We applaud Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her government for inaugurating the Ashrayan 2 project aimed at rehabilitating homeless, landless people of the country, providing them with well-constructed houses with basic facilities. It is truly a remarkable endeavour that has been initiated in commemoration of Mujib Borsho, marking the birth centenary of Bangabandhu.
So far, the PM has already given these houses to 66,189 families who have no land and no shelter to call home. The government has spent Tk 1,168 crore for the first batch of houses constructed. Landlessness and homelessness plague thousands of people in this country. Many have lost their precious homesteads to river erosion or sold off their land to survive or meet family emergencies. Others have never even known what it is like to have a roof over their heads. For such people, being given a house on a piece of land that they can call their own is nothing short of a miracle. What is remarkable about this project is that apart from the houses, the disadvantaged families received ownership papers of two decimal land parcels. This will be a huge relief to these families who constantly struggle to pay rent, sometimes living on the streets when they can't even do that. It will also boost their self-esteem.
The PMO will also rehabilitate 3,715 homeless families in 743 barracks in 44 villages of 21 districts as part of this endeavour. It is impressive that the PMO prepared a list of more than eight and a half lakh people in 2020 that included those who were homeless, landless or had small pieces of land but no houses. Such quick results from a project is quite unique and praiseworthy.
We especially applaud the government for including the elderly, widows and persons with disabilities in the list of beneficiaries of this project. The beneficiaries will be provided with basic facilities such as health, education and utility services. According to Ashrayan's PD, another list has been prepared of almost six lakh families from all over the country, who own land but do not have houses or have homes that are substandard, as part of the Mujib Borsho initiative.
At a time when the pandemic has led to widespread joblessness and economic hardship, this project could not be more crucial and welcome. Targeting the most marginalised groups has been a wise and compassionate approach, and the efficiency with which the PMO has been able to successfully hand over the houses to the beneficiaries shows that it is possible to implement such projects with proper planning and sincerity. We hope that such innovative projects to alleviate the overpowering helplessness of poor, landless people will continue to be initiated in both rural and urban areas and implemented with transparency and honesty. The PM has shown how it is done and this should be an example to follow by her administration.