Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina reiterated her pledge that none would remain homeless and landless in the country, saying she considered power as a way to serve the people.
"None will remain homeless, landless and without address in Bangladesh. We are working to implement that target," she said.
She said this while virtually distributing 32,904 houses to the beneficiaries at 492 upazilas across the country in the third phase under the Ashrayan-2 Project.
The PM joined the handing over ceremony from her official Ganabhaban residence in Dhaka.
She said her government is committed to building a prosperous and developed Bangladesh and bringing smiles on the faces of everyone by giving them an improved and better life as envisioned by the Father of the Nation.
The PM said they have given land and houses to 32,409 people today under Ashrayan-2 Project, adding, "I'm giving those to them as Eid gift, I like most the smile on their faces whenever they receive their own home."
She said all classes of under-privileged people such as Bede (river-gypsy), third gender, tea worker, leprosy patients, differently abled persons have been brought under the housing scheme.
Sheikh Hasina, the elder daughter of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, also said, "I know the soul of my father will get peace today when he sees that his people are smiling."
The premier said a survey found that over 8 lakh homeless and landless people are in the country, adding her government is working to bring everyone under the housing scheme in phases as part of their "Mujib Borsho" pledge.
She urged all especially the Awami League leaders and activists to stand beside the distressed people being imbued with the ideology of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as he wanted to bring smile on the people's faces by giving them an improved and beautiful life.
"We're the soldiers of the ideal of Bangabandhu. So, the power to me is to serve the people and work for the people. And I am now working to ensure that none will remain homeless in Bangladesh," she said.
She also said her government illuminate every house of the country ensuring cent percent electricity and is now working to make sure home for hundred percent homeless and landless people.
The PM also exchanged views with some beneficiaries and other stakeholders connecting to four places of the four districts.
The four places are: Poradia Balia Ashrayan Project under Nagarkanda Upazila in Faridpur district, Khajurtola Ashrayan Project under Barguna Sadar Upazila in Barguna district, Khokshabari Ashrayan Project under Sirajganj Sadar Upazila in Sirajganj district and Hajigaon Ashrayan Project under Anwara Upazila in Chattogram district.
Expressing the feelings of getting houses, some beneficiaries thanked the PM for providing them home and thus secure their lives.
They prayed for long life of Sheikh Hasina and wanted her to see as the Prime Minister time and again, calling her as the touchstone of the development.
Prime Minister's Office (PMO) Senior Secretary Md. Tofazzel Hossain Miah moderated the function while PM's Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim and Project Director of Ashrayan-2 Project Abu Saleh Mohammad Ferdous Khan were present at Ganabhaban end.
A video documentary was also screened on how the landless and homeless people have developed their life standard after getting benefits that included training and money alongside the houses under the Ashrayan-2 Project.
So far, 150,233 houses were handed over in three phases under the Ashrayan-2 Project as part of the government pledge to bring landless and homeless people across the country under housing facilities in the Mujib Borsho.
On Jan 23 in 2021, 63,999 homeless and landless families received houses under the first phase while 53,330 families got a roof over their heads under the second phase of the Ashrayan-2 Project on Jun 20 last year.
The government is set to distribute 65,674 more houses among the landless and homeless people across the country under the third phase of the Ashrayan-2 Project. Of those, the premier has already handed over 32,904 houses on Tuesday.
According to the project details, so far 1,17,329 houses were constructed under first and second phases of the project while 1,83,003 houses have been allotted till the current fiscal year of 2021-2022.
Sheikh Hasina said that her government had initiated the housing scheme providing houses to 70 families by building a barrack house on Saint Martin Island after a cyclone storm in 1997.
But Khaleda Zia told the media that she did not know anything about the 1991 cyclone as if she was sleeping, said the Premier.
"But, I didn't sleep after the cyclone in 1997 and round the clock I inquired about the measures taken to tackle the natural disaster, cancelling a state visit to Spain," she said.
After assuming power in 2009 for the second time, she said, they took a housing scheme to provide more resilient dwellings to the landless and homeless people following the footsteps of Father of the Nation, who initiated the "Guchchha Gram" project in the then Noakhali now Lakshmipur district to rehabilitate the distressed people.
Urging all the countrymen to work in unison for the country's development as they did while facing the Covid-19 pandemic, the Prime Minister alerted them to remain vigilant as a section of people, who did not want the country's independence, do not want the country's progress.
She added that there might be no example in the world of what Bangladesh has successfully done facing the Covid-19 pandemic involving people of all strata of life, including government agencies such as armed forces, police and BGB.
The PM also called upon all to remain cautious as the Coronavirus has spread further in different countries.
Regarding the Covid-19 vaccination, she said, "Despite a country of limited resources, Bangladesh is administering the Covid-19 vaccine at free of cost, while many developed countries could not do so."
Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh has transformed into a developing country with her government's tireless efforts and attained due honour and dignity that had lost after the assassination of Father of the Nation along with most of his family members on Aug 15, 1975.
"We have to step forward with the honour which Bangladesh is currently getting. None can neglect Bangladesh now and none can dare to say that Bangladesh is a country of disaster and famine. They're now saying Bangladesh is a role model of development," she said with a proud voice.
The PM credited the people for the development of Bangladesh as they voted for the Awami League time and again.
Sheikh Hasina came down heavily on the post-1975 governments including the governments of Zia, Ershad and Khaleda Zia for doing nothing for the development of Bangladesh and the welfare of its people rather they patronized anti-liberation war elements to be elected members of parliament, adviser and minister.
The PM said they did nothing for the people rather they made their own fortune as the state was then run by war criminals and by those people, who did not want the country's independence and had no love for the country and its people.
They rather tried to erase the name of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and imposed a ban on playing the historic 7th March speech of Bangabandhu and Joy Bangla slogan.
"The history cannot be erased. None can now remove the name of Bangabandhu while the Joy Bangla slogan has come again and the 7th March Speech of Bangabandhu has now become a world documentary heritage," she added.