Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina addressed the nation this evening on the eve of the holy Eid-ul-Fitr.
Her speech was aired by Bangladesh Television, Bangladesh Betar as well as private TV channels and radio stations.
Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
The holy Eid-ul-Fitr has come again with the passing of year. We welcome the holy Eid-ul-Fitr singing the timeless song of national poet Kazi Nazrul Islam- “O Mon Ramjaner Oi Rojar Sheshe Elo Khushir Eid/Tui Apanake Aj Biliye De, Shon Asmani Tagid”. I am extending my heartiest greetings of the holy Eid-ul-Fitr to the people of Bangladesh and the world community. Eid Mubarak.
On the occasion of the holy day, I am recalling with profound respect the greatest Bangalee of all time Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. I am paying tributes to four national leaders. I recall 30 lakh martyrs and two lakh tortured mothers and sisters of the Liberation War. I pay tributes to all valiant freedom fighters.
The world is going through a deep crisis for more than one year. The Covid-19 pandemic has become an obstacle in people’s usual lifestyle. On the one hand, the fast-spreading virus is claiming numerous lives, on the other, it is making damage to people’s life and living.
The virus has put a massive negative impact on our health system and economy.
When the infection started declining to a great extent throughout the world towards end of the last year, we along with others hoped that the world was going to get relief from the deadly virus. But the second wave from the mid-March has thwarted all of our plans and hopes.
The virus spreads through human to human. So, it is not possible to keep the disease under control unless public gathering can be avoided. That is why, we have been bound to impose restrictions on usual public movements even after knowing that it would bring sufferings.
Business houses, including shops-markets and shopping malls are being kept open maintaining health guidelines. For the same reason, restrictions have been imposed on movement of public transports.
Amid such an uncomfortable situation, we are going to celebrate our Eid-ul-Fitr this time too. We will celebrate Eid, but definitely by maintaining health guidelines. We will have to remain alert so that this Eid celebration cannot be a factor of the rise of coronavirus infection by any means. My request to the people is that you would not go to (your village homes to) celebrate Eid with relatives, dear and near ones out of emotion.
You cannot realize that the man next to you is bearing coronavirus as many people have no external symptoms. As a result, you will fall in risk of coronavirus as well as you put your close relatives or neighbors at risk. Remember that people’s life is above all. If we remain alive, we can celebrate Eid in a festive mood again in the next year.
To contain the spread of the virus, holding Eid congregations at Eidgah grounds has been prohibited this year too like the previous year. Eid prayers would be offered at mosques by maintaining social distancing and health guidelines.
Let us all enjoy the Eid festivity staying wherever we are. My request to wealthy people or those who are affluent is that you stand by your poor neighbors, villagers or people of your localities during this crisis. Extend your hands of cooperation to them. Your assistance could bring smile on the faces of members of a family. You can realize, their smiling faces will fill your heart and mind with joy of Eid. As a human being, standing by other human beings is our biggest duty. We should not forget this duty.
A poet of this Bengal said:
Apanare Loye Bibrato Rohite
Aseni Keu Aboni’ Pore,
Sokoler Tore Sokole Amara
Pratyeke Mora Porer Tore.
Doctors, nurses, other health workers and employees of several other professions are providing services to Covid-19 patients risking their lives. Besides, members of law enforcement agencies and armed forces and officials of central and field administration are playing active role in enforcing lockdown or restrictions on movement and implementing various programmes of the government including distribution of relief goods.
Journalists have been presenting news defying the risk of infection. I am extending heartfelt thanks and greetings to all.
Many health workers, members of law enforcement agencies and officials and employees of different agencies and organizations passed away after being infected with Covid-19. Besides, we have lost many of our beloved ones in the last one year. I am praying for eternal peace and salvation of all departed souls and conveying profound sympathy to bereaved family members.
We have taken all-out measures to restrain the coronavirus transmission and in the same way we have also taken initiatives for providing treatment to infected people. We have already increased our healthcare capacity manifold. We have engaged a good number of hospitals in private sector in Covid-19 treatment side by side the government hospitals.
In the last month, a 2000-bed Covid-19 hospital was set up at Mahakhali DNCC Market. Since the outset of the pandemic in the last year, 6166 doctors, 5054 nurses and around 4500 other health workers have been recruited so far. Central oxygen supply system has been introduced at 130 government hospitals in the country, including district hospitals.
As citizens, we have the biggest responsibilities to work for the prevention of coronavirus. The use of mask in containing the infection of the virus has been proven as very fruitful. So, you must wear facemask while going outside. Along with that, wash your hands with soap and water or disinfect your hands with sanitizers frequently as much as possible. Keep social distancing. You can take hot water vapor individually along with that.
We have started mass vaccination programme with the maximum effective and tested vaccine of ‘Oxford-AstraZeneca’. You have known that the Indian authority has imposed a ban on vaccine export. As a result, a little problem has arisen in the supply system. Under the circumstances, we have taken initiative to collect vaccines from alternative sources. We have already discussed with Russian and Chinese vaccine producing organizations. We have already received vaccine from China as gift. We have also requested the USA for vaccine. We will also get a good number of vaccines from Covid-19 vaccines global access-COVAX. We have taken measures to procure one crore vaccines from various sources. Vaccines will start coming to the country very soon. Besides, we have taken measures so that we could produce vaccine in our country. It will take a few months to produce vaccines in our country. We will bring all citizens under vaccination, In-sha-Allah.
The deadly coronavirus is not only claiming lives but also this virus has put severe impacts on global economy. To check the transmission, lockdown or general holidays were declared.
We have enforced general holidays for more than two months at a stretch in the last year. Since March 5 last after the onslaught of the second wave, lockdown has been enforced in phases. As a result, it has put impact on the bread and butter of numerous people. But there was no alternative way but to take the tough measures. Because we have to keep in mind that health infrastructure of every country has a specific capacity. If the number of patients start rising quickly all of a sudden, it becomes impossible to provide services. You have seen that developed countries are also facing severe troubles in providing treatment to Covid-19 patients. So, it should not be allowed to increase the number of patients by any means in our country.
But we are trying to keep a balance between life and living. The government has taken all-out measures to extend support to those who became jobless.
A total of Taka 1, 29,613 crore aid programmes have been announced till this month since the coronavirus broke out last year . Of this, Tk 1, 21,353 crore incentive package has been allocated for 21 sectors. And more than Tk 8,260 crore was distributed as grant.
Last year, Tk 912.50 crore was given to 36.50 lakh temporarily unemployed people at the rate of Tk 2500 each. This year, Tk 912.50 crore has been distributed to the same number of people at the same rate. Besides, the relief ministry has also distributed Taka 607 crore.
People of different professions, including day-laborers, transport workers, general workers, low-income people, teachers and students of madrasahs, imams and muazzins of mosques, staffers of other religious institutions and, teachers of private schools and colleges have brought under the coverage of the aid programme.
On the occasion of Mujib Year, under the first phase of the Asrayan-2 project, some 65,754 houses were constructed for the landless and homeless families. The construction work of 53,434 houses is going on. With this, the total number of houses will be 119, 088. We have so far built houses for 3.50 lakh families under various programmes.
Even during the coronavirus pandemic, we have continued all kinds of government aid programmes under the social safety net, including various allowances, food programmes and scholarships for students. About 5.78 crore people are getting benefit from these programme. Of those, the number of various beneficiaries is about 1.07 crore while the number of beneficiaries under food security programme is 2.18 crore and the number of students getting scholarships is 2.18 crore.
With the cooperation of the people and timely initiative taken by our government, we had been able to tackle successfully the financial impact of the Coronavirus pandemic in the last one year.
The second wave had hit in March just when we were managing the first wave to bring normalcy in the economy. This may slow down a bit our expected growth.
However, according to our domestic and various international agencies, we would be able to achieve the expected growth this time as well. Last week, our foreign exchange reserves exceeded US $45 billion.
The current boro (paddy) season has got bumper yields. Most of the paddy has in the meantime been harvested to the farmers’ houses. We have continued to distribute harvesters at affordable prices for smooth cutting and threshing of the paddy.
Leaders and workers of Bangladesh Awami League and its various associate bodies – Chhatra League, Krishak League, Juba League and Swechchhasebak League – are helping farmers in cutting paddy in different parts of the country. During the holy month of Ramadan, our party people distributed Iftar and Sehri in different parts of the country.
In order to ensure fair price of the paddy produced by farmers, the procurement price of rice has been fixed at Taka 40 per kg and the paddy price at Tk 27 per kg.
Eid is a day of joy. The joy of Eid is in removing all dirt of the mind, forgetting the differences between the people and connecting with one another. Today, we will take an oath to free ourselves from all evil tendencies, including jealousy-animosity, hatred, greed, egoism, anger and arrogance to be tied with the bonds of equality, brotherhood, unity, amity and harmony.
I would like to conclude my speech with a few quotations of Kazi Nazrul Islam:
“I will drive on the way today, friend, Eid Mubarak! Assalam (Pathey pathey aj hakibo, bandhu Eid Mubarak, Assalam)
Will offer today sweets-flower-word to lips (Tote tote aj bilabo shirni ful-kalam)
Eid to be distributed today! (Biliey dewar ajikey eid)
Coloured in love with my gift at the Eidgah (Amar daner onurage-ranga Eidgahe)
Giving myself to everyone’s hand today – (Sokoler hate diye diye aj apanarey -)
Not the body, the heart will be a martyr (Deho noy, dil hobey Saheed).
All of you stay well, stay sound and stay safe. May Allah Almighty help us. Eid Mubarak to everyone again
Joy Bangla, Joy Bangabandhu
May Bangladesh live forever.