Upazila (Bengali: উপজেলা pronounced: upojela lit. sub-district), formerly called thana (Bengali: থানা), is a geographical region in Bangladesh used for administrative or other purposes. They function as sub-units of districts. Their functionality can be seen to be analogous to that of a county or a borough of Western countries.
Bangladesh, at present, has 489 upazilas. The upazilas are the second lowest tier of regional administration in Bangladesh. The administrative structure consists in fact in Divisions (8), Districts (64), Upazila/Thana and Union Parishads (UPs). This system of devolution was introduced by the former military ruler and President of Bangladesh, Lieutenant General Hossain Mohammad Ershad, in an attempt to strengthen local government.
Below UPs, villages (gram) and para exist, but these have no administrative power and elected members. The Local Government Ordinance of 1982 was amended a year later, redesignating and upgrading the existing thanas as upazilas.
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