The Story of Sagir

My name is Sagir. I am 31 years old. I am a CNG driver. I have been driving for more than 12 years. I live with my wife and two kids; a son who is 5 years old and a daughter who is 8 months old. I live in Jatrabari near a CNG stand.

Everyday I wake up at 6 am. Then I freshen up and have a breakfast. Usually, I buy banana and bread from a tea stall. Sometimes my wife makes potato fry and roti which I enjoy very much. Then I go to the stand to pick up the CNG. I start working around 7 am.

I think one of the main health problems that I face working in Dhaka is the noise. CNG itself is noisy. Now add that with all the other noises of the street. It gets very annoying, specially during peak hours, usually from 8 to 10 am in the morning and 5 to 7 pm in the evening.

I have faced health problems due to the noise pollution. I often have headaches when I work long hours. Also, the heat in the summer makes it unbearable to drive a CNG. I think my hearing abilities have been hampered as well.

About two months ago, I got really sick. I had acute fever, joint pain and vomiting. I went to my hometown Barguna to get treatment. I never go to hospitals in Dhaka because the govt hospitals don’t treat the poor well. If you buy a ticket to see a doctor, you have wait in a long line. By the time you get ticket and wait for your turn, the doctor has already left. There are some touts in these hospitals who mislead patients into getting unnecessary treatment and hassle. This happens to a lot of people who can’t read or write.

Private hospitals are out of our reach because they are so expensive. If I don’t get seriously ill, I buy medicine from the pharmacy and most of the time it cures the illness. Also, apart from the medicine, you don’t have to pay any fees. It is a win-win for people like us.

Recently, the price hike of everyday items has impacted me. My son loves to eat meat. But prices have increased so much that I can barely afford it. I have forgotten the taste of beef. I used to buy 2-3 kg of chicken every week for my family. Now I only buy 1 kg. All other food items have increased in price as well. I used to deposit 5000 tk every month in a fixed deposit. But now I can only manage 2000 tk at best. 

I have nothing to say to the govt. Nobody cares about the poor. I only wish that my son and daughter grow up, become educated so that they can become solvent and take care of me and their mother in our old age.