20 lakh people in life risk
Abu Sazzad: The householders are facing serious crisis for lack of sufficient food items within the lockdown situation imposing threat for surviving of many poor, underprivileged and lower -middle income group people across the country.
Such group of people are facing serious setback to collect foods for their family members mainly due to lack of adequate money, said the civil society members. Since the last one month, the income of the workers, day labourers and slum dwellers halted mainly for the negative impact of the novel corona virus outbreak, but the situation became more worst after declaring the 10 days lockdown started from March 26, they observed.
Meanwhile, the price of essential commodities went beyond the affordability of the common people, and for this, most of the people are failing to purchase the necessary food items. In this backdrop, a strong syndicate and unscrupulous traders are active for stockpiling and market manipulating. Besides, the retailers said, supply chain disruption is the major reason behind the price hiking of the essentials.
According to a recent Daily Industry report, the state relief is needed immediately for the lower income group to fight against the novel corona virus panic and military intervention is a must to distribute the essential commodities for the householders to ensure fair distribution. Md. Jasim, a transport worker narrated his agonies in a gloomy mode because he has no capability to earn a single penny within this shut down situation. “My mother is a street cake vendor who involved preparing and purchasing the locally recognised ‘Chitai Pitha’, but she has no way to contribute any financial assistance for our family. It is embracing to say that now, we are facing food crisis to maintain our family within the locked down situation”, lamented the day labour. He urged the government to provide state relief and financial assistance for the low income group people so that they can manage their daily food for surviving.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina asked the authorities concerned to prepare a list of distressed people and day-labourers’ for providing government assistance so that they could face the tough time over coronavirus pandemic.
On the other hand, the civil society members and experts argued that preparing the list of distressed people is a lengthy process, but the poor needs immediate government assistance as they are already crying for minimum food for their surviving. They expressed their dissatisfaction over the looted money worth Tk 21 crore which was supposed to purchase the corona virus testing kits. They also raised question on the ethichs of the public officials.
According to a report of various donor agencies, some 5 to 20 lakh people are in life risk in Bangladesh. A ministry official told on the condition of anonymity to the Daily Industry that various donor agencies including Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) has committed to provide Tk 1,500 crore for tackling the coronavirus outbreak.
Baidul Alam Majumder, Secretary General of Sujan urged the government to provide state relief for the poor immediately because they are facing food crisis during the locked down situation. The income generation of the low income group in the city halted and they are struggling to manage their food, he observed. He recommended that the government should provide state assistance for their livelihood.
Professor Abul Kalam Azad, Director General of Directorate General of Health Services under Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said, the authorities concerned will scrutinise the ongoing corona situation for more 10 days. He laid emphasis on more government initiative to tackle the situation.
Dr. Benazir Ahmed, former Director, Disease Control and Line Director predicted that 1 percent or 17 lakh people would affect by corona virus. Of them, 20 percent people will have to shift in the incentive care unit (ICU). He has underscored for establishing more isolation centre to admit the affected people for ensuring the health care service. According to Health Directorate data, the public hospitals have some 432 ICU while the private hospitals have 737. The data clearly depicted that Bangladesh has not capability to ensure the treatment facilities for the total number of affected people.
Experts, however, underscored the need for providing government assistance as soon as possible as the poor are facing serious obstacle to manage food.