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Damodor: A union that successfully implements dev programmes
Raihan M Chowdhury

Damodar, a union parishad (UP) under Fultala upazila in Khulna district is successfully implementing its development programmes as outlined in its budget, prepared locally, for fiscal 2005-06.
"We have learned how to prepare and implement a budget for the first time under a project titled 'Rural Infrastructure Improvement Project (RIIP)," Damodar UP chairman Abu Sayed Badal told this correspondent during a visit there recently.
RIIP, one of the Asian Development Bank's (ADB) outreach programmes, is being executed by the Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) of the Bangladesh government.
The UP chairman and other local leaders of the union said they are happy that they do not have to depend on the government for preparation of local budget.
"We were totally ignorant about tax assessment system, income source and accounts of our local financial management, but now we are aware about the issues as RIIP has enlightened us about them," Lipi Begum, a member of the Damodar UP said.
The RIIP also known as RDP-25 is being implemented in 16 southwestern districts covering 25 per cent and 18 per cent area and population respectively of the country.
The project is being financed by ADB, German-based KfW and GTZ and the Bangladesh government. Of the total cost, ADB contributed 51.2 per cent, KfW 12.8 per cent, GTZ 5.1 per cent and the government of Bangladesh 30.9 per cent.
The project will be implemented in period between July 2003 and June 2009.
Rahmatpur union of Babuganj upazila under Barisal district has also excelled in realisation of taxes under local initiatives.
Rahmatpur Union chairman Mostafa Kamal encouraged the villagers of his union through advertisement on tax payment.
The advertisement had warned that the inhabitants will not get any cooperation from the UP office unless they pay 'UP tax' effective from January 1, 2005.
The local UP leaders convinced the people that their taxes will be utilised for development of their own area.
Documents like financial guidelines, model tax schedule, tax assessment and collection strategy etc were distributed among the UP leaders to strengthen the financial base of local government system.
Project director Md Abdus Shaheed said the main objectives of the RIIP are to promote overall development of transportation system, help rural poor people in poverty reduction, strengthen the institutional capacity of LGED and other local government institutions and encourage women's participation in tree plantation and nursing activities.