Dry fish centres pose corona risk at Rangabali
GOLACHIPA, POTUAKHALI, Mar 30: Involving over 800 labourers, the dry fish processing is taking place at Rangabali Upazila ignoring the 'stay at home' order in the district.
Managing local police, representatives and local political leaders, the dry fish processing activities have been run by influential businessmen.
It has created a corona-fear in the nearby villages of the dry fish localities.
Complaining to the administration in this connection, the locals have become angry for not getting any remedy.
According to sources, there are around 50 dry fish processing yards/centres in Boubazaar, Char Morget and Char Aanda of Char Montaj Union of the upazila.
In these yards, 70-80 maunds of dry fish are processed each tern.
On an average, 800-900 labourers are working daily there. Most of them are women and children.
Each labourer gets a wage of Tk 5-7 for processing per kg dry fish.
According to locals, Chairman of Char Montaj Union and dry fish trader Md. Hanif Mia and other dry fish traders, Kamal Bepary, Al Amin Akan, Abdul Mridha and Halim Khan manage most of the dry fish businesses.
Labourer Hasinara of Boubazaar Village of Char Montaj said, "If collection is poor, we get Tk 5 per kg," adding, "But if many, we get Tk 7-8."
Fisherman Rafik Maji of Char Aandar said, "This season, there are over 100 tiger shrimp beds in Char Montaj and other coastal areas."
In each bed, 80-90 maunds of tiger shrimp and rubbishes are caught. These tiger shrimps and rubbishes are dried and sold in Dhaka and Chattogram. Most of the dry fishes are used as poultry and fish feed.
On condition of anonymity, a local human activist said, the dry fish labourers have to work in an unhygienic environment, adding, the health risk is higher for such labourers for being women and children.
Now in the outbreak of coronavirus worldwide, the gathering of them can get the locals in health risk, he pointed out.
Over mobile phone, Char Montaj Chairman Md. Hanif Mia said, "No labourer works in the dry fish homes. Some dishonest men are making false allegations.
Rangabali Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Md. Mashfakur Rahman said, the locality is remote. The local chairman has been asked to take necessary measures.