1,000 more unions to be taken under ICT facilities

Against the backdrop of tremendous success in 30 unions, ICT facilities will be expanded to 1,000 more unions in the country.

The Local Government Division under the LGRD and Cooperatives Ministry has taken up the initiative to set up union information centres (UICs) in 1,000 more unions in line with the present government’s vision to build ‘Digital Bangladesh’ by 2021, official sources told BSS on Tuesday.

With the setting up of the UICs, the sources said, a huge number of people will get offline and online facilities such as different government forms and information about agriculture, health, education, legal aid, human rights and employment.

Besides, services like compose, printing, photo scanning, e- mail, internet browsing and multimedia projector will be provided to the rural people at a nominal cost.

The sources said such information centres were set up earlier in 30 unions of the country under the joint initiative of the Access to Information (A2I) Programme of the Prime Minister’s Office and the National Institute of Local Government (NILG).

The UNDP has been providing financial as well as technical assistance to this end, the sources added.

The unions are Chamta under Naria upazila in Shariatpur, Dhipur under Tongibari upazila in Munshiganj, Amirganj under Raipura upazila in Narsingdi, Barahar under Ullapara upazila in Sirajganj, Barakanda under Meghna upazila in Comilla, Shilkhali under Pekua upazila in Cox’s Bazar, Satbaria under Sujanagar upazila in Pabna, Kamarpur under Syedpur upazila in Nilphamari, Shahapara under Gaibandha Sadar upazila in Gaibandha, Tepriganj under Debiganj upazila in Panchagarh, Badalgachhi Sadar union under Badagachhi upazila in Naogaon, Shilmaria under Puthia upazila in Rajshahi, Ghoshgaon under Dhobaura upazila in Mymemnsingh, Noapara under Kendua upazila in Netrakona, Boalmari Sadar union under Boalmari upazila in Faridpur, Ganapaddi under Nakla upazila in Sherpur, Goila under Agailjhara upazila in Barisal, Chilaura Haldipur under Jagannathpur upazila in Sunamganj, Latachapali under Kalapara upazila in Patuakhali, Bishnupur under Badarganj upazila in Rangpur, Patgati under Tungipara upazila in Goplaganj, Jashodal under Kishoreganj Sadar upazila in Kishoreganj, Dehunda under Karimganj upazila in Kishoreganj, Naihati and Jalma under Rupsha upazila in Khulna, Batiaghata under Batiaghata upazila in Khulna, Basanda and Ansiri under Jhalakathi Sadar upazila in Jhalakathi, Paikara under Kalihati upazila in Tangail and Chanchra under Jessore Sadar upazila in Jessore.

The most modern technology has brought about a revolutionary change in the life and living of one million people of 30 unions, said Manik Mahmud, a consultant of A2I Programme.

“The people of these unions now get all information about agriculture, education, health, business, sports through the UICs and make invaluable contribution to the socio-economic development,” he said.

Earlier, community-based e-centres (CECs) were set up in two unions under a pilot project of Democratic Government Thematic Trust Fund (DGTTF) in May 2007 with a view to reaching the ICT facilities to the doorstep of rural people.

The unions were Madhainagar under Tarash upazila in Sirajganj district and Mushidhat under Setabganj upazila in Dinajpur district.

Later, the CECs were included in the Driver Project of A2I Programme with the financial assistance of the UNDP, the sources said.

“The people of my union are being benefited immensely through the CEC as they get information easily about agriculture, health, education, law, human rights, employment and marketing,” said Mohammad Waheduzzaman, Chairman of Madhainagar UP.

Earlier, people of the union had to go to upazila headquarters for such information and different government forms like passport and driving licence but they can now collect those from the CEC, he said, adding it has given the union a new lease on life which was almost dead two years ago.