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4 April, 2020 01:17:28 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 4 April, 2020 12:44:36 PM
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32 lakh transport workers going without work

Sufficient food allocated by govt: Official
Special Correspondent, Dhaka
32 lakh transport workers going without work

Around 32 lakh transport workers, including those of inland passenger vessel carriers, have become temporarily unemployed as the movement of all transport and launches, except emergency services and perishable goods- and food-carrying trucks, have been stopped. The government has declared a 17-day general holiday from March 26 till April 11 to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the country. According to sources, over 30 lakh transport workers and about two lakh people working in inland passenger vessel carriers are the worst hit. Buses, trucks, and other vehicles have been kept off the road and Dhaka wears a deserted look, with only police and army personnel patrolling the city.

The coronavirus scare and long office closure have prompted many city dwellers to leave the capital ahead of suspension of bus, train, air, and launch services. As a result, the transport workers have been spending their days in uncertainty, as many of them have no food at home, though Prime Minister Sheikh Hsina has directed the authorities concerned to prepare a list of such people and provide them with food.

“We are facing extreme hardship with our families. We will die if this continues for some more days and there is no government help,” Beku Miah, a bus conductor of Mirpur, told this correspondent. He alleged that no leader of workers has come forward to help in this hour of crisis. Bus owners suspended services on March 26 following the government’s instructions amid fears of COVID-19 spreading, Mantu, a minibus worker of Mohakhali, said.

“Crores of taka have been collected for the wellbeing of the workers. But unfortunately, no owner or workers’ leader has come forward to help the workers in this emergency period,” he said in reply to a query. Rafiqul, a local bus driver of Gulistan, said: “I have four members in my family, including three children. I have to pay Tk.  5,000 as house rent per month. It is a daily wage-based temporary job. I don’t know how I can pay the house rent after the end of the month. It is very hard to lead daily life too.”

A launch worker, Sarwar, said he has kept his mobile switched off as money lenders are pestering him. Aminur Rahman, a human hauler driver, said he used to run from Basabo to Dainik Bangla on a daily basis. “It would have been different had there been a fixed salary. But now the situation is different. No work, no pay,” he added. However, disaster management and relief ministry senior secretary Md Shah Kamal said they have allocated sufficient food to deputy commissioners for distribution among the unemployed people. Besides, they have already asked the district administrations to prepare a list as per the PM’s directives to help those without work so that nobody is denied government’s relief, he added. Workers’ leaders could not be reached as their phones were switched off.


IK

 

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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