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Based on the general understanding that elected Ward Commissioners as well as officials of Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) were not properly oriented to the city problems and needs of the people, a study was undertaken by CUS for LIFE-UNDP, Bangladesh to identify important areas of training which the ward commissioners and DCC officials need for addressing the problems.
There are two types of personnel working in DCC. The first category consists of elected representatives headed by the Mayor, while the second category consists of appointed personnel, who constitute the bulk of the manpower as well as the backbone of the work force.
The study reveals that there is a gap in perceiving city problems between DCC officials and Ward Commissioners. There are two dimensions of the problems of DCC. The first category of problems is related to the development of city, in terms of providing various services to the people and second category of the problems are those related to governance. The study shows a clear line between the officials and ward commissioners in giving importance on the city problems.
The major problems of DCC are inadequate and unskilled manpower. In fact, DCC employees seriously lack organizational capacity to face the challenge of city development. Key positions are filled with the officials sent on deputation from the central government. Many of them are efficient and dynamic but it has been observed that many lack commitment towards DCC. Among the comparatively lower level officials, many were promoted from clerical jobs, and the lack vision and commitment. There is also a gap between the perception of DCC problems and the areas of proposed training they need. It was evident from the study that though they have identified some serious problems of DCC, they have failed to recognize as how to handle these problems.
More than half of the respondents reported that they had received training. Those who received training, majority of them showed interest in computer training, followed by financial management. Most of these trainings were conducted by the government through its own departments such as LGED, NILG and PATC. Others were arranged by universities, research institutes, NGOs and donor agencies. The city corporation has also conducted training for their officials.
The ward commissioners’ perception about the city problems is somewhat different from those of the DCC officials. However, the problems identified by the ward commissioners, mainly touches upon those related to civil work, such as construction and repair of roads, drains, and road carpeting, etc. In terms of training, the ward commissioners in general are not very keen. They however, admitted that training may sharpen their ideas. They in fact need to be motivated to think beyond receiving contracts for civil works (which may also be necessary) and work for the overall improvement of the city’s environmental quality and participatory governance. Training is necessary to this end.