May 19, 2021

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Selim remembers the days of hardship

The announcement of the closure of long-distance bus services to control the transmission of corona has changed the traditional appearance of bus terminals in the capital. There are no passengers at the almost deserted terminals. There are buses lined up. Bus drivers, driver assistants and supervisors are spending lazy time sitting inside the bus.

Amir Hossain of Chandpur has been living by bus for almost 30 years. He has three sons and one daughter. The eldest son is a university student. Another girl is in high school. Another boy is disabled. Another boy is only two years old.

Long-distance bus services have been suspended for a week. However, bus driver Amir Hossain came to Sayedabad terminal every day. When the bus service will start, he took the news from his colleagues. However, he was emotionally broken when he heard the news that the lockdown had started again. Because, last year, three months of lockdown could not pay the rent. You have to leave the house as you have not paid the rent on time. The situation is the same again. So he is very worried about how to run the family. Amir Hossain told Prothom Alo, “I was in a crisis during last year’s lockdown. The lockdown has come again. The bus stopped again. How do we run the family when the bus wheel is off? The day before yesterday the landlord was going to pay the rent. Where will I pay the rent now? It has become difficult to eat with wife and children. ‘
Time spent inside the bus
I went to the Sayedabad bus terminal at 2 pm on Sunday and saw that there was a bus driver and his assistant inside almost every bus lined up. Even if the bus is not running, he is guarding the bus. Taking money from the owner for two meals a day. They are somehow able to stay in the terminal after eating. But they are worried about how to make ends meet.

Mohammad Selim of Shariatpur has been working as an assistant to a long distance bus driver for almost 20 years. He is in dire straits as long-distance bus services have stopped. He took a loan of Tk 20,000 to run his family in last year’s lockdown. He has not been able to repay the loan in full. Selim remembers the hard days of last year again as the lockdown started again.
“Long-distance buses have been closed for a week,” Selim told Prothom Alo. If I can’t work, I will go home with money. Didn’t get any help. Where can I get rent now, buy rice and pulses in Camden, I can’t think of anything? ‘
Transport workers have become even more frustrated since the announcement of the lockdown again on April 14.

Abdur Rob, a 60-year-old bus driver who has been driving the bus for 35 years, told Prothom Alo, “We earn our living by driving. The car was stopped for seven days in the lockdown. We are in a lot of trouble. Lockdown is coming again! ‘

Transport owners are also in danger
Long-distance bus services were suspended in Corona for seven consecutive days due to last year’s lockdown. As a result, the bus owners fell into financial loss. Mohammad Sujan owns a bus on the Dhaka-Kishoreganj route. He bought the bus with a bank loan. He is in trouble as there is no income from the bus due to the ongoing restrictions.

Sujan said in the first light, ‘I have only one bus. I bought the car through a bank loan. There is no other source of income. There are many more like me who have bought cars with bank loans. We can’t ask for food from anyone, we can’t reach out to anyone. ’Khandaker Enayet Ullah, secretary general of the Bangladesh Transport Owners Association, told Prothom Alo: The bus driver, the driver’s assistant and others are in extreme danger. The association has requested the concerned transport owners to provide financial assistance to all the indigent transport workers.

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