Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has announced that the Housing Fund will provide loans at only 2% interest to tea estate owners for the construction of housing for tea workers.
She made the announcement while speaking at the inaugural ceremony of Bangladesh Tea Expo 2018 at the International Convention City, Bashundhara in Dhaka on Sunday, at the request of tea estate owners.
Addressing the event as chief guest, the premier said: “Tea is a popular beverage. Before Partition, there was a tea garden in Malinichhara, Sylhet, where people from different parts of the Subcontinent were brought to work.
“Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was appointed as the chairman of Bangladesh Tea Board in the 50s. He was the one who established the Tea Board’s office in Srimangal as well as an office in Motijheel, Dhaka… I came here today from Motijheel after laying the foundation stone of a multistorey building at the same site,” the prime minister said.
Bangabandhu also played a vital role in preserving the ownership of up to 100 bigha land for tea garden owners, she further said.
“After we [the Awami League] came to power in 1996, we took many initiatives for tea production. We removed tax on generators at the tea garden owners’ request and took special measures to ensure health safety and education for the tea workers’ families,” Hasina said.
The premier put emphasis on building residences for tea workers. “We have undertaken housing projects for tea workers. The tea garden owners will be given loans from the Housing Fund at 2% service charge. Furthermore, as per the Housing Fund regulations, each home must have a toilet,” she said.
“Those who are still without home will be brought under the housing project. We have also undertaken initiatives through the Tea Board to build houses for tea workers. Not a single person in Bangladesh will be homeless,” the prime minister said.
She urged the tea garden owners to ensure the welfare of their workers, and urged the tea workers to be more caring about the estates that are the sources of their livelihoods.
This article was first published on banglatribune.com