Dhaka, Aug 28– Rivers and water bodies that dot Bangladesh are not only major sources of fish but also provide livelihood to many low-income rural households.
Hundreds of women at Satvaiapara and Ramganj villages in Sonargaon municipality have come out of poverty by making fishing traps from bamboo, locally called ‘Chai’.
The demand for ‘Chai’ goes up in the rainy season. The traps are specially made for catching prawns.
During a visit to Ramganj village in Boidyerbazar union, the UNB correspondent saw women handling household chores and knitting ‘Chai’. “It’s a very common sight in the area,” one of the residents said.
Manindra Chandra Das, a male craftsman of Satvaiapara, said women are contributing financially to their families by making the fishing traps.
“They knit ‘Chai’ round the year but they get really busy during the rainy season when the demand is at its highest,” he said.
Manindra said fishermen from Patuakhali, Faridpur, Cumilla, Munshiganj, Barishal, Chattogram, and Chandpur come to collect good quality fishing traps from Narayanganj.
A small ‘Chai’ costs about Tk 100 while the middle-sized ones are sold at Tk 250-300.
Big fishing traps, on the other hand, cost Tk 2,000 to Tk 4,000 a piece.
But things are getting tough for the artisans.
Dina Sarkar, a successful craftswoman, said they use ‘Mulibash’ for the fishing traps.
“Each piece of ‘Mulibash’ used to cost between Tk 20 and Tk 25. But now they cost Tk 110-130 per piece,” she said.
Sarkar described how they are holding on to the art of their forefathers despite hardships.
“We’re continuing the job by taking loans from moneylenders but it’s becoming tough for us,” she added, urging the government to help save the profession.
Sonargaon Upazila Nirbahi Officer Anjon Kumar Sarkar said the administration will help keep the profession alive and provide livelihood to local women. – UNB