programme to ensure proper use and, therefore,
success of the input and to enable the timely repayment
of loans. Together with the strict enforcement of repayments,
this contributes to the successful work of the cooperatives.