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Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday urged the members of Bangladesh Ansar and Village Defence Party (VDP) to motivate the mass people to receive COVID-19 vaccine to help the government’s ongoing efforts in fight against the deadly pandemic.

“I request each member of Bangladesh Ansar and VDP to motivate the rural people so that everyone receives COVID-19 vaccine,” she said.

The prime minister was addressing the 41st national rally of Bangladesh Ansar and VDP at the Bangladesh Ansar-VDP Academy at Shafipur as the chief guest, joining virtually from her official Gonobhaban residence.

Mentioning that the government has already started coronavirus vaccination in the country, she said some people have needle phobia, but the government is expecting they would receive vaccine and follow the health protocol to stay away from being affected with COVID-19.

“We are expecting they (people) would receive the vaccine on time as the government has made necessary arrangement for it,” she said seeking cooperation of Bangladesh Ansar and VDP members to this end.

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Sheikh Hasina said anyone visiting digital centre can register themselves for vaccination and she urged everyone to receive inoculation along with their family members following this process.

“Our endeavour is going on to protect country’s people from the deadly pandemic,” she added.

In the ceremony, on behalf of the prime minister, home minister Asaduzzaman Khan handed over eight types of special medal to 140 Ansar and VDP members for their bravery and praiseworthy services.

The medals are: Bangladesh Ansar Medal, President’s Ansar Medal, Bangladesh VDP Medal, President VDP Medal, Bangladesh Ansar Services Medal, President’s Ansar Services Medal, Bangladesh VDP Services Medal and President’s VDP Services Medal.

The prime minister also received salute from a spectacular parade of the Ansar and VDP members.

Home minister Asaduzzaman Khan and senior secretary of public security division Mostafa Kamal Uddin spoke at the function, while director general of Bangladesh Ansar and VDP major general Mizanur Rahman Shameem delivered the welcome speech.

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh Ansar and VDP is playing a pivotal role in developing skilled human resources as the force is working to generate employment for youth through providing technical and profession-based training apart from basic training.

She said the contribution of the force, especially towards women’s participation in national economy and women empowerment, is praiseworthy as half of the members of this force are female.

Mentioning that Ansar-VDP Development Bank, established by her government, is playing important role in the country’s economy by providing small and medium loan through its 259 branches, she said five billion taka has been provided to the bank from Bangladesh Bank to offset the impacts of COVID-19 and it has already disbursed nearly Tk 2.5 billion.

The prime minister went on saying that the members of the force can borrow up to one million taka with five per cent interest from it.

Highlighting the role of Ansar and VDP in standing beside people’s lives and goods during any disaster and necessity, she praised its strong role played against the BNP-Jamaat’s arson-attack and killing people during the years of 2013, 2014 and 2015.

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About celebration of Mujib Borsho, the head of government said the slogan of Bangladesh Ansar and VDP – ‘Mujib Borsher Uddipan, Ansar and VDP Ase Sarakhan’ (Encouragement of Mujib Borsha, Ansar and VDP remains alert all time) is a time worthy.

She said Bangabandhu’s life and work has been included into the curriculum of the ongoing master’s course and other training of Ansar-VDP academy. In addition, initiative has been taken to construct a central sports complex naming after Bangabandhu, she added. Congratulating the service and bravery medals winners, Sheikh Hasina said, “These awards have been introduced by the Awami League government for the acknowledgement of your sincerity and responsibility to your job.”

Highlighting the development initiatives taken by her government, the prime minister said under the expansion of Ansar and VDP infrastructures project, 24 centres out of 29 have already been completed along with renovation of 114 buildings and infrastructures.

She said initiative has been taken to give a house to each VDP member considering their exemplary contribution towards performing duty despite having financial insolvency.

Reiterating her government’s firm determination to provide a house to each land and homeless person in the Mujib Borsho, Sheikh Hasina said all houses would be illuminated with electricity at this time and the government is also trying to make the urban facilities available in rural areas.

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