For long our policymakers have tinkered with the idea of narrowing the gap between rural and urban development, but no concrete steps in this regard met our eyes so far. Things may change now as the issue of rural development is one of the focal points of Awami League’s election manifesto. In sequel to its election pledge, the AL government is reportedly going to unveil its 1st budgetary plan focusing on reducing the gap between rural and urban facilities for reaching the benefits of development to the doorsteps of the common people.
The rural areas can be called granary of the country because it is the source of almost all of our food items. Farmers work hard to feed the entire country. But yet what they receive in return is disappointing, to say the least. Oftentimes they don’t get fair price of their produce, let alone receiving better opportunities in terms of education for their children; and infrastructure, healthcare and other living facilities are also few and far between.Although things have changed for the better in the last 10 years, it is not still good enough. Earlier we used to see outbreak of monga (seasonal starvation) in the northern region. Now there is no such crisis. But there are many more things that should be dealt with. For example, we have a network of community health clinics in rural areas, but doctors’ absence is a major problem. Similarly, there is a notable progress in installation of power poles with electric wires, but load shedding is a daily despair. Farmers cannot preserve their produce in absence of adequate number of warehouses. The government should deal with these issues urgently.
Besides, agro-based processing industries can be set up in rural areas. Cotton, silk and woollen textiles, or vegetable oil industries which are based on agricultural raw materials may find a suitable place in the northern region. We would like to draw the attention of the government and also of the private entrepreneurs in this regard.
The country’s administration, education, economy and almost everything revolves around the capital. With this centralised attitude, not only are we becoming heavily dependent on our capital city, but also undermining potentials of other regions. It is time to discover the potentials of other regions by drawing a balance between rural and urban development.