100,000 more houses will be given by December to rehabilitate the homeless people
“I feel overjoyed to get a home. I was a street beggar once but now I own a house, all because of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. I wish her a long life,” Birangana Shila Guho of Moulvibazar said to the premier on Sunday.
The prime minister virtually joined the handover ceremony of 53,340 more houses to the landless and homeless people from her official residence Ganabhaban while freedom fighter Shila Guho connected from Sreemangal.
Like Shila, thousands of homeless and landless people have become homeowners overnight under the housing project Ashrayan 2.
Each family is getting assets worth more than Tk2.6 lakh under this project. The amount varies from area to area due to different land prices, according to Dr Ahmad Kaikaus, principal secretary to the prime minister.
For example, Meherunnisa from Alfadanga in Faridpur district received a house under the project worth Tk250,700, while Kohinur from Rupganj under Naryanganj received a house valued at Tk734,100. The house allocated to Abdul Jalil of Gasa union in Gazipur Sadar is worth Tk1,199,062.
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Mahbub Hossain, the project director, said: “Usually the value of a two-decimal land is Tk50,000. The construction cost of every house is nearly Tk2 lakh, while the cost of utility connections [electricity and gas] is around Tk10,000.”
Officials involved with this project said that the beneficiaries were not only getting a home and a shelter but they would be entitled to other benefits like sanitation, drinkable water, education and healthcare facilities, social network and community facilities.
Under the scheme, joint ownership of a two-decimal land alongside a modern house is given to the husband and the wife of each family.
While visiting Brahmanbaria recently, this correspondent met with 10 families who were enjoying their new lives for the last six months after receiving a house under the project.
Jibon Malakar, a tea stall worker, previously lived in a tiny rented house with his wife and two daughters and had to struggle constantly to maintain his family. Now he is living happily with his family at his own home.
Talking to Dhaka Tribune, Jibon said: “Now I can use the house rent for buying nutritious foods for my family. In addition, my daughters can now afford a private tutor. My life has changed within six months.”
Like Jibon, over 69,904 homeless and landless families received houses on January 23 from the prime minister under the first phase of the project on the occasion of the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Besides, 100,000 more houses will be given by December as part of the government’s initiative to rehabilitate the country’s homeless people.
Sheikh Hasina had undertaken the Ashrayan project in 1997 and a total of 373,562 houses have so far been given to the homeless and landless families under the project, run by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).
On Sunday, among 53,340 houses the highest 12,436 houses were given in the Rangpur division, 10,547 in Chittagong, 7,630 in Dhaka, 7,172 in Rajshahi, 7,153 in Barisal, 2,512 in Mymensingh, 1,979 in Sylhet and 911 in the Khulna division.
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 the number of only homeless families under Class Kha is 592,261.