RAJSHAHI, Apr 4: Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) is implementing an integrated rural development (IRD) project in greater Rajshahi division with an aim to improve overall living and livelihood condition of the rural people in general.
The seven-year project titled "Greater Rajshahi Division Integrated Rural Development" is being implemented in 31 upazilas in Rajshahi, Natore, Naogaon and Chapinawabganj districts with an estimated cost of about Tk 205.35 crore.
Islamic Development Bank (IDB) has been extending financial support worth around Tk 137.30 crore to implement the project that is being executed with the main thrust of increasing rural income and reducing rural poverty through sustainable economic growth and rural development.
There are various infrastructure development and awareness building works in the uplift scheme like upazila and union road, bridge and culvert on the upazila, union and village roads, rural market, tree plantation, sanitary latrine, tube-well installation, livelihood and pro-poor institutional development.
More than 64-kilometre upazila roads and 222-kilometre union roads alongside 986-metre bridges and culverts are being constructed for overall improvement of transport network of the rural area.
The improved transportation network will facilitate reducing the transportation cost and creating marketing facility of the produce.
A total of 31 rural markets are being improved to create short- and long -term employment opportunity, socioeconomic development, and poverty alleviation. Participation of beneficiaries including women and local government institutions in planning, implementation and maintenance activities of the project will be intensified.
To this end, community people are being imparted training on campaigning and awareness building on health and nutrition. Through road maintenance, interests of the beneficiary market labourers' group and women market traders along with poor women traders are being protected.
There is also provision of strengthening the institutional capacities and skills of project beneficiaries, local government institutions in planning and implementing agency.
Roadside tree plantation activities on the 159-kilometre improved roads are progressing successfully that will ultimately help reduce carbon emission at a substantial level, and that is very important to face the adverse impact of climate change in the vast Barind tract.
Tube-well and sanitary latrines are being provided to more than 7,120 poor and marginalised households for livelihood and pro-poor institutional development.
Thereby, occurrence of water-borne diseases will be decreased while safe-drinking water supply infrastructure will face the existing water-stress challenge.
The scheme is working for capacity building and institutional development through providing training to the union parishad representatives, LGED officials and community groups.
At least 70 per cent work on the scheme have so far been completed, the sources said, adding, implementation of these schemes would, in fact, further strengthen the overall activities of local government bodies and rural markets at the grassroots level.
Ali Ahmed, Superintending Engineer of LGED, here told BSS that the ongoing project is expected to be completed in near future. On competition, the project will contribute enormously to raising standard of living in the remote villages, he said. ?BSS