Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday announced more seven districts and 159 upazilas across the country as homeless and landless free while handing over 39365 more semi-pacca houses to the homeless people free of cost ahead of the Eid-ul-Fitr.
"I have declared seven more districts and 159 upazilas as homeless and landless free," she said while handing over the houses in the fourth phase of Ashrayan-2 project virtually from her official Ganabhaban residence in the capital..
The prime minister said she has announced 159 upazilas including all the upazilas of seven districts-- Madaripur, Gazipur, Narsingdi, Joypurhat, Rajshahi, Chapainawabganj and Chuadanga--, homeless and landless free.
She also said she had earlier announced 52 upazilas including all the upazilas of Panchagarh and Magura districts as homeless-landless free.
With today's announcement, she said the total number of homeless-landless free districts stood at nine and upazilas at 211.
Sheikh Hasina said, "The greatest achievement of giving houses to the landless is to see smile on the faces of the distressed people”.
The Father of the Nation wanted to give the distressed people of Bangladesh an improved and dignified life by making the country poverty and hunger free for which her government is working tirelessly, she said.
The prime minister asked all concerned to prepare a list of the homeless and landless people to find out if anyone of any district remains out of getting houses.
She said she will give houses to everyone as her government's target is to ensure housing for every landless and homeless people.
"We want every person to get home, shelter and livelihoods. They will no longer be a burden to society. We want everyone to stand on their own feet and live with due honour," she said.
The prime minister reiterated her commitment that none will remain homeless and landless in Bangladesh of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
She said Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman introduced the rehabilitation programme for the homeless people in 1972.
Following the footprints of Bangabandhu, she said her government took the initiative to provide ownership of houses and lands to homeless and landless people through the Ashrayan Project in 1997.
Earlier, the prime minister handed over 63,999 houses in the first phase, 53,330 in second phase and 59,133 in third phase of the Ashrayan-2 project.
With today's distribution of 39365 more houses, the total number stood at 2,15,827 under the Ashrayan-2 Project.
Under the Ashrayan project, a total of 7,71,301 families have been rehabilitated so far since 1997. The number of rehabilitated people is 38,56,505 (estimated as five persons in a family).
PM's Principal Secretary Md.Tofazzel Hossain Miah moderated the function.
A video-documentary on the changed lifestyle of the house recipients was screened at the programme.
The premier exchanged views with the beneficiaries of Nayapara Ashrayan project under Sreepur upazila in Gazipur district, Noagaon Ashrayan project under Gowainghat upazila in Sylhet and Uttarpar Ashrayan project under Banaripara in Barishal.
Under the Ashrayan-2 project, the landless and homeless people will get good quality tin-shed semi-pucca houses on two decimals of land.
The ownership of land is given to both husband and wife and land registration and mutation are also made against their names.
The government is not only building houses of the project on khas land rather lands are being bought from the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Memorial Trust to build houses
Sheikh Hasina said whenever the Awami League (AL) assumes power, they always work for welfare of the people and they are getting benefits of it.
Referring to the 1991 cyclone during the then BNP government, the prime minister said AL stood first beside the people although her party was in opposition.
"We (AL) first went to the cyclone-hit people. But, the then head of the government was asleep and she didn't know anything," she said.
The prime minister said her government took a project 'Khurushkul Ashrayan Prokalpa' on the outskirts of the Cox's Bazar town to provide shelters to climate refugees.
The people, who were given shelter to the Khurushkul Ashrayan scheme, are mostly victims of the deadly 1991 cyclone, she said.
Around 4000 climate refugees took shelter in the flats in numerous five-storey houses, she added.
The prime minister said her government had even given houses to the people whose lands were acquired for implementing development projects that include the Padma Bridge and Payra Thermal Power Plant.
"No one will remain without an address. We have not only given them houses, but also arranged for pure drinking water and electricity. We have also given them loans for their livelihoods. They are now contributing to the country's economy," she said.
She also said the Father of the Nation had announced that one person could possess 100 bighas of land and the additional amount of land will be distributed to the farmers.