• Monday, May 25, 2020
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Coronavirus renders labourers jobless in Khulna

  • Published at 09:37 pm March 29th, 2020
Coronavirus renders labourers jobless in Khulna
This recently taken photo shows day labourers spending free time at a bus stop in Khulna city, in absence of work due to the soft shutdown that is in effect to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic Dhaka Tribune

There are at least 726 slums across 31 wards in the city, where 200,000 people live

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has left scores of workers and labourers without any jobs in various upazilas of Khulna.

Arash Ali, a rickshaw puller, said law enforcement stopped his rickshaw as no public transport was allowed to ply the streets during the 10-day general holiday from March 26 till April 4.

"I have already told my rickshaw owner that I would not be able to pay my daily deposit until the coronavirus pandemic is eliminated from the district. I told the same thing about rent to my landlord in our slum. But I need to earn whatever little I can to feed my family," he added.

Md Babu, a battery-run easy-bike driver, said police halted his ride in the city's Shib Bari intersection on Saturday, but he drove across the city avoiding law enforcement afterwards.

Ramzan Ali, another rickshaw puller, lamented that no one offered to help people like him as he did not get any fares ever since the general holiday began.

"With prices of essential commodities out of our reach, no one is helping us or donating anything to us. We have to survive by getting out on the road," he said.

According to statistics from private agencies, there are at least 726 slums across 31 wards in the city, where 200,000 people live.

Halima Begum, a maid, said she was let go by her three employers ever since the outbreak began.

"No one wants to lend us any money, not even with interest. My husband, a rickshaw puller, came home yesterday with only Tk50 and injury marks from police batons," she lamented.

Qudrat-E-Khuda, secretary of Shushashoner Jonno Nagorik (Shujan)'s Khulna unit, said 70% of the country's population earn their wages on a daily basis.

"We cannot just tell them to stay home. We must ensure their food security. Starvation at one point may lead them to commit crimes such as stealing food, robbing or even murder," he added.

Nasrin Akter, upazila nirbahi officer (UNO) of Rupsha upazila said the authorities were planning to distribute rice, pulses, potatoes and other essential commodities to every marginalized family from this week.

She also said this would be implemented for marginalized families across the district.

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