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Ashrayan gives back land owner identity to Kashem Sheikh

Md Kashem Sheikh, a resident of Ahammadpur in the upazila, became landless while undergoing treatment for his kidney ailment as he forced to sell out the only piece of land to meet his treatment cost.

“I as well as my two siblings acquired four decimals of land each as a share of my father’s property since my father was only the owner of 12 decimals of land. But I had to sell it out to bear my treatment cost for kidney ailment,” said Sheikh.

Since he became landless, Sheikh, by profession a van-puller, was striving to own another piece of land for his eight-member family including six children, but it was not easy for him after managing daily meals for the extended family.

“As I was not physically fit to work, my fortune forced me to stop education of my 16-year-old son to engage him in work to help the family,” he said, adding that his wife Bulu Begum is also contributing to the family by working in a local cotton mill.

Sheikh, however, became emotional thinking that he is now owner of not only a piece of land but also a semi-pucca house with two bedrooms, a kitchen, a toilet and a veranda to accommodate his eight-member family, thanks to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Ashrayan-2 Project, dubbed as ‘Sheikh Hasina Model’ in inclusive development.

“I have no word to express gratitude to our affectionate Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who gave back my land owner identity. We wish her to remain in power to serve the people like us,” he said in an emotion choked voice.

Sheikh is now dreaming of making his younger three children- a fourth grader daughter and two twin second-grader sons self-reliant with proper education.

“I am now thinking of getting my children out of poverty by making them educated. I think it will be befitting rewards to Prime Minister’s affection,” he said.

Sheikh along with more 52 landless and homeless families was handed over documents of two decimal of land with house at Ahammadpur Madhyapara Ashrayan Prokalpa here.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today virtually handed over houses to 22,101 families across the country under the second-round in fourth phase of the Ashrayan-2 project through a video-conference from her official Ganabhaban residence in Dhaka.

Like Sheikh, Ambia Khatun, wife of auto van puller Md Faruk Sen, also got the identical two-room semi-pucca abode for her six-member family.

“It seems like a dream that we are now owners of land along with a semi-pucca house. We pray for our Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina,” she said.

Sujanagar Upazila Nirbahi Officer Md Tariqul Islam said 53 landless and homeless families have been rehabilitated at the Ahammadpur Madhyapara Ashrayan Prokalpa, which has been developed with an integrated approach ensuring all civic amenities, including electricity, drinking water and education.

“Along with handing over houses to these 53 families, Sujanagar Upazila has been declared as homeless and landless family as all of enlisted 245 families have been rehabilitated,” he said, adding that it is, however, a continuous process that if anyone genuinely claims to remain homeless and landless, the upazila administration will take proper steps to this end.

With distributing 22,101 houses to the beneficiaries today, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina declared more 12 districts and 123 upazilas homeless and landless-free, taking the total number to 21 districts and 334 upazilas across the country.

Under the Ashrayan project and other housing programmes, a total of 82,9607 families have been rehabilitated so far since 1,997 while the number of rehabilitated people stood at 41,48,035 (estimated as five persons in a family).

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