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Bangladesh disburses cash to pandemic-hit people

Bangladesh on Sunday began the disbursement of cash support to 3.65 million low-income families to help them survive the coronavirus pandemic.

Each marginalized family will receive Bangladeshi taka 2,500 [$29] as a one-time grant through the mobile banking system. The project’s total budget is taka 9,125 million [$105 million].

The beneficiaries also include 100,000 families of farmers who were affected by natural disasters.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina virtually launched the project from her official residence in the capital Dhaka.

Underlining the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, she said: “We will continue with the vaccinations. We will buy vaccine doses for all countrymen, whatever fund it requires … stay safe and keep others safe by following the health guidelines.”

The South Asian country of 165 million people has recorded 761,943 infections including 11,579 virus-linked deaths.

As many as 8.63 million vaccine doses have been administered, while 2.81 million have been fully vaccinated, according to Our World in Data tracking website.

Protests to resume public transport

Meanwhile, workers across Bangladesh staged demonstrations calling for the resumption of public transport as well as food assistance.

Abbas Uddin, the president of Dhaka District Transport Workers Union, questioned why public transportation remained suspended when other services such as private vehicles, CNG-run auto-rickshaws, offices, and shopping malls had been allowed to resume operations.

About five million workers in the transport sector, many of whom earn daily wages, have lost livelihoods since April 5, when a lockdown was imposed to stem the spread of coronavirus. It is partially in place till May 5.

Farhad Hossain, the state minister for public administration, told Anadolu Agency that a decision in this regard will be made soon.

Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader, however, has said that the government is considering resumption of public transport ahead of Eid.

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