Friday, 2 June, 2023

Why slum dwellers have got a reason to smile

Bangladesh is logging consistent growth in terms of the economy and living standards. But the government is working towards achieving an inclusive development.

Why slum dwellers have got a reason to smile

Popular News

Yasmin has spent over two decades with her husband and children in a slum. The surrounding environment was dirty - a strange smell a constant companion.

At times there would be no electricity. At other times, it would not be possible to walk properly due to the humid environment.

If it rained, the problems would increase. There would be no way out of the house.

Yasmin is now in a multi-storied building with modern facilities - in a building constructed by Sheikh Hasina's government for the slum dwellers, reports India Today.

The governmental organization ‘National Housing Authority’ has constructed five buildings with 14 floors in the Bauniabandh area of Dhaka’s Mirpur.

Yasmin's family has been allotted a flat in one of the buildings. Like Yasmin, around 300 slum dwellers have been accommodated in these flats so far.

“Earlier, 30 people used to use one bathroom together,” Yasmin said. “In one room, some slept on a tool, some on the ground. It was not a livable environment. Now they are living in separate flats. There is a separate bathroom and balcony. If there is no electricity, there is a generator back-up. There is a lift. Never in my dreams have I thought I would be able to live in such a building,” she said.

“I can keep my children in a good environment. What can we want more as parents? Although it was difficult to get a good living environment, I bought some furniture and decorated the house. Everything still seems like a dream,” she added.

Yasmin’s mother Rehana has also been allotted a flat in the building. “I had never imagined that I would live in such an environment. It is a dream to be able to keep my children in such a good environment. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina gave this opportunity to the slum dwellers,” Rehana said.

                However, the government did not allocate these flats built to the slum dwellers for free. Residents of some of these slums pay monthly rent. The scheme for rent-based flats for slum dwellers was inaugurated and handed over on August 3, 2021. Prime Minister Hasina inaugurated this virtual project.

These buildings for slum dwellers in Dhaka are a unique example of Bangladesh changing under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina.

Bangladesh is logging consistent growth in terms of the economy and living standards. Despite a growing economic disparity across the country, the government is working to achieve sustainable development goals, advocating for development that is inclusive.

The country is implementing projects to house the homeless and feed the poor to ensure inclusive development, with no one left behind.

300 low-income families, previously living in slums, have recently been allocated the newly-constructed apartments by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

The Ministry of Housing and Public Works completed the project at Mirpur 11 in Dhaka as an initial step to move slum dwellers to better housing. The slums of Dhaka are infamous for their unfriendly atmosphere and poor sanitation. They are prone to fire mishaps.

Two such buildings are currently under construction and the flats will be allocated on a priority basis from December among the families. Nearly 10,000 flats will be constructed at a cost of 148 crore Bangladeshi Taka.

In its second phase, the flats will be given to another 1,001 families. This relocation of slum dwellers will significantly improve the environment and the law and order situation of Dhaka.

The government is working relentlessly to ensure housing for all its citizens. The PM has stated numerous times that her dream is to shape the country in a way where there will be no homeless and everyone will have access to proper health care.

While high-rises are replacing the slums, the homeless in the villages are being allocated brick houses under the ‘Ashrayan’ project.

Beneficiaries received two decimals of land and a semi-furnished, two-room house with free electricity, a kitchen, a bathroom, and a shower. The house and the land will be registered in the names of both the husband and the wife. Massive plantation drives have been undertaken in the project areas. For every ten families, there is one tube well for drinking water to prevent water-borne diseases.

For their medical needs, community clinics will be constructed. This is the first and biggest project in the world to offer free homes to the underprivileged to integrate them into the mainstream.

1,83,003 houses have been allocated to the homeless so far in the first two phases of the project - the majority given as a Mujib Borsho gift from the prime minister in 2021-22. Another 65,674 houses have been constructed and are waiting to be handed over.

The Ashrayan project is in its third phase and by the time it is completed, there will be no homeless in Bangladesh, the authorities claimed.