The next step should be multi-storey urban housing to make the best use of scarce land
Kudos to the government of Bangladesh for working to ensure that soon, no one will have to live without a home in this country. To be realistic, there is much work to be done before this goal can be achieved, but already, giant steps are being taken in the right direction.
As part of the Ashrayan 2 Project, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina handed over 53,340 houses to landless and homeless families. This is a massive undertaking, and it is good to see it becoming reality. The success of the initiative can be seen in the testimonials, as Birangana Shila Gulo said: “I was a street beggar once, but now I own a house.”
It is time to stay on this path now, and address the overarching problem of the lack of affordable, quality housing in our urban areas. Dhaka has a large slum population, and this group lives in conditions that are unsafe, unhygienic, and frankly, totally unsuited for human habitation. Every year, we see numerous slum fires, where the slum residents end up losing all their possessions, and small businesses are gutted.
Every time these fires happen, residents have to start from zero. The Ashrayan project deserves to be lauded, but the next step should be multi-storey urban housing to make the best use of scarce land in the capital city.
If Ashrayan, and the many other highly successful ongoing infrastructural projects are anything to go by, we have the ability and the means to provide better-quality housing for our entire population.
When everyone in Bangladesh has a proper home, when no one is forced to sleep under the open sky or in squalid slum conditions, we will truly have entered a new phase in our development.