'No one will be homeless in this country, everyone will get an address of his or her own,' says the premier
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday handed over 53,340 more houses to landless and homeless families as a part of her government's pledge of not letting anyone remain homeless in the country.
“Nobody will remain landless, homeless and shelterless in the country of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. My government is working to ensure that goal,” she said.
The premier inaugurated the distribution of tin-shed pucca houses on two decimals of land under the second phase of the Ashrayan 2 project on a virtual platform joining from her official Ganabhaban residence in Dhaka.
The government is also working to ensure shelter for the homeless people of the city’s slum, she said, adding: “I am trying to give the state’s wealth to the wealthless people living across the country. No one will be homeless in this country, everyone will get an address of his or her own.”
She also said that the shelterless people will get included in the mainstream through this process. "The ultra-poor are gradually learning to stand on their feet …they’re coming up…that’s what we want."
The prime minister urged the rich and wealthy people of the country to stand beside the government to make this housing project successful.
She mentioned that the government’s main target is to improve the living standard of the people at the grassroots by engaging them in livelihood activities.
The economic policy of the government is to ensure resources up to the rural level in addition to ensuring their access to education and healthcare, Hasina said. “That's the policy of the Awami League and that’s what the Father of the Nation taught us.”
"When one gets a house, he or she is thrilled with joy and happiness, and that becomes visible on their smiling faces. I want nothing more than that," she said.
Hasina said the departed soul of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman will be in peace when every person of the country have their own home.
She said natural calamities like cyclone, tidal surge, riverbank erosion and flooding cause sufferings to people and leave them homeless frequently as Bangladesh is a calamity-prone country. "Our aim is to ensure homes for them, rehabilitate them by ensuring livelihood options for them."
Hasina said the government has set its goal to make Bangladesh free from poverty and the government is doing everything to achieve that.
The prime minister's Principal Secretary Ahmad Kaikaus, who moderated Sunday's function, gave a PowerPoint presentation on the project that he described as an inclusive development model formulated by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Ashrayan 2 project
On January 23, over 69,904 homeless and landless families had also received houses from the prime minister under the first phase of the project on the occasion of the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Besides, 100,000 more houses will be given by December as part of the government’s move to rehabilitate the country’s homeless people.
Under the scheme, joint ownership of two-decimal land alongside a modern abode will also be given to both husband and wife of each family.
Each family is getting assets worth some Tk2.6 lakh, as the value of two-decimal land is on an average of Tk50,000. The construction cost of every house is nearly Tk2 lakh, while the cost of utility connection (electricity and gas) is around Tk10,000.
Sheikh Hasina had undertaken the Ashrayan project in 1997 and a total of 373,562 houses have so far been given to homeless and landless families under the project run by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).
On Sunday, the highest 12,436 houses were given in Rangpur Division, while 10,547 in Chittagong, 7,630 in Dhaka, 7,172 in Rajshahi, 7,153 in Barisal, 911 in Khulna, 2512 in Mymensingh and 1979 in Sylhet Division.
According to the lists prepared under the Ashrayan project, the number of homeless and landless families (under Class Ka) is 293,361 in the country, while the number of only homeless families (under Class Kha) is 592,261.