AL sees power as scope to serve people: PM Hasina

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina speaks at an award handover ceremony in Dhaka on 23 March, 2023.PID

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina has said her government considers power as a scope to serve the people, reiterating her steadfast commitment to build developed, prosperous and Smart Bangladesh by 2041.

"We see the power as a scope to serve the people. It has been possible to make development as the democratic process continues by now since Awami League assumed office after winning 2008 general elections confronting many hurdles," she said.

The premier was handing over "Swadhinata Purashkar-2023" (Independence Award-2023), the highest national civil award, to nine distinguished persons and one organisation in recognition of outstanding contribution to their respective fields at national level at the Osmani Memorial Auditorium on Thursday.

She said Bangladesh earlier didn't see progress much due to hindrance of the democratic process time and again and lack of stability after assassination of the Father of the Nation along with most of his family members in August, 1975.

The premier poses with the awardees at the event on Thursday.

Briefly describing her government's timely and well planned measures for overall development of the country, she said Bangladesh has achieved the developing nation status from the least developed one as they have never taken any plan on adhoc basis.

“We have taken plan to go ahead keeping intact the status of a developing nation. We have done everything with specific and farsighted plans. We did nothing on adhoc basis. In the case of planning, we always give priority to the people's welfare,” she said.

The independence award recipients are - valiant freedom fighters Colonel (retd) Shamsul Alam, late Lieutenant AG Mohamnmad Khurshid (posthumous), martyr Khwaza Nizamuddin Bhuiyan (posthumous) and Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury (Maya) Bir Bikram under the 'Independence and Liberation War' category.

Late Mohammad Mainuddin Ahmed (Selim Al Deen) (posthumous) received the award in the 'Literature' category while Pabitra Mohan Dey and ASM Rakibul Hasan got the award in 'Cultural' and 'Sports' categories respectively.

Department of Fire Service and Civil Defence got the award in the 'Social Services/Public Services' category and Begum Nadira Jahan (Surma Jahid) and Ferdousi Kadri received the award in the 'Research and Training' category.

The cabinet division earlier on 9 March announced the names of the Independence Award recipients.

Each award recipient received a gold medal, a certificate and a cheque of honorarium.

Cabinet secretary Mahbub Hossain moderated the function and read out the citations with brief life sketch of the recipients.

Of the recipients, Dr Ferdousi Kadri expressed feeling on the occasion.

Sheikh Hasina said her government had formulated the perspective plan 2010-21 and five-year plan to implement the "Vision-2021" to make Bangladesh into a developing nation.

After getting the status of developing nation, the prime minister said her government is now in hot pursuit to transform the country into a developed, prosperous and smart Bangladesh by 2041 through implementing the "Vision-2041".

She said her government has also taken a long-term Delta Plan-2100 as generations after generations can lead improved and dignified life without depending on others keeping their head high in the globe.

"We're doing everything necessary to march ahead in every sector such as sports, culture, literature, economy and others," she said.

The prime minister said her government has reduced poverty to 20 per cent from over 40 per cent and increased the per capita income.

"We probably will give you some good news regarding the decrease of poverty further after a thorough analysis", she said.

The prime minister said they have given electricity to every house, and are giving home to every homeless and landless people free of cost, taking measures for providing proper education, healthcare services at doorsteps and prioritizing on research that included agriculture, health science and science for progress in every sector.

About the food support programmes for the poor, she said the government provides rice at a subsidised rate of Tk 30 per kg to 10 million people through family cards and gives rice at Tk 15 per kg to 5 million other people.

The premier said the government has decided to provide rice to 5 million more people (at Tk 15 per kg) during the month of Ramadan so that the people won't suffer.

Besides giving rice, she said the government is also a plan to provide some other essential commodities including pulse, edible oil, sugar and chickpeas during the Ramadan (at subsidized prices for the poor).

"We're taking every possible measure as none have to suffer for food during the Ramadan," she said.

Sheikh Hasina said her government has done everything with specific plans to give the distressed people of the country a dignified and beautiful life free from poverty, hunger, discrimination and oppression as envisioned by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

The prime minister said Bangabandhu had transformed Bangladesh into a least developed country by only three years and seven months apart from building a war ravaged country.

The Father of the Nation did it proving false assumption of many countries which did not support the Liberation War that Bangladesh would be a bottomless basket after getting independence, she said.

When the anti-liberation elements at home and abroad saw that it would not be possible to oppress Bangladesh anymore, they assassinated the Father of Nation on 15 August in 1975, the premier continued.

"The advancement of Bangladesh was stopped (with the assassination of the Father of the Nation). The spirit of the Liberation War was ruined and its history was distorted," she said.