Distressed freedom fighters deprived of ‘Bir Nibash’ houses in Rajshahi

Published : 05 Jul 2022 09:24 PM

The 'Bir Nibash' (Homes for the heroes) allocated for the distressed and insolvent Freedom fighters are under the grip of influential and the solvent people, who are not even freedom fighters, at Durgapur upazila of Rajshahi district. 

It is learnt that the project for the 'Construction of Residents for insolvent Freedom Fighters' has recently been started at Durgapur upazila. It is alleged, the Selection Committee for identifying poor and insolvent freedom fighters have dropped the names of actual insolvent and distressed freedom fighters and included the names of the local influential, rich and solvent people in the committee.

It is further alleged, being poor and having no capacity to make lobbying, the name of valiant Freedom Fighter Monsur Ali Pramanik has been excluded from the list. Moreover, by exerting influence, name of another poor FF Anisur Rahman (EPR Soldier No-15854 during the Liberation War in 1971) have also been excluded from the list through he is leading an inhuman life with his family members. 

According to sources, in observance of Birth Centenary of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the 50th anniversary of the Independent, government has recently taken up a project to construct some 30,000 'Bir Nibash' for the insolvent freedom fighters, Birangonas, wives and children of the martyred freedom fighters throughout the country. ECNEC meeting held on March 16,2021 approved the project amounting Tk 4,122 crore 98 lakh 84 thousand. The tenure of the project will end in October 2023.  After the approval of the project, a list of insolvent freedom fighters was prepared. 

According to sources, the project committee recommended names of 12 freedom fighters and sent the list to the Ministry of Liberation War Affairs. The Ministry also approved their names but the total budgetary amount for nine in the list was sanctioned and names of three of insolvent FFs were excluded. Valiant insolvent FF Monsur Rahman was enlisted in number 4 in serial while the name of another insolvent, valiant FF Anisur Rahman Mollah was included in number-8 the same way the name of another insolvent FF Jonab Ali was also excluded.  

it is learnt, Freedom fighter Habibur Rahman Gazi has been enlisted (No-7) for getting the Bir Nibash though he owns nearly eight bighas of land of which more than five bighas are in the same plot. Habibur Rahman is learnt to be a close relative of Durgapur upazila Chairman Nazrul Islam. In number 5 of the list is FF is AOM Nurul Alam Hiru. He had been the Head Master of local school. He also owns nearly 18 bighas of land. Hiru is learnt to be an inflential partner and the son of law of local Member of Parliament. In No-12 of the list, the name of the widow of late FF Zonab Ali has been included. She also owns 13 bighas of land. Some of the sons and daughters of these listed FFs are engaged in government jobs. However, FF Anisur Rahman was not allocated the Bir Nibash though he owns only two bighas of land while FF Monsur not even owns a land for cultivation. He lives in a mud-built, tin-shed house made on 16 decimal of land.  

According to sources, three of the five-member selection committee at the upazila level are government officials. President of the committee is the Upazila Nirbahi Officer, the Member Secretary is Upazila Social Service Officer and one Member is upazila Engineer. Moreover, there are Freedom Fighters and Upazila Freedom Fighters' Commander nominated by local Member of Parliament. 

Valiant FF Monsur Ali Pramanik in this connection said, he does not know how to read and write, as a result, he failed to contact with the high-ups like the MP and the Chairman that is why the home for the FF was not also allocated for him. He further informed all the three  FFs who do not get the home are all insolvent, yet they were not allocated the homes. He said, even at the old age, he has to work in the field to manage food for a five-member family. FF leaders have informed him that his home has been allocated by the government and he needs not go to any one else for the house. But, when the works of construction of the homes with bricks and mortars started, the FF leaders said, his home will be built later on. ' I can not understand why I have been deprived from my home and don't know whom and how I need to pursue for my righteous home,' Monsur added. 

Tofael Ahmed Insan, Local MP and Freedom Fighter in this connection said, he was not present in the selection committee meeting, He only signed by being requested by the UNO. Another member Santosh Kumar informed there has been irregularities in sorting. 

Durgapur Upazila Nirbahi Officer Sohel Rana said, the list has been prepared transparently. The list has been made according to the names supplied by the Selection Committee members. Abdul Jalil, Deputy Commissioner of Rajshahi informed, if any complaint is received in this connection, action will be taken after investigation. 

Project Director ( Additional Secretary) of Housing Construction Idris Siddiqui informed, budget has been allocated for the construction of nine homes for freedom fighters. The Bir Nibash are likely to be allocated according to the serial number of the list but the local administration is can not say why the names of those FFs were dropped from the list.