Even in the Covid-19 situation, the government's development campaign activities in rural areas are being further expanded.
The Bangladesh outreach programme is in progress under the project of strengthening publicity activities for the development of rural communities.
The Mass Communication Department has been organising film exhibitions, women's rallies and concerts.
This time the duration of the project is being extended till November 2021. The original term of the project, which started in April 2018, is coming to an end next November.
The cost of the project has been increased from Tk59.63 crore to Tk107.36 crore for expanding the campaign activities to new wards and unions. In this case, the cost is increasing by 80 percent.
The revised proposal for the project will be presented before the National Economic Council meeting for its approval on Tuesday, said sources in the planning division.
According to the people concerned, Covid-19 has become a cause of headaches worldwide.
Bangladesh is now second in South Asia and 15th in the world in coronavirus infection. The country ranks 29th in the world in the list of deaths.
Such activities in rural areas at this time can increase the risk of coronavirus infection, they added.
Professor Muzaherul Huq, former adviser of the WHO's Southeast Asia region, said in the current situation in Bangladesh, no public gatherings can be held.
"This will further increase the transmission of coronavirus. As a result, cultural programmes, concerts and film screenings have to be stopped for the time being," he added.
He further said that health safety rules should be followed for the next two years to deal with the novel coronavirus.
As the reason for revising the project, the revised proposal mentioned that the "Bangladesh Going Forward" outreach programme is being implemented in 4,554 unions across the country. But the wards of various city corporations and municipalities of the country are still left out of it.
Mentioning the need to bring a large number of unions under such a campaign, the amended proposal further said that it was necessary to conduct such activities again in 3,189 wards of 316 municipalities and city corporations and 1,844 unions.
When asked, Akhtar Hossain, director general of the Mass Communication Department, said taking the Covid-19 situation into consideration under the revised project, the publicity will continue through arranging film exhibitions and concerts online, social media, television and billboards.
The main objective of the project is to assist the government in implementing 10 special initiatives of the prime minister at the grassroots level.
The initiatives include: Amar Bari Amar Khamar (my home, my farm), Ashrayan (rehabilitation), Digital Bangladesh, Education Assistance Programme, Women's Empowerment, electricity to every household, Community Clinic, Social Security Programme, Investment Development and Environmental Protection.
These will also assist the government in implementing the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and Vision-2021 across the country.
Under the project, rural people are also being made aware of various diseases, including HIV and STD, basic health, education, child rights, gender equality, women's rights, anti-violence and anti-dowry laws.
The project also aims to raise awareness about militancy, corruption, terrorism, extortion, adulteration of food, trafficking of women and children, drug control, traffic laws, eradication of child marriage and terrorism, tackling the problem of climate change and adapting to the changing situation.
Under the project, various government activities as well as various social issues are being raised.
But at the moment the main problem, namely facing Covid-19, has not been included in the revised project proposal.