Pandemic leaves blacksmiths jobless before Eid

Published : 14 Jul 2021 09:07 PM

Although Eid-ul-Adha is knocking on the door, the blacksmiths in Chatmohar upazila of Pabna are still spending their time lazily as there is not much work to do this year for the pandemic.

Prior to the outbreak of Corona virus, local blacksmiths used to get busy with loads of work from about fifteen days before the Eid-ul-Adha. However, this time, due to the corona lockdown, declining income of one class of people and overall adversities, the blacksmiths have not become busy with work yet.

In Eid-ul-Adha, people of our country mainly use sharp tools like knife, Chapati and Boti for cutting meat of the sacrificial animal. 

Under normal circumstances, some people used to sharpen old knives Chapati and Boti, whereas many others used to make or buy these tools anew. The blacksmith's shops used to be so crowded and the blacksmiths used to be the busiest at this time of the year. 

However, this time the picture of Kamar Shala (blacksmith’s shop) is completely opposite.

According to sources, there are about 80 blacksmith’s shop in 11 unions and under the municipal area of Chatmohar. About 200 blacksmiths work in these shops and about 200 families of Chatmohar upazila make a living from this profession. 

Zahurul Islam of Boailmari village has a blacksmith shop in the neighboring Dolong area of the upazila. Zahurul Islam said, at this time of the year we used to be overloaded with works.  

In addition to sharpening old Chapatis, knives and Botis, there used to be many new jobs to be found. However, this year we are not getting new orders as expected whereas sharpening orders of old knives are also quite scarce, he informed. Zahurul informed that they sell each new Chapati at Tk 500 to 700, medium knives at Tk 100 to 150 and Botis at Tk 500 to 700 per kg on the weight. They sharpen each Chapati at Tk 100 to 150, knives at Tk 20 to 30 and Boti at Tk 50 to 60, he added.

He further said, “There are more blacksmith shops in Haripur, Chaikola, Katakhali, Parshwadanga and Handial areas of the upazila. The picture of blacksmiths in all areas is almost the same.  “Although, now is the pick season for our profession there is hardly any work in comparison. The price of the old iron we buy as raw material has gone up too whereas, the price of coal has almost doubled. Currently, it costs us Tk 1,700 to buy 50 kg of coal from Pabna and bring it to Chatmohar. Tk 60 per kg iron is now being sold at Tk 85 and Tk 80 per kg iron is being sold at Tk 100 now”, he said.

However, Zahurul hoped that in the next few days the workload might increase a little and will continue till Eid. 

“Our business has been suffering for almost a year and a half but, still we have to pay the wages of the employees. During this time I had to count the loss of about Tk 1.5 lakh. All in all, I am living my life somehow”, he said sadly.