Bangladesh Braces for Elections: Government Agencies Seek Additional Funds
In Bangladesh, the political unrest and impending elections have led to a surge in funding requests from various government agencies. Amidst the brewing chaos, Deputy Commissioners (DCs) and Upazila Nirbahi Officers (UNOs) are seeking additional allocations to cover escalating fuel expenses, critical for maintaining order during hartals (strikes) and blockades, and crucial for carrying out election duties. This request arrives in conjunction with the police’s plea for funds to purchase 28 double cabin pick-up vehicles, earmarked for election-related activities.
A Tightening Financial Grip
These requests transpire during a time when the government is grappling with financial challenges and striving to reduce expenditures. The Ministry of Public Administration has approached the Ministry of Finance for an additional Tk10 crore allocation to meet the expenses of election duties at the field level, as requested by the DCs and UNOs. The rationale provided advocates the increased scope of various interdepartmental coordination work, including the inspection of development projects, operation of mobile courts to maintain law and order, administration of administrative duties, and handling visits of VIPs and high-ranking officials.
Security Forces in Need of Support
Adding to the chorus of financial pleas, the Bangladesh Ansar and Village Defence Party (VDP), a paramilitary auxiliary force, requires Tk1.28 crore every two days. This funding is essential to sustain the Ansar personnel deployed at strategic locations, such as railway stations and ferry terminals, under Operation Safe Movement. The VDP has reached out to the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Finance, stressing the necessity of additional funding during the ongoing political unrest.
Elections Amidst Unrest
In the face of this tumultuous political climate, the general sentiment surrounding the impending elections remains conflicted. The main Opposition, the Bangladesh Nationalists Party (BNP), has been capitalizing on the unrest and has initiated a two-day general strike. The strike demands the resignation of the incumbent Awami League-ruled government and the conduct of general elections under a care taker government. The ready-made garment (RMG) sector’s workers, one of Bangladesh’s largest labour forces, are also demanding a tripling of their legally mandated minimum wages. This adds another layer to the complex socio-political milieu Bangladesh is currently navigating.
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