Fifty-five concerned citizens, socio-cultural and human rights activists on Friday urged the government to take urgent steps to save lives of crores of poor and working people, rather than few quarters.
In a joint statement, they said that the government should manage an emergency fund by confiscating properties of money launderers and loan defaulters, not by putting further burden on the public fund.
Lives of over five crore working people of the country are under threat due to hunger as they have become jobless amid the countrywide shutdown, they said.
They said that the government had announced Tk 5,000 crore incentives only for export-oriented industries, especially for the garments industry, while the factories were still running.
But it is yet to announce any allocation for crores of the poor and working people, or for the small and medium-sized industries that meet the essential demands of the country, they said.
They demanded free food, daily essentials and treatment for a crore families for three months, ensuring reasonable prices for farmers’ produces, and easy-term loan for small entrepreneurs and farmers.
They also demanded adequate relief for marginal people, especially for Rohingya and ethnic minorities, and free treatment and emergency humanitarian assistance for measles-affected areas.
They said that it was the government’s duty to ensure the people’s basic rights of food and medical services across the country.
To do so, they said, the government would need Tk 70,000 crore to Tk 90,000 crore which is easily manageable by recovering parts of public money that has been looted by some quarters.
They advised the government to collect the emergency fund to save the poor by confiscating properties of loan defaulters and money launderers if it failed to recover laundered or defaulted money from abroad.
The signatories include economist Anu Muhammad, rights activist Hamida Hossain, Khushi Kabir and Farida Akhter, photographer Shahidul Alam, Sushashoner Jonno Nagarik secretary Badiul Alam Majumder, writer Rahnuma Ahmed and Biplobi Sarak Paribahan Federation president Manjurul Ahsan Khan.
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