They have been deprived of basic necessities such as lack of electricity, shortage of drinking water and many other facilities
Residents of the shelters built under the government housing project in Khulna's Paikgachha upazila have been living in miserable conditions, as the shelters are on the verge of falling apart.
The residents have complained that they have been experiencing housing problems such as lack of electricity supply, severe shortage of drinking water, and broken-down sanitation system, as well as the lack of educational institutions and an undeveloped communication system.
These underprivileged individuals have demanded that the present government work for the reformation of these shelters by creating better living standards.
According to sources concerned, the residents of 240 shelters in the housing projects of Kapilmuni, Garuikhali, and Chandkhali unions of the upazila have been living there since 1999 or 2000.
From the beginning, the government had resettled them by providing them with housing documents, loans and other facilities, but they still could not improve their situation.
Inhabitants have been struggling for years, sitting in hope of aid from the government.
Some have left the shelter after becoming unemployed, while others continued struggling to survive by getting seasonal jobs in brickfields, agricultural work in Jessore and Gopalganj, and various other occupations.
The residents of the shelter have become accustomed to the low standards of living.
An elderly resident Sheikh Jabbar said the inhabitants of shelters in the Debduar housing project on the bank of Kapotaksha river have been suffering from neverending problems.
He requested the government's attention to solve the problems in this community.
Mohsin Mistri, Kashem Sardar, Hasna Banu said they have been living in the shelter from the beginning of the project. They had also assisted in the construction of this project on eight acres of government land along with the army.
They have demanded pensions, necessary cards, proper repairing of houses and roads, the renovation of mosques and the building of docks for ponds.
Widowed Farida and Hasina Begum said they had not been provided with cards for widows' benefits even 15 years after their husbands’ deaths. They alleged that the chairman had said the cards would not be provided if they did not pay for it when they went to ask for their cards.
Project President Sheikh Yunus Ali said the houses have become unsuitable for living. It is especially difficult to live there during the rainy season, as it keeps flooding due to lack of embankments, and because of the lack of electricity.
He said he had complained to the Rural Electrification Office many times, which had not turned out to be fruitful.
Awami League leader and Garuikhali UP Chairman Ruhul Amin Biswas confirmed the dire living conditions of the residents in the shelters and stated that the situation could not continue any longer.
He said: "We have raised the topic several times during upazila meetings. Even though the Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO), Deputy Commissioner and former MPs have visited the place, nothing has been resolved."
Assistant Commissioner (Land) Md Abdul Awal, highlighting the government's plans for the development of the shelter, said: "We have received the complaints of the residents and are already sending letters to the concerned departments in order to solve their problems."
To the people of the shelter, Khulna 6 (Paikgachha-Koyra) lawmaker Akhteruzzaman Babu said: "Bangladesh is moving forward in development under the guidance of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina." He said she would also play a big role in the development of the shelters along with the development of the country.