Dr Kamal for realising compensation from corrupt, plunderers
Eminent jurist Dr Kamal Hossain yesterday demanded compensation from corrupt people who plundered people's assets.
"We demand compensation from the corrupt people who occupied power and plundered people's assets in people's name. They [corrupt people] have to apologise," he said while speaking as the chief guest at the foundation-laying programme of a Proshika housing project in Garan Chatbari near Mirpur-Ashulia embankment yesterday.
He said, "They [corrupt people] would have to return the stolen assets as well as compensate. We will not tolerate the angry eyes of corrupt people."
Prior to his speech, Kamal laid the foundation stone of the project titled "Housing Project of the Urban Poor", a project to build permanent housing for slum dwellers in the city.
Proshika Manabik Unnayan Kendra is implementing the project. The slum dwellers bought the land with their own money. In the first phase of the project, a six-storey building would be built on three bighas of land accommodating 350 families.
Dr Kamal Hossain, also president of Gono Forum, said it is a matter of sorrow that this kind of initiative is materialising for the first time 37 years after the Liberation War. He said the project was the fruit of Proshika's 20 years of perseverance.
It is our duty to ensure the basic rights of such people who have been contributing to the economy of the capital, he said.
He also said female garment factory workers made the garment industry one of the largest contributor to the national economy and these people are also living in the slums.
He said, "We have no dearth of determination… and if we are united on principles and can incorporate honest and patriotic people in our movement, we will be able to establish the basic rights of the poor."
Former adviser to a caretaker government Sultana Kamal said this is a noble project as there are many people in the country who do not have a roof over their heads and this would provide shelter for some of them.
She said Bangladesh has many not-so-good records like lack of good governance, human rights and rampant corruption but the country has 15 crore fighting people.
"We had fought for autonomy, not for giving our lives to one ruler or another," she said, adding, "The people of the country can achieve what they want like in 1952, 1969 and 1971. We never surrendered before injustice, dishonesty and corruption and will never do so in the future."
Prof Mustafizur Rahman, executive director of Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), said the difference between the poor and the rich is increasing in the country and it would be a betrayal to the freedom fighters if it was not stopped.
In the capital, about 38 percent of the people are slum dwellers and these people stay on only five percent of the land, he said adding that 90 percent slums are privately owned and the rest belong to the government.
Proshika chief Dr Quazi Faruque Ahmed said the poor people contribute more to the society but receive less in return.
The capital would be in jeopardy within a day if the poor were thrown outside, he said, adding, "We have to take steps for their housing for the sake of ourselves."
He urged financial institutions to provide loans to them with easy conditions since the poor never become defaulters.
Proshika Vice-chairman Mahbubul Karim, Executive Director Gias Uddin Pathan, many employees of Proshika and the slum dwellers were present on the occasion.