Distant dream becomes reality
Having gotten used to a hand-to-mouth existence, and at times even worse, Birangona Shila Guha could never imagine that she would have her own a house with running water and electricity.
That farfetched dream became a reality yesterday for Shila and thousands of others like her as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina handed over 53,340 semi-pucca homes along with land ownership documents to homeless and landless families across the country under the second phase of the Ashrayan-2 project.
The PM attended the programme virtually from the Gono Bhaban.
"With our limited resources, we're trying to reach people at grassroots level for improving their lives and livelihoods. That's our aim," she said, reports UNB.
The highest 12,436 houses were given in Rangpur division, while 10,547 in Chattogram, 7,630 in Dhaka, 7,172 in Rajshahi, 7,153 in Barishal, 911 in Khulna, 2,512 in Mymensingh and 1,979 in Sylhet divisions.
Hasina said since assuming office, the government has been trying to help the ultra-poor in every way and the result is now visible. "The ultra-poor are gradually learning to stand on their feet."
Speaking at the programme, Shila Guha from Moulvibazar's Srimongol upazila, said, "I was a beggar -- I can now switch the light on in my house every day. You [prime minister] have given me the house. I am very happy now. I pray for your long life and success from the bottom of my heart."
She requested the PM to visit her house and see her present happy state first hand.
"We will cook rice and shatkora curry if you visit," she told the premier through the video conference.
With a smile, the premier replied, "I will go to see you when I have the opportunity."
Taslima Khatun, a beneficiary of the project at Jhenaigati in Sherpur, said, "I am a divorced woman of 30. I was in a very miserable state with my son and daughter. You [prime minister] have given me a pucca house with water and electricity. I have planted trees in the yard. I send my children to school now.
"It is my humble request -- come to our area and see us all. I never imagined that I will be able to live in such a beautiful house. It is due to your sincere efforts," she said.
In reply, Hasina said, "It is my pleasure and success that all of you are now doing well."
This correspondent visited Boholpur village in Chattogram's Raujan upazila yesterday. Each of the 30 landless and homeless families were given pucca houses under the project.
The beneficiaries expressed happiness and gratitude to the prime minister.
Speaking at the programme, the PM said, "When one gets a home, the person is thrilled with joy and happiness, and that becomes visible on their smiling faces. I want nothing more than that."
She also said the departed soul of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman will be in peace when every person of the country gets a home.
Hasina said the government has a goal of making Bangladesh free from poverty and it is doing everything to achieve that.
Local public representatives and public servants, on behalf of the prime minister, handed over the joint ownership documents of the two-decimal houses.
On January 23, 70,000 such houses along with documents were given to homeless and landless people under the first phase of the project in line with the PM's announcement that there would be no homeless and landless people in Bangladesh.
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 just homeless families (under class-Kha) is 592,261.
Ahmad Kaikaus, principal secretary to the PM, conducted the programme and made a power-point presentation.