Pay the affected workers their wages like absentee govt officials

04 May 2021 Editorial Desk
Pay the affected workers their wages like absentee govt officials

Roads and shopping malls in Dhaka City are crowded with vehicles and people amid the pandemic. With Eid-ul-Fitr ahead, shopping centres and malls are filled with customers. At most shopping centres, maintaining the health and safety rules appears to be a big challenge due to the rush of customers. At the entry points of some markets, the antiseptic mix is sprayed on customers, instead of providing them with hand sanitisers. Besides, there is not enough space in most of the shops for customers to maintain physical distancing.

Bangladesh Shop Owners' Association recently asked the government to keep the shopping malls open till 12am. In the letter, they said that although the shops open at 10am, a good number of customers come in the afternoon from 3pm and do their shopping till 5:30pm before iftar. Many people do their shopping after the office time, so there is a heavy crowd of customers in malls starting from the afternoon. On the other hand, as the businesses close by 8pm, few customers visit after iftar. In a letter, they claimed that 95 percent people wear masks during shopping at the markets.

Transport workers on Sunday brought out a procession in some parts of the city including Gabtoli and Sayedabad to press home their three-point demand including the resumption of public transport services maintaining health protocols. They sought food assistance for unemployed transport workers. Responding to the transport owners' association demand to immediately resume bus service in the country, the road transport and bridges minister Obaidul Quader said that the government is considering the resumption of public transport services ahead of Eid. Bus services in Dhaka City and within districts are likely to the resumed on Thursday.

Public transport services have remained suspended in the country since April 5, with the government announcing a countrywide lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus. Although the operation of buses, train and launches have remained suspended, movement of rickshaws, auto-rickshaws, private cars, covered vans and pick-ups on streets of Dhaka City has increased significantly. So partial lockdown cannot have aim achieved.

We understand the need of lockdown but the government must also do its thinking to know how to make lockdown tolerable for the poor. The government servants are getting their full salary remaining at home. They are getting public money. Then why the workers forced to abstain to work should not also get at least part of the wages from the same public fund.

The government has found our people are too docile to tolerate injustices and sufferings. Politics is dead or purchased. But the hungry people are also angry people. No politics is needed for angry people to burst out. 

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