Hurry to return to Dhaka
Strict lockdown is underway to control the corona virus. Considering the overall situation in the ongoing lockdown, the government decided to keep all export-oriented industries and factories out of the restrictions from 8 am on August 1. On Saturday evening, July 31, the decision was made to start public transport in compliance with the limited health rules.
The decision said that in order to facilitate the return of workers of all factories including garments to their workplaces, all kinds of public transport will run on a limited scale till 12 noon on August 1 in compliance with the health rules. Most of the workers have left for Dhaka after hearing about the opening of the garment on July 30.
Nevertheless, the remaining labour passengers had some advantage in reaching Dhaka. The ready-made garment sector has been pushing the country's export earnings almost single handedly year after year. Around 4 million workers work in this sector as the garment industry owners' organization (BGMEA) has been claiming for the last three years. And most of garment workers have come from rural areas and taken jobs in these organizations.
The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), an association of garment owners, has said that no action can be taken against any worker in the village if he cannot join the work until the ban is lifted. Authorities have also instructed the workers stationed around the factory to carry out production activities. All workers are not required to join by August 1.
Still, the workers are fleeing to Dhaka, ignoring the severe lockdown, considering their livelihoods and families and for fear of losing their jobs. There is no end to harassment! There are no vehicles; there are reports of people walking mile after mile. Some of them have reached their destination by walking 25-30 km in the sun and rain without getting any vehicle. There is no end to the sufferings of the passengers on the waterways as well as the roads. Passengers and private vehicles have been stranded on the Shimulia-Banglabazar ferry route.
Most of the passengers crossing the ferry are the workers of garment factories and industrial establishments. Passengers and workers on their way to Shimulia are in dire straits due to the transport crisis. They are coming to Dhaka in small vehicles avoiding the police check post on the road. Passengers have to pay several times more. The ferry was supposed to run only for urgent needs and without the restrictions imposed by the government, but it was not complied with. Every ferry was crowded with passengers heading for Dhaka. Hygiene and social distance are being neglected under the pressure of passengers. Some people have masks under the nose and mouth. The only thought in their minds is that they have to return to Dhaka to join the work. Now the question is, do the workers heading to Dhaka today not know about the horrors of Corona? Is their livelihood more valuable than their lives? The answer is that the workers also know and understand the horrors of Corona. They also have the illusion of life. But after knowing so much of them, Corona's horror seemed to have become secondary to the pain of hunger in their life.
If he loses his job due to failure to join the work at the right time, then there will be no way but to sit on the road, then poison will boil on his forehead. Are only garment or industrial workers rushing to Dhaka? Certainly not. Along with the workers and their families, the other people in Dhaka are also rushing towards Dhaka.
Eighty-five percent of working people in Bangladesh work in the informal sector while only 15 percent in the formal sector. Among the workers in the formal sectors, those who lose their jobs are expected to get their jobs back, but there is still a fear of when they will get them back and who they will go to. As a result, the workers have to go to Dhaka to save their jobs. At the risks of life, the workers of industrial factories including Dhaka-bound garments, workers are rushing. Everyone should value the life first.
The writer is Journalist, apprentice lawyer, Judge Court, Khulna