August 20, 2016

A big dream for squatters in squalor

Typically, everyone dreams to be better nourished, to be better educated, to enjoy better health and to have better economic prospects. It is the responsibility of governments, especially democratic ones, to enable their citizens to realize these dreams. In this regard, our government has room to improve.
Removing squatters from their homes by force is absolutely against the government’s commitment to eradicating poverty and developing rural communities. No profession is nobler than statesmanship. No responsibility is greater than statesmanship. It is, therefore, necessary for all statesmen to be aware that the root cause of bad governance is the failure to put people at the centre of what they do.
It is clear that one of the primary responsibilities of the government is to serve the needs and hopes of citizens across the country, with no discrimination on the grounds of race, gender or religion. All elected representatives are required to swear a solemn oath that they will respect the dignity and worth of their fellow citizens and promote human rights while dedicating themselves to the undertaking of better standards of living.
It is encouraging to see the recent initiative to provide rental housing to squatters along the Ayeyawady River in Mandalay Region. The project signals the commitment of the local administrative bodies to the fight against poverty.  According to the Mandalay City Development Committee, the low-cost housing project is under construction for migrant workers living in slums along the river.
The project is said to include the construction of 22 six-storey buildings, with 1,584 rooms in total. Each room measures 10 feet by 20 feet and contains a bathroom, a toilet and a bedroom. The rooms will have to be rented by lot for K30,000 (US$23) per month, as the applicants outnumber the available rooms. Over 1,800 people have applied so far. Low-cost rental housing should be hailed as a a move to fulfil the dream of squatters living in squalor. The government should build upon these efforts and improve on them until all squatters have their basic human needs satisfied.


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