Hundreds of garment workers formed a human chain in the city on Sunday, urging the government to take necessary measures to check house rent hike in Dhaka and its surroundings to ease the sufferings of low income people.
Jesmin Akhter, a garment worker residing in Murgitola, said she has to pay Tk 3,000 as rent out of Tk 5,000 she earns for a small room every month.
‘How can low income people manage the expenses for our children’s education and meet other daily needs,’ she asked standing in the chain organised by National Garments Workers Federation in front of the National Press Club.
Politburo member of the Workers Party of Bangladesh, Fazle Hossain Badsha, also a lawmaker, said it is the government’s moral responsibility to protect the rights of every worker as shelter is constitutionally a fundamental right.
‘The government should monitor the house rent situation regularly so that landlords cannot increase house rent at whim,’ he said.
The federation president, Amirul Haque Amin, said house rent in Dhaka has increased three times in the last one decade whereas the Dhaka City Corporation has not increased income tax on house owners during the period.
He also alleged that house rents have increased at a rate much higher than the increase in the pay of garment workers.
The Sramik Karmachari Oikya Parishad leader Qamrul Ahsan said it is not only the low income group but also middle income people are suffering due to abnormal hike in house rent.
‘The only difference is that the middle income people do not usually take to the streets,’ he said and urged them to join the protest and turn it into a citizens’ movement.
Qamrul also alleged that the Premises Rent Control Act 1991 exists only on papers and there are no signs the law will be enforced.
Garment workers attending the programme also said a house below the rent of Tk 2,000 is hardly available in the city while their minimum wage is Tk 3,000.
The federation’s general secretary Shafia Parvin, central leader Mohammad Faruk Khan, Arju Ara and Arifa Akhter also attended the programme.