PM to declare 70 upazilas homeless-free on Tuesday
Time:2024-06-11 14:13

The image shows the bird's eye view of the Ashrayan Project in Char Fasson upazila in Bhola. Photo: Collected

The neglected and marginalized people of society, many of whom were temporarily floating from place to place and lost everything to river erosion, are happy to receive houses a few days before Eid-ul-Azha under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's Ashrayan Project-2.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will declare 70 upazilas free of landlessness and homelessness on Tuesday.

As part of this initiative, the long-cherished dream of permanent residence is being fulfilled for 18,566 homeless and landless families. They are happy and have expressed their gratitude to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

The premier will inaugurate the handover of the semi-pucca homes by joining a virtual function from her official residence, Ganabhaban, in the morning. 

Bibi Rabeya and Akhtar, a fishing couple from Char Fasson in Bhola, have stayed in various places as floating people in Daulatdia for the last five years. They then moved to Char Fasson and built a house on the banks of the Meghna River to stay in permanently, but it was destroyed by floods. With two sons and two daughters, they again took shelter under the open sky.

However, after receiving the Prime Minister's gift house, they are dreaming of a new permanent residence. The couple now have their own house on their own land and can access safe drinking water and other utilities.

Bibi Rabeya said: "One day, a call came from the office of the upazila project implementation officer. We went there. Then our lives changed like a dream."

They will receive two houses as a gift from the Prime Minister on the occasion of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s birth centenary. They will live with their two sons and a daughter in one of the houses. Their elder daughter, Surma Begum, and son-in-law, Ripon Mia, will live in the other house.

Bibi Rabeya told Dhaka Tribune: "We didn't have a house until now. Society looked down on us. Now we are going to get our own house, a place to stay."

She further mentioned that they could not educate their sons and daughters, but now they dream of sending their grandchildren to Ashrayan Project schools.

Another couple, Bibi Farzana and her husband Rakib Mia, are a poor, helpless, and landless family. Due to a lack of money, they sometimes had to build a hut on other people's land and sometimes on the side of the road. They never had access to electricity, safe water, or toilet facilities.

Farzana works as a maid in another house, and Rakib Mia earns a living by fishing in the river. Due to financial problems, their sons cannot read or write.

Against this backdrop, they are receiving the Prime Minister's gift through the shelter project on Tuesday. The couple no longer have to live in a hut on other people's land. They now have electricity and safe water. Now they dream of educating their two sons and establishing them in society with the help of the government.

According to the Prime Minister's Office, the premier has declared Bhola Sadar upazila free of landlessness and homelessness. To free the remaining six upazilas of landlessness, the required houses have been allocated through the Prime Minister's shelter project.

A total of 6,356 houses have been allotted, including 1,005 dilapidated houses that have been renovated.

Char Fasson, Borhanuddin, and Manpura upazilas of Bhola district will be declared landless- and homeless-free on Tuesday. A total 1,234 houses will be directly handed over to the landless.

Arifuzzaman, deputy commissioner of Bhola, said that Bhola is an area affected by river erosion. 

“People here are regularly victims of river erosion, becoming landless as a result. The government is ensuring that these destitute, helpless people can be rehabilitated through the Ashrayon Project,” he added.

He added that employment opportunities are being created for the people under various social security schemes. Efforts are being made to ensure that their children receive proper education so that they can contribute to a future developed, prosperous, and smart Bangladesh.

Stating that the work of this project has been coordinated with public representatives and politicians of the area, he said: "We have to adopt some strategies to make the undeveloped Khas lands suitable for the shelter project." Illegal evictions have to be carried out. About 48 acres of Khas land have been freed, and most of the houses have been constructed.


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