Dhaka, Oct 31: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday called upon the country’s affluent section to extend cooperation to the destitute people in their respective villages for their better livelihood, saying a combined effort only can eliminate poverty and build a prosperous ‘Sonar Bangla’.
“Only you (affluent people) would enjoy life in happiness and prosperity but people in local areas will go through hardship that is not humanity and it should not be acceptable,” she said.
The prime minister was addressing the opening ceremony of “house gift from the secretaries of the government to homeless people marking Mujib Borsho” as chief guest. She joined the event virtually from her official residence Ganabhaban.
Sheikh Hasina said people of Bangladesh are very brave and Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman attained the country’s independence along with them by defeating the Pakistani army which once used to say proudly that who will defeat them.
She said, “My request to the service holders or businessmen is that wherever you are staying, you should extend cooperation for the development of your native village and school where you studied in student life.”
Referring to the continued efforts of her government to provide assistance at the village level in this COVID-19 outbreak period, the Prime Minister said the destitute people could get a better life if each affluent person build a house for homeless people and endow them with other assistance.
She expressed her gratitude to the secretaries of the government and mentioned their initiative as great. “We again say thanks to our secretaries because they have stood besides the people and given them a home being inspired with patriotism.”
Sheikh Hasina hoped people would follow their (secretaries’) footsteps in future and stand besides the destitute people, and finally dream of the Father of the Nation would be fulfilled.
Eighty senior secretaries and secretaries personally joined the government’s effort to provide housing to homeless people in Mujib Borsho and gifted a total of 160 houses on behalf of them.
Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam gave speech at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) while Principle Secretary to the Prime Minister Dr. Ahmad Kaikaus conducted the programme from Ganabhaban.
Later, cabinet secretary, senior secretaries and secretaries handed over the keys of houses on behalf of the Prime Minister at BICC.
The prime minister said Father of the Nation had taken Guchchha Gram (cluster village) project for landless and homeless people and introduced it by going to the then Noakhali which is now Laxmipur district.
“After my home coming in 1981, Awami League elected me as president. I travelled different parts of the country and stood beside the destitute people. Seeing their misery, immediately I adopted plans and still try to solve those whenever come in power,” she continued.
Sheikh Hasina said Awami League, assuming power in 1996, introduced ‘Ashrayan (residence) project’ and ‘housing fund’ at Bangladesh Bank for landless and homeless people. Even, a scheme was also introduced for Dhaka’s slum dwellers to bring them back to village by providing home, food for six months and financial assistance, she added.
She said the government is working relentlessly to provide house to the homeless people as well as illuminate every house in the “Mujib Barsho”. “We will take initiative to illuminate every house in the country during the Mujib Barsho and in this regard we have taken a plan and are working too,” she said.
Talking about the government’s success in ensuring food security in the country, she said they are now taking measures to ensure nutrition for all and have moved up to increase production of fish, meat, milk, eggs and vegetables.
To this end, she urged all not to leave one inch of land beyond cultivation and mentioned her government’s initiative of procuring various agriculture machineries to boost production through mechanization of cultivation.
The prime minister also mentioned her initiative of “Ekti Bari, Ekti Khamar” which has been renamed “Amar Bari, Amar Khamar” to engage everyone of a family in food and vegetable production.
Referring to establishment of 100 special economic zones across the country, she said they have also taken initiative to establish food or agriculture processing industries in different parts of the country based on the production and availability of products.
Sheikh Hasina said the government has already reduced the rate of poverty significantly and want to reduce more. “We pledged to declare the country free of poverty by 2021, but COVID-19 pandemic stalled it. However, our efforts are on and will be continued,” she said.
She said many initiatives for the welfare of the people have been caught up due to coronavirus but the government is working to reach the financial assistance to the rural areas.
The prime minister said working for the people of the country is the prime task of her life as she has lost everything in her life on August 15, 1975.
“It would be the success of my life if I could do something for the people of this country, I never think what I have gained or not, to me what can I give to the people of the country is the main thing,” she added.