Driven by acute poverty, many women of five Lalmonirhat villages have started oyster collection from a local river to support the livelihood of their families.
More than a hundred women belonging to ultra poor families of Dalalpara, Sarkertari, Majhipara, Daspara and Gokunda of Lalmonirhat Sadar are forced to scrabble about in the Sati river for oysters and make some money by selling them as they find no other jobs at the moment.
“I work as a labourer in crop fields but I become jobless this time of the year,” said Rasheda Begum,44, of Sarkertari village.
She said she was doing this to support her rickshaw-puller husband in running the family expenses.
She sells the oysters collected from the river to local poultry feed and lime producers at Tk 3 per kilogram. This way she makes between Tk 70 to Tk 100 a day, depending on the catch.
Like her, Shikha Rani Das of Daspara too does this job to add to the family income.
“My husband is a fish hawker and he earns between Tk 120 and Tk 150 per day. But his earning is not enough to maintain our five-member family,” said the 35-year-old woman, who earns around Tk 80 a day.
However, they all think they are deprived of fair price in the absence of competition among buyers.
“It would be better if they paid us Tk 1 or 2 more per kg," said Meher Nesa Bewa, 55, of Gokunda.