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The seasonal joblessness situation- ‘monga’ has been combated successfully through comprehensive steps of the government freeing the poor from vicious cycle of extreme poverty permanently in Rangpur region.

The poor are now leading a better life during the peak ‘monga’ period of ‘Aswin’ and ‘Kartik’ months this time for the tenth consecutive year.

Earlier, they had to lead a miserable life in this seasonal lean period of the year even a decade ago.

Chairman of Rangpur-based research organisation ‘Northbengal Institute of

Development Studies’ Dr Syed Samsuzzaman said the success was achieved following implementation of the government’s comprehensive programmes toward the direction.

“Successful implementation of the government’s massive social safety-net

programmes (SSNPs) along with other efforts effectively helped the poor to improve their livelihoods in overcoming ‘monga’,” he said.

Test Relief, Food for Work, Works for Taka, Vulnerable Group Development (VGD), Vulnerable Group Feeding (VGF) and Employment Generation Project for the Poorest Projects played a vital role in ensuring food security of the poor.

“Rehabilitations of homeless people under ‘Asrayan’ and Cluster Village projects, providing training and micro-credits for income generations activities (IGAs), allowances and other programmes assisted the poor to improve livelihoods,” Samsuzzaman added.

Agriculturist Dr Md Abdul Mazid, who got the Independence Award 2018 Medal (food security) this year, said expanded cultivation of short duration Aman rice along with implementation of SSNPs played crucial role in combating ‘monga’.

Huge jobs are being created for the poor following early harvest of short duration Aman rice during ‘Aswin’ and ‘Kartik’ months helping them to earn better livelihoods driving away ‘monga’ in last 10 years.

“The present government has effectively combated ‘monga’ through implementation of various programmes and engaging the poor with IGAs to improve their socioeconomic conditions cutting poverty,” Dr Mazid added.

Deputy director of the Department of Social Services for Rangpur Abdur Razzaque said his department distributed Taka 953 crore as allowances among 1.21-lakh beneficiaries in Rangpur alone in last 10 years to improve their livelihoods.

Deputy Director Dilgir Alam of the Department of Youth Development said 32,000 unemployed youths got training, 9,250 of them got Taka 19.15-crore interest free loans to become self-reliant in Rangpur alone through IGAs in 10 years.

Like other departments, Bangladesh Rural Development Board (BRDB) improved livelihoods of some 60,000 rural families through the ‘Ekti Bari, Ekti Khamar (EBEK)’ project alone changing their living standard in Rangpur during the period.

Deputy director of BRDB for Rangpur Rabeya Sultana said the EBEK project has made many rural families, small and marginal farmers self-reliant through various IGAs to overcome extreme poverty.

The families were given training and supports through the Village Development Samities (VDS) for enhancing skills and capital formation to set up and run family farms, business and other IGAs.

An EBEK project beneficiary housewife Begum of village Kursha Balorampur in Rangpur Sadar upazila said she along with her husband and four children were in hardship even six years ago.

“I started a small cattle farm by taking Taka 10,000 as revolving loan through local VDS in 2012 and eventually obtained another Taka 18,000 loan in 2014 to increase investment in the cattle business and started farming crops as sharecropper,” she said. So far, she purchased 50 decimals of crop land and built a house. Her family has seven sheep, two cows and other assets worth Taka 3.5 lakh in addition to their land, house and business.

Like other grassroots public representatives, chairman of Nohali union parishad in Gangachara upazila of Rangpur Abul Kalam Azad said the SSNPs, small-scale enterprises, cottage industries, livestock and other IGAs eradicated ‘monga’ from his union permanently.