The condition of low-income people has not changed despite the relaxation of the lockdown ahead of Eid-ul-Adha.
Generation of income has not gained momentum for them in the last five days despite lifting of the lockdown.
Chef Mohammad Salim used to sell cigarettes and tea during lockdown in front of his slum at Shahjahanpur to run his family. But his sales came to a stop as soon as the lockdown was withdrawn, leading to a closing down of his temporary source of income.
"The lockdown has been withdrawn and so everyone is now going out to drink tea and smoke. They are not coming to my stall anymore, so I have closed the shop. Although the government has withdrawn the lockdown, there is still a ban on all types of social gatherings. So, we cannot cook anymore," said Salim, adding that about 50-60 chefs he knows have been pulling rickshaws or selling vegetables during the lockdown.
"The lockdown is over, but still we are passing our days in a state of starvation. We will continue starving in the upcoming lockdown also", a tearful Salim continued. "The government did not assist us in the past and will not in the future."
Meanwhile, although rickshaw pullers earned a healthy income during the lockdown, after its withdrawal, their income has dropped. Rickshaw-van pullers also have no income. Though day labourers are earning a little, it is not at all sufficient for them to run their families.
"After the withdrawal of the lockdown, in the last five days, I succeeded in managing one or two trips, earning Tk500 only. The lockdown has been withdrawn for a week, but during these seven days I will not be able to earn the money I borrowed to run the family during the lockdown. Adding insult to injury, another lockdown is coming," said Mohammad Sharif, a rickshaw-van puller.
Another rickshaw-van puller, Mohammad Billal, said, "Since the lifting of the lockdown, I have been getting a few trips, but those are not sufficient to ensure two meals a day. On top of that, many of us have taken loans to buy vans. That too has to be paid. If we do not get help before the lockdown, we may starve to death."
Rickshaw puller Md Monir Hossain said, "Our income was good during the lockdown, but now it has decreased a bit. During the lockdown, we could easily earn Tk500 to Tk600 in half a day. Now I have to work day and night to earn Tk500."
The rickshaw pullers are still earning some money, said Monir, a resident of a slum in Malibagh. "But people of other professions who live in my slum are in a very bad state. If the government assisted the poor a little, there would have been no problem."
Laguna driver Nasir, who was standing next to Monir, said, "Because of poverty, I have now started selling grass for sacrificial cows. But what I will do after Eid is uncertain. In this lockdown, I went to sleep without eating for many nights. During the upcoming lockdown also we have to go through tougher days as well."
Mohammad Al-Amin, a labourer at Khilgaon Market said, "After the lockdown, we are getting some work. But not too much, because many people do not have money in their hands; they are reluctant to hire labourers at the moment."
"Working a whole day, I earn Tk500-Tk600. But we live from hand to mouth. If we pass two days without work after working a whole week, the money in our pocket finishes. Lockdown is panic for us. It is the workers who suffer the most," he said.
Another day labourer, Tipu Sultan, said, "We are living on borrowed money. It is impossible to repay the loan from my little earning. My house rent is due for seven-eight months. Lockdown has left us helpless. We are running from one kitchen market to another, but there is not much work for us.
There was no money in the hand during the lockdown. I passed many nights without food.
The situation was such that if we had breakfast in the morning we did not know what we would eat at noon. There is no possibility of anyone getting a loan during the upcoming lockdown," he said.
Golam Mostafa, a press machine operator, lost his job three months ago and started selling copies of the Holy Quran and Islamic books before Maghbazar Mosque to support his family.
"Now I am selling masks along with religious books. But I cannot run my family with this little income. I live in Dhaka with my wife and two daughters, have to pay rent for my house at Tk7,000. Sale of masks is not as good as it was before.
"I have been taking help from my relatives for the last three months. I do not see any light at the end of the tunnel. I do not know how the family would function in the next lockdown," he said, adding that he too had not received any government assistance.