Barguna: Poverty on the rise due to livelihood crisis
Milon Talukdar and his wife Pari Begum catch shrimp fry in the Baleshwar River. One day they earn 100-150 Tk by selling the shrimp fry. Some days they earn nothing.
In 2007, the devastating Cyclone Sidr departed from the Baleshwar river near the Padma village of Patharghata upazila in Barguna. This village is 12 kilometers from Patharghata upazila sadar. On a visit to the area on April 23, it was evident from the ravaged embankment and uprooted kewras that the scar inflicted by Sidr had not yet healed.
Milon Talukdar, nearly 50, sat by the river. He is the skipper of a trawler used for deep-sea fishing, but he has not fished at sea for a month and a half.
He said, “The sea state is not good. Storms are starting to brew all of a sudden. I’m scared.”
Milo rented land at 66 decimals for 20,000 Tk per year. He harvested only ten maunds of paddy when salt water entered the land in the last season of Aman. His losses led him to take out a loan of Tk 60,000 from an NGO.
Milon and his wife Pari Begum catch shrimp fry in the Baleswar River.
They lost their children in Cyclone Sidr.
She said, “There is no work. How can our family survive? We are in crisis.
According to the district administration, around 900,000 people live in Barguna. Paddy and fish are the main source of income for the inhabitants of this locality. Residents said there was virtually no alternative employment. The government pays no attention to it. The livelihood crisis has gripped the coastal district. Poverty is increasing.
Fishermen, day labourers, NGO workers and government officials in Barguna sadar, Amtali and Patharghata speak of a livelihood crisis in the locality.
In 2020, the National Institute of Population Research and Training and icddr,b in a joint study said that the poverty rate in Barguna had risen to 54.5%.
According to the study, the highest poverty rate in the country is in Patuakhali district near Barguna. Kurigram is in second position while Barguna in third.