Agricultural labourers in search of work

Agricultural labourers are in search of work. The picture was recently taken from Modern Mor in Rangpur.Prothom Alo

Ayub Sarker is a farmer at Anantoram village in Pirgachha upazila of Rangpur. He has borrowed money and cultivated boro rice crop. He is unable to run his family. Now he is planning to go to another region for work.

Dashgaon bazar is to the east-south, 3 kilometers away from Pirgachha sadar union. While visiting on 17 April, this correspondent talked to farmers Ayub, Mashiur Rahman and Hamidul Islam.

Ayub said, "We are a three-member family. There is no food at home. The family will not survive if I don't go to Dhaka or Cumilla."

Visiting Pirgachha, Kaunia, Gangachara and Badarganj of Rangpur for the last two weeks, it was found landless, marginal and agricultural farmers are leaving home for work. Most of them have gone to Cumilla, Noakhali and Feni.

People related to agriculture in Rangpur said the economy of the district mainly depends on agriculture. Ahead of the harvesting of boro and aman, the landless and marginal farmers don't have any work. As a result, their poverty increases. The economists call this 'seasonal poverty'.

On the spot

Konapara village is to the east from Dasgaon bazar in Pirganj. On 13 April, Rabiul, Abdur Rashid, Ruhul Amin, Saiful and Amzad went to Sonaimuri in Noakhali to harvest paddy.

Talking to at least 50 families of agricultural labourers, it is learnt that hundreds of workers are going to Cumilla and Noakhali for work from the day after Eid.

The farm labourers said they earn Tk 600-800 each for harvesting paddy a day.

Rangpur deputy commissioner Mohammad Mobasher Hasan, speaking to Prothom Alo, said a section of agricultural labourers are going to other regions for additional income.

District Agricultural Association president and Rangpur sadar Gopalpur union parishad former chairman Altaf Hossain said people are under pressure due to high price of essentials. The labourers are going to other regions to maintain their families.

He said at least 1000 farm labourers have gone to other regions from his union.

Economics teacher at Begum Rokeya University, Rangpur, Professor Morshed Hossain said the people of Rangpur division are victims of regional discrimination. Rangpur has not been industrialised as yet. There is less opportunity to work here. So the labourers are compelled to go to other regions for work. The crisis of employment will increase further if the industrialisation is not done quickly, eliminating the regional discrimination, he noted.