The poor and distressed people in the district, especially those in Teesta and Dharla river basin char areas, are bearing the brunt of the chilling cold coupled with dense fog that continued sweeping over the region during the last two weeks.
"I can't join my work in the field in the last few days due to heavy cold and dense fog as we have no warm cloth. Poor people like me have been facing crisis to maintain our families," said Seher Ali, 48, a day labourer at Teesta river basin Char Sholmari village in Kaliganj upazila.
Due to the situation, many day labourers are borrowing money from local usurers for high interest, said day another day labourer Sahidul Islam, 55, oft the same village.
Khadiza Bewa, 72, at Dharal river basin Wapda village of Mogholhat union in Lalmonirhat Sadar, said, she is in urgent need of a blanket or warm cloths to get rid of the immense suffering during the current icy weather.
Day labourers Sarowar Hossain, 50, Manik Miah, 48, Julfikar Ali, 60, Meher Ali, 50, and others at Char Kulaghat village in Lalmonirhat Sadar upazila alleged that ultra poor people are deprived as the union parishad (UP) chairman and members often distribute government allocated warm cloths and blankets to their relatives, near ones and men belonging to the same party.
Idris Ali, chairman of Kulaghat UP in Lalmonirhat Sadar, said only 70 blankets were allocated for his union in last two weeks while there are at least five thousand ultra poor people.
Contacted, Lalmonirhat District Relief and Rehabilitation Officer Mohsinul Haque said, "My office sent a demand letter seeking more 15 thousand blankets to the ministry concerned last week but there is no response yet. Earlier my office got 3,400 pieces of blankets and these were distributed to the cold hit people at 45 unions of five upazilas in the district in last two weeks."
Rangpur met office recorded lowest temperature of 11.2 and 11.3 degrees Celsius yesterday and the day before.
Meanwhile, the sellers of warm clothes, especially second hand ones, are doing brisk business in Lalmonirhat town and other areas of the district as the demand has shot up amid the biting cold.
Shortage of supply due to political agitation like countrywide hartals and blockades adds to the situation.
The people, particularly those from low and fixed income groups, are crowding the makeshift shops to buy second hand warm clothes like sweaters, jackets, cardigans, woollen caps and mufflers.
A second hand warm cloth is selling for Tk 300 to 800 against the last year's Tk 80 to 250 in the makeshift shops this year, said Kahbir Uddin, an employee of Lalmonirhat agriculture office.
Kashem Ali, a makeshift warm cloth seller at BDR gate in the town, said, "We are selling warm cloths for higher prices as we purchase these at high rates and the transport cost has increased alarmingly. We can't bring warm cloths from the capital regularly due to blockade and hartal.”