- Daily earners are struggling to make ends meet
- Most are forced to take loans to support families
- Earning has dropped as day labourers do not get hired everyday
- They are forced to cut back on food expenses
Mizanur Rahman, a mason, came to the workers' market at Moghbazar in search of work around 6am in the morning on Tuesday and waited till 10:30 in the morning before returning home empty handed.
"I will not get any work today," Mizan told The Business Standard in despair and added, "With rising commodity prices, it has become difficult to run the family and I'm already reeling under debt."
Mizan said that his daughter will sit for the SSC exam next year and he is puzzled worrying about how to support the girl's education.
"Last month I took a loan of Tk50,000 from an NGO. I have no idea how I will run the family in the future," he added.
Some 500 people were seen sitting for work at the workers' market on the way to the railway line at 8am on Tuesday. Like Mizanur Rahman, half of them returned home without getting any work.
Talking with some 25 workers, it was learnt that they have been getting less work for the last two months. They say many employers have reduced work as the prices of essential commodities, including rods and cement have spiked.
Another construction worker Bashir Hossain, who lives in Begunbari slum, did not get hired for five straight days.
"I saw in the newspaper that someone was saying he could not run his family even after getting a salary of Tk40,000 rupees. We earn only Tk600 daily and these days we do not even get to work every day. How can I run our family with this money," he asked.
"Even a year ago we could buy oil for Tk100 a litre, which is now Tk200. Not being able to get a job every day, now I am forced to manage the expenses of the family by borrowing," said Bashir.
Mohammad Alamin came to Dhaka from Sylhet's Companigonj area a week ago.
He said 10 people came to Dhaka with him in search of work. They are working as construction workers in a building in Shahbag area.
Rakib Hossain of Satkhira's Asashuni upazila and three other construction workers have rented a room in Begunbari slum for Tk3200.
Rakib Hossain said they have not bought food from hotels since last month as the prices of food have gone up.
He said, "Even 6 months ago, it would cost Tk150 to eat at a hotel three times a day and now it costs Tk200. So now, I cook at home."
Sahina Begum of the New Market said she bought half a kg of Telapia fish for Tk80. She said that her husband is a day labourer and he does not get any work most of the week.
"Now it is extremely difficult to run the family due to the increase in the prices of daily necessities," she said and added that she will have to ration the half kg fish for three days.
Pointing to the toddler in her lap, Sahina said, "I could not buy a single egg for the kid this week."
Zarina Begum separates potatoes, onions and other vegetables from trucks at Karwan Bazar.
Zarina said that if she works all day, she earns Tk300. Currently she is unable to afford rent for a place so she sleeps in the vegetable market.
"Many women like me sleep in the middle of vegetable markets," she said.
Anwara Begum works as a cook in two houses in Kalyanpur area and her husband drives a rickshaw. Anwara said she gets a salary of Tk3,000 for cooking in two houses.
With both their earnings, it has become very difficult to run the family of six members.
"There are days when we do not have any money to buy rice and are forced to buy it on credit," said Zarina.