Ashrayan-2 Project: 20 families now all smiles
Surobala Das, 60, a landless single mother of three from Brahmanbaria cannot believe her luck.
Her family is one of the 20 to have received a brick house at the Jangal village of Sultanpur union under Brahmanbaria Sadar upazila under the second phase of the Ashrayan-2 project.
"Even a few months back, we did not imagine that we could live in a pucca house. My endless blessings are for the Prime Minister," an elated Das told the Daily Star on Friday.
The family of Surobala, now 60, is one of 20 families at Jangal village of Sultanpur union under Brahmanbaria Sadar upazila, which were given a pucca house each under the second phase of the Ashrayan-2 project.
She said her husband Diresh Chandra Das died from cancer 12 years back and since then she with her son and two daughters had been living in a place given by her husband's brother Girendra Das at Birampur village, where they did not feel comfortable.
The family arrived at the Jangal village two months ago, where a local representative proposed their name in the list of people who will get houses from Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
With the house came electricity and water, the bills of which the family does not need to pay, Das said.
"We express our utmost gratitude to the PM," she added.
Jiban Malakar, 58, who runs a tea stall, also received a house -- which came with two rooms, a kitchen, a toilet and a porch -- in the area five months ago after being nominated by his local Union Parishad Chairman Al Amin.
Previously, Jiban, who has a wife and four children, lived in a cramped house with feeble roofing at Chandra area in Sultanpur for which he had to pay Tk 400 per month as house rent and electricity bill.
"We had to face much sufferings and difficulties in Chhapra house during rain. We are very well now," he said, showing gratitude to the PM for the initiative.
At Jangal village, three Hindu families and 17 Muslim families have received new houses, he said.
Like them, housewife Dalia Begum, 40, received a house under the Ashrayan-2 project at Jangal village.
Her husband Ratan Miah, 50, is a rickshaw puller.
They used to live in a house in Shilapur village earlier and had to pay Tk 2,000 every month as house rent and also pay the electricity bill.
But due to a financial crisis, they could not afford to pay the house rent and electricity bills.
"Now we don't have to pay the bills and we are living in a very good house," a happy Dalia added.
As many as 53,340 more houses to landless and homeless families will be provided with houses under the Ashrayan Project-2.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will give the houses as part of her government's campaign to bring all such destitute families under a housing scheme, Project Director Md Mahbub Hossain told reporters at a briefing at Jangal village on Friday.
He said the premier will inaugurate the handover ceremony virtually today under the second phase of the Ashrayan-2 project.
"This is an inclusive development model under the leadership of the PM. This will play a very important role in reducing the poverty in the country," Hossain said.
Earlier in January, the prime minister handed over 69,904 houses to homeless and landless families under the first phase of the project on the occasion of the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Under the scheme, joint ownership of two-decimal house land alongside a modern abode will also be given to the husband and wife of each family.
The tin-shed pucca houses will be given to 53,340 more homeless and landless families, according to Hossain.
According to an official statement, each family is getting assets worth some Tk 2.6 lakh, if the value of two-decimal land is on an average Tk 50,000.
The construction cost of every house is nearly Tk 2 lakh, while the cost of utility connectivity (electricity and gas) is some Tk 10,000.
On Sunday, 12,436 houses will be given in the Rangpur division, while 10,547 in Chattogram, 7,630 in Dhaka, 7,172 in Rajshahi, 37,153 in Barishal, 911 in Khulna, 2,512 in Mymensingh and 1,979 in Sylhet divisions.
According to the lists prepared under the Ashrayan project, the number of homeless and landless families (under class-Ka) is 293,361 in the country, while that of only homeless families (under class-Kha) is 592,261.
According to the PMO officials, the joint ownership documents of the two-decimal homes along with a tin-roofed pucca dwelling will be given to both husband and wife of a family ensuring gender equality, reports UNB.
Besides, 100,000 more houses will be given by December next as part of the government's move to rehabilitate the country's homeless people in the Mujib Year.
A total of 373,562 houses have so far been given to homeless families under Sheikh Hasina's Ashrayan project run by the PMO, says UNB report.