RMG workers rushing towards Dhaka, Narayanganj
Hundreds of people, mostly readymade garment workers, are returning to their workplaces through Shimulia-Kathalbari route as some factories reopen amid a government-announced shutdown to curb the transmission of coronavirus. Sirajul Islam, in-charge of Mawa river police camp, said hundreds of workers are coming to the terminal from southern part of the district by ferries and trawlers since Friday morning. “Most of them are RMG workers in Dhaka and Narayanganj,” he said. The vessels were packed with people.
Deputy General Manager of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC) of Munshiganj, said they were operating ferries and trawlers in a limited scale giving priority to emergency vehicles. “People are also crossing river on these ferries but their number is lower today,” he said. At Shimulia ferry terminal, people were hiring auto-rickshaw to reach their destinations. But there was not enough transportation for everyone because of government restriction, forcing many to walk.
Over 700 garment factories reopened in the capital, Savar and Ashulia, and Sreepur on April 28. Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) said the factories started production with limited workers, especially with those living near their factories. The factories were shut temporarily to avoid the risk of coronavirus outbreak. But a number of RMG workers have tested positive in recent days.
Health experts slammed the decision to reopen factories saying that such a ‘premature’ step may trigger a deadlier outbreak. They recommended the strictly keep enforcing the shutdown at least until the Eid-ul-Fitr as Bangladesh continues to record hundreds of new cases every day. Economists think that it is too early to ease the shutdown and allow businesses to reopen, even on a limited scale, as no sign is there that the virus is slowing down.