Upazila Nirbahi Officer

Upazila Nirbahi Officer chief executive of an upazila (sub-district), a newly created post in accordance with a decision made by the military regime of General hussein mohammad ershad. In 1982, the Ershad government constituted a committee for administrative reorganisation and reform. One of the major recommendations of the committee was to have a representative body called upazila parishad (council) under a directly elected chairman. The government did accept this recommendation and accordingly a post, designated first as Thana Nirbahi Officer (thana executive officer) but later renamed as Upazila Nirbhahi Officer (UNO), was created in each of the existing thanas (later upgraded and renamed as upazila) outside the metropolitan areas. About the same time all the existing subdivisions were upgraded and converted into districts. Responsibilities for all development activities at local level were transferred to the upazila parishads. It was also decided that the UNO should continue to act as chairman of upazila parishad till such time an elected chairman takes office.

The UNOs were normally posted from among the senior scale officers of the administration cadre of the Bangladesh Civil Service. The charter of duties of UNO stipulated him to perform such functions as to: (i) act as staff officer to the elected chairman of upazila parishad and thus in that capacity assist the chairman in implementing all policies and decisions of the parishad; (ii) assist the parishad/chairman in supervising all upazila level administrative/ development work and in preparing as well a coordinated upazila development plan; (iii) exercise powers under section 144 of criminal procedure code and sit in court to perform functions such as taking cognizance of cases, hearing bail matters, granting adjournment, etc in times when the upazila magistrate is unable to attend the court; (iv) initiate annual confidential reports (ACR) of all thana level officers except the munsiff-magistrate; (v) attend emergency duties such as relief work following natural calamities and receive food and other materials for distribution under the direction of upazila parishad/chairman; (vi) supervise and control revenue and budget administration; (vii) ensure the observance of all government directives on upazila administration; (viii) co-ordinate all upazila level training activities; (ix) grant casual leave and countersign as well the travelling allowance bills of the heads of all functional departments except that of the munsiff; (x) act as drawing and disbursing officer in respect of officers and staff working directly under him; (xi) supervise activities of the officers and staff working under him; (xii) protocol duties; and finally (xiii) perform such other functions as what would be entrusted to him by the government or the upazila parishad/chairman.

It should be noted, however, that the designation 'upazila nirbahi officer' changed to 'thana nirbahi officer'; consequent upon the abolition of the upazila system in the early 1990s, but this changed designation reverted to 'upazila nirbahi officer'; since the late nineties. [AMM Shawkat Ali]