No one will be left homeless in Bangladesh – as vowed by the prime minister on the occasion of "Mujib Borsho", the government is going to hand over houses to 66,189 landless and homeless families in the first phase on Saturday.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will inaugurate the distribution ceremony virtually at 10:30am, said her Principal Secretary Dr Ahmad Kaikaus at a briefing on Thursday.
Around 9 lakh homeless people will get houses in phases over the next two years, he added.
"There is no example of such government-initiated rehabilitation in the world," Kaikaus said. "All the houses have electricity connections and water facilities."
The PM's principal secretary said they are also taking up training and loan disbursement programmes for the families who will live in these houses – to ensure their incomes.
As part of the government's campaign to bring all landless and homeless people under housing facility, the government formulated a policy and prepared a list of 885,622 families through upazila nirbahi officers and deputy commissioners. After the PM's approval of the house design, construction of houses for these families started across the country under the Prime Minister Office's (PMO) Ashrayan Project and other ongoing projects of the disaster management and relief ministry and the land ministry.
The government has completed 66,189 houses for homeless and landless families even amid the pandemic in the last six months. The houses are being built for those who have land but no housing facility, and for the landless and homeless, houses are being built on 2 decimals of khas land each.
Around nine lakh landless and homeless people will get houses in the next two years. Of them, there are about three lakh landless and homeless families and six lakh families having land, but no housing facility, the prime minister's principal secretary said.
Some 1 lakh more houses will also be distributed among these people the next month, Kaikaus said adding that if the nine lakh poor families get houses, the country's poverty rate will also come down.
Mentioning a housing programme for rootless children, he said a national committee has been set up to look into the matter. The committee has started working on formulating the programme.
Calling upon well-off business people of the society to come forward to build houses for the homeless, Kaikaus said with their help, it will be possible to provide houses to the target people before the next two years end. A number of Businessmen and rich people have already pledged to build 6,570 houses.
PMO Secretary Md Tofazzel Hossain Miah said each room has two bedrooms, a bathroom, a kitchen, and a veranda. Achieving SDGs will also be easier by providing housing to the homeless.
Director of Ashrayan-2 Md Mahbub Hossain loans the working-age members of the landless and homeless families who will get the houses will get training to them on various subjects and a loan of Tk35,000 each from the Ashrayan Project.
Officials in the PMO said after the formation of the Sheikh Hasina-led Awami League government in 1996, it adopted the Ashrayan project and rehabilitated 320,052 landless and homeless families from 1996 to 2020.
3,670 homeless families to get houses in Chattogram
In the first phase, 3,670 landless and homeless families from 11 districts of the Chattogram division are getting 3,670 houses in the first phase, said Chattogram Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Mominur Rahman at a press briefing on Thursday.
The people of Brahmanbaria are getting the most number of houses. The new houses will be handed over to 1,091 families in the district on Saturday.
Besides, 468 families in Chattogram, 343 in Cumilla, 303 in Cox's Bazar, 200 in Laxmipur, 150 in Noakhali, 125 in Feni and 115 in Chandpur will get new houses.
The new houses will also be distributed among 339 families in Bandarban, 268 in Rangamati, and 268 in Khagrachhari on the day.