Crisis of Rice Harvesting Workers and Farmers Frustrated -The Asian Age

 Rasheduzzaman Rashed

The people of the city do not know the neighbor. Never know your own relatives.  The people of the city grew up in a centralized way.  As the world has become a village in the age of globalization, the society is through the social communication of the people of the city.  On the other hand, due to the fact that most of the people in the villages are uneducated, digital technology has not yet touched the city.  As a result, the image of rural life is completely different from that of the city.  The information of one person in the village is kept by another, who has how many cows, who gave a big house of bricks, who has many children, whose land is more or less etc. All the information can be obtained by asking one of the villagers.  It is understood that the social responsibility of the people of the village is very strong.  Especially sports and cultural events, the social connection of the people of the village is quite intact.  When people walk along the road in the village, they ask where they are going, what they are going to do, etc. There are many stories of happiness and sorrow.  Which is not noticed among the people of the city because the people of the city are so busy that even if a person next to them is in great danger, there is no time to look at him.  I was reading a newspaper at Chilahati railway station on Saturday, May 10 at 1 pm.  At that time, the life struggle of 10-year-old child laborer Mubarak Hossain came to light in the newspapers.  He worked in a plastic bottle-breaking factory from an early age to support his family financially.  Sadly, as the price of edible oil rises, the factory collects the remaining oil from discarded bottles.  The oil will be used for cooking at home.  Seeing such a picture, it is understood that due to the violence of Telesmati in the oil bottle and the syndicate of traders in the market, it has become a blow to the dead. 

As a result, the people who have no pockets have lost their confidence.  Thinking about all this, suddenly someone is calling me.  I looked at the 50-year-old uncle Chukallu at the railway station.  Seeing me, he asked with a smile, 'Kote jabu re bau', I answered, I will go to Joypurhat, uncle.  I asked him, where are you going?  He said let's go to Akkelpur.  I am going to get on the train without asking why he will go to Akkelpur.  He followed me.  I told him you were buying a ticket.  He said quietly, "Bau re mui tikat kato nai, mok tikit kantar lok tikit nade."  After listening to him, I understood that the person at the ticket counter did not give him a ticket because the train seat was not empty.  I told him well then I can get in my carriage and talk together.  After that he bought a ticket in the train.  The train will start running from Chilahati station and will leave Domar, Nilphamari and Syedpur stations and proceed to Parbatipur station.  At that time the ticket master in white dress came and asked him for the ticket.  But he couldn't get a ticket so he picked her up from the seat and went to the door of the bogie.  There he talked a lot and took a hundred rupees from him.  Then he sat in the seat, left Joypurhat and went to Akkelpur. He never had to get up from the seat or anyone came and said uncle seat is mine.  Then naturally the question arises why the ticket counter did not give him a ticket?  Why did you say there are no seats?  What can the state answer and remedy?

People from Nilphamari, Panchagarh, Gaibandha, Lalmonirhat and Rangpur areas go to Joypurhat, Naogaon, Natore and Bogra in Rajshahi division to harvest aman paddy.  As a result, uncle Chukallu has taken the road to Akkelpur in Joypurhat district to harvest paddy in the current boro season.  Uncle Chukallu made several stitches in his lungi.  Towels on the shoulders and half-sleeved shirt.  Kachidao in hand and Bangkuya on the shoulder i.e. Kachidao made of iron with which paddy is cut and Bangkua made of bamboo which is brought home carrying load of paddy.  Hundreds of rupees in his pocket.  He is leaving his village in search of work with these and moving to another village in another district.  Gerast works at home as a day laborer.  He used his salary to pay for the clothes and education of his wife and four children.

 He earns Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,200 a day by harvesting paddy from 5 am to 10 pm.  Even if the amount of money seems a little big, just think if a person works like this day and night for about 16 hours.  Are the 8 hours of labor law in the country really effective at all?  No matter how indifferent the state apparatus is, the workers who cut paddy will become robots in this way year after year.  As a result of working hard, they can work for 20 to 25 days.  At the end of the month, twenty to twenty five thousand rupees comes in uncle's pocket.  He came out in two seasons to cut paddy. 

Then in two seasons you have to run the household expenses with fifty thousand rupees throughout the year.  In reality, his family is not supposed to run on that money.  If a family member suddenly suffers from a major disease, he cannot be treated by a good doctor due to lack of money.  He was forced to spend his life on loans from various NGOs.  In 51 years of independence in Bangladesh, the fate of millions of day laborers like Chukallu Chacha has not changed nor has the state apparatus ever wanted to change.  Silently exploited like a murderer.  As a result, inequality between rich and poor is increasing day by day.  As the number of crorepatis increases, so does the number of proletarians and marginalized people.

 Those who provide food in the face of civilized people who are burnt in the sun and wet in the rain are uncivilized today.  What is the title of Chasabhusa Mofiz!  This shame is not of the day laborers, this shame of the nation.  We have to be more concerned when the water is frozen in the crop fields all over the country and the ripe paddy is wasted and the farmers are suffering huge losses.  Rotten paddy seedlings that have been submerged in rain water are coming out in some lands.  The farmers have lost their way.  Despite spending extra money to protect the crops, the workers are not getting along in this rain.  As a result, paddy is rotting in the field.  Structural violence of state machinery and natural disasters by paddy farmers. 

Therefore, it is necessary to make arrangements for cutting the paddy of the farmers by the state initiative by making a specific plan.  The government has to open a purchasing center in every union and buy paddy from the producing farmers at the price fixed by the government.  Instead of stopping the purchase of paddy by the farmer on the pretext of moisture or wetness, if necessary, the paddy should be dried in the dryer machine in the food warehouse or purchasing center and purchased from the producing farmer.  Adequate quantity of boro paddy produced in total will have to be procured by the government.  In case of food warehouse crisis, adequate food warehouse or silo should be constructed.  In case of emergency, private rice mill or attic warehouse should be rented.  Universal rationing system should be introduced in villages and towns.  The treatment of day laborers and working people should be done free of cost.  People should be able to afford to reduce the price of daily commodities including soybean oil.

 Market syndicates, black marketeers and ticket black marketeers should be brought under the law and exemplary punishment should be provided.  As a result, it is necessary to make arrangements so that the dream of the farmer does not sink in the water.  The state must remember that the country will survive if the farmers survive.

Rasheduzzaman Rashed is a Essayist
and columnist.