A project worth Tk 205.15 crore has been undertaken to improve livelihood of the slum dwellers in various cities across the country. The project, already in progress, is being implemented by the local government and rural development, LGRD under the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Co-operatives.
The UNDP funded project, titled, ‘Livelihoods Improvement of Urban Poor Communities’ (LIUPC) began in March 2016 and is believed to be completed within February 2022. The project was designed to address some of the basic needs of the slum dwellers like food, shelter, education and medical care for them. The project includes building small flats, ensuring education, healthcare and sanitation facilities for inhabitants to be selected from the ultra-poor communities.
The ill-fated people, who became homeless with no profession and no provisions for food and shelter, migrated to urban areas and started living on the vacant land belonging to the government. To make the slum dwellers self-reliant, trainings on sewing, cow and goat rearing and fish cultivation are being imparted to slum dwellers. The trainees are getting loan facilities with simple interest rate.
The Director General of LGRD Nikhil Chandra Roy told Bangladesh Post, “Already 37 percent of the project’s work has been completed. Regarding the state of progress in the capital, the two City Corporations of Dhaka are working diligently. However, as there are a few new wards included in the Dhaka South City Corporation it has fallen behind in comparison with the Dhaka North City Corporation. But, it will soon catch up with the project.”
When asked regarding the timely allotment and project budget, the DG said, “Even if the project is not completed within the allotted time the total budget of the project time will not be extended. Under special circumstances, the allotted project deadline may be shifted.” The Local Government Ministry, UNDP, two city corporations and UK's International Development Organisation have been working to ensure education, health, sanitation and supply of drinking water for the slum dwellers across the country.
The living standard of at least 2,50,000 slum dwellers has been improved. Half of them are women and children. According to the statistics of Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) and UPPR under local government, 21 percent people are poor of the total population. Of them, 8 percent are ultra poor who have no home and place for living.
The ultras poor people are the residents of the slums. Besides, many people live in the slums to run drug business as they are not the real slum dwellers. The BBS report also stated that there are 45.000 slums in 29 cities of 24 districts which were built on 5000 acres of vacant government land. The slums are located at Dhaka, Chattogram, Khulna, Sylhet, Rajshahi, Tongi, Mymensingh, Rangpur, Barisal, Narayanganj, Jeshore, Cumilla, Dinajpur, Nabaganj, Bogura, Tangail, Savar, Gazipur, Naogaon, Gopalganj, Kushtia, Sirajganj, Habiganj, Pabna, Chandpur, Feni, Nilphamari Syedpur, Satkhira, Jhenidah and Faridpur.
Rural Development and Cooperation Minister Tajul Islam recently said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been working for improving the living standard of the people of all walks of life. Many projects have been taken to upgrade their life. The women are given trainings to make them self-reliant. As per the government plan, no people would be homeless, even the slum dwellers.
Dhaka North City Corporation Slum Development Officer Anwar Hossain said according to the latest list published in 2014 by BBS, at least 35,000 families live in 1637 slums in the Dhaka North City Corporation. He also said at least 70 NGOs have been working to improve the living standard of the slum dwellers. Schools have been set up for the children. Permanent and mobile health camps have been installed for providing health service. A Tk one crore is being spent for the development of the slum dwellers.