Poor people, mainly fishing company workers, took to the street to stage a protest against the authorities “failing” to provide them with relief
Hundreds of poor people marched in Khulna's Purbo Rupsa Bazar area to demand food and relief supplies during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Poor people, mainly fishing company workers, on Tuesday took to the street to stage a protest against the authorities "failing" to provide them with relief.
The starving men and women of Khulna's Rupsa upazila staged the protest at around 11am in Purbo Rupsa Bazar area without maintaining social distance. They took position in front of Rupsa bus stand police outpost, breaking a barricade of bamboo fencing.
Later, when the protesters saw an army patrol car passing along the Khulna-Mongla highway, they raised their demands.
The protesters claimed that they had received no food aid from the government although every person in the area is staying home. Also, they spoke to the local public representatives and leaders. But there have been no results, they alleged, and their family members are starving now.
The protesting workers said the owners of the fishing companies are not paying their wages. And they cannot go out in search of work either.
"We saw on television that the prime minister had sent relief for the poor people. And the government was providing rice at Tk10 per kg. But that too has even stopped."
For these poor people, who are in dire straits now, the supply of relief has remained only on paper.
However, the law enforcers calmed the protesters down by assuring them that they would talk to the chairman and arrange relief for them.
Later, in the presence of law enforcers, Naihati Union Parishad Chairman Kamal Hossain said, "The allocation for the people who are out of work now is not enough. There is a huge shortage of food in the area. I have some rice to distribute. Let's see what I can do with that."
Upazila Nirbahi Officer Nasrin Akhter said, "There are about 4,000-5,000 fishing company workers in Naihati. Except for one, these companies did not pay their workers' wage in the last two months.
"I talked to the owners a long ago. I also spoke to the leaders of the Frozen Food Exporters Association to pay the workers' wage on time. But the workers are yet to receive their payment.
"Rupsa is a densely-populated area. Only 61 tonnes of government's relief rice arrived here and it could be distributed to just 7,000 families. In Naihati alone, there are around 5,000-6,000 low-income workers. And Only 20 percent of them received relief.
"However, I informed the deputy commissioner of the workers' protest.