Poor flock to city for work ahead of Eid | The Daily Star
11:00 PM, September 11, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:00 PM, September 11, 2009

Poor flock to city for work ahead of Eid

A large number of seasonal migrants are flocking to the capital ahead of Eid in search of work, contributing largely to the worsening traffic situation in the city.
The poor people come from different parts of the country in desperate bids to earn some extra money before the biggest religious festival.
Most of them are from low-income generating areas including Kurigram, Rangpur, Dinajpur, Jamalpur, Bogra, Mymensingh, Barisal, Sylhet, Kishoreganj -- all areas where there is not enough work for the poor.
The migrants mostly work as rickshaw-pullers or drive autorickshaws and cabs. With little knowledge of different city streets and routes, and sometimes poor understanding of traffic rules, they end up deteriorating the city traffic.
Beggars of all ages have also poured into the city to make the best of Ramadan, when the faithful are more generous with their charity and the rich give out large sums from their Fitra or Zakat dues.
Shukur Fakir arrived from Dhunut upazila of Bogra a few days ago along with a cousin. They want to work as rickshaw-pullers and make some money in the city as they can't find any work as day labourers or hired workers in Bogra.
Shukur told The Daily Star, "There is no work in our upazila right now. There are a few jobs as day labourers but the wages are very low and not enough to maintain my family of five."
"For around eight hours of labour on farmland as a hired worker, I earn hardly Tk 100 a day but here in this city, I can earn around Tk 500 a day. So even after paying Tk 70 to the rickshaw owner I am left with a neat income, " Shukur said with a smile.
To cut the living cost in the big city, Shukur spends his nights at the rickhshaw garage in Mirpura area along with fellow rickshaw pullers.
"All year round I eagerly await the two Eids. During the two Eids my income triples," said a smiling Abdul Mazid, an elderly beggar who has been making the move to the city twice a year from Mymensingh for the last five years.
"With people giving out Fitra and Zakat, I also get to eat some delicious food, " says the elderly man.
Abdul Mazid, Mymensingh chose the Azimpur Graveyard area as his route as he thinks he earns more in this area than others.
"On Fridays I sit in front of the main entrance to the graveyard as the people coming to the graves to offer fateha (prayers) for their beloved ones are generous in their alms," Abdul Mazid says.
Amir Hossain, a cab driver who has come from Karimganj thana in Kishoreganj a few days before Ramadan said, " Every year during Ramadan I drive a taxi cab here. My income goes up to around Tk 3,000 from the regular Tk 1,500 I earn back in my hometown."
"Though sitting through the thick traffic jams is sometimes intolerable, it still works out because during Ramadan people are more determined to get to their destinations on time so they don't haggle much," he added.
Meanwhile, DMP Joint Commissioner (traffic) Shafiqur Rahman recently told The Daily Star, "The number of vehicles in the city is much more than the accommodation capacity of the city streets. This causes the horrible traffic jams."
"We have already taken special measures to keep the traffic situation under control during Ramadan. Already 800 traffic policemen have been deployed in different intersections of the city and a drive is ongoing to stop vehicles running without proper licences," he said.
So far 1,700 vehicles have been seized and 2,000 rickshaws fined have been under this drive, he said.

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