When the coronavirus hit Bangladesh last year, the people were in a fix at the beginning. Jobless and helpless people faced uncertainties over food apart from fear and panic. We were in the dark about the corona treatment and other managements. The terms “lockdown” and “quarantine” were echoing everywhere. We overcame the situation gradually and corona was under control. The country saw the second wave of the deadly virus. The situation during the second wave was worse than that of the first one. Although people heaved a sigh of relief due to the invention of vaccines, unemployment and poverty took a heavy toll on human life. People are aware of corona treatment and management now. But the low-income people and day labourers are in great danger. Backs of small traders, transport and construction workers were pushed to the wall. The day labourers take to the streets looking for work from dawn to dusk. They are passing a tough time for not having any earning. All the family members, including children, are suffering a lot.
Many people extended support to the poor and destitute at the advent of the second wave of coronavirus. Many people responded to the humanity. A section of landlords waived house rents to support tenants. Yet many tenants left the city for their village homes. In fact, the situation was not worthy of living in the capital. These people had no work and food to survive. In a changing situation, they returned to the city again. The government came up with financial and food support. The affluent people and businessmen also extended support to the vulnerable section. Some people came forward with food items while some others with money. I saw rich people halting their cars and distributing Tk 500 or Tk 1,000 notes among the poor.One of the great virtues of the Bangalee nation is to stand by the vulnerable people in a critical juncture. This was evident in all the natural calamities. People affected by storms and floods had received support in the past.
Unfortunately, the well-off section is not extending their support to the vulnerable people amid the second wave of the deadly virus in the country.
Millions of people have lost employments resulting in untold sufferings for the family members in one and a half years. Most of the businessmen and affluent people keep mum. I am not making a wholesale comment. Some corporate houses like Bashundhara Group, Abul Khair Group, Akij Group, PRAN-RFL Group, AK Khan Group and Bengal Group responded positively.
Bashundhara Group started relief distribution in all 64 districts of the country. Under the project, 3,000 families of each district will receive food and other assistance.
Shuvasangha, a social organisation of Bashundhara Group’s vernacular daily Kaler Kantho, has been assigned to carry out the relief distribution programme.
Being the largest social organisation in the country, Shuvasangha has been distributing relief in the northern districts right now.It is tough for the government to tackle the situation alone. It needs support from others. The armed forces and police are engaged in relief work. Ruling Awami League and its associate organisations are also distributing relief materials. Other political parties seem to be indifferent towards the public sufferings. We hope they will also stand by the helpless people.
Unity is strength. The country is like palm. It gets strength when five fingers work together. The leading businessmen and corporate houses have to extend support to the government in its fight to save the poor and destitute. We should provide the vulnerable people with food, money and medical assistance. It is our great responsibility to protect the lives of these people.
It is my humble appeal to the business tycoons and leading corporate houses to stand by the helpless people. Please strengthen the hand of the government and engage yourselves in the noble job of humanity. We will surely overcome the impediments through concerted efforts. May Allah help us.
(Translated by Firoz Al Mamun)