The government should ensure adequate relief and government aid to Rohingyas and Adivasi people, the citizens say
A group of distinguished citizens and organizations have urged the government to pursue steps immediately to save crores of lives amid the spread of the outbreak of coronavirus in the country.
Expressing their concern, the citizens, including teachers, human rights activists, lawyers, researchers, writers, green activists, and politicians, came up with the urge in a joint statement on Friday.
In the statement, they said more than 50,000,000 people are engaged in works in non-institutional sectors, as per the government statistics.
Depending on their daily income to survive, they have now become unemployed and fallen in distress due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, it said.
A large number of the population has no savings to pass the uncertain period, rather the prevailing situation has caused fears to them for becoming more indebted.
"We have observed, different countries have announced steps and special allocations for the vulnerable people in the wake of the spread of coronavirus. But, it is a matter of concern, the government of Bangladesh is yet to devise any specific program and allocation."
The government only announced a bailout of Tk5,000 crore for the export-oriented industries, particularly for the ready-made garments factories. Apart from this, there is no pledge for other small, medium and cottage industries.
Against this backdrop, the citizens urged the government to provide foodstuffs, other essential commodities and healthcare services to 10,000,000 crore families for three months free of cost.
They also urged the government to ensure salaries and wages in all the organizations and loan to small entrepreneurs along with farmers on simple conditions.
The government should expand the purchase system for ensuring the prices of crops, vegetables and fruits, the statement said.
Besides, the government should ensure adequate relief and government aid to marginal population, particularly to Rohingyas and Adivasi people living in plain and hilly areas.
The citizens also urged the authorities to ensure free healthcare services and emergency humanitarian assistance to the measles-affected areas, the statement added.
As of Saturday, Bangladesh has so far recorded eight deaths from Covid-19, a pandemic announced by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The fast spreading coronavirus, which was first reported in China's Wuhan, has claimed 59,203 lives and infected 1,118,055 people across the world till 12:30pm on Saturday, according to worldometer.
As many as 229,151 people have recovered from Covid-19, a disease caused by a new strain of coronavirus, which has spread to 205 countries and territories across the planet.