"I only had some shemai (sweet vermicelli) this morning. I don't have any new dress this Eid."
Nipa, a class 2 student and daughter of Faruk Mia of Koularoshi area of haor region in Kulaura under Moulvibazar district, said this -- no joy of Eid emanating from her voice.
Faruk, a farm labourer in the area, could neither manage to buy his daughter a new dress, nor a proper meal for his family of 12 on Eid day.
"Eid celebration? What is that for poor people like us? I harvested some paddy this season, but one mound of paddy sells for as low as at Tk 800, with which I can't even afford to buy groceries for a good meal for my family," he lamented.
"If we can barely sell paddy at Tk 20-22 per kg, we have to buy rice at Tk 55-60 per kg. It has become really hard for people like us to sustain a livelihood," he also said.
"I only received a cash aid of Tk 450 since the pandemic began," Faruk said in a choked voice.
"I would have to sell a mound of paddy to buy 1 kg beef. Shall I have a lavish meal with my family for a day and starve the rest of the month? A good meal on Eid is not for those like us."
He also informed that there is crisis of drinking water in the area.
"Two years back we had a tubewell set up with help from a relative. But it is not working any more. I have heard the government is setting up tubewells for the poor. But we didn't get anything. Nobody takes notice of our plight," Faruk said.
"None of the paid farm labourers in the haor region is doing well. They don't even have their own plough. After renting farming equipment and purchasing seeds and fertilisers, they have to give two-thirds of the paddy to the land owner and keep what's left to survive throughout the rest of the year, which is not enough," said Moktadir Hossain, a senior citizen in the area.
"Like Faruk, they are all struggling hard to barely survive against all odds," he added.