Hasina’s Mujib Year gift for poor: Homes for the homeless in Bangladesh

Paralysed and without a home of his own, 55-year-old Kalam Hawlader and his four family members have been living in a shack — and that too at the mercy of a relative — in Sarankhola upazila’s Uttar Tafalbari village since 2000.

Some 21 years on, the family is all getting ready to move into a two-room house in his native Rajapur village in the same upazila, constructed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government for the homeless and the landless, free of cost.

Yes, on Saturday, Kalam will be among the lucky 66,189 people to get pucca houses from none other than the Bangladesh PM. Each unit has two rooms, a kitchen, a toilet and a veranda, constructed at a cost of Tk 1.75 lakh.

The country’s leader will also hand over the ownership papers of two decimal land parcels to some 66,189 landless and homeless families under the Ashrayan-2 Project as a gift from her government in Mujib Year, marking the birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the Father of the Nation.

“I will be finally moving into my own house, along with my wife, a daughter and two sons, after decades,” says Kalam, who was left paralysed by typhoid fever in the early 1970s. For the past 21 years, the family has been living in the shack on a land belonging to Kalam’s brother-in-law.

“Thanks to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, poor people like us can now dream of owning a house in Bangladesh,” says Kalam, who runs a small rickshaw repair shop. “The gift from the government comes at a time when my income has also dried up due to the popularity of battery-run auto-rickshaws in the area. From Tk 5,000, it has plunged to Tk 2,000 a month.”

Two of Kalam’s three daughters are married. “But I have two sons and a daughter. Moreover, some years back, I was forced to borrow Tk 2 lakh as financial assistance from my friends and relatives to get my wife treated for her backbone problem.”

His elder son is 18-year-old Hasan Hawlader is an electrician in the village. “He earns Tk 2,000 a month, while another son, Hasib Hawlader, 13, earns Tk 6,000 a month by plying a battery-run van. But I pay monthly installments of Tk 3,400 against two loans, which I took to purchase the van. Our sufferings are likely to end soon,” Kalam says.

Deputy Commissioner of Bagerhat ANM Foyzul Haque says a total of 433 landless and homeless families are going to get the pucca houses in Bagerhat district on Saturday.

“Ownership papers of land will also be handed over to 66,189 families,” said Project Director of Ashrayan-2 Mahbub Hossain. Besides, some 3,715 landless families will be rehabilitated in barracks across 36 upazilas of 21 districts on Saturday, he added.

“Within one month, allocation for construction of one lakh more pucca houses under the housing project will be given. The government plans to construct some 9 lakh houses for the homeless and landless families in phases under the Ashrayan project. The aim is to ensure that no people in Bangladesh remain homeless in the country,” said the Project Director.

Source: United News of Bangladesh