The char people of Tangail are benefiting financially selling brooms made of wild flowers.
This invariable part of every Bengali household has brought financial stability to the Brahmaputra char dwellers of Tangail.
The erosion of the Jamuna River affects the char dwellers of Durgapur and Gohaliabari unions regularly. Many have failed to find employment or other ways to make a livelihood.
However, after some local small-scale entrepreneurs set up broom-making factories prosperity has returned among the low-income people of the region.
The flowers used for broom-making naturally grow in hilly areas of the country. The brooms are then sold in different districts of the country.
There are around 50 small-scale broom-making factories in the district, providing employment to around 600 men and women of Durgapur and Gohaliabari unions.
Industry insiders said Nazrul Islam Nuru, Abdul Hai, Soleman and Majed of the Patal Bazar area started the business about 10-12 years ago. They brought Ulu flowers (a type of sun-grass) from Khagrachari and hired workers to make brooms from them.
Mostly female workers worked in these factories at first in their free time. The brooms were then transported to Dhaka where hawkers sold them on the streets. The business then expanded as more factories were built and many others invested in the profitable industry. The workers earn around Tk 400-500 per day based on production.
Now, both male and female workers work in these factories in different sections. The male workers tie up bundles of Ulu flowers with jute sticks and the female workers secure those ties by wrapping them up with scotch tape or plastic covers.
Most of these factories are in Magra Bazar, Patal Bazar, Durgapur, Kadimhamjani, Shyamshail, Kurshabenu and Pathorghat areas of the east side of Bangabandhu Bridge in Kalihati upazila.
Nazrul Islam Nuru, a broom trader in Patal Bazar, said the once booming business is now dying out. Buying the Ulu flowers from the hill tracts of Chattogram has become more costly due to the rising transportation fare.
“I have started cultivating Ulu flowers on 30 decimals of land to reduce cost and keep the factories here running. Around 1000 people of this area depend on broom making for their livelihood,” he added.
Sirajul Islam, chairman of Durgapur upazila parishad, said the broom factories of the area have helped bring prosperity to the area.
“The erosion affected unemployed people has found financial solvency in this industry. I expect the authorities concerned would provide all sorts of support in order to sustain these small-scale businesses,” he said.