Border conflict in Myanmar affects daily wage earners in Teknaf and Ukhiya: A worrying situation

Border conflict in Myanmar affects daily wage earners in Teknaf and Ukhiya: A worrying situation

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Uttarpara is half a kilometer from Whykong Bazaar in Teknaf Upazila on the Cox’s Bazar-Teknaf Highway. There are shrimp farms, and salt and paddy fields. Most of the people in these areas are daily wage labourers. They earn their living by fishing, selling fish or doing daily labour. Prothom Alo correspondent spoke to at least 15 people in Uttarpara on Tuesday afternoon and each of them has a family of five or six.

Mohammed Shajjan, a 35-year-old fisherman from the area, said, “How long will this continue? I have borrowed from others while spending my savings. What will we eat if we cannot catch fish?”

Noor Hussain, a 30-year-old fisherman, was tending his fishing net and boat in a canal adjacent to a prawn farm in Uttarpara. There were also 8-10 boats. Noor Hussain pleaded, “Brother, please do something for us.”

Noornahar Begum, 45, is a housewife and her husband Mohammad Siraj is a fisherman. He told Prothom Alo that he borrowed 60,000 taka from an organization and paid installments of 1,800 taka per week. After the husband’s income stops, he can no longer pay the installments. Still, they face pressure to pay the installments.

Fisherman Nurul Alam, 45, also demanded that he should be given additional time to pay the installments as there is no work in the area after the fighting on the other side of the border.

Regarding the pressure to pay the instalments, Rajib Ghosh, account officer of NGO Pratyasha, said, ‘We were not aware of the pressure to pay the instalments. No one informed us and now higher authorities will be informed.”

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