The ‘Asrayan Prakalpa’ in Rangpur district has become new homes to 4,250 families those lost their houses and lands to river erosion in different upzillas.
According to the district administration, 4,250 floating families were rehabilitated so far in three phases in all eight upazilas since 1997, with constructing 486 tin-shed barrack houses under 37 projects.
Of them, 19 ‘Asrayan Prakalpa’ are situated in Gangachara upazila alone where 2,380 river-eroded families have been rehabilitated in 264 barracks, said Gangachara Upazila Cooperatives Officer Masud Rana.
Besides providing new homes, the river-eroded people have also been getting support under comprehensive social safety-net activities for making them self-reliant, he said.
Talking to BSS, the rehabilitated people living in ‘Asrayan Prakalpa’ narrated the stories of past miseries as well as the process of their transformation toward prosperity.
Like other project beneficiaries, 90 rehabilitated families at Purbo Kochua-1 ‘Asrayan Prakalpa’ in Nohali union under Gangachara upazila have achieved self-reliance with project assistance.
Sharing their experience, Alef Uddin, 60, and his wife Feroza Khatun, 52, said everything started changing when they got shelter at Purbo Kochua-1 Asrayan Prakalpa.
Like other rehabilitated family in the project, the Upazila Cooperatives Office provided the couple Taka 6,000 as interest-free loan when Alef Uddin purchased a van-cart to earn for better living.
Over the time, the couple repaid and got new loans twice while changed their business too until open a grocery shop and start cultivating 54 decimals land as sharecropper.
Now, they are earning well and have cows, goats, television, furniture, clothes and other properties worth Taka 3.50 lakh though we had nothing after becoming homeless due to river erosion.
In nearby Purbo Kochua-2 ‘Asrayan Prakalpa’, 40 rehabilitated families living in four barracks have achieved self-reliance too through small-scale businesses, animal husbandry, poultry, fish farming, homestead farming and other ventures.
Couple Rashidul Islam, 35, and Sabina Yasmin, 25, there said they first got Taka 10,000 loan to open a grocery shop and later Taka 15,000 and Taka 20,000 to increase investment in business.
“Now, we are earning well to lead a good life with our only son Sabbir Hossain, 6, and my father-in-law Mansur Ali, 75, and mother-in-law Rokeya Khatun, 65,” Yasmin said.
They have now assets, including the grocery shop, a refrigerator, a television, mobile phone, furniture and other properties, worth Taka 2.25 lakh.
Freedom fighter Abu Bakar Siddique, 65 and his wife Dulali Begum, 55, o f Chengmari-2 Asrayan Prakalpa said they became homeless and were floating as the Teesta eroded their house.
“We are now living well in the project area where all rehabilitated families are involved in income generation activities and have cows, goats, poultry birds, homestead garden, kitchen, sanitary latrine and other facilities,” Baker said.
Nohali union Chairman Abul Kalam Azad Titul in Gangachara upazila termed ‘Asrayan Prakalpa’ as one of the government’s most successful projects in changing fortune of the floating people through their rehabilitation.