NILPHAMARI, Oct 15: 'Monga' (seasonal famine) has rendered 0.3 million (three-lakh) people of the district jobless. They are now without income and on the verge of starvation, said sources.
Like other northern districts Nilphamari has been in the grip of 'monga' for years, particularly during the Bangla months of Ashwin and Kartik.
As these months are the transitional period between the conclusion of Aman plantation and the beginning of the new cultivation, the farmers are totally devoid of any employment opportunity.
This situation is also an outcome of higher labour participation in agriculture in this region and ultimately results in creating a poverty cycle.
Though the VGF programme has been launched, the intensity of 'monga' has been increasing gradually. Diarrhoea breaks out all over the district as a by-product of the 'monga' when stricken people are without even a minimum diet and resort to eating food unfit for human consumption.
Meanwhile, the army has been deployed to monitor the VGF programme, but there are allegations of corruption, particularly in the selection of the recipients, the sources added.
This year the government provided Tk 500 million (50 crore) to combat 'monga' and day labourers, part-time workers, persons of inconsistent income, flood-hit people, land-less and income-less families were to be qualified for VGF cards.
But concerned sources are still in the dark about the proper implementation of the fund, as there is no clear-cut guideline on how that amount is to be utilised, the sources also said.
In addition to a proper guideline, the people also emphasised the need for non-agricultural and non-traditional job opportunities on priority basis to rescue the 'monga' affected people.