Losing jobs, many are returning to their village homes with their family
Yusuf Abzal worked as a merchandiser, for three years at Exotic BD Source, a buying house.
The company closed before Eid as they had no work during the pandemic.
Yusuf could not think clearly when he heard the announcement as he has a family to support.
Soon he had to make the hard decision to leave Dhaka permanently with the family for his village home in Jashore. Yusuf is not even expecting to get a new job at this time of crisis.
Not only Yusuf, but many others are going back to their country homes with their families after losing their jobs because of factory closures and business shutdowns.
Then there are many who still have a job but with salary cuts and reduced benefits. So it has also become impractical for them to continue living in Dhaka with their families.
The easy decision for many has been to send their families to their permanent homes and move to bachelors' dorms.
Yusuf told The Business Standard, "Living in Dhaka with the family costs me around Tk35,000-40,000 every month. I was forced to return to my village home after losing my job. There is no light at the end of the tunnel either."
Experts have called this situation a curse of poverty. They said that in such a situation, the governments of different countries had stepped up to stop job cuts.
Governments in many countries are providing 60 to 80 percent subsidy on their own. The entrepreneurs are managing the rest.
Different countries are trying to ward off the Covid-19 crisis this way. But even this is not possible in a country like ours.
Experts also said, "As the government is not being able to stop job cuts, it will have to ensure meals for the families of those who are out of work now, three times a day."
Asked about the issues, Policy Research Institute of Bangladesh Executive Director Dr Ahsan H Mansur told The Business Standard," "Developed countries including the European Union member states have given importance to employment protection during this pandemic."
"The German government told the entrepreneurs not to lay off any worker and that it would cover their expenses. And there were no job cuts in Germany.
"The UK government said it would bear 80 percent of the entrepreneurs' expenses. It had no layoffs either.
"In the United States, 40 million people lost a job. However, they are getting an allowance from the government. But the government of our country does not have that ability.
"So the government cannot tell the entrepreneurs not to fire their employees without giving the assurance of paying their cost. Again, many entrepreneurs do not have enough money to pay salaries month after month when there are no business activities.
"However, the government can arrange food for jobless people. It should ensure that these people do not suffer from starvation."
A study of Brac, DataSense and Unnayan Shamannay brought to light the havoc that the Covid-19 crisis has wrought on the people's income in Bangladesh.
It said that Bangladesh's economy and development are at a critical juncture in the wake of Covid-19, where financially poorest people are most affected in terms of both economy and health.
Now 102.2 million people face high risks of economic and health vulnerabilities.
The primary survey revealed that the outbreak affected low-income people in different ways.
It showed that 34.8 percent of households interviewed had at least one member who lost their job due to the outbreak.
The average family income loss between March and May stood around 74 percent, while more than 1.4 million migrant workers returned or were on their way back home due to job loss.
People in the informal sector, including day-labourers, suffered most.
The manufacturing sector also experienced a major blow.
For example, the apparel sector experienced an 84 percent cut in exports year-on-year in April 2020.
Between mid-March and April 7, 2020, 1,116 factories were reported to be closed down and 2.19 million workers lost their job.
According to the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association and the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association, 419 garment factories were shut down due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
Sources said that these factories were closed as they had no work orders.
Not only the factories but also different businesses are also reeling from the Covid-19 hit.
Jamal Uddin ran a restaurant opposite Bashundhara Gate.
He could barely afford to pay his two employees and the rent for two months after the shutdown so he gave in at last and went back to his home in Chattogram.
"The financial crisis has come to a point where I cannot even afford to stay in Dhaka. So I had to leave everything behind," said Jamal.
Mohammad Noman worked in the mechanical department of an apparel factory called Export Touch Limited in Mirpur. The factory remains closed for more than two months.
Without a salary and running out of money, he left his small rented room and went home.
Noman said there is no possibility of him coming back to Dhaka until he gets another job.
Zahurul Haque would work as a clerk at an admission test coaching centre at Farmgate of the city.
He was preparing for job exams while staying in a shared dorm.
After paying half his salary in April, the coaching authorities told Zahurul they could no longer keep him on the payroll. So he had no option but to go back to his home.
Meanwhile, residential rental signs up for April in many areas of Dhaka including Rampura, Badda, Farmgate, are still hanging there, apparently lacking any takers.
It is learned that the vacated flats are not getting renters quickly.
Sources say that people are vacating their residences because of job losses and not many are coming to Dhaka at this time.