Amid the countrywide shutdown announced by the government to prevent the spread of coronavirus, transport workers in Khulna say they are facing difficulties as they are not getting any food and financial aid from the local administration.
Workers accused the transport owners of earning millions in extortion every month but not doing enough for them.
The owners disbursed rice among workers and did not provide any financial assistance to them during the coronavirus outbreak.
Abdur Rahim Box Dudu, general secretary of Truck Workers Union, Khulna division, said they have distributed 24.5 tons of rice among 8,000 workers on behalf of the union. Later, 24 tonnes of rice from government relief were disbursed among them through the city corporation. “We are standing by the workers,” he said.
Abdul Gaffar Biswas, president of Khulna Motor Bus Owners Association, said they are helping the transport workers personally but not in a collective way.
Joint Secretary of District Bus-Minibus-Microbus Owners Association, Anwar Hossain, said no worker of the district is starving. He said they would provide food materials to anyone complaining of not getting any assistance.
General Secretary of Khulna Motor Workers Union Mohammad Jakir Hossain Biplob said they distributed 200-300 sacks of food aid among workers. “It’s difficult for us to provide cash to the workers as there are 8,000 of them,” he said.
However, the workers said transport owners only disbursed some rice on behalf of the city corporation in presence of the deputy commissioner.
They also alleged that the owners did not provide money from the Workers Welfare Fund amid the precarious coronavirus situation.