April 15, 2021

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No buyers, restaurants closed, hard workers

Jilani Jamaddar of Patuakhali used to work in a restaurant called Bhojan Ghar in Gulshan. He lived with his two daughters, a son and his wife in a rented house in Badda area. The dining hall has been closed since the lockdown began three days ago. Jilani is now unemployed after losing his job. In the light of the experience of the last lockdown, he did not stay in Dhaka this time. He left Patuakhali with his family.

Jilani Jamaddar, a low-income man, now feels frustrated with the state. He is worried about how to meet the expenses of the family.Jilani Jamaddar, who lost his job, told Prothom Alo on his mobile phone, “Last year, he stopped talking for a week. That closure lasted for three months. I have been working hard for six months. I could not go to Dash then. I fell in Dhaka. I was in danger of borrowing a lot. I could not overcome that danger now. Giving lockdown again. The hotel is closed. Now I am in great danger. ‘The government has not issued any instructions to close food shops and restaurants in the lockdown. However, they have been asked to take food home without eating at the restaurant. But the owners have closed 70 percent of the restaurants in Dhaka metropolis due to lack of buyers. More than two lakh workers have suddenly lost their jobs and become unemployed. And the 20 percent of restaurants that are open, they are not getting buyers. They are counting losses every day. Khandaker Ruhul Amin, chief adviser of the Bangladesh Restaurant Owners Association, told Prothom Alo, “The government did not ask us to close our hotels and restaurants. But the situation is such that it is not possible for all of us to keep hotels and restaurants open. Because, there is no buyer. Already 80 percent of the restaurants in Dhaka metropolis have been closed. 20 percent restaurants are open. Those who have left it open are also saying that they are not getting buyers. ‘ According to the Restaurant Owners Association, there are about 8,000 restaurants in the Dhaka metropolis. Of these, there are four and a half thousand in the South City Corporation area of ​​Dhaka. And there are about three and a half thousand in the North City Corporation area. In all, about two and a half lakh workers work in these restaurants. Why are most of the restaurants closed?
The Raj Hotel and Restaurant is one of the largest hotels in Gulistan, the busiest area of ​​the capital. That too has been closed for two days. But about 120 workers worked in the hotel. Everyone has lost their job for now.

“We are not feeling well,” said Bulbul Ahmed, the hotel’s manager. There are no trades on lockdown. So we were forced to close the hotel. All workers have been given leave. They are now unemployed. They are going through a lot of hardships. Many workers could not be paid properly in the last lockdown. The workers are now lost. The lockdown has started again. ‘

Not only Gulistan, but also Gabtali, Sayedabad, Kamalapur, Motijheel, Farmgate, Paltan, Arambagh and many other places in the capital have been closed. However, some restaurants are open in these areas. Alam Restaurant is one of the big restaurants in Sayedabad Bus Terminal. The restaurant’s activities in Lockdown did not stop for a single day. However, the owner authorities have given leave to more than half of the employees of the restaurant. They have continued their activities with a handful of employees.

The manager of the restaurant told Prothom Alo, “We have not been able to overcome the problem we faced in the last lockdown in Corona. The lockdown has come again. Now we are eating Himshim. Excluded half of the staff. I left the restaurant open with the other half of the staff. However, it is not possible to pay the workers with what is being sold. The company is in debt. ‘

They have to go through the same anxiety in lockdown
Due to the Corona outbreak, public life including office, court and public life came to a complete standstill during the 7-day general holiday from March 26 last year. The activities of most of the businesses including hotels and restaurants were closed. Thousands of hotel and restaurant workers across the country became unemployed. When the outbreak of corona subsided, hotel and restaurant workers, who had spent the day in extreme uncertainty, returned to work.

This time they have to go through the same anxiety in the lockdown again. Al Amin, president of the Dhaka Metropolitan Hotel and Restaurant Workers League, told Prothom Alo that the owners have closed most of the hotels and restaurants in Dhaka in the last three days. Thousands of workers have become unemployed. In many cases, workers are being laid off without pay.

Hotel Gauchia in Fakirapul was closed three days ago. Abul Bashar, an employee of the hotel, told Prothom Alo, “The owner has closed the hotel in lockdown. I was unemployed for six months in the previous lockdown. No one has seen us yet. The lockdown has started again. We have become unemployed. The income has also stopped. ‘

Hotel-restaurant traders claim that the hotel-restaurant business in Corona suffers the most. They did not get the opportunity of government financial incentives.

In this context, economist MM Akash told Prothom Alo, “Some sectors are more affected by the type of covid disease. The hotel business sector is one of them. The government should have thought of it in advance. Special emergency measures have to be taken for this sector. Some extra arrangements have to be made for these hotel workers. The government has announced a special package for those below the poverty line. But they are giving that special package only in the village. In the city but not giving. Such special packages should be introduced in the city. Those who suddenly became poor need to be included. Hotel workers are one of the target groups to suddenly become poor. ‘

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