National, Back Page

Low-income group smarts from lockdown

Published : 05 Jul 2021 09:38 PM | Updated : 06 Jul 2021 12:35 AM

Amid the fresh lockdown most of the people in low-income group of the society are finding it hard to make living in a fast-growing urban city like Dhaka.

The strict lockdown, imposed since July 1, has hit hard most of the day labourers who depend on their earning on daily works. However, the restrictions on movement have made it hard for them to find work and earn.

Many such people belonging to low-income said they would opt to leave the capital for survival if such strict restrictions are continued as it is too expensive to maintain livelihood in the fast growing economy like Dhaka city.

The government, however, has ensured humanitarian assistance for the poor and unemployed to help them get through the lockdown, which is to be availed by calling ‘333’. Surveys show many of the beneficiaries do not have knowledge on the free food delivery services.

Md Faruk (50), a dweller of 'Block Dha' in Mirpur-12, came to Dhaka in 2005. He worked in a plastic factory until 2020, when the factory suffered a heavy loss, it eventually shut down. Since then, Faruk has been a day laborer looking for works. 

In the most recent restriction imposed to curb the dreaded Covid-19 transmission, Faruk failed to manage any work. Thus, he has started selling tea and cigarettes, on a small handcart.

"There are fewer people in the streets for restrictions and I hardly can make some cash to make my living. I have yet to pay my house rent of last two months", said Faruk.

“I have already sent my family to my village home Bagerhat. Once everything comes back to normal, I will bring them all back and let my son pursue a good career. But it seems like this won’t happen so soon. Now I am thinking of joining them in my village,” he added.

Another victim of these lockdowns, Md Aslam (32), pulls a transport van for delivering goods, is planning to leave the capital as he cannot get works to survive.

“I have been struggling with my wife and 2 children since the beginning of the pandemic. We really hoped it would be over soon. But only God knows when this struggle will be over,” Aslam said.

“I don’t make more than Tk 500 a day pulling goods on this rickshaw-van. That’s not even daily. It’s really tough to pay Tk 6000 house rent and meet other basic expenses. We cannot take it anymore,” he added.

Both, Faruk and Aslam were asked if they know about the helpline ‘333’, from where one can seek for the government’s food assistance delivery services during the lockdown period. Both said they had no idea.

One of them said, he provided his number to some guy in the Eid-Ul-Fitr, last year to get financial aid, but didn’t have any.

Meanwhile, the government has allocated Tk 230 million in humanitarian assistance for people affected by the pandemic in all 64 districts, the Disaster Management and Relief Ministry said last Monday.

The fund will be used to provide food assistance to the people who will call the national helpline, 333, for aid. The aid includes food items like rice, lentils, salt, oil and potatoes.