Government Policy

Asrayan families set example in loan payments

Ninety rehabilitated families at Purbo

Kochua-1 Asrayan Prokalpo in Gangachara upazila here have set a good example

in loan payments by achieving self-reliance through income generating

activities.

Most of the rehabilitated river-eroded homeless families in nine barracks

have also made their own assets by ensuring proper utilisation of revolving

microcredit received from the local Upazila Cooperative Office.

The Asrayan dwellers said they got back a new life with dream of brighter

future for children following implementation of comprehensive social safety-

net programmes by the government.

They got skill-building training on various trades and support from the

local government departments and Upazila Cooperative Office provided

revolving interest-free microcredit to them only at eight percent service

charge rate.

We are making profits to raise our capital through small- scale business,

animal husbandry, poultry raising, tree plantation, vegetables and fruit

farming at homesteads, said a widow Tobiya Khatun, 60, rehabilitated there

in 1997 under the programme.

Rehabilitated couple Alef Uddin, 58, and Feroza Khatun, 50, said they

became homeless 18 years back along with many others as the river Teesta

devoured everything they had in nearby village Purbo Kochua Fakirpara.

They narrated in emotion-chocked voice their miserable days passed for

years amid uncertainty with young son Sirajul and minor daughter Arjuma on

the lands of others and flood control embankments.

Everything started changing when we got shelter at Purbo Kochua-1 Asrayan

Prokalpo. The government of Sheikh Hasina completed its construction during

her previous 1996-2001 tenure, said Feroza.

On completion of training on income generation activities and other

issues, Upazila Cooperative Office formed Purbo Kochua Asrayan Phase-2

Project Multipurpose Cooperative Society Limited and provided Taka 6,000

microcredit to every rehabilitated family there.

We bought a heifer, opened grocery shop and completed loan payments

through weekly installments to get Taka 10,000 microcredit again when we took

lease of seven decimals of cultivable land that gives three crops, including

paddy twice a year, Feroza said.

They again got Taka 15,000 cooperative microcredit for the third time on

August 7, 2012 after paying all 45 weekly installments, completed marriage of

their daughter Arjuma, 18, purchased a cow and added investment to their

grocery shop.

We now lead a sound life and we have assets, including five cows, a

grocery shop and other property to be estimated over Taka four lakh though we

had nothing after becoming homeless, a smiling Feroza said.

Housewife Anichha, 50, who was rehabilitated in the project as a victim of

river erosion, said they purchased a heifer and old shallow machine after

getting Taka 6,000 cooperative microcredit first time.

After completing loan payments, they again got Taka 9,000 microcredit,

purchased another cow and 12 decimals cultivable land, again got Taka 12,000

and then Taka 15,000 after completing payments of the second and third loans.

We have now assets of Taka 3.50 lakh. We are earning through cultivating

crops on own land and irrigating others field using shallow machine and our

one son and two daughters are going to school, Anichha said.

Similarly, rehabilitated Nazrul Islam, 63, Beauty Khatun, 33, Anwar

Hossain, 62, and divorcee Bulbuli, 50, achieved successes receiving

cooperative microcredit three to four times so far after loan payments

successfully.

The rehabilitated people at the Asrayan Prokalpo thanked Prime Minister

Sheikh Hasina for launching cooperative microcredit to change their fortune.

Gangachara Upazila Cooperative Officer Md Aftabuzzaman told BSS that the

Asrayan Prokalpo dwellers have smoothly changed their fortune through proper

utilisation of microcredit and other government assistance.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)