The government in line with its electoral pledge is giving special importance to making urban facilities available in rural areas. According to a Daily Sun report, General Economics Division (GED), the apex public sector think tank, is now drawing up the 8th five-year plan focusing on rural development to be implemented from 2021-2025.
Bangladesh has already made considerable headway in developing rural areas. Road communication has been improved, as a result people can easily move from city to rural areas. Especially, farmers can send their produce to cities and get better price.Meanwhile, electrification has brought about almost revolutionary change in rural areas. Even a decade ago darkness would engulf the villages and the villagers would go to bed as soon as the sun set. But now, village hubs like Bazars remain abuzz with different kinds of activities till mid-night. Moreover, people in rural areas are now availing themselves of ICT facilities thanks to widespread uses of smart phones and internet penetration. Better communications network and ICT has helped narrow the rural-urban gap in recent times.
Development of strong network of community health clinics is another milestone in rural development. But absence of doctors in those community clinics remains a cause for concern.
Overall, the government’s continued focus and rural development has helped alleviate poverty to a great extent. As a matter of fact the rural poverty is going down, but urban poverty is on the rise. It is a common tendency for the poor and homeless in the villages to head for Dhaka to escape miseries. But in city slums, living condition is far worse than that of villages. Therefore, policymakers should also spare some thoughts to improve the living standard of urban poor.
In the end we welcome the government’s development initiative in rural areas, but at the same time it must be ensured that the rivers and canals, plants and environment, and overall scenic beauty of our villages are not destroyed in the name of development.