Field-level land admin in disarrayMustafizur Rahman
The absence of assistant commissioners (land) in almost a half of the upazilas is ‘seriously affecting services to the public and pushing field-level land administrations into disarray.’
Two hundred and sixty-two upazilas, out of the total 482, do not have assistant commissioners (land), who are responsible for settling land disputes, collecting revenue, reclaiming government land and updating land records, a senior land ministry official said.
‘We are told that the public administration did not have sufficient number of officials eligible for the post of AC (land)… UNOs are discharging the responsibilities of AC (land) as the post in many upazilas are vacant,’ senior secretary to the land ministry Md Mokhlesur Rahman told New Age on Wednesday.
He said that land-related services to the public were being affected in many areas as UNOs, who have many things to do, could not give full attention to the job of an AC (land).
In a major policy shift, the government has recently decided not to post new recruits in the administration cadre to positions of AC (land), vulnerable to corruptions and irregularities, and directed upazila nirbahi officers to carry out responsibilities of the AC (land) in addition to their routine duties, a senior official said.
A senior assistant secretary, who has recently been withdrawn from the field administration, said that the absence of AC (land) was seriously affecting services to the public and pushing the field-level land administration into disarray. The official had worked in capacities of both UNO and AC (land) for around three years.
There were widespread allegations that many of the assistant commissioners got involved in corruption in the initial days of their career once they were appointed AC (land).
‘We are not providing the land ministry with officials now for their appointment as AC (land). We are rather discouraging appointment
to the post as UNOs could discharge the responsibilities of the AC (land),’ senior secretary to the public administration ministry Abdus Sobhan Sikder said.
He told New Age that the land administration work was more delicate and complex and it required some experiences to perform better in the position of AC (land).
The land secretary in writing requested the public administration secretary three months ago to provide officials )holding the rank of assistant secretary) for posting as AC (land) to the field administration as 200 posts have been lying vacant for more than a year, a land ministry official said.
A number of UNOs said that they had already been overburdened with the responsibilities and it was very tough for them to work as AC (land) in addition to their routine duties.
‘We need to carry out the responsibilities of the assistant commissioners (land) in addition to their regular duties that include coordination among different departments and the monitoring of development activities at the local level,’ a UNO said.
He said their major duties also included conducting all public examinations and running mobile courts against various crimes.
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